Life Science marketing? Use inbound to increase sales
In this blog we evaluate the Life Science marketing and sales landscape now, explaining why these companies should embrace Inbound Marketing & Sales Strategies. Then we discuss how Life Science companies can and have implemented Inbound marketing strategies with a case study. And finally breakdown the Inbound methodology.
In today’s digital age Inbound marketing has revolutionised sales strategies and proved its worth across industries. Companies around the world are reaping the rewards from evolving their traditional marketing strategies to increase sales, growth and ultimately profitability. From car manufacturer Toshiba to Marriott in the hospitality and service industry.
So, why has the Life Science industry as a whole been so slow to adopt digital marketing and sales strategies that unquestionably improve engagement rate, conversions, traffic, and leads?
And how can I communicate this best to an audience that doesn’t realise just how much they’re missing out on?
Researching the Life Science Marketing Landscape
Despite my career so far in pharmaceuticals, it wasn’t until I started my MBA last year that I learnt about inbound and conversational marketing. With case studies demonstrating how tech companies were accelerating sales programs by implementing such strategies. These two marketing strategies empower sales teams with more refined, educated, quality leads resulting in increased conversion rates.
I started thinking about the experience I had in the Pharma industry of marketing and sales. This mainly consisted of widely expensive and unpredictable trade shows, basic websites and one to one meetings. Focusing on “organic sales growth”.
The “This is how we’ve always done it” mentality.
Going online for the answers
Even after turning to Google I was hard-pressed to find Life Science companies taking advantage of inbound and conversational strategies. However, ThermoFisher clearly stood for their inbound content, they also happen to be enjoying an unprecedented period of tremendous growth, which I will discuss more later in the blog.
It really doesn’t make sense to me, the life science industry has a reputation of innovative thinking why don’t we apply that to the marketing and sales strategy?
I have always been voraciously passionate about being a part of transforming cutting edge disruptive scientific research into viable products. Products that solve peoples real needs. In other words from lab to market.
But it’s clear that’s not the end of the story…
Where is the data-driven marketing?
Once those products are on the market, from the B2B lab equipment to the B2C consumer healthcare products. Life science companies need to use the same innovative thinking when devising a marketing and sales strategy. This will ensure Life Science products have a widespread positive impact they were intended to.
Therefore my goal is to move the life science industry along so we have better healthcare, drugs, research, and a better future for the next generation.
Why Life Science companies need to move on from traditional marketing methods
The Life Science industry has been known to mainly use outbound marketing strategies… most commonly good old fashioned trade shows.
While trade show marketing can be effective for many companies, these events are not fully measurable and may or may not justify the cost and time. Additionally, in this digital age, a marketing strategy to be effective and drive sales growth. The focus is now shifting from outbound promotional activities to reaching a wider but more targeted market. Thereby attracting new prospects and converting website visitors into leads and leads into customers.
“We already have a website but our customers mainly come from trade shows.”
The point of websites for most companies is to generate enquiries and leads, make sales and create brand equity. The website should be your top salesperson, working for you 24/7/365.
However, if a large majority of the life science company websites I came across were personified, they would have tried thousands of sales pitches and performed like this:
- Talked about them self non-stop without asking questions to understand the customer’s problems.
- Provided no solution-benefits or a unique differentiator of why they are different than every other competitor out there.
- Shown a slide deck with images that were too small and blurry for the customer to see.
- Left the meeting without asking if they’re interested in a proposal, follow-up or even getting contact information for future discussions.
And if this hypothetical sales person came to a job interview at your company would they get the job? Would you send them to the trade show?
Is Inbound and Conversational Marketing really suited to Life Science Companies?
This is where implementing inbound and conversational marketing strategies can transform Life Science companies as Thermo Fisher did in the example below.
Science and Marketing Fact: Most scientists begin their search for information about lab products with a general web search. Scientific publications and information found directly on a vendors’ website are a close second and third (Bioinformatics LLC).
Case Study Time
An example of a Life Science company that is trailblazing in inbound marketing and has reaped the rewards is ThermoFisher. They have achieved stellar growth in the last decade, more than doubling revenues and tripling earnings per share. The company is projecting earnings growth of 12% to 15% per year in the near term.
With a catalogue of over 650,000 products and a variety of clinical development offerings, Thermo is a one-stop shop for researchers.
Thermo have a collection of resources providing bioinformatics guides, tools, protocols, video tutorials, posters and lots of insightful resources to potential lab researchers and scientists.
This information sharing, based on Life Sciences inbound marketing, is a great case study for showcasing the power of inbound strategies…
And there’s more!
Thermo could optimise their strategy further by implementing a chatbot, providing informative answers to prospective website customers 24/7. It could then link them to an available salesperson for an immediate demo of that microscope they’ve been tasked to procure.
“Publish or perish” has been standard advice for scientists since the early 1900s. Today, the same advice applies to life science companies who want to optimise their sales.
How inbound marketing and sales strategy works
Successful inbound marketing campaigns rely on creating and publishing content that has been carefully engineered to the needs and pains of your prospects.
Concept 1 – Educate
The earliest stages of the modern buying cycle begin by hunting for information online. The first port of call for anyone needing answers is the Internet – so much so that buyers now complete up to two-thirds of the pre-purchase decision-making process without any assistance.
People simply do not want to have advertising blasted at them anymore. Instead, they are looking to resolve their own problems unaided – which is why creating content that helps them towards that aim is highly prized by your prospects.
As marketing expert Jay Baer said:
“Stop trying to be amazing and start being useful. I don’t mean this in a Trojan-horse, “infomercial that pretends to be useful but is actually a sales pitch” way. I mean a genuine, “how can we actually help you?” way.”
Make sure that you craft at least some of your content to teach prospects – not unlike this blog post itself.
Concept 2 – Entertain
Making people smile is a powerful tool for improving their opinion of your business. Which is why you still see so many adverts on TV that tell funny stories or depict humorous situations.
And the same is true of modern digital marketing. People don’t always want to read a full white paper, sometimes a short, article or cartoon that tells them something new and makes them smile, is more effective.
You will, of course, need to properly understand your audience, and explore what is (and is not) appropriate for your business. But if you can get the balance right, you stand a good chance of pulling those prospects further into your inbound marketing funnel – and closer to a sale.
Concept 3 – Convince
As your prospects continue to engage with your content, they will eventually hit critical mass. This is the point at which they need to decide whether they are going ahead and buying something from you or not.
To help sway their decision, you will need to create assets that deal with any niggling doubts, and give the prospect everything they need to know in order to make an informed purchasing decision. ‘Convince’-type content is the first, and only time, you should openly promote your goods and services – this is the closest you’ll ever get to a “hard” sell during your inbound marketing campaign.
As always, you will need to know your target audience very well so that you can gauge just how hard to push them towards conversion. You really don’t want to lose a sale at the last hurdle!
The correct blend of educating, entertain and convince will vary from campaign to campaign, industry to industry because the target audience is different each time. To help ensure you properly define the right content types, you must also create detailed ‘personas’ for your target audience to guide your creative processes. You can learn more about creating accurate, helpful personas here.
Now, dear reader, the question I have for you..
Does your website consistently generate and refine high-quality leads?
Is your sales team consistently highly motivated dynamic only spend their time on converting those high-quality leads?
Does your website perpetually attract engage and delight its visitors?
Do you understand and articulate your target profile’s problem, and then your solution with benefits?
Are you backing up your solution with credibilities such as testimonials and other forms of social proof?
Do you invite them to contact you, or learn more and capture their information?
Finally, do you measure how many leads you get through your website, what the traffic source is, and then tie that back to a cost per conversion so you can scale that channel in the future?
For more help in understanding the inbound marketing process, and how to tailor content for each stage of your campaign, please get in touch.
We are experienced with helping financial services companies with both inbound marketing and conversational marketing and would be happy to discuss in further detail how you can implement both strategies in your business.