Selling Your Company on the Concept of Direct-to-Patient Marketing

October 31, 2016

Directors of patient marketing often have great ideas for direct-to-patient marketing initiatives, but it can be difficult to get buy-in from the rest of the company.

The problem is, you need that buy-in to get anything meaningful off the ground.

Though it may seem impossible, you can get everyone in your company on board with direct-to-patient marketing initiatives. It’s all about knowing how to pitch your idea to each department. The key is helping each department understand how they and the company as a whole will benefit.

You’ll need to refine your pitch for three main groups: the corporate suite, the marketing department, and the sales department. Ideally, you should pitch your idea in that order to more easily get buy-in from each set of decision-makers.

The Corporate Suite Pitch

If you can, always pitch your idea to the corporate suite first. If you can’t get buy-in from the C-suite, you’ll have difficulty getting the rest of the company on board.

When you’re pitching to the C-suite, you need to be able to show them how direct-to-patient marketing benefits the company overall. A large part of that is demonstrating how direct-to-patient marketing can increase sales. Yes, patients still have to go through physicians and surgeons to get your medication or device, but that doesn’t mean your company needs to focus its entire marketing strategy on getting more physicians to use your device or medication. The right direct-to-patient marketing strategy can help more of the right patients get connected with the physicians and surgeons that you are already working with.

Direct-to-patient marketing, when done right, improves sales because it helps patients get the information they need and empowers them to make important health decisions. This strategy is about covering the entire continuum of care for a particular condition, rather than just selling the patient on your treatment method. It ensures that patients are properly vetted before making an appointment with a specialist, so that your physicians and surgeons are seeing more patients who are ready for treatment. This, in turn, helps to sell more of your medication or device.

Another important component of this direct-to-patient marketing strategy is that it helps with your company’s branding. You are showing patients that your company is committed to helping patients get healthy, whether they need your product or not. Doing the right thing will get you farther with consumers than trying to directly sell them on a medication or device. There will still be plenty of patients who will need your medication or device--some just may not need it right away. If a patient does need treatment in the future, he or she will be more likely to remember your company because you provided helpful information that helped to delay the need for treatment.

The Marketing Department Pitch

Once you have the corporate suite on board, you need to get the marketing department on board. The marketing department is responsible for putting educational content together, so you need to help them understand why that content should cover the entire continuum of care, rather than just your specific treatment option.

When your company provides patients with all of the information they need, those patients are able to make more informed decisions. When salespeople are able to provide physicians and surgeons with comprehensive, well-written, informative content, they can help their clients see more qualified patients. This helps the sales department improve relationships with clients, and also helps the company’s sales and branding overall.

The pitch here is showing how this approach to marketing can help the entire company reach its goals. Educational materials that cover the entire continuum of care create more sales by helping to vet patients before they make appointments. They also position your brand in a good light because you are helping patients make good health choices whether they need your treatment or not. When your company approaches marketing this way, everyone wins.

The Sales Department Pitch

When you have buy-in from the C-suite and the marketing department, you need to get the sales department on board. The salespeople are the ones who are going out and meeting with physicians and surgeons. They are the ones that can convince physicians and surgeons to use your patient education content and agree to list themselves on your physician/surgeon finder.

A salesperson’s income is related to how much he or she sells. To get the sales department on board, you have to help salespeople understand how direct-to-patient marketing helps them sell more devices or medications.

The pitch goes like this: When patients have information that covers the entire continuum of care, they are able to make better decisions about their care and will know when to see a specialist and when to see their primary care physician. This, in turn, ensures that your physicians and surgeons see more patients who are vetted, well-informed, and ready for treatment because they have already ruled out the other options. When physicians and surgeons are seeing more qualified patients, you will sell more of your device or medication.

As you can see, the pitch for each group is very similar for each group, but nuanced to help each group understand how they can benefit from direct-to-patient marketing. If you go into the conversation with an understanding of each group’s needs, you’ll have more success in getting your project off the ground.

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