Helping employers reduce healthcare costs by addressing root causes of disability, workers’ comp claims, absenteeism and presenteeism offers profits for many wellness businesses. Corporate wellness clients offer long-term relationships, more predictable cash flows, and greater growth opportunities. What’s more, employers want wellness programs — for everyone from the overstressed and jet-lagged executive to the injury-prone factory worker to the sedentary computer programmer pulling all-nighters writing code.
Wellness programs also often cost less than clinical intervention and keep employees healthier, rather than just “not sick.” But corporate wellness clients also present unique challenges and requirements.
1. Quantifying the payoff of wellness
While businesses ultimately want healthy employees, emotional appeals that strike a chord with consumers are less effective in selling to businesses. Businesses must justify decisions to owners and investors in terms of bottom line impact and measurable employee benefit. That means translating the benefits of your wellness program into fewer claims, greater productivity, and less workplace stress.
Your sales force must have the right data at its fingertips. And your business must provide periodic data underscoring the positive impact of your services.
2. Liability concerns
Corporate wellness clients often expect oversight of workplace programs by licensed healthcare professionals. It helps if your program has such credentials or can tap those of a closely associated business partner.
3. Cost and confidence
For many corporate clients, wellness is literally an investment in employee health. And even when you can justify and articulate your program’s payoffs in reduced risk or improved employee health, employers will always have an eye on reducing the cost and personal exposure associated with that investment.
You can keep the sales process moving by reassuring your prospect in concrete terms that you’ve “been there, done that” and that they deployment of your program won’t suddenly cost more or hit unexpected bumps in the road.
Understand that even if you don’t have competition, you have competition. Your client may decide that the investment in your program is too great for the anticipated payoff, in which case — even if you’re the only vendor at the table — you’re still competing with “not right now.”
But let’s suppose you do have competition. Make sure you look beyond the businesses in your own community to understand who that might be. Depending on the services your business provides, you may be competing with national and regional companies that focus exclusively on providing workplace wellness services to businesses.
Also, don’t be afraid to look closely at your competitors. Understand their services and how they sell them. If you lose to them, understand why. While price may be a factor, first look closely at the focus, content, and professionalism of the sales efforts by your business.
5. Employer “pain points” and provider value
Rehashing the sales and marketing approaches that worked with consumers will simply not work when selling to businesses. Instead, focus on the “pain points” that your potential business customers are feeling. Make sure your sales presentation responds to those needs.
For example, if potential customers do offer traditional insurance, they’ll want to know that you can work effectively with the carrier. If they have employees in more than one location, they may also prefer wellness vendors who can also serve multiple locations. If they’ve tried one-off programs before, emphasize your relevant experience and let them know this isn’t your first time at the rodeo.
By keeping the focus on pain points, your value in addressing that pain will be top-of-mind, and price will be less of an issue.
6. Make sure your back office is ready
Expanding your services to employers often means an increase in customer capacity and business complexity. Make sure you’re ready for it. Your business may need to provide services for many more individuals than in the past. New regulatory considerations (HIPAA, for example) and other complexities may apply. Next, match business growth with your actual capacity to serve new customers. Overly rapid growth can compromise service quality and consistency, alienating existing customers. As you grow, monitor cost and effectiveness of key processes like customer service and customer billing.