Opinion

How to talk the talk with the NHS

We often work with clients to help them navigate the NHS. Health tech companies complain that it is hard to work with the NHS, they say finding and qualifying leads takes a long time and a huge amount of effort. But there’s a lot that health tech companies can do to sharpen up their communications with the NHS. We asked a few NHS senior managers (who shall remain anonymous) what common mistakes health tech companies make when communicating with the NHS.

Here are our top four NHS pitch pitfalls:

Not understanding the complexity of the market

Don’t be arrogant in your sales approach and remember that buyers aren’t just one big entity. Every solution is bought separately, so spend time working out who your audience is so you are targeted in your communications. Just because the top dogs at NHS England love your product, doesn’t mean the NHS will automatically commission it– often trusts are not well connected to that world.

Not understanding the customer

Don’t go for a hard sell of your ready-made solution without understanding the problem. It’s not a good look when you fail to tailor your proposition and pitch to the audience. Each NHS organisation or CCG is different, with unique challenges and populations.

The truth is the NHS doesn’t want a ready-made solution. They want to work collaboratively with tech partners to come up with something that will really make a difference to their organisation.

Not ‘putting data where your mouth is’

Any evaluation of clinical and economic effectiveness of the product or service will be invaluable to the sales process. There is often a lack of real-world testing data and real-world evidence to show it works – the NHS needs this proof.

All organisations know instinctively what they’re good at and where they bring value, but not so many know how to evidence that and present it in a language or format that resonates with their customers.  Many teams tend to rely on anecdotal evidence, a handful of case studies and the goodwill of a reference site.

Forgetting about the patient

Sometimes tech companies that are more ‘behind the scenes’ don’t always remember the patient. The NHS is sensitive to this. And don’t call them customers – they are patients.

You need to show you understand the complexity of how patients move around the health and care system. Don’t forget patients can get lost between services. Make sure you can support a coordinated experience for patients. If you can’t solve the entire end-to-end service, think about who else you can work with to do so.

What we think

We help our clients swot up on the market. One of the ways we look to integrate them into the sector is through an advisory board. A high performing advisory board can make a fundamental difference to an organisation trying to work with the NHS or life science partners.

We also help companies to differentiate what you’re good at, systematically build up that evidence base and then package it up in a way that means you’ve got meaningful, compelling data to prove the quality and efficacy of your product or service.

Want to find out more? Email our tech expert, alex.kafetz@zpb-associates.com