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An effective marketing strategy is an important initiative for those wanting to work with the NHS.
Around 45% of all government spending on goods and services went to the NHS budget in 2021, representing 83% of all healthcare expenditure in the UK.
Considering the size and complexity of the NHS, and the need to maintain quality, it is understandable that the NHS market can be challenging to break into.
However, this is an important time for private suppliers hoping to make connections within the NHS. Amidst unprecedented demand and capacity reductions, the NHS is increasingly looking to the private sector for solutions.
Obviously, working with the NHS in 2023 will present challenges. Due to tight budgets, political pressures, and an escalating backlog, some projects must be cut.
Now more than ever, it is crucial to have the right marketing strategy.
NHS: route to market
In order to sell your product or services into the NHS, you must be aware of numerous market entry issues and rigid procurement rules.
With many connected organisations, each with their own priorities and regulations, the NHS is a complex system. Even with a targeted list of NHS data, it is important to identify which NHS organisation you need to reach.
NHS England, the Department of Health and their equivalents in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland operate on a national level. There are also a number of regulatory bodies.
Then come dozens of commissioning bodies, hundreds of trusts, and thousands of healthcare professional contacts across the primary care network. Every healthcare provider must follow national policy, which is outlined in guiding documents like the Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View.
They will all have their own strategies, depending on how they believe they can achieve their goals of improving care, saving money, and meeting targets.
For companies interested in supplying NHS trusts, social care, hospital and GP practice clients, there are five main routes to market.
The government’s guidance on selling goods and services to the NHS outlines these:
The new NHS Supply Chain
Through national frameworks
Collaborative purchase arrangements
Direct sales to trusts and primary care organisations
For this article we are going to look at marketing to the contacts on your NHS prospect database, through direct sales and marketing campaigns.
What are the steps to marketing to the NHS?
Make your website a priority
Smart website development is essential for any business.
In the early stages of a purchasing process, it is likely that potential contacts will browse your website and social media first.
As a result, the first impression your website makes will determine how trustworthy you are, whether your goals align with theirs, and how professional you are.
Use research and Google analytics to assess your current site. You can use any insight gathered for enhanced functionality and to increase engagement on your site.
Get to know your customers
Developing long-term relationships with the NHS requires a thorough understanding of the healthcare market.
Using this information, you can create a message that resonates with their staff and audience.
In 2023, with a growing deficit and a difficult legislative environment, the government is putting pressure on the NHS, which is slowly reorganising in response.
Organisations in the early stages of development need good, reliable systems as well as innovation. Getting those systems and innovations in front of the decision makers who need them is key.
It’s important to use the right language
Whenever you sell to the NHS, make sure to focus your offering from the customer’s viewpoint, explaining the value you offer in an engaging and informative way.
Show how your solution will solve a problem that the NHS faces, or how it will generate a positive return on investment.
Don’t assume a buyer from the NHS will have working knowledge of medicine or patient care, or use industry terminology.
You should also make sure you thoroughly explain anything that wouldn’t be clear to a general audience.
Communicate your value
Your customers won’t know why it’s worth buying from you if you can’t explain what your value is.
People care less about the technical details of your products, than what they’ll gain from working with you.
It is essential to provide reliable proof, case studies and examples to support your assertions and show how your product or service makes a difference.
Remember that social proof can give customers confidence in their purchases – such as testimonials.
NHS marketing with More Than Words
Marketing to the NHS is a specialisation of More Than Words Marketing, an experienced data broker and direct marketing company based in the North East.
Our direct marketing data list contains personal data for decision makers across seven levels of seniority within NHS England.
All of our data complies with the Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). With additional information for each person, this data also provides some insight to aid your marketing efforts.
Many sectors use direct marketing, but it plays a particularly important role in connecting with the public sector. This is mainly due to its ability to connect with prospects personally and fully explain the benefits of your products and services.
By showing decision makers how your products and services can benefit healthcare organisations like theirs, your credibility will increase.
We’re available on 0330 010 8300, get in touch to find out how you can get started.