In an industry where some pain points are literal pain points building a successful healthcare product requires an informed and systematic approach.
Unfortunately, many companies fail to understand the importance of solving specific provider problems when designing or refining a product and instead, make the mistake of relying on “logical” methods such as:
Trial and error
Impulsive reactions to market trends and/or news
Reasoning based on experience outside of healthcare
All these seemingly sensible methods waste valuable time, money, and resources and can be disastrous for an organization trying to enter the healthcare market.
When Not-So-Good Ideas Go Bad Take, for example, a new entrant into the provider space. They did their homework on a longer-term play, but the research was painfully limited. Additionally, they had their business case done by bankers who were completely inexperienced in healthcare.
These bankers presented them with potential earnings of $1 billion in 5 years. Now, more than 5 years later, they’re looking at a paltry $200 million in earnings. The mistake they made? This new entrant launched without understanding providers’ needs and willingness to pay.
If they’d simply asked the right questions, they would have learned that providers loved their idea as long as is it didn’t cost anything.
A Better Way to a Great Healthcare Product This situation, like many other failures, is completely avoidable. It is absolutely possible to launch a killer healthcare product that aligns with the key pain points your target market faces. At Eliciting Insights we follow a simple yet structured approach to help our clients develop and launch killer products.
Don’t skip preparation. The first and most important step is proper preparation. Before you begin the process of building a successful healthcare product, you need to understand your core competencies and how they align with needs in the market.
What is your company really good at? Do you have deep sales relationships with Hospital and Physician Executives in Revenue Cycle? Do you have a database infrastructure that makes analytical reporting easy and user friendly? Look for areas where your strengths overlap with potential needs in the market.
Talk to the market. This is the first active step in building a healthcare product that works with the market.
Talk to providers about their problems. Conduct in-depth interviews or focus groups with at least 10-15 providers within your target market. These conversations will help you understand their pain points and most importantly, what solutions they’re willing to spend money on. Keep your interviews structured, but make sure you give providers room to brainstorm so they can share ideas you might not have considered.
Identify your trends. This is a simple but important step.
Your conversations with providers will shed light on trends, patterns, and themes that will give you insights into the problems as well as the solutions that align with a market need.
Conduct a broad-based survey. Broad-based surveys help you identify even larger trends and themes across your target market.
Their real power though, lies in the ability to reveal whether the pain points you’ve identified up until this point are true across your target market or whether you have an issue of bias because of a small sample size. Before you invest millions in building a new product, make sure that the trends you have identified in your interviews are a broader depiction of the market.
Iterate. Iterate. Iterate. Do not fear iteration.
The point in healthcare isn’t to get a perfect product straight out of the gate. Too many companies wait to get the ideal product out to the market and by the time they launch, the opportunity has changed. Your goal is to enter the market and the iteration process confidently knowing you’ve identified the most important core elements of your product. As you grow, you can add bells and whistles.
Pro Tip: It is always helpful to have a client that wants the technology you’re building or even a development partner. Still, don’t use one client as a source of market validation. Solving a problem for one provider isn’t solving it for the market — that’s custom development. If your goal is to have multiple customers, you’ll have to put in the work and investment and talk to a large number of potential buyers.
Getting Past Deadly Assumptions No idea or concept is ever good enough on its own to be a product without market validation. This is particularly true in healthcare, largely because of the misleading “Provider Nod.”.
Providers will learn about a tech solution and happily agree that it will directly address their pain points. They will rave over features and will be thrilled with your projected savings and clinical outcomes — even the most experienced vendor can walk away from a conversation not knowing that they’ve completely breezed past a silent and fatal assumption that almost all providers have.
When you present a solution to a provider, they will assume that every feature and outcome you discuss is fully integrated into a system they already have, or at the very least, that it smoothly meshes with their existing workflows and software — something many vendors haven’t even considered.
Product-killing assumptions like these litter the healthcare landscape. At Eliciting Insights we have the extensive experience and proprietary panel of Providers to help our clients avoid issues like the ones above. We can help you ask the right questions and have the right conversations to launch killer healthcare products for your organization.
Trish Rivard Principal Consultant Eliciting Insights Trish.firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever seen a company spend millions of dollars developing and launching a new product only to have no sales in the first year? That could happen for a couple of reasons. Maybe the product was mispriced or maybe it was missing key features that other competitive products have. Figuring out the answers to these questions is why successful companies decide to invest in Competitive Analysis as early in the product development process as possible. A good Competitive Analysis can mean the difference between a lackluster product and a true winning solution.
At Eliciting Insights, we’ve seen entirely too many healthcare technology companies rush right to product development without doing the Market Research and Competitive Analysis that is a prerequisite for great healthcare products.
Here are five dangers you might encounter by skipping Competitive Analysis
Poor Pricing: Overprice and you scare off potential buyers. Underprice and you leave money on the table and hint that there might be something wrong with your product.
Missing Product Features: If all of your competitors have certain features, and you do not, you not only miss a sale, you also confirm in prospective clients’ minds that you don’t have a grasp on their problems.
Not Knowing Your Points of Differentiation: Your product might have functionality that none of your competitors have. If you do not know what truly differentiates your product, it is hard for Marketing to target the right market segment and difficult for Sales to highlight what sets you apart.
Missing a Competitor: If you sit your executives down in a room and ask them to name your top 5 competitors, chances are there’s going to be overlap and a lot of it. Competitive Analysis helps you break through those internal, blind spot-building thought patterns.
Wasted Time and Resources: Without a solid Competitive Analysis, you might invest time modifying your sales process or developing enhancements for your product but see no benefit because you have missed the real reason your product is not selling.
Launching (or upgrading/relaunching) a product in healthcare without Competitive Analysis is like heading across the country without a map or GPS. At Eliciting Insights, we can be your healthcare GPS system. We help our clients understand the competitive landscape and generate true, game-changing benefits from their investment in Competitive Analysis. Here are four key benefits your company can expect from investing in a Competitive Analysis for your products:
Build a more powerful sales team If you’ve got a good sales team, they probably give you feedback. Chances are though, that feedback centers around what they perceive your products lack. The sales team is on the ground talking with clients and prospects, but sometimes doesn’t genuinely understand the depth of product functionality relative to your competitors. When your sales team has a clear picture of how your product compares to other offerings in the marketplace, they can more effectively do their jobs.
Price Effectively Misprice your product and you might not hear from a prospect again. Unless the prospect tells you your pricing is off, you won’t know if you lost the sale due to pricing, a lack of functionality, poor demo, or an ineffective sales team. Competitive Analysis allows you to price based on what the market will pay, not executives or investor revenue models.
Differentiate Your Product It is essential that your buyers fully understand what sets your products apart. You might have a feature that none of your competitors do…or maybe you received particularly valuable and unique client feedback that you’ve reflected in your product roadmap.
Competitive Analysis gives you insights into the reality of your product in relation to others as well as the ability to communicate those insights to current and potential customers.
Develop an Effective Product Roadmap Competitive Analysis means potential new features and functionality for your product roadmap-- the very elements that will ensure you are on par with your competitors. Understanding gaps in the marketplace ensures your product roadmap reflects wise investments.
Healthcare is unique. Eliciting Insights has the deep industry knowledge and expertise to help you with a Competitive Analysis and any other Market Research. Most companies skip right to development, but Competitive Analysis and Market Research are the prerequisites to killer products.
Trish Rivard Principal Consultant Eliciting Insights Trish.email@example.com