There is one fundamental statement that can be made in business – everyone wants to succeed. Whether you are in healthcare or information technology, being the best and doing the best job possible are the basis for every business decision.
For Ingenious Med, we do our best and provide the most value when we help our clients succeed. We do this by selling solutions rather than simply selling a product.
But solutions selling isn’t easy. In fact, it may be the most complex type of sales there is. When you sell a solution, you aren’t selling a piece of hardware and leaving the results solely up to the buyer. Instead, you’re selling a workflow specific to an industry. You partner with the client to ensure that they are getting the most out of the offering and that the partnership is helping them meet their goals. This is a more long-term, strategic type of vendor-client relationship.
To be successful at it, however, you must commit to it as an organization and dedicate resources to make it happen. I have found that the best way to achieve this is by taking a two-pronged staffing approach. I like to call it the hunters and farmers model.
Hunters are the upfront sales people. They seek out potential clients, pinpoint their hot button issues and then help them understand how the product helps address those challenges. Hunters work closely with the client through implementation to ensure that the client is getting the best start on their journey toward improvement.
Farmers, on the other hand, work with the client long term once the product is up and running. They nurture the land, so to speak, to yield success. I typically call this role an account manager.
Account managers work with a portfolio of assigned clients to understand their vision and ensure that the client uses the product to achieve long-term goals. They build trust with the client by acting as the liaison between the client and vendor to solve issues. And, if needed, account managers may act as an advocate to incorporate improvements in the product. It is much more than a tactical, task-oriented role. The account managers actually immerse themselves in the client’s vision and advise them on the best path forward based on their knowledge of the product.
Existing customers can also depend on having a single point of contact within the vendor organization. This provides consistency over time, which is crucial to maintaining a satisfied client base.
By working one on one in such a hands-on way, clients come to understand that the account manager has their best interest at heart. And the account manager can then use the client’s input to enhance the product. Ultimately, the two form a mutually symbiotic relationship where each partner helps the other grow and succeed.
Now, some may see hunters as more critical because they bring in new revenue. However, in my eyes, these two roles – hunters and farmers – are equally important. If you bring in new clients but lose old ones, then you’re breaking even, not growing. You have to maintain your existing client base to actually grow with new clients. Plus, product improvements can only come from those who are already using it.
Ingenious Med is committed to helping clients reach their goals through the use of our application, One by Ingenious Med. In addition to our team of nearly 20 hunters, we also have approximately a dozen farmers working hand in hand with our clients to make sure our product and services are guiding them toward the right side of healthcare.
In basic business terms, we understand that our clients’ growth means growth for us as well. So, we are committed to offering more … success, anyone?
Other parts in this series:
Share the Wealth
Leverage the Past, Build the Future
All Hands on Deck: Connection and Recognition in the Growing Enterprise
Customer Service: The Goal of Near-Perfection and Opportunities for Growth
Getting Better Quicker
Motivation and Growth
Organizational Quality and Industrial Strength
The Most Beneficial Event in the Calendar
Management by Corporate Beliefs
Nurturing Work-Life Balance
Strategic Imperatives: Repeatable Success
Strategic Imperatives: Theory and Action
The Value and Motivation of Customer Surveys
Proactivity and the Slow Bleed
Entrepreneur v. the Implementer