Consumers waiting in line for their flu shots — and the docs with the needles — aren’t the only ones concerned about healthcare reform. B-to-B marketers have their brows furrowed too.
“Healthcare reform is a very big issue for us, and how we interact with our customers is colored by that,” says Cathy Wolfe, director, marketing services, Toshiba America Medical Systems. “Any change in healthcare sort of freezes our market.”
Price points for Toshiba’s systems range from $25,000 to $200,000 for an ultrasound scanner, to an average of $1 million for an MRI machine. Average sales cycles run from a couple of months to a year, depending on the item. Wolfe notes the total diagnostic imaging market posted sales of about $6 billion in 2008; this year that may fall to $4 billion.
“Now, the sales cycle is longer and customers are doing more research,” she says. “So we have to maintain a [good] perception in the industry with third-party analysts.”
Toshiba keeps on top of customer satisfaction levels with regular internal surveys. When it began the survey program about a decade ago, the company found that while its products were viewed as reliable, customers weren’t happy with the business as a whole. Over time, internal processes were improved, “a lot of fire fighting” went on and approval ratings went up.
“We ask customers to rate us on a 10- point scale,” says Wolfe. “If they give a rating of six or below, that generates a performance alert, and the company addresses the issue.”
ROI is basically measured by overall sales. “I wish we had a much closer tie to that than we do currently, ” says Wolfe, noting Toshiba is in the process of implementing an Oracle back office system. “We would really like to be able to do it by things like customer type, but we’re not there yet.”
For an extended version of this story, go to http://chiefmarketer.com/crm/1124-toshiba