043 | How Content & Data Drive HealthTech Engagement with Amanda Evans of SentryHealth | Studio CMO
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The Episode in 60 Seconds
Many HealthTech companies offer solutions that are bought by a system or provider but ultimately serve the patient. How does the marketing team generate leads, build transformative content, serve both audiences, support sales, and make good decisions?
Amanda Evans, CMO of SentryHealth, discusses:
- content creation
- data integration
About Our Guest
With nearly 20 years’ experience across client service and marketing, Amanda Evans is a proven leader with a history of producing high-value results. Leveraging a data-driven approach, best practices, and innovative methods, she has invented successful programs focused on improving client adoption and retention as well as accelerating leads and revenue growth.
Healthcare doesn’t stop at the point of service —Amanda Evans
Find SentryHealth’s content here.
Download SentryHealth’s 2021 Employee Health & Wellbeing Outlook report from their website.
Amanda Evans referred to a sales strategy called “BANT Questions.”
Find out more information through this helpful article.
SentryHealth is very focused on giving people information in consumable formats that will be most meaningful to them as they address what they are faced with today and also prevent what they may be faced with in the future. — Amanda Evans
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Mark Whitlock (00:00):
Welcome to Studio CMO. You’re listening to the podcast where HealthTech marketers gather to talk about strategy, to talk about market positioning, to talk about demand generation tactics, and everything that rolls into marketing HealthTech products in today’s crowded marketplace. My name is Mark Whitlock. I’m here alongside the host of our podcast, the CEO and storyteller from Golden Spiral, the agency, which brings you Studio CMO. His name’s John Farkas. John, welcome back to the mic.
John Farkas (00:34):
Mark Whitlock (00:35):
And my sidekick and fellow co-host, Anna Grimes. Glad you’re back with us.
Anna Grimes (00:41):
Just so proud to be here.
Mark Whitlock (00:46):
Your price tag is showing.
Anna Grimes (00:46):
I’m trying to give them a better Sarah Cannon instead of just Minnie Pearl.
Mark Whitlock (00:51):
Yeah. Why don’t you please welcome our guest today?
Anna Grimes (00:53):
Yes, I’m happy to welcome Amanda Evans. She is the CMO at SentryHealth, and we’re going to be talking about Sentry in just a little bit, but it’s a Kentucky-based health and wellness organization. And in her CMO role, she oversees SentryHealth’s marketing and engagement services. She brings 20 years of experience in marketing to that role. And we’re really glad she’s here today to talk… Well, I think we’re going to be talking a little bit about pivots.
Mark Whitlock (01:23):
We very well might. So Amanda, thank you so much for joining us on Studio CMO.
Amanda Evans (01:27):
Thank you guys for having me.
Mark Whitlock (01:29):
Go ahead and give us a deeper dive into what Sentry is and how Sentry operates.
Amanda Evans (01:35):
Absolutely. So SentryHealth has been in business since 2011. Um, really started in the worksite health clinic space. Um, so essentially delivering, establishing, and managing work site clinics for employers across the country. Um, we also developed a technology solution to really drive patient engagement, um, and also manage those clinical care plans for those providers in the worksite clinic. Fast forward to 2020 and we launched a digital health and wellbeing solution. Um, that’s really bringing multiple health and wellbeing resources to employees on behalf of the employer.
John Farkas (02:20):
Awesome. So I’m curious, tell us a little bit about what led to that change. What did you see in the market? What were you responding to as that pivot
Amanda Evans (02:31):
When employers are trying to do is they’re really trying to bring greater access to healthcare to their workforce and while successful in those work site health clinics, we also know that healthcare is not a point of service. It is really everything associated with an individual. And so the care doesn’t just stop at the point of service. And so we saw this evolving for digital solutions that people could access anywhere, anytime they needed help. What we’ve learned through COVID, especially with people working remotely and carrying a lot more burden than they’ve ever carried before is a greater need for those solutions. So for example, you know, through our digital health and wellbeing center, um, employees, and, you know, their spouses and dependents can access resources, um, to really elevate physical health, mental and emotional health, which we know has, has had a lot of light on it in the last year, um, as well as financial health, um, and then other resources as well to really take a more holistic approach to care and wellbeing.
John Farkas (03:50):
And so I’m guessing as you are addressing the employer market, that generally you’re looking at larger organizations, is that true?
Anna Grimes (03:59):
Our solution is a good fit for an employer of any size. Um, one thing that we recognized is that the need for health and wellbeing resources is not just a large employer need, but what we found is that many providers in this space are focused on that market segment. And so within that smaller employer segment, they were highly underserved. And so what we’ve really been mindful of is, you know, how can we develop and support a solution that can be scalable for an employer of any size? So an employer with a hundred employees could benefit from this solution, just like a national employer with 50,000 employees,
John Farkas (04:47):
As you guys have looked at that movement and have, uh, started putting together a program to reach employers, you know, amidst the pandemic. Um, talk to us about your marketing strategy. How have you assembled that and what are you, uh, what are you in the midst of doing
Amanda Evans (05:05):
When we’re working with employers we’re working with and employer, you know, I think in traditional marketing, we, we have tried to classify and bucket our audience into personas, you know, and while that’s very useful, what we know is our market, our employers, they’re all at different stages of their health and wellbeing offering. And so when we engage with someone, what works for them and their population is going to be very different than, you know, an employer of the same size in a different state, in a different industry. And so we’ve really taken that into account with our marketing strategy and really considered our buyer as a person and put that central to our marketing strategy. A lot of businesses lose sight of their buyer, being a person. Sometimes they look at them as a Salesforce opportunity or a signature on a contract, and that can really show, you know, it’s SentryHealth. We’re very focused on providing an experience for those that we’re engaging in and being genuine in our approach to helping them solve whatever problem or need it is that they’re trying to sell,
John Farkas (06:28):
Walk us through how you are, what your strategy looks like as far as engagement, how are you getting the word out and what types of conversations are you, you know, what channels are working well in that context?
Amanda Evans (06:41):
So we’re getting the word out a couple of different ways. Um, from a digital perspective, I place a lot of emphasis on content and education, you know, not just around our products and services, but really supporting our buyers and educating them to build confidence and trust in their own decisions when they’re making those decisions. So we’re, we’re doing a lot of content development around, you know, just different solutions that are in the marketplace. What are other employers doing? What are other, um, employers finding to be successful? A lot of, you know, peer to peer content, and we’re pushing that out into the market and a lot of digital channels. So, um, you know, hosting webinars that are more educational in nature, exposing our audience again to a lot of different topics and solutions that are in this space, as well as blogs, white papers, guides.
John Farkas (07:45):
How would you say COVID is affected how you’re approaching that as an organization?
Amanda Evans (07:50):
We’ve really seen this evolution and acceleration through digital channels over the last five years, but we really saw that happen in 2020. So for organizations that have been, um, really focused on like cold calling and outreach from that perspective, um, with people working from home, um, and, and our space, many of our audience, you know, they’re, they’re managing, COVID-19 returned to work strategies within their workforce. So people are busy. And so you really have to consider after COVID, you know, what was your strategy before and how has that drastically changed just because of the engagement with your audience changing from COVID. So that’s a long way to say you can’t really get people on the phone easily anymore. So you have to think creatively, if that was your strategy before to really drive a lot of opportunities for your organization, you really have to think creatively about how you’re going to connect with your audience through your digital channels, and then maybe even adopting some new channels and you have to cut through the noise too. We’re busier than we’ve ever been before. And I don’t know about you guys, but I get probably a hundred solicitation emails a day and people are running through those and they’re deleting them. So how do you cut through the noise?
John Farkas (09:22):
And it is a noisy space. And we talk about that a lot. You mentioned content as a cornerstone of your strategy, which it has to be in, when we’re talking about any form of digital engagement, it has to be led with, with something and giving some reason for people to take notice and see what you’re asserting. How are you approaching that? How are you determining what type of content is the right kind of content?
Amanda Evans (09:47):
My ultimate goal from a content perspective is to empower our audience, to make data informed decisions. So exposing them to different educational items, you know, what’s going on in the market. What are other employers doing that they’ve found to be successful? You know, how are really employee and consumer patterns and behaviors changing? You know, our model is very interesting and that our client is an employer, but the solution that we’re delivering is for their employees. So we really have two clients in that arena. And so we’re very focused on exposing our audience to different education and solutions within the space, so that they feel comfortable and armed with the information that they need to make a decision.
Mark Whitlock (10:44):
You know, John, you had this discussion a lot with, uh, potential clients and our existing clients and, and there’s, there’s some friction sometimes about casting a vision for how powerful content is and why content actually works. Why is there friction there? And what do you say to help our clients overcome that objection and move toward a dynamic and successful content program?
John Farkas (11:09):
I mean, it really depends on the size and how the organization is approaching this, right. I mean, for, for smaller organizations, it’s just hard to put the horsepower together to create something that isn’t targeted at the product and, and delivering on the promise of the organization. I mean, it just as hard. And so anytime you’re asking for people who are leading the organization to pull calories away from a critical mission, it’s a difficult strain. And so I think that that’s an element, but I think really this comes down to a clear understanding of what engagement in the market is looking like right now.
John Farkas (11:52):
What, what of assertions are necessary to get attention and raise above the din that, that, uh, Amanda was talking about. I mean, it is busy out there and people are busy. And so you have to really understand what are the problems on the front burner of your targets? What are the things that are occupying their space and energy and, and come up with assertions that speak directly to those needs just as Amanda was outlining. I mean, it, it’s, it’s really an important component. And if you’re not doing that, you’re not creating any footholds in the, in the conversation. You know, it, you, you have to do what it takes to get on their page, realize empathetically, what they’re dealing with and meet them where they are right now.
Amanda Evans (12:44):
That’s very well said, John, and you use the word empathetic. And I think that that is really key here, you know, approaching, engaging your audience from a genuine space and that you really want to help them make the appropriate decision for their organization when they’re evaluating, making a change, bringing in a new product, bringing in a new solution. One of the things that we’re learning certainly in the HealthTech space is that for many everybody’s go to market strategy is more like a gone home market strategy because everybody’s working, um, remotely or digitally, you know, in a big way. And so content does become even more important for marketers building out their marketing strategy. How do you maintain that content engine? How do you keep it running? We’re doing a couple of different things in this arena. Um, we do have a specialist on our team for content development and many cases as a marketer within an organization, you become the subject matter expert.
Amanda Evans (13:55):
Um, and so we’re, we’re working on that together, myself and the specialist, and we’re generating some of our own internal content and we’re doing that in collaboration with others across the organization, but we also go to others and our organization, you know, maybe our service leader or our product development leader. And we say, Hey, you know, we’re seeing this need in the market from a content perspective, we’re seeing a lot of engagement around this topic, or we’re seeing that, you know, some of the, the publications and the authority and influence figures in our market are talking about this, help us, help us craft, um, some content around here and I’ll tell them, you know, it can be a couple of sentences, a couple of bullet points on the back of a napkin, right? Just get us started thinking creatively, um, about how we can help our audience be more informed on this topic.
Amanda Evans (14:59):
Um, and then we also partner with other organizations, you know, our friends in this space, um, to enlist them, to do some content for us. Um, you know, we’ll, we’ll share their content out with our audience. We’ll co-brand content together. Um, and you know, we’ll also share our content with them, um, because when it comes to content development, you need a lot of friends to keep that engine going. Um, and it’s just looking around and thinking creatively, you know, how can you do that? There’s also a place and that you take content and you can repurpose that into different formats. Because one thing that I think as marketers we have to remember is that people aren’t always going to engage with content in the same way. Um, so, you know, you might put out a very thorough written white paper and you’ll get engagement on that, but then you’re going to have audiences that are going to consume that content and smaller bites. And so you really have to think about that too. You know, how are you delivering your content in a way that, um, different people within your audience are gonna consume that, um, and that a helps keep that content and engagement engine going, but it’s also very respective of people’s time. Um, and how they’re going to engage with your brand over time.
John Farkas (16:31):
Amanda, have you had any particular assertions or things that you’ve put out there that you’ve seen have particularly strong traction?
Amanda Evans (16:40):
Yeah, I think what will you see the highest engagement rates around are? People want to know what other people like them are doing right, and where they’re finding success and where maybe they’ve had some failures because they want to learn from people like them to be successful and avoid, you know, where people have not seen success. And so we recently published a market report where we surveyed the market, you know, what’s going on, what’s most important to them because I think it really comes down to listening to your audience to understand what’s important to them. And then also being mindful of ask them, you know, ask them and get their opinion and then share that back out with your audience as a whole. And so we see, I would refer to that as like peer to peer type content. Um, we see high success with that and we, we get compliments on that. You know, this was, this was so useful and helpful to us. You know, this is where we were in our journey. And it was like, you knew, you knew that, right. And you gave us this content at the perfect to help us make our decision and move forward.
John Farkas (17:53):
Yeah. Surveys and comparative data are always great resources and opportunities. You know, again, talking about empathy, helping people, uh, see themselves and understand where they are in relation to others in their, you know, uh, in similar scenarios. That is really, uh, that’s really a helpful thing. I’d love to know what, as, as you’ve engaged with employers as a target, because you know, a number of HealthTech, uh, marketers that are listening to this are have employers as one of the verticals they’re trying to reach. What have you learned about employers in particular as, as targets? What are some insights that you’ve gleaned as you’ve moved into that realm,
Amanda Evans (18:34):
People are busy and they don’t have time to waste, right? So you have to be really mindful and think about that and consider it. And I want to give you an example, and this kind of goes from the marketing to sales experience that I had recently, I was evaluating a solution and I went through the discovery phase, right. So I answered my band questions and I passed, I’m moving on to the next stage. Right? I’ve got budget authority need, and a timeline. And I get to that second call and I go through the discovery again. And I refer to this as the double discovery, right? Like I passed the first qualification step. Now I’m trying to pass the second qualification step. And I passed because I still had band. Um, but I got the canned presentation, you know, let’s shoot for the moon. We really want to get as much as we can out of Amanda and her in her by.
Amanda Evans (19:38):
Um, and so now I’m on call too, and I’m still not getting what I need from them. You know, I need to make a decision. I don’t have a ton of time to spend on this. I need some key points answered so I can move forward. Um, and it really became apparent to me that we’re not considering our buyers as people and people within their business where they’re very, very busy with a lot of different initiatives. And so again, it comes back to how are we delivering meaningful content and a consumable way that’s going to empower our audience to make decisions and move forward and be respectful of who they are and what they’re doing within their organization.
John Farkas (20:29):
What have you seen as some of the primary problems in, you know, related to, uh, health of employees? What are some, you know, as, as HR executives and leaders of companies are, are in this swim, what some of the primary problems that they’re facing, what have you, what have you pulled out from that?
Amanda Evans (20:52):
So I don’t think it’s a secret. Um, it’s probably a well-known fact that the U S population, um, is not one of the healthiest populations in the world. Right. Um, and so we know through our work with work site clinics and our engagement with employers that, you know, on average, 30% of their population is faced with a chronic condition. And that 5% of their members generally drive 40 to 50% of their healthcare costs. And so again, it comes back down to health literacy and awareness and education, and then also giving people the tools and the access to resources and programs and services that are going to help impact their health. Because at the end of the day, it’s about the employee experience and really driving that from a whole person care perspective for the employers to achieve their goals, you know, and their goals are to control healthcare costs, to improve the health of their population, to mitigate absenteeism and what we would refer to as presenteeism in our space and employers want to support their employees. You know, they want to bring forth, uh, the benefits and the services that they need,
John Farkas (22:24):
What I know. And there’s a lot of human nature that you’re fighting in bringing your solution to market, right, because prevention is never the front line for some crazy reason in our psyche. But what I know is that the costs are huge and fighting and mitigating and finding ways to decrease in costs are, are certainly a huge issue. And unfortunately, uh, raising awareness around prevention and the benefit of prevention is, is a little bit against the grain for some reason, what have you done to help combat that? What are some ways that you’ve, uh, you know, raised awareness there and am I right? I mean, I, you know, you could tell me that that’s just not the case anymore, but I I’m curious how, how you’re finding that.
Amanda Evans (23:15):
No, I think that that is the case. And I think people are becoming more aware and focused on preventative measures, right. Um, because we don’t want to wait and this is just in life in general, right? All four of us as individuals, you know, when you’re faced with a big problem, it’s often harder to address it than it is to prevent it from happening. Right. So we do focus a lot on awareness and education around a variety of different health and wellbeing topics in an effort to really make people more informed so they can take preventative steps. So not just addressing chronic conditions within a population, but we’re also applying some predictive analysis to, in population to really look at those individuals who may be on a track to developing a chronic condition. And we’re focused on working with them from a preventative standpoint to educate and motivate them to action for prevention measures. And what we find is, you know, people don’t know what they don’t know, right. And health information is not always the easiest information to consume. Right? Sometimes it’s very clinically driven. Sometimes it’s very deep and complex for people to understand. And so we’re just very focused on giving people information, again, in consumable formats. That’s going to be most meaningful to them as an individual to address things that they may be faced with today, but then also prevent things that they may be faced with in the future, if change is not enacted,
John Farkas (25:12):
What I know. And what we’ve communicated about is that you don’t just put forward content. There is a lot of data that you are looking at that is helping inform what it is you’re putting out there. Talk to us a little bit about how you’re listening, how you’re discerning and how that is shaping what you’re putting forward.
Amanda Evans (25:33):
Yeah. So we track everything that we can possibly track. Um, and we often have to get really creative and how we do that. Um, leveraging some of the technology tools that we have, um, you know, through our marketing automation solution, you know, through some of the other solutions, but we’re very, um, we’re very focused on that because that is our way of listening to our audience, um, and understanding what they really need and want from us from a content perspective. But then also what are they engaging, um, or where are they engaging with us on? So again, we track everything from, you know, not just content downloads, but you know, how are people engaging with us across our website and our emails through social media, um, through virtual events, uh, we’re really tracking every single thing that we can, so we can better refine and optimize our strategy and make sure we’re giving our audience what they need from us.
Mark Whitlock (26:41):
And that begs the question. How do you interpret your, uh, You’ve got to come in. And so what platform do you use to measure all that? And then when you look at it, how do you make the decisions to move forward?
Amanda Evans (26:52):
We run as much as we can through our marketing automation and CRM system, you know, we’re using Salesforce and we’re using Pardot for our marketing automation, but we run as much as we can through those two tools. So we can get a consolidated view of the data. You know, I think one thing that marketers really struggle with is we’re using a lot of technology tools that aren’t connected to each other. And so sometimes it’s really hard to get a complete picture of what’s going on. Um, and so we’re trying to connect all of those data sources into one central location so we can view it and really make decisions, uh, based on those views. So I would encourage anybody to look at, um, how do you do that? Uh, it’s SentryHealth. We’re also very fortunate that we have an analytics team and two very seasoned data scientist on staff with us.
Amanda Evans (27:52):
And so they’re also helping us with some of those visualizations and really digging down into the data as well, because it’s not always just, what do you see at the top level, right? From a performance standpoint, but really what’s behind the scenes and what are those key factors that are driving that overall engagement and performance of a content piece of a channel. But, you know, I recognize that not everybody probably has two seasoned data scientist at their disposal to help with that. Um, and so there are ways that you can do that in your marketing automation solution, in your CRM, using Google analytics and some other, you know, visualization tools, um, really get at your data because that is your buyers voice telling you what they need in one from you.
Anna Grimes (28:48):
Well, it’d be kind of interesting for it to hear, um, you know, in your own, uh, backdrop lessons learned and victories claimed what channel worked and with a huge victory lap. And what was like, I don’t think this is something we want to continue with. I’ve learned my lesson.
One thing that we’ve learned, you know, in the era of COVID and everything going digital is not all digital channels are as effective as they once were. Um, you know, I’ve had a lot of success with educational webinars, um, and we’re really starting to see engagement levels fall off there. Um, you know, we’re starting to see more engagement with podcast, um, and with other digital channels, you know, so don’t always just go with what, you know, um, don’t be afraid to make changes, um, because this is always an evolution, right? People are gonna engage differently.
They’re going to engage with content differently. Um, we all know that, you know, from a buyer perspective, the majority of the buy cycle is self-driven now. So be mindful of that, you know, really he in, on how people are engaging with you and what they’re engaging on, um, and look for patterns and, you know, how do you really develop that and move forward, but don’t be afraid to try new things and don’t be afraid to, you know, move away from channels that have been really successful for you in the past that you’re starting to see, see changing
As we conclude here, man, I’m just curious as you look at the world of employers and wellness and that realm, um, and if you were to distill the, the biggest need or the biggest issue right now in front of employers that is related to your realm, what would you say is that one big thing? Is there a clear theme that’s emerged?
Yeah. It’s employee engagement, you know, just like what we’ve talked about from a marketing side, they’re seeing that on employee engagement as well. Um, you know, what’s worked in the past, isn’t working today. Um, and so it’s time to really rethink how we’ve done that in the past and give people what they need and what they want and do that in a way that they’re going to engage, you know, so consider different channels
For folks who are selling into the wellness idea, engage around engagement.
It’s always about, you know, how do you attract attention, you know, and get people engaged with you and not just be noise.
Amanda Evans, the CMO of SentryHealth has been the guest on this edition of Studio CMO. And if you are interested in the report that she talked about related to, uh, what they’re discovering there at SentryHealth, come on over to our show email@example.com/043. That’s studiocmo.com/043. We’ll link out to what they’re doing from a content perspective. And you can link out to download that report as well. And while you’re at the show notes, would you do as two favors, one was you subscribe to the podcast. We have a number of great guests coming down the pike, and we would love for you to be the first, to know about them and to be the first to hear of what we’re going to be sharing, uh, from their perspectives. Moving forward. The second thing come and take a look at our content strategy guide. We talked about the importance of content for HealthTech organizations. And if you’ve been wrestling with why do we need a content strategy? What does a content strategy look like? And to quote John, how many calories do we need to burn in order to build one, come on over to studiocmo.com/043. And in addition to all these things we talked about, you can download at no cost to you, a copy of our content strategy guide. So you can begin to work or improve or take a different opinion on what content strategy looks like for your HealthTech organization.
Because we know if you’re in marketing, you are struggling with content. We know that plain and simple, it’s a perpetual struggle. It is. Everybody’s challenge.
The struggle is real, John.
and together as marketers, we know that we must maintain these three core principles in all the we do. The first is to understand deeply, understand our buyers problems,
lead with an empathetic understanding,
and make your buyer the hero.
We’ll see you next time on Studio CMO.
Studio CMO is shaped by Golden Spiral, an agency providing market positioning and demand generation for HealthTech. We help healthcare technology companies establish and communicate their unique message to the right decision-makers, realize your market potential contact golden spiral. Our music is provided by some of Nashville’s hottest studio musicians who make up Human Music, a BMG production music company. Find out more at humanmusic.com.