Tactics Healthcare Marketers Use to Overcome ABM Challenges

If you’re a marketer searching for buyers in the dynamic healthcare industry, you have your work cut out for you. You have to personalize your marketing efforts and reach and speak to multiple stakeholders simultaneously, respect state-specific compliance and legal mandates, and cull through seemingly endless patient and practice data and outcomes to prove why your product or services are better than others.

Fortunately, how you market can be less complicated if you do it the right way — by implementing the right tools and solutions, like account-based marketing (ABM).

ABM doesn’t require a complete rethinking of your marketing strategy and all the hard work you’ve already done: it optimizes it. Account-based marketing enhances your workflows, business processes, and internal alignments, shortens your sales cycles, and, most importantly, makes you more money. In fact, companies that use ABM have reported vast improvement in both their reputation (84%) and customer relationships (74%).

And since ABM specifically targets key accounts and decision makers, it’s a no-brainer for marketers in the healthcare industry — especially when you want to reach high-value hospitals and integrated delivery networks (IDNs).

 If you struggle with any or all three of these major challenges:

  • Finding and building trust with high-quality buyers in the medical community

  • Understanding that complex hospital decisions require long sales cycles

  • Measuring your own success

Introducing ABM into your marketing plan can help!

Challenge #1: Finding and building trust with high-quality buyers

Hands down, one of the most difficult marketing challenges you’ll face in any industry is attaining and retaining the right customers, but even more so in the healthcare community due to tighter, more complex budgets.

To ensure your marketing strategy is more than just a numbers game, it’s imperative that you get in front of as many valuable buyers as possible in any given time frame. And those buyers need to trust you. They need to trust your product, your promise of ROI, your transparency, and your reputation in order to do business with you, especially in the complicated, life-or-death world of healthcare

Luckily, ABM is a proven marketing strategy that can help with that. By first identifying who your ideal customer is, you’ll be much more likely to find and build trust with them.

Solution #1: Identifying your target audience 

With ABM, it’s about quality more than quantity, helping you focus on targeted, personalized marketing strategies instead of just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. And the best way to do that is by identifying your ideal customer and creating content that matters to them.

  1. Build your ICP: When it comes to building your ideal customer profile (ICP) in the healthcare industry, consider business size, profitability, region, growth rate, and some of the best attributes from a list of your current favorite, most profitable customers. Creating an ICP will ensure that you don’t waste your time on small, fruitless fish or big, uncatchable ones that you have no business diminishing resources on. 

  2. Use your new ICP: Create a list of best-fit accounts you’d like to target, honing in on key influencers and buyers that make the decisions within those organizations (like doctors, board members, and hospital administrators). By uncovering the specific decision-makers within each organization, you’ll be much more equipped to create an effective campaign that specifically speaks to their needs and pain points.

  3. Share your success: Leverage social proof and offer transparency to gain trust. By providing an example of how your product or service has been successful in a similar environment — case studies from a competing hospital system, for instance — you’re able to do more than just talk about what you can do for them. Case studies also allow you to speak to their pain points and challenges by producing solutions to their problems, whether that’s cybersecurity or payment processing.

Challenge #2: Understanding that complex hospital decisions require long sales cycles

In regards to selling anything to hospitals, one of the biggest struggles marketers face is clearly proving positive ROI, especially when it comes to patient health, clinical outcomes, and why your specific solution is better than others. Because large purchases within a hospital and healthcare verticals require a ton of risk management — plus often an extensive Request for Proposal (RFP) process — it often takes months (sometimes even years) to even meet one of its value analysis committees (VACs) or purchasing agents, let alone successfully sell to them.

To convince potential buyers as soon as possible and shorten the sales cycle, you need to get your marketing and sales teams on the same page. Not only will it save your entire organization time and money, but it will also lead to an increase in pipeline opportunities, customer retention rates, and sales win rates.

Solution #2: Creating better engagement through account-based campaigns 

Combined, both marketers and sales reps know a ton about customers, the overall market, product awareness, customer buying, and product interest. Working together to create effective, multichannel campaigns, you’ll be much more likely to engage and get in front of buyers faster with these steps:

1. Ask your sales and marketing teams to inventory their departmental goals, workflows, technology, and lead procurement. Then discuss how to best align your strategies:

  • Which tools and dashboards do you currently use? Can they be combined into one centralized platform for more effective, streamlined communication and cross-selling?
  • What does sales need from marketing and vice versa?
  • What’s the current funnel from beginning (customer targeting) to end (customer support)? Where are the holes?
  • What’s the current handoff process like at your company? How can it be improved?
  • How can ABM be implemented to exceed your revenue goals?

2. Invest in sales enablement, including cloud-based CRMs, APIs, email marketing technology and digital asset management. With digital marketing systems incorporated into your everyday processes, you can personalize your advertising campaigns to more effectively engage the buyer, build trust, and create customer loyalty. (In fact, studies show that 83% of companies cite ABM as the reason for better engagement with their target accounts.) Plus, the more ad personalization, the shorter the cycle.

3. About 80% of marketing content is unused by sales, so it’s important the two teams work together to create content that works. Marketers know how to get buyers interested in the brand while salespeople know what their specific buyers need and want. So, if they strategize, design, and execute effective campaigns together, they’ll close deals much faster.

Challenge #3: Measuring your own success

In life, you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been, right? You need to learn from your mistakes — and victories — to forge ahead with a new, better-devised path.

It’s the same in business, especially as technology and workflow processes continue to change and evolve. And since you can’t oversee it all, installing performance measurement systems will help you better understand what’s working, what’s not, and what could use some extra insight when it comes to improving buyer relationships within the healthcare system.

Solution #3: Implementing account-based dashboards

To best optimize your ABM impact with your target healthcare customers, you need to be able to measure how the efforts of your marketing and sales teams are affecting accounts — for both prospective and current customers.

And you can with ABM platforms. Together — all from one, easy-to-use, centralized platform — your sales and marketing teams can track the customer’s entire buying journey, including:

  1. Emails sent and opened (“Is the right message being put in front of the right person?”)  
  2. Available opportunities (“Do we have enough accounts on our list to meet our revenue goals?”)
  3. Web metrics like bounce rates and time-on-page (“Are consumers visiting our website?”)
  4. Meetings booked (“How many meetings have we set up with stakeholders and key influencers?”)
  5. ABM campaign performance data (“Are our target accounts engaging and interacting with our web presence?”)
  6. Deals closed (“How many deals are we closing in a given time frame?”)
  7. Customer feedback (“Are our customers happy with us? What do we need to do to retain them?)

More importantly, you can use account-based dashboards to create account-specific reports that demonstrate how and where their revenue was influenced since establishing ABM campaigns. Whether it’s spend, reach, impressions, or clicks, account-based dashboards let you evaluate your ABM ads’ effectiveness — down to individual contacts and specific sales stages — and continue to monitor the account’s performance throughout the entire buyer journey.

By being able to dig deep into account-specific ABM analytics — such as overall account engagement and website lift metrics — you’ll only continue to sharpen your marketing and sales outreach, generate more high-quality leads within the healthcare industry, close more deals, and make more money.

When it comes to marketing strategies, introducing an ABM platform is one of the most effective ways to find and land your ideal customers. Focusing on quality over quantity in creating personalized ad campaigns, ABM generates more sales opportunities, improves win rates, provides better engagement with your TAL, and arranges higher deal sizes.

For real customer examples on how ABM can help you in the healthcare industry, learn how healthcare data company, HealthLink Dimensions saw a 234% increase in new customer pipeline in just over a year.


About the Author

Caroline Van Dyke, Head of Content

Caroline is a B2B marketer with a knack for building start-up content strategies from scratch. With a passion for crafting the right message at the right time (and a good pun), she leads content for real marketers by telling their real stories. In the rare case she's not busy writing, you can find her consuming true crime podcasts, stand-up specials, and copious amounts of cheese.

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