The healthcare industry in India is booming—this statement is an understatement. According to Deloitte, the overall healthcare market is currently pegged at around US$ 100 billion and is expected to touch US$ 280 billion by 2020. But this growth in the industry comes in the form of a double-edged sword — the other edge being growth in competition — which will make it essential for you to take aggressive yet planned steps towards growing your business. And this calls for thorough planning, research and strategy. You might find yourself overwhelmed trying to figure out where to start. Read on to know how to get started.


Get more leads / Law of Averages

Healthcare business operates within a niche group of professionals and customers, thus considerably cutting down the size of your target audience. This also gives you the benefit of lesser cold calling unlike in the retail market, where the target group is way broader. But you will also find multiple players targeting the same group of audience. So, it becomes important for you to play on the law of averages—i.e. get as many leads as possible because not all will convert (more on this, a little later). Here are a few ways you can generate more leads:


Event Marketing

The medical and health care conclaves are platforms where clients and customers get to meet each other. Be sure to capture as many contacts as possible.

Positive - All your potential customers are under one roof. It's like a gold mine for you.

Negative - Like your potential customers, all your competition is under one roof as well.


Solution
- Be different, be efficient, and make sure you capture maximum contacts. One more way to be ahead of the curve is to get some sales or at least pre-orders done. Most of the customers in such events come for window shopping, but if your sales pitch is strong and convincing, they could make an impulse purchase or at least pre-book and give you a purchase order. So, have a great sales pitch ready and also be ready with the stock.


E-mail Marketing

This is a very helpful and cost effective way to generate leads when it comes to B2B and corporate clients.

Positive - Being a niche market, you have access to customer database from the industry.

Negative - Like you, most others too will have access to the same database.


Solution - 
Here, your customer service and approachability is what can give you the edge. Be prompt to respond to your clients and follow up consistently. More often than not, a customer will only remember you when you have to and fro conversations with them.


Be Digitally Visible (Video Blogging + SEO + SEM + Website design)

With the advent of social media, you are no longer restricted to traditional marketing. Use video blogging to increase your brand recognition and loyalty. Tie that up with SEO and SEM marketing, and you can optimize your online persona and reach. Then tie the loose ends up and direct everyone to your well designed website.

Positive - This is a cost effective way to reach further and expand beyond the reach of traditional marketing.

Negative - People have the tendency to doubt the legitimacy of content put up on the internet, especially when it comes to healthcare.


Solution
- Your video blogs can add authenticity to your online persona. Use it wisely though. Be active, and regular with your video blogs or 'vlogs' as they are called. Use it for PR, to share free tips and advice, build relationships, invite guests from your industry and discuss their views (this also helps build relationship with the said guests and adds credibility to the content)


Convert the leads / Law of Conversion

Now that you know how to get more leads, the next step is converting those leads. It is important to be efficient and apply the law of conversion while looking to convert more leads. Here are a few things you can do:


Email / Telephonic Meetings/ Conversions

Assume that you have collected leads from an event, and sent a series of emails or called up with the intention to acquire the client. There is a high possibility that the client is not interested at the moment, but he/she has your contact details, and when the need arises, they might drop an email or give you a call back with a query. But in case they ask you to get in touch later, and you don't, but someone else does, then the customer is lost. So no matter how long it takes, always close your customer interactions. There is a rule in sales, referred to as ABC (always be closing)—basically, what it means is always try to close the deal with the customer; if it is postponed, get back to closing it the next time. Similarly, keep following up on your appointments and try to convert them.


Empower your Sales team

Having a good sales team will help you get good leads and convert them into customers. Hire qualified and skilled sales representatives and give them call handler and sales training (you may want to hire a professional for this.) But having a good sales team alone won't do the trick, you'll need to provide them with proper inventory like brochures, visiting cards, purchase order forms, and point of sale machines, if needed. Make sure you keep on updating the marketing inventory with information that is not only exciting for the customers to buy, but also relevant and true, because the customers you are dealing with are well versed with the products and technicalities of the pharma industry.


Tailor your Prices

With a market that has so many players, you need to give your customer something extra so as to stand out. Tailor your packages to your clients needs and present them well. For this, you'll need to first know what your client needs. Be it existing or new customers, try and gather information about their requirements.

It is important for you to keep a healthy relationship with your customers, because the customers in healthcare industry rely heavily on trust and hence word of mouth. Keeping a good reputation will not only help you get more from existing customers but will also help you acquire more customers through your existing ones.

If you liked what you read, check out more articles in the series.

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Disclaimer: This Article is for information purpose only. The views expressed in this Article do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. (“Bank”) or its employees. Bank make no warranty of any kind with respect to the completeness or accuracy of the material and articles contained in this Newsletter. The information contained in this Article is sourced from empaneled external experts for the benefit of the customers and it does not constitute legal advice from Kotak. Kotak, its directors, employees and the contributors shall not be responsible or liable for any damage or loss resulting from or arising due to reliance on or use of any information contained herein.