Building a Bridge of Transformation for Your Buyer
moving something from the current disordered or undesirable state to a significantly better place.
Transformation is a term that gets tossed around in marketing messaging. But while transformation is obviously a necessity as we consider the challenges healthcare is facing, it’s important to carefully consider how you present the transformation your offering allows.
Why is that? What can you do to help create a journey your market will actually want to take with you?
Don’t Assume the Market Knows They Need Your Solution
In my experience with HealthTech companies there is a clear and nearly universal threat to success:
You hold a resident subjective bias that assumes the change you make possible
is easier and more compelling than your market is ready to believe.
I completely understand. Your organization is focused on creating great technology that solves problems. You have likely spent several determined years on that focus, working through all the contingencies surrounding it, iterating and perfecting as you go in an all-out effort to be the best.
Meanwhile, the world has not stood still. Surrounding factors have changed. Other companies with similar solutions have come on the scene. Plus, you have been subject to an ever-increasing herd of adjacent healthcare transformation agents who also clamor for your buyer’s attention. You may actually be the most important and evident investment they can make, but making the assumption they are ready to join you in that understanding is foolish. It’s the kind of bias that creates gaps in credibility and logic and makes it hard for your potential buyers to join you on your journey.
You can move past your bias.
I often use this metaphor to frame a different understanding:
Imagine your buyers are standing on one side of a deep raging river. They can see what they need on the other side. The river is not that wide. However, they have no way to get across.
Here’s the tricky part. You have what it takes to build a bridge that would safely and effectively get them from this side (need) to the other side (success). But they have never seen a bridge (your solution) or even dared imagine that such a thing could exist. What will happen when you try to explain the bridge to them? How quickly will they trust that this contraption will hold them? How long until they aren’t afraid they will plunge into the white water below? How can you take them on a journey with you when they, in fact, have no idea what a bridge is nor have ever seen one?
Of course they won’t set foot on that bridge. Put yourself in their shoes and ask what kind of context, understanding, and proof you would need to trust someone and something you’ve never encountered before. What would you need to trust someone to lead you across the river?
This is where you need to start in creating the story.
For some of you, a decent bridge exists. Another company has created it, but your solution is stronger, better, faster, and adds some “nice to have” features. You won’t have to do as much work.
For others, your product is a new bridge and you are a new bridge builder. Be prepared. You are going to need to push in to the work of convincing and building trust. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Remember: Change is Frightening
Intentionally Work to Overcome the Fear
You are marketing technology as your profession. That means you are far more comfortable and familiar with change than most of humanity. Confront your bias and take a step back. Do the work of deeply understanding your buyers’ problems including the gravitational forces they fight that keep them from being open to change—then work to counteract that gravity.
Spend a lot of smart, probing time producing content for the top of your funnel. Take your buyers to the bog of problems they face. Help them feel the weight of the mud and name the swarm of mosquitoes. Help them see the need to leave the bog and climb onto the bridge.
Your mission: help your audience develop a profound distaste and fear of the consequences related to the status quo that is strong enough to counteract their fear of change.
State Your Value Clearly and Empathetically
Start from a Place of Real Understanding
So many HealthTech companies lead by pushing their features and benefits right from the start. Remember, you are leading people on a journey of trust. Your solution needs to be articulated from a place of deep understanding of where they are coming from and what they are experiencing. Again, many of them have never seen a bridge like yours. Keep that in mind as you form your messages. Ensure you are walking beside them as you take the role of guide. Don’t stand on the other side of the bridge and scream at them, “Come on over!”
At the Right Time, Get Excited about Your Solution
Paint a Vivid, Enthusiastic Picture of the World You Make Possible
Remember a huge percentage of the factors influencing a buying decision is emotional. Give them something to feel that will add to the courage equation they need to take the next step. Sure, you need to give them the numbers. Show the real-world ROI, just make sure you are surrounding it with heart, sincerity, and direct third-party validation.
We’re not talking “hype.” So often I see companies checking the validation box by tossing out a bucket full of stats with lots of flash and little substance. Plus, they totally neglect the softer side.
There is no better picture you can offer your buyers than a well-produced video testimony of a delighted customer who has been delivered from the pain and frustration and guided over the bridge of your solution to greater success. . And ideally, they willingly talk about how they have loved working with you in the process of implementing the solution.
Show You Know How to Make the Change Happen
Productize Your Proven Plan for Transformation
It’s the dreaded “I” word: Implementation. So much of the fear your buyers are likely to port into your context is nightmares of tech implementations past. I cannot tell you how many of these stories I have seen held up in sales conversations almost as a threat: “if what you put us through is anything like what we experienced with Company X, so help me I will hunt you down and…”
There are so many casualties of implementation and it is undoubtedly one of the primary friction points in enterprise solution selling. Work with your product, implementation, and customer success teams to create a productized (named and branded) onboarding package. This tested and sure-fire process will show your buyers you know how to walk an organization through the fine points of implementation, you have thought through the sticky points and contingencies, and are prepared to overcome them quickly and efficiently.
Minimize The Risk
Demonstrate Your Confidence by Offering a Real Guarantee
It may not be possible for everyone, but don’t take the easy way out here. If you have a real value proposition and can articulate it in a way that can satisfy your legal counsel, find a way to guarantee that implementing your solution will show real results. Anything you can do to show you have skin in the game will give your buyers the chance to borrow your confidence as they get to the midpoint of your bridge. Remember, It’s possible they are putting their careers at risk by advocating for your solution. Join them in that risk and be willing to put your money where your promise is.
Transformation holds great promise and plenty of risk. You are asking your buyers to join you on what is, for them, an often uncertain and scary journey. They need a Gandalf. Someone who is willing to walk beside them, understand their fears, and guide them through with the strength, intuition, and empathy that comes from experience.
A Closer Look at One Bridge
The Problem-Filled Bog
Testing the efficacy and the interconnectedness of electronic health records and their related systems is a tangled, messy burden that soaks time, drains resources, and hurts morale. No health system can afford to lose thousands of human work hours a year punching in fake data to see if and when the system breaks. Past forms of manual testing have taken clinicians and other critical positions away from patient care to test the system.
Intelligent Test Automation. What if there was a way for your IT team to run hundreds of simulations and experiment with dozens of off-the-wall scenarios with little or no downtime? What if this automation system highlighted where your EHR and related systems were getting hung up and pointed you to a solution?
Southern Illinois Healthcare has crossed the bridge. They implemented SureTest.
Nickie Fuhrhop, IT Access and Revenue Cycle Manager for SIH is the one who took the risk. She said, “You can never test enough. So many organizations don’t test to the level that they should to really provide good QA and confidence that their clinicians and end-users are going to be using a fully-tested system.”
SIH saved tens of thousands of hours by implementing SureTest.
They used to have 12 full-time employees who would have to do testing all day, every day. They are now completely redeployed for more strategic projects. And SureTest’s intelligent test automation gives peace of mind and ensures a secure system with little downtime for clinicians to increase their standard of care.
SureTest has successfully created a bridge that demonstrates their “from-to.” Other health systems can see the transformative power of their solution. (Listen to a podcast episode that goes into much greater depth.)
Understand the courage your buyer needs to take the first step on the bridge with you. Give them plenty of reasons to trust the real integrity of what you’ve built. Taking the time to lead them well will help ensure their success—and yours.