Blockchain has the potential to redefine healthcare, but healthcare is not the first industry to attempt to improve transaction flow with the emerging technology.
Financial Services, like healthcare, deals with large amounts of secured data, with many firms differentiating themselves by optimizing the speed and security with which they can conduct transactions. Since Financial Services has been working to leverage blockchain architecture for the past 2-3 years, there is an opportunity for those of us looking at applying blockchain to healthcare to learn valuable lessons from their experience with this transformative technology.
I had the opportunity to speak with my former boss, Jim Cunha, SVP Treasury & Financial Services at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, who’s deeply involved in the evolution of blockchain in Financial Services.
According to Cunha, “Healthcare has the opportunity to leapfrog some blockchain developmental phases if professionals pay attention to what other industries have already learned.”
Below are some of the lessons Cunha shared from what he has seen over the past few years in Financial Services and how I see potential for applying the technology in healthcare.
Lesson 1: The technology is the easy part.
For those of us trying to get our heads around exactly what blockchain is and what it can do for healthcare, the technology might seem overwhelming. However, the way Cunha sees it, “The technology is the easy part. It’s all the other stuff that an industry has to do for the technology to work across many stakeholders that’s the hard part.”
In a nutshell, blockchain technology can be explained like this:
Sounds simple? As always, details make the difference. To make blockchain work for an industry, the following non-technology elements must be developed:
Common LanguageEven though healthcare is no stranger to complex terminology, it will still take a while to develop a common language around blockchain. Over three years in, Financial Services is still working to align the vocabulary used around blockchain. For example, there is often confusion around the definition of “immutable.” (An application in healthcare: If an error is made in the creation of a patient record, should the original record be considered “immutable,” or the correct information?)
This means that the blockchain professionals we’re working with will likely be speaking languages we don’t understand. Like Finance, things will likely be very “loose” in the beginning before we can find a lexicon that works for healthcare.
Data StandardizationJust because there is a new way to exchange data does not mean all of the parties involved will do so effectively. If Provider A sends clinical data to a payer in one format and Provider B sends data in a different format, the payer will still need to normalize the data before it can be used.
Healthcare needs to define what data will live in the blockchain and how it will be stored. If we do not work as an industry to develop the standards, multiple blockchain networks will develop with different data requirements. Then, a couple of decades down the road, we’ll still be working to get all stakeholders on the same standard or hoping one naturally wins out — just think of VHS versus Betamax.
Data RightsIn the Financial Services model there are clear definitions around who the owner of the data is (most simply, the account owner). In the world of healthcare, we have a heated debate around data rights. The way blockchain technology works now, the patient could be considered the ultimate owner of the data which would have vast implications for other stakeholders and use. (For example, what about doctors’ notes? Right now only about 3 percent of the population has access to written notes in their charts.)
Lesson 2: Don’t look for the big benefits too soon.Start-ups are not successful overnight and that waiting period also applies to new business ventures betting on blockchain. According to Jim Cunha, “Businesses in Finance that have based their business models on blockchain are still in the red. Right now, most Financial Services blockchain companies are VC-backed or have been acquired by existing Financial Services firms.”
From another perspective, Financial Services has some real needs that blockchain can address, such as faster post-trade processing of securities transactions, something it can do with less manual processing and potentially with fewer middlemen.
Healthcare has also identified several potential use cases such as:
More time and proofs of concept of these and other applications are needed to assess whether these business opportunities will be better served by blockchain or remain challenged regardless of new technology.
It’s tempting to expect change to happen quickly (as a few in the world of bitcoin, blockchain’s claim to fame, have) but that’s not how change works. From terminology, to value, even to building profitable new businesses, realizing the advantages of blockchain in healthcare will take time.
Lesson 3: Blockchain will not eliminate middlemen like clearinghouses.One of the big benefits that gets touted around blockchain is its ability to cut out the middleman. Like Healthcare, Financial Services has many middlemen, such as clearinghouses, many of which are risk averse and have been slow to change over the past 15-20 years. Middlemen play an important role in connecting stakeholders and when forced to change most can and will evolve. Entities in both industries have the hard-earned trust of the parties they connect, so they’re likely to find a place in a blockchain-enabled future.
In healthcare, clearinghouses also play a key role in helping providers and payers translate data to exchangeable industry standards. Even if the entire industry agreed on standards for what data lives in the blockchain, new data structures would emerge, and all parties cannot always update to the new standard cost effectively. Healthcare clearinghouses can continue to help stakeholders send or receive data in ways that are not exactly the same by closely monitoring industry trends while being able to reformat data from various legacy systems.
Cunha believes that “Ultimately, these organizations are smart and strategic enough to evolve.” The stronger organizations can and will find their place in a new world of blockchain-enabled healthcare transactions.
You can read more about Jim Cunha’s thoughts on Blockchain here:
Boston Fed VP: DLT Could 'Fundamentally Change' Financial Industry
3Qs with Jim Cunha: distributed ledger technology and what it could mean to the Fed
Boston Fed VP: Blockchain Will Wake Up Swift and Other Middlemen
Questions on what blockchain means for healthcare? This is the first post in a series, so let me know in the comments what you’d like addressed in future posts.
High costs coupled with extreme inefficiency make healthcare a difficult industry to ignore — If you’re experienced in, say, financial services or energy, it’s easy to look at healthcare and see simply another vertical with amazing potential. Too often though, I see new entrants fail simply because they don’t understand our culture or the nuances that go along with it.
For all the returns it appears to offer investors and startups, healthcare is a complex industry to enter let alone successfully disrupt.
I can’t stress it enough — like no other industry, healthcare can burn through investment funding and even the most promising innovations can go down in flames — if you don’t understand the various players, the ways decisions are made, and our workflows. However, if you invest in understanding healthcare, you’ll have the opportunity to break into an industry that rewards (and needs) true value, new perspective, and insight.
At Eliciting Insights we help our start-up and investor clients refine business models that thrive within the complexities of healthcare. Based on our experience, here are five key questions to ask if you’re starting up or looking to invest in disruptive healthcare technology.
Was the Business Model Built on a Solid Sample Size?
Many startups set their sights on disrupting healthcare and smartly begin talking to doctors and healthcare leaders to understand their needs and challenges. This is something I absolutely encourage — so much so that I advise startups to talk to moreproviders.
Most entrepreneurs simply stop talking too soon and build their product models off responses from only a handful of physicians or executives. I’ve seen startups tout accomplishments like getting feedback from all of “three CFOs of the most prestigious academic medical centers in the country”. This is where I pass on a favorite saying of industry insiders — “If you’ve seen one provider’s workflow, you’ve seen one provider’s workflow.”
Would you personally invest $5M in business built on a sample size of three? As an investor especially, make sure you know how many providers a startup has spoken with.
Even when a startup does find a good sample number it frequently lacks diversity, focusing on for example, physicians inside a certain metro area, physicians with only one practice management system, or doctors within only one or two specialties. Tapping into a sample that aligns with strategic goals and allows for deep feedback will ensure the business model can truly succeed in, and disrupt healthcare.
“If you’ve seen one provider’s workflow, you’ve seen one provider’s workflow.”
Are Incentives Properly Aligned?
Part of what makes disrupting healthcare so challenging is the complexity of all the parties involved. A company that is ready to succeed in this vertical will understand that their products will offer incentives that align across provider, payor, patient, and employer spaces.
Take for example a payor that wants to drive surgery patients to lower cost of care options through the use of payment cost estimators. (With the trending increase in high deductibles and co-insurance, higher settings of care generally cost the patient and the payor/employer more.) On the surface, it seems that providing the patient with out of pocket information should be enough to encourage them to go to less costly ambulatory surgery centers over hospitals, but the reality is much different.
Imagine yourself as the patient just about to go under for surgery. Is cost important? Yes, but you’ll also be thinking about putting your life into the hands of physicians as well as post-operative questions (such as infection). Trust in a surgeon is a must for patients. In an industry that is still developing good transparency metrics patients must and do make their decisions based on the imperfect information they have.
Another paradoxical example I’ve seen is where hospitals decide against obviously (to outsiders) beneficial technologies or outsourcing. This is especially common if those solutions would significantly reduce their workforce. In many communities, a hospital is one of the largest employers and leadership knows that heavy reductions in labor could create negative community perceptions and could also drive up the number of uninsured patients using the hospital’s ER for primary care services.
Many components including community, emotional, relationship, quality, cost, and workflow, must be considered when addressing incentive alignment and consequently, disruption in this industry.
"On the surface, it seems that providing the patient with out of pocket information should be enough...but the reality is much different."
Does the Solution Work in a Proof of Concept?
This is a simple question that doesn’t get asked enough. Many ideas in healthcare seembrilliant on the surface, but until they’ve been tested, nothing should be assumed.
If a solution is highly complex and different parties in the healthcare process need to change their usual workflows, chances are the idea won’t work. Getting past this challenge is where a “unit model” can be amazingly helpful.
Unit models are the smallest model that can be built to prove that a business idea will work as intended. In a healthcare setting, this means building out a proof of concept that realistically tests what providers need, what payers require, and how members and patients are prompted to make behavioral changes.
Unit Models must consider important questions including:
Business models almost always make sense at first. People are almost always on board at first.
Pilots reveal what you might have missed at first and give you guidance to make the changes you need to build a successful healthcare offering. Many pilots fail in the beginning. This is a good thing. Rather than sinking millions into a challenging business model, unit models can allow entrepreneurs to fail fast so they can iterate a better solution.
Knowing whether a startup can roll out a unit model and prove that it works is a base requirement when doing due diligence.
Do You Understand Unintended Consequences?
The complexity of healthcare lends itself to “domino” or “unraveling” effects. Push one tile and others fall. Pull one thread and others are disturbed. It is entirely too easy in this vertical to resolve one problem and in the process, create a completely new one.
I once worked with a very high profile partnership between a financial services company and nation-wide insurer. They implemented a transaction processing system that should have led to increased profits and efficiency. Instead, it ended up generating a member phone call for every two transactions and customer service costs went through the roof. This happened largely because of a lack of transparency and reconciliation tools, but ultimately because neither party took the time to understand how healthcare providers post transactions.
Even healthcare veterans can get tripped up on the question of consequences. Startups especially need a guide.
"It is entirely too easy in this vertical to resolve one problem and in the process, create a completely new one."
Are Basic Investor Questions Being Answered?
I saved this for last because it’s specifically for investors. It is though, also useful for anyone leading a startup.
Any organization looking to disrupt healthcare and turn a profit should be able to answer some basic questions.
A question that deserves its own attention though, lies around sales teams. It’s easy to burn through cash with the wrong sales solution.
It is incredibly difficult to sell into hospitals as well as physicians’ offices. Channel partnerships through trusted vendors are an option and an expensive sales team with rolodexes is another, but you must make the choice that matches your goals.
Take the massive ambulatory market for example. You’ll be hard-pressed to find sales people with contact lists in this sector but a smart startup can build a successful sales strategy with the right input.
You’ll notice that a recurring theme through these points is relationships. Healthcare is, at its core, about a network of relationships. Startups that succeed and ultimately disrupt healthcare master that concept.
Launching Your Next Killer Healthcare Product
Your Product Roadmap has a problem.
That’s to say, if you’re like most healthcare technology companies out there, your Product Roadmap, though well-intentioned, is likely missing key components. Because of this, you could be doing anything from overlooking your next killer healthcare product to falling short of your strategic goals.
Your ultimate goal should be to build a Roadmap that is credible — which means building a reliable guide for internal stakeholders, clients, and partners, all of whom are impacted by the items on your Roadmap. For example, if you incorrectly estimated your delivery dates, Marketing and Sales timelines are thrown off. If you have a Roadmap that’s not well defined, allocating development resources becomes more difficult.
A focus on credibility will help keep you in that sweet spot between a high level strategic Roadmap that highlights your differentiators and one that’s overly technical and too bogged down in minutia. Here are a few points that you should strive to include on your Roadmap to ensure you’re hitting that balance and building a credible Product Roadmap.
A Focus on Impact
I’m covering this one first since it’s one of the most serious problems I run into.
Product Roadmaps are functional documents, meaning that anything put on (or removed from) them comes with a side effect. Good or bad, multiple stakeholders will be caught up in these side effects. For example, when you’re adding a new feature to your flagship product, are you...
Skip over any of these questions and you likely just have a great idea — a great idea that will now take 5 times as much work because you have to backtrack across multiple departments to get their input and get them caught up.
My team coaches organizations through the process of building execution-focused Roadmaps; Developing a plan that considers organizational impact can go a long way.
Grounding in Strategic Planning
Since we’re talking about looking at a Product Roadmap from a higher-level perspective, I also want to cover where it fits in terms of your organization’s Strategic Planning.
To put it simply, your Roadmap should mirror your strategy. Whether we’re talking a 3-year or a 9-month game plan, it should tie cleanly to your strategy and goals over that time. Plenty of organizations think their Roadmap is strategic, but when taking a closer look, what I’ve often found is actually a patchwork quilt of random products, features, and upgrades. This might not seem like that big an issue, but know that your clients, prospects, and channel partners are watching.
If you claim to be a strategic organization, a Product Roadmap that isn’t strategy-focused will be a direct signal to your market that your reality doesn’t align with your message. Just know that you can say “strategy”, but unless each item connects to your goals, “strategy” is only a word.
Purpose for Every Item
When assessing and enhancing Product Roadmaps, my team and I have a policy we like to stick to, which is that there has to be a clear articulation of why each item is taking up precious Roadmap space.
To break that down, it means there has to be justification, ownership (I’ve seen items sit on Roadmaps for up to a year with no owner), and a plan for everything. This concept is extremely important in today’s climate of value-based care, patient-centered outcomes, and MACRA where it’s incredibly tempting to toss products and features onto the Roadmap solely because they check a buzzword box but in reality, don’t amount to anything. Practices like this can be deadly to small organizations and healthcare startups in particular, especially when it comes to development.
Taking the time to explain the ROI, purpose, and plan for each item on your Roadmap saves time, staff energy, and possibly your organization.
Pro Tip: Nothing frustrates developers like working on products that go nowhere or getting snatched from product to product and feature to feature without reason or justification. A purpose-less Product Roadmap is a great way to burn out talented (and expensive) developers for absolutely nothing.
A Nod to Compliance
Healthcare Product Roadmaps have specific needs around regulatory compliance.
Your organization likely has someone specialized in this area and if so, they should be involved in building (and maintaining) your Roadmap. Their involvement though, should be tempered with an understanding of exactly how compliance can shape the Roadmap itself.
For example, it’s entirely possible to burn resources on features and functionality that ensure compliance for certain clients that aren’t even in your target market. You could easily be killing yourself to maintain compliance for a client that’s bringing in .05% of your revenue, but the inherent pressures of compliance obscure that reality. In a case like this, it’s often important to pressure even good clients to upgrade to a less compliance-heavy version (which can be very effective since many will go along with the upgrade instead of finding a new vendor.)
A Timeline with Intention
The date question is possibly the most difficult you’ll run into when creating a Product Roadmap.
Nobody wants to be pinned down, but even in the most agile environments, anyone involved with your Roadmap (sales and marketing especially) will be looking for some level of temporal commitment. To find balance, I advise my clients to take a look at their organization’s culture, expectations, and tolerance for ambiguity.
If exact dates for a product are a challenge, focus on high-level categories of functionality and frame them within loose periods of time (such as quarters or months). As you get closer to an actual release or launch, you can tighten those times up so that your sales team has something they can work with.
You also have the option of focusing specifically on features and giving precise dates for those feature launches as you go. A third option is using a prioritized laundry list. You might only deliver the top one, two, or three items on the list, but with proper expectation management, you’ll satisfy most people’s needs for structure.
Finally, you have the option of over-estimating your dates from the beginning or missing projected dates altogether, but both of those require an intimate understanding of the needs and culture of your leadership and organization as a whole.
Ultimately though, one of the most important functions of your Roadmap is gaining executive and team buy-in. This is where market research and data-driven decisions come in — even the most-favored pet project is hard to argue against in the face of a Product Roadmap that’s solidly based on revenue goals. The same goes for seemingly unimportant platform upgrades and improvements. Informed data can make a case you simply can’t.
Contact us today to find out how Primary Healthcare Market Research can change the face of your Product Roadmap.
Making Better Strategic Decisions in Healthcare
Four Key Benefits of a Competitive Analysis in Healthcare
Fire drills. That’s what a lot of healthcare strategic planning looks like.
The need for a decision arises, and instead of looking to data and quality market insight, Product and Sales leaders (and even executives) are guided by budgets, influence from the board, and worse, political pressure around pet projects. Decisions get made without detail or rigor and are shaped from the top down, rather than from the perspective of client needs, market reality, and strategic goals.
As we head into 2017’s Strategic Planning season, I want to share some industry-specific lessons I’ve learned from situations where strategic decisions were based on gut instinct, client demands, and politics. I also want to help you avoid making those same mistakes.
The most important tool in making those smart strategic decisions? Informed data that is contextualized within the reality of healthcare.
Gut Reaction Decision-Making in Practice
In my first role as a Product Manager I learned about gut reaction decision-making.
Every year at that organization, IT development capacity was over-committed, and every year they would go through the process of randomly cutting items off the product roadmap. They would review products, scraping them to their bare bones, frequently cutting critical features. One of those features was often reporting and, unfortunately, when you don’t have reporting, you don’t have the essential ability to prove ROI to your clients.
Leadership thought they were paring things down to their minimum viable product form, but they trimmed so much that what was left wasn’t actually a product at all.
All this happened because the decision-making process wasn’t based on business cases or market sizing. No. It was based on existing client demands (they understandably didn’t want to bail on client promises), gut instincts, and politics that frequently centered around executive pet projects.
If you work in a similar environment, informed data is crucial. It gives you the power to counter subjective decision-making as smoothly as possible and build successful strategic plans in even the most political environments. (For example: It’s difficult for an executive to justify holding on to a pet project that has no real ROI when the company can focus on two or three products with huge revenue potential in 2017.)
Gut Reaction: Our target segment of healthcare is enormous. We’ve got tons of potential!
The Reality of Informed Data: Not all white space is created equal and the reality of healthcare is that many companies will not switch until someone dies or retires.
You can look at a segment of healthcare vendors, such as claims processing systems, and the market potential looks huge. The reality is, though, nobody is switching. It would take 15 years and a death to get most facilities to rip out their claims system and switch to a new one.
The challenge here is that in examining this segment, you can receive uninformed data from even highly-experienced (and frequently expensive) analysts or investment bankers, and they’ll come back to you with a market size that completely misses the fact there is simply no replacement market for claims processing systems.
Data matters, but context is everything.
Gut Reaction: We build what our clients need.
The Reality of Informed Data: Some companies will build their roadmap based on client requests, one tweak at a time. Although this sounds like a market-focused approach, it misses the big picture.
Product Roadmap Planning should reflect the goals of the organization over the next 3-5 years including maintenance and enhancements on live products. As you build enhancements to your current products, you need to validate that this functionality will drive more demand for your solution, provide upsell opportunity, or help retain clients. New functionality should be relatively universal, and valued by more than 1 or 2 customers. It should also align with your organizational strategy by serving the market you target. If your current roadmap is just a jumble of features and functionality that have grown out of client needs and tweaks, that’s a problem.
Fortunately, you probably just need a simple roadmap cleanup.
Informed data can be used to investigate the true needs of your clients, get beyond what they shout out in demands, and build out short- and long-term market planning for your organization.
Gut Reaction: Everything’s better if we do it in-house. That’s who we are.
The Reality of Informed Data: Partnerships and acquisitions can sometimes be beneficial, but many organizations shy away from them for cultural reasons.
This is an issue I’ve run into repeatedly in healthcare, and it can be a terribly expensive one.
Planning your portfolio involves choosing between options including developing a new product, acquiring one from outside your organization, partnering with another organization to meet your goals, and sunsetting an existing product altogether. You will need to consider multiple factors that range from pricing to ROI, but each of those should be supported by quality, informed data.
Pro Tip: Every new product or solution doesn’t need to be built by your team. It might seem like a better idea to build in house, especially if your organization has a history of not partnering, but when planning an effective portfolio, it is best to look at all of the options.
Gut Reaction: We’re pricing too high.
The Reality of Informed Data: You could be in the wrong market or simply missing key features.
At some point in time, you’ve likely received feedback from your sales team that your pricing is off. This could be true for the product, but you could also simply be knocking on the wrong doors. When this happens, you’re at a point where a decision needs to be made to either
Before you lower your price, make sure you are targeting the right market with the right product. In order to diagnose what the real problem is, you will need informed data to build out a successful win/loss analysis and understand the logic behind the pricing of your product before you take action.
Business Case Development
Gut Reaction: We have already invested so much, let’s get this new functionality rolled out.
The Reality of Informed Data: Stop, accept sunk costs, and figure out what the market needs.
Data is data, but as I mentioned before, not all data is created equal.
One of the best examples I’ve seen of the importance of a strong business case starts with the mistake of continuing to invest in a product that has no ROI. Those products that have a small and loyal client base or old platforms where clients refuse to migrate might be costing your organization more in client services, maintenance, R&D and executive fire-fighting time than you could ever guess.
If you suspect you have one of these problems, create a P&L that looks at all of the costs relative to the revenue. If you are losing money on the product and it does not serve as a loss leader for another project or some other strategic purpose, it is time to start the sunset planning process. You might actually be surprised that there are often win-win solutions for both you and your clients once you decide to sunset a product. (I have actually sunset a product before while simultaneously bringing on a white label solution that was cheaper and far superior to our in-house solution.)
I’ve referred to informed data repeatedly here for a reason.
It is easy to do the math and the modeling but for true, 360-degree feedback, expertise is required. (This is doubly true if you don’t keep a head of product or head of product strategy on staff.)
You’ll find that these services can range from quite low dollar (services that employ a team of entry-level, non-specialized analysts who dig into a market) to very expensive (using staff who might be experienced with data, but can still be complete novices to a niche like healthcare).
To acquire truly informed data, you’ll need a partner that really understands the market and can give you the right level of insight to make informed decisions — that’s what we offer you at Eliciting Insights.
Contact us today to get the most out of your investment, and start building your strategic planning on a foundation of informed data.
Of all the training and resources I ran across as Head of Product for a Healthcare Tech company, Pragmatic Marketing Training was, hands down, the most beneficial.
Everyone in a Sales, Product, or Marketing leadership position should attend a Pragmatic event if given the chance. I was able to take my entire Product Team to a Pragmatic Training, and it changed the way I approach Primary Market Research in healthcare, but more on that later.
The framework Pragmatic provides is deceptively simple. It’s straightforward but at the same time is an excellent blueprint for developing and launching successful products. It’s also genuinely motivating.
The energy you’ve got flowing after coming out of a Pragmatic Marketing training can be amazing, but that training can also be a complete waste of your time and money if you don’t do anything with it. If your training doesn’t result in something concrete (say, an improved product roadmap that helps you build offerings your clients will actually want and be willing to pay for), that energy isn’t doing anything for you or your business.
That’s why I’m going to review some examples of how Pragmatic Principles apply in Healthcare Technology. Use them to implement your past (and future) training takeaways within your work in the HIT space.
Discovering Market Problems
Describing the market problems in healthcare as “unique” is a gross understatement. Not only are they specific to the industry itself, they also change over time and can be highly nuanced depending on exactly which stakeholder problem you’re working to solve.
Take, for example, the recent shift in providers taking on the functions traditionally performed by payers. Any healthcare tech company that’s had a history of servicing payers could look at this shift as a great opportunity to expand their market — and they’d be correct at a certain level. However, providers are not payers and the solutions you create (as well as how you sell to them) should be centered around market problems that are specific to their needs.
Building Buyer Profiles
This is an element of the Pragmatic Marketing Framework I wish I could spread across all of healthcare, but especially in the hospital Revenue Cycle Management sector.
I’ve seen entirely too many RCM vendors who target Hospital PFS Directors when launching new products — new products that support Patient Access. Of course, no matter how well-designed the product is, vendors then struggle to upsell their new solution because they’re simply talking to the wrong person.
Not all providers are the same. Not all Hospital Leaders are the same. Making the effort to build out Buyer Profiles is a great way to make those essential differentiations concrete and understand the profiles and priorities of your decision-makers.
Just remember that you can have the best product in the world with a great ROI, but if it doesn’t solve one of the top 3 to 5 pain points of your Buyer, chances are you will not get very far.
Developing Sales Tools
Well-developed Sales Tools are essential in an industry like healthcare where buyers
We’ve run across several examples where a sales rep is off the chart at selling one product — absolutely stellar; but you ask them to sell any other product and they’re dead in the water. Why? Because that one product is the only product they really know.
In healthcare, thorough knowledge of products and market needs is extremely important, but many Healthcare Technology Sales Reps have simply never worked in Hospitals or Physician Offices. If you’re in a situation where you have a portfolio of solutions and your sales reps are missing the opportunity to sell 3 or 4 products to a large client, you have a Sales Tools problem.
Sales Training and effective Sales Tools, such as product guides and case studies, can mean the difference between selling one product at a time and selling 4 products in one contract.
Understanding a Competitive Landscape
If there’s any area where I’ve seen healthcare tech companies consistently trip up, it’s in understanding their Competitive Landscape across time.
We’ve performed many healthcare Win/Loss Analyses and it’s been amazing to see small competitors or startups regularly creep up in the market and displace larger, better-established vendors who haven’t done the work to stay competitive, let alone continually solve pressing healthcare problems.
Plenty of companies start in the right place. They understand what sets them apart from their competitors. Unfortunately, as they grow and stabilize, they often lose that uniqueness just as the rest of the market catches up to them. As healthcare becomes more tech-focused, an ongoing understanding of your Competitive Landscape will become a necessity for companies that want to thrive.
The Power of Pragmatic Marketing TrainingPragmatic Marketing Training forces you to stop and think about new product development in a way that focuses on market pain points — but, as I realized from my own attendance, the time you’ve spent away at Pragmatic Training means you start that process already days behind.
As my team and I left Pragmatic Marketing Training, we brainstormed how we could implement everything we’d learned during our two-day event. We eventually decided we needed a consultant who could help us lay out a blueprint for how we could be more effective at thinking “Outside In” and get away from the typical “Inside Out” decision-making that is the norm in corporate conference rooms.
Since healthcare is such a unique industry we began a search for a consultant who leveraged the Pragmatic discipline but also had extensive knowledge in healthcare — someone we never found.
We soon realized that all the elements of the Pragmatic Marketing Framework — Identification of Market Problems, Market Validation, Buyer Persona development — these were all things we would have to do ourselves while keeping up with our existing tasks (defining user stories with IT, training sales on newly released functionality, measuring the P&L of our Product Portfolio…)
Discovering this gap between Pragmatic Marketing Training and the reality of daily execution for Product, Marketing, and Sales teams is why we launched Eliciting Insights.
We are dedicated to helping Healthcare Technology vendors invest their precious development resources in the right solutions for the market, and not just solutions that Sales, or IT, or even competitors think are important.
When you need help implementing and executing the Pragmatic Marketing principles, let us know. We can support you in your journey.