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Although Justin Welsh is an accomplished seller, he is also a buyer who makes note of his purchasing experiences. He recalls one such experience, about eighteen months ago, when he went to the Atlantic Center Terminal to buy a new TV. Along with his wife, they just moved to a new apartment and Justin wanted a large 60” TV so he could enjoy college football. He went to the store and told the salesman exactly what he needed. The salesman, however, had other plans. Justin no sooner had asked about the 60” TV before he was hearing about 65”, 67”, and 72” inches TV. He was even taken over to the curved and 3D TVs. Justin admits he was a little intimidated by such an aggressive sales tactic. He’d just wanted to get the TV he was ready to purchase so he and his friends could enjoy the game. He didn’t buy a TV that day.
The good salesman
Justin, still needing a TV, eventually went back to the store and had a very different experience. A different salesman approached and asked Justin what he needed. Again, Justin said that he was interested in a 60’’ TV. Instead of being shown the selection right away, he was asked a series of questions relevant to what he wanted.
- How big is your room?
- What angle do you watch the game from?
- Where are the windows in your room?
- How much light do you have in the room?
At the end of that conversation, the salesman told him that he didn’t actually need a 60-inch TV, and that a 55-inch TV would work better for the space he had available. The salesman had considered Justin’s needs based on the information given to him and showed Justin he had his best interest at heart. As a result, Justin was able to buy a 55-inch TV that was $300 below his budget. You can bet Justin will be looking for that salesman the next time he’s shopping again.
So who is Justin Welsh?
Justin Welsh is the Vice-President of Sales at a tech company called Patient Pop where he manages a strategy team of 30 people. In the last couple of years, they have grown about 400% and has become one of the fastest growing software as a service (SaaS) healthcare platforms. They have defined a new category of software called Software Category Practice Growth Platform. It essentially integrates with healthcare professionals to their electronic medical records and practice management systems. Patient Pop’s role is to manage the patient experience from the first impression online until the patient is in the exam room.
The software picks up again after treatment. They manage and nurture the patient relationship to ensure that the patient continues to be a customer in the practice. Patient Pop is a tremendous opportunity to redefine and reshape the way that patients experience healthcare today.
The basics of SaaS
Conducting a pharma sale is different from the usual product selling. In pharma sales, a sales rep goes into a doctor’s office where the doctor is the expert. They are the ones who know how to treat the patients. Pharma sales reps are looking at a healthcare discussion. They meet a doctor, discuss the drug they represent, discuss a treatment plan, the patient profile, and more. Their job is to be an influencer. You’re doing a good job when the doctors think about your product when they see a patient with the profile need that was outlined in the sales meeting. You want them to remember the drug and write the prescription for that drug.
Selling software is different. In selling the software, it’s the sales rep who is the expert. They don’t help doctors treat their patients better from a medical perspective. The software addresses the business side of the office. In order to talk to a doctor about his business, you need to be an expert, not just in selling, but about the product itself.
Having the right approach
As a sales rep with expertise, when Justin approaches his doctors, he doesn’t just reveal the pain points. He makes sure clients are being approached with respect and discusses how his company can add value. He knows that it’s mission critical to do research on potential clients,and study a healthcare provider’s online presence, so he can show up with solutions from that first conversation.
For example, Justin’s team wants to talk to Dr. Smith so they do a thorough analysis on his private practice online to see the gaps in his strategies. A sales rep from his team then makes an initial call and says, “Hi, Dr. Smith. I know you’re busy but really quickly, I was doing some research on your practice in terms of your online presence and I came across three specific things that I thought might be interesting to you…
This is why I’m calling your practice specifically. What I found is ___, ____, ____. Were you aware of these things? I’m not sure if those three things are impactful to what you’re looking to do or if you’re looking to grow the practice, but I’ve talked to other orthopedic surgeons like you who are looking to grow their business and those three things are generally things they’d like to fix. Does that sound like you?
Great! What’s the easiest way for me to get 10 minutes on your schedule so we can take a deeper dive, and see what else there is to fix? I can show you how we might be able to help.”
Pharma reps get about a month or two of training. They are equipped with some great studies. This is another difference between pharma sales and SaaS and there are more.
When pharma reps walk into the practice, they’ve got great access and are able to talk with the provider. Their job is to move the percentage of prescriptions over time and that’s how they make money, by influencing the numbers.
With SaaS, sales reps have continuous training. They utilize their LinkedIn, their new sources, and they keep up-to-date with the current trends. Their access to doctors is poor and they only have one or two chances to talk with physicians. If they blow that chance, they don’t get to walk back in the same clinic the following week. They need to move fast and they need to really show the physician’s future, in that first meeting, if they don’t choose to change to their software system. SaaS sales reps can’t afford to act slowly and over time. They have to show up sharp and with expertise.
The Sales Cycle
While pharma rep sales contacts are ongoing, Justin’s team has to sell within a week or two. When you’re a pharma rep, there are multiple chances to influence a physician. If the job is being done well, habits are changed over time. A software sales rep needs to influence change immediately and make the most out of the very first meeting.
When you talk to a doctor about their practice, the conversation is going to be focused on revenue. Are they losing or not making as much? How does the software you offer make the process more efficient so more patients can be seen? Once a sales rep understands the office’s capacity for seeing patients, they can quantify how much revenue is being lost and how much can be gained with the proposed services.
Knowing when to call
It’s good to catch the physicians at the right time. The best hours to talk to physician directly are from 8AM – 9AM or 5 PM – 6 PM. These are the times there are no patients and the receptionist has probably not clocked in. This is when the doctors are catching up with paperwork or dictations. When the phone rings, they are picking up the phone.
Often times, doctors ask for your elevator pitch right away. You may give it right away or offer some credibility by sharing the common relationships of people or doctors you both know, especially if it’s a referral.
Learn to say no
A good software sales rep knows how to tell a client no when it doesn’t benefit the client’s needs, and is ready to walk away if they aren’t ready to purchase with the conditions you’re offering. If you do the right research, however, become an expert in your product, and know how to add value to their practice, you should be walking away with a closing.
“Selling SaaS To Doctors vs. Selling Traditional SaaS Solutions” episode resources
You can also check out his website, Patient Pop.
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