In B2B, acquiring sales leads needs both speed and quality. You need speed so that your salespeople have a consistent source of opportunities. You need quality so that each opportunity has a good chance of success. That’s the gist of it. The quality part can get a little complicated, which is why the sales process can still take a while. But no matter how much you need to speed it up, you’ll only send yourself speeding into disaster if your marketing and lead generation don’t have the right timing.
For the healthcare industry, there can be glaringly obvious moments that warrant cautious marketing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your prospects are completely closed off but it does mean they can be closed off to certain techniques if you just rush in. (It could even land your business in trouble later!) Qualifying these sales leads requires more subtlety than just speed. Even if your haste is based on the need to improve healthcare, rushing in like that will work contrary to those intentions.
These moments are usually when your target practices and institutions are at their busiest. Perhaps in other industries, such activity can be read as a sign of high productivity. In healthcare though, the reasons can get much more serious and the gravity of the situations could make it highly inappropriate for any overly-direct marketing stunt.
- Times of crisis – Epidemics. Natural disasters. You can even include wartime. This might sound controversial at first but in fact, it’s just common sense. You do not want to call an organization when it’s in the midst of handling entries into its emergency rooms; its patient population surging after a major disaster; and its doctors and nurses scrambling to tend to the needy. Luckily, such major disasters don’t sound like they happen too often. Regardless, stop all marketing efforts immediately once you learn that such calamities are happening in the same area as your targets.
- Acquisition – Though not as serious as a disaster, a company that’s in the midst of an acquisition may no longer have the same structure as it did before. What you once thought was a small practice, you now realize it’s become a subsidiary or a branch of a much larger organization. The risk of marketing too directly when they’re in the middle of this process can be still seen as disruptive. The reasons could range from a prospect no longer having the budget or a change in the structure itself.
- When the doctor is out – What this scenario lacks in gravity, it makes up for in just being obvious. Everybody needs a vacation, including doctors and hospital managers. Even if you did call their phones, there’s a chance that it’ll only go to voicemail and then tossed without ever being heard once they get back.
From the serious to the obvious, all these cases require less direct marketing approaches. However, you can still use direct marketing tools as a means to follow-up and further qualify your medical leads. Send emails asking about what you can do to help. Pay attention to anything that could show a need (e.g. like if there are products and services you can offer to further assist in times of calamity). Make a note to update your contact database when a prospect replies that they’ve been acquired and now answer to a larger party. Ultimately, it’s all about subtle information gathering, proper timing, and careful marketing.