Did I Mention Customer Retention? The Importance of Reinforcing the Buying Decision
Larry Yost | November 1, 2023 | Blog Post
You’ve recently launched a new medical technology and now have met your initial strategic milestone of having your first customers try the product and express their approval for how the product performed. Depending on the product and the technical requirements associated with its use (and adminstrative hurdles you have had to overcome) this process could possibly have taken from days to months to come to a successful conclusion. Are you ready to move on to the next customer prospects while reaping the rewards of your efforts with your initial customers? Not quite yet….
One of the most important steps in the sales process is reinforcing the buying decision. This is especially important with newer technologies. Once a customer has made a decision which changes their practice or adds expense to their (or their institution’s) budgets, it is important to insure you have a plan in place to reassure the customer that they have made the right decision by electing to use your product. Whether it is a result of the cost involved in using your product, second thoughts the user may have since they are changing their or other individuals habits causing them to be outside of their comfort zone, or the behind the scences complaints from purchasing managers, “buyer’s remorse” is a potential pitfall you need to prevent.
How Do You Avoid a Customer Having Buyer’s Remorse?
I am reminded of the old adage, “who is most likely to read the automobile ad in a magazine…the individual who just purchased that brand of car“. The same is true for your product. Many initial users of new medical technologies will actively look for information about your product to reinforce their buying decision or even communicate to their colleagues their experience with your product with the goal of getting approval from their peers for the decision to use the technology. The best way to avoid a customer from having buyer’s remorse is to take steps to insure customers receive information which confirms the benefits of your new technology following initial use. Importantly, they must receive this at the opportune time for this information to have its best impact. Timely sales follow-up overlayed with targeted marketing activities and materials which reinforce the benefits of your product are essential components of this effort.
Key Opinion Leaders
A critical customer group which is essential to focus this effort on during your products initial introduction is key opinion leader (KOLs) you have worked with during the development and initial clinical and/or animal studies with your technology. Support from this group during the early commercialization period of your product or technology will be vital towards achieving near-term (and long term) success. Unfortunately, some companies fail to fully engage their KOLs on an on-going basis as regulatory approval initiatives drag on or other operational distractions required for product commercialization become priorities. Identifying opportunities for maintaining a dialogue with KOLs during both the pre-launch and post-launch period, and identifying projects which they can be involved with during the same time periods, will insure they remain engaged with you and your efforts, reinforcing their support for your technology.
Obtaining feedback and involving your KOLs as you develop your market introduction strategy are excellent options for keeping them engaged in your efforts. Having them provide input on market factors, potential competitive threats and involving them as a part of round table discussions with other key opinion leaders as you present your plans for approaching your targeted markets are all opportunities for KOLs to continue to be involved with activities which reinforce their acceptance of your product. Additional options include involving KOLs in the development of abstract submissions, manuscripts and white papers which communicate the results of clinical studies which your technology or concepts which support its role in the marketplace. The early identification of opportunities for potential presentation of information relevant to your technology during scientific meetings being held while you are focusing on pre-launch and early post-launch activities also represent opportunities for involving KOLs in order to continue to engage them in your efforts.
The above strategies will help enhance your relationships with current KOLs while also reinforcing with them that their support for your technology is important and appreciated by your company. This in turn reinforces their decision to both support and utilize your technology.