A Failsafe Way To Avoid Leading A Pitch To The NHS With Your Product

If you’re familiar with my articles you’ll know I often advise the Pharma, MedTech and Devices industry to never lead their pitch to the NHS with details of their product. Why? Because your prospects are extremely time-strapped and need to first understand which of their many challenges your product proposes to solve for them.

For the best chance of success with any pitch, making sure you have fully scoped the project or the product in advance of your meeting is an absolutely essential step.

But how do you do that? What does that actually mean in reality?

You want your big idea front and centre – so why shouldn’t you put it right at the forefront of your presentation?

Lay out the background clearly

A failsafe way to stop leading your pitch with the product, is to grab a couple of sheets of A4 paper and break your project background.

  • Why does this project exist? (What problem does it solve for the NHS.)
  • What other options are there that the NHS might be considering? (Know your competition.)
  • Why is your project the best one for them to consider right now? (What value does your project offer over and above others?)

Your project could be looking at diabetes, heart failure, COPD, asthma, wound care, women’s health, allergies – whatever it is, you need to establish why there is a problem with care in this area and exactly what aspect of that your project is trying to solve.

Demonstrate the problem your project will aim to solve

Next, I explain what the project is going to do to solve that problem and precisely how it is going to do it.

We then look at who is responsible for the delivery. That could be an individual or an organisation such as a Primary Care Network, a GP practice, a GP federation, a hospital trust, a mental health trust or a community and voluntary sector organisation. It’s important to lay out all the roles so you are not making your prospects work hard to figure this out for themselves. If they cannot immediately see it, you have more chance of your pitch being discounted.

That question of who is responsible also includes the Pharma, MedTech and Devices company as well, who is responsible for what at your end?

Clearly set out the outcomes your project will deliver

The next issue is outcomes. If they are going to implement this project, what outcome from a patient perspective will they deliver from a practice perspective or from a hospital perspective? Does the project:

  • Improve patient outcomes?
  • Reduce unnecessary appointments?
  • Reduce unnecessary referrals?
  • Bring down admissions?
  • Tackle inequalities?
  • Or redesign a pathway?

Measuring success

Then we turn to evaluation, how will the project be measured so everyone can see what you set out to do is exactly what is being delivered?

And if the project isn’t performing as anticipated, what are the contingencies to keep the project on track and make adaptations to deliver the outcomes first envisaged?

When you follow the above steps and lay it all out like that, it’s impossible to lead with the product. You have to explain what your project is, what value it’s going to add and what problem you’re going to solve first.

Finally, it’s time to showcase your product or project – with a soundbite

At some point, someone will ask you what the product is and where they can embed it in the pathway. Finally, you get the chance to have the conversation about the product, but this only comes around when you pitch the project in an order that makes sense to your prospects.

Crucially, you’ve got to get it all into a soundbite – something along the lines of: “If you work with me, I will be able to improve patient outcomes, which will lead to reduced appointments, referrals and admissions.”

When you define:

  • what you’re doing
  • how you’re going to do it
  • who’s responsible and for what
  • the outcomes you expect to deliver
  • how you’re going to measure and evaluate
  • what the contingencies are

you will significantly enhance your chances of landing your project and will never lead with the product again.

Within your project you can also add significant value by adding a 2 or 4 Cycle CQC audit to the project. This is something that 99% of the Pharma, Med Tech and Device/Appliance industry miss completely and yet it adds another significant opportunity, better still if they have GP Registrars and/or Foundation Pharmacists.

Scott McKenzie helps pharmaceutical, medical technology and device firms increase revenue by getting their products and services in front of the right NHS decision makers. If you want to get your products fully embedded into treatment pathways we can help you. We’ve doubled revenue for our clients and can share these processes with you too.