As consumer-led industries continue to launch and perfect digital marketing campaigns driven by engaging content, personalization and automation, most life science companies are struggling with creating comparable customer experiences, especially when it comes to B2B selling within the larger healthcare environment.
Although the new, digitally driven B2B sales funnel looks familiar, it actually contains a higher level of granularity and flexibility than most life sciences marketing teams are familiar with. Furthermore, in today’s rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, sales team members’ roles are changing, while key influencers within organizations often span departments and traditional job titles.
In this context, it becomes essential to arm each member of the commercial sales and managed markets teams with the tools, information, and market insights needed to create progress and momentum across the entire sales funnel. By leveraging marketing automation platforms and practices, these “bionic reps” can accomplish more targeted communications in an ongoing and timely manner.
In a digital environment, the sequential nature of the sales funnel is giving way to an all-encompassing influence map that requires consistent and coordinated messaging between a wide range of decisionmakers. This approach – with a heavy emphasis on non-personal promotion and coordinated digital touchpoints – generates an ongoing process of market credentialing, qualification, vetting and sales.
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) and medical affairs team members need to be active within the key digital channels for their particular therapy area and industry organizations. At the tactical level, this means that KOLs and MSLs must have an up to date LinkedIn page, be active on Twitter, and be accessible via those channels.
At the technology platform level, systems must be in place to create the appropriate and actionable customer segmentation, along with the capability to efficiently communicate with them across the customer journey. This type of “journey mapping” can be planned and executed through a combination of both manual and automatic processes.
As leads move from consideration towards conversion, the KAMs assume a larger consultative role within the process, making sure client concerns and objections are addressed, procurement processes followed, and any clinical questions are routed to the appropriate MSL. During this phase, the marketing automation platform needs to provide relevant content throughout the conversion process, ensuring that sales momentum and client engagement remain high. This type of seamless integration and synergy between sales and marketing creates an overall customer experience that can dramatically differentiate the brand in the eyes of the customer.
Once a new client has been secured, marketing automation plays a key role in maintaining and nurturing the ongoing relationship. This steady stream of touchpoints helps reaffirm the purchase decision, as well as lay the foundation for additional account growth. As the new service offering begins to deliver impact and results, digital CRM channels can be used to highlight the impact and ROI.
Once a positive customer relationship has been established, the next step in the process is to focus on building loyalty, referrals, and advocacy. With the proper systems and content in place, these advocacy efforts can prove powerful and far-reaching. Often, brand teams fail to cultivate their brand advocates or ask directly for referrals. This oversight can seriously lower overall brand awareness and growth, especially during early launch phases.
Conclusion —Integrated Solutions Deliver Superior Results
At the foundation of the new B2B selling model is an integrated solution suite that brings together a wide range of technologies and marketing disciplines. The result is an integrated service/solution that successfully harnesses the efforts of the sales and marketing teams, and delivers consistent and manageable outcomes across the entire marketing funnel.