19 Things Physician Entrepreneurs Don’t Get About Sales and Marketing

19 Things Physician Entrepreneurs Don't Get About Sales and Marketing

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers, M.D.

Many biomedical and health marketing and sales people ask about tips and techniques on how to sell to doctors. But, very few doctors or physician entrepreneurs have much interest in how to market and sell to patients and other customers. The conventional wisdom goes that they are “too busy” or “don’t have the time” and that they are trained to take care of patients, not take care of business.

I disagree, as I’ve explained in many other posts. However, sales is not in the medical school course catalog.

During a pandemic, that is not an option. Here is what you need to know about digital marketing now.

Here are some social media strategies you should use in the post-pandemic world.

Do you know how to rank #1 on Google?

Ogilvy, one of the most respected marketing firms globally, has recognized this shift by stating that the traditional “4 Ps of Marketing” are out and the 4 Es are in.  

  • Experience is more important than Product
  • Everywhere (Omnichannel) is now Place
  • Exchanges outweigh Price
  • Evangelism is more valuable than Promotion

Here is the job description for a social media manager for Microsoft:


  • Design and execute a slate of rich social media strategies that resonate with our diverse and global audience and drive its implementation across our key campaign moments.
  • Define social media priorities, set goals and targets, aligning with audience insights. Proactively identify areas of optimization, set best practices, and communicate these across teams.
  • Partner across MSR Labs, Campaign Marketing, Community Engagement, Comms, Editorial, and Web/Media Production to support opportunities for rich scientific storytelling.
  • Serves as a trusted advisor to senior leaders through strong communication and influencing skills.
  • Creates and presents business reports that outline impact driven and provides recommendations based on outcomes.
  • Ability to focus on business priorities and create boundaries to ensure successful project completion.
  • Work with the paid social media team to execute and deliver on overall campaign KPIs.
  • Continuously improve on results by capturing and analyzing the appropriate social data/metrics, insights, and best practices, and then work with marketing managers to execute on those KPIs and leading indicators.


Required Qualifications:

  • 5+ years of practical experience in a global enterprise social media environment or global agency in the field of social media.
  • Experience in the use of social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, TikTok, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, or Club House, etc.).

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Exceptional formal and colloquial communications skills.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively within a team and across organizational and team boundaries.
  • Ability to manage complex projects in a fast-changing environment.
  • Proven track record for new, innovative approaches, and smart risk taking.
  • Understanding and natural curiosity of evolving social media trends.
  • Experience with tools like Sprinklr, Opal, Excel, and Power BI.
  • Positive attitude, detail and customer oriented along with strong multitasking and organizational acumen.

Here are 10 things docs don’t seem to understand about healthcare sales and marketing:

1. That they are different. Said another way, the marketing team figures out the strategy. The sales team executes the battle plan. Marketing serves the interests of the buyer. Sales serves the interests of the seller.

2. That they are complementary and have to be aligned

3. That the sales plan should not be an afterthought when building the business model canvas or business plan for a new venture.

4. That branding is not sales and marketing and that B2B marketing is different than B2C marketing.

5. That the Internet and social media have revolutionized how they both are done.

6. That service after the sale is just as important as selling the product and that they need to pay attention to the aftermarket.

7. That they don’t need to worry about any of this because they work for someone else who does it or they are busy enough.

8. That they should just outsource sales and marketing to someone else and just see patients.

9. That they can just depend on word or mouth referrals. It used to be docs played golf with their friends, but they now work on Wednesdays .

10. That all they need to do is hang a shingle to be successful because they have been reading about the shortage of doctors.

11. If you are a physician entrepreneur selling to doctors, you will relate to these tips on how to sell to doctors.

12. Every customer segment in sickcare requires a different value proposition, marketing and distribution/sales strategy. The 4Ps can rapidly become the 8, 16 or 24 Ps.

13. They actually believe they are the best and that “there is no competition”. Maybe it’s time for you to step back and create a competitive analysis matrix.

14. AI, changes in social media and VR/AR are rapidly changing how marketers are building their brands, engaging customers and driving sales and lead conversion.

15. There is a big difference between vanity numbers at the top of the funnel or prospect funnel and people who are ready, willing and able to buy (about 3% of the people you contact). Here’s a way to tell the difference

16. The difference and practice of segmentation, targeting and positioning

17. These ten most effective marketing techniques are a diverse group of online and offline strategies. Each technique is most effective when it is working in concert with the others.

18. When to hire a marketer

19. Consultative sales is more about leadership than sales

Most importantly, they don’t understand that branding a service is different from branding a product. That’s, in part, why they are losing patients to non-MDs.

Most entrepreneurs, including doctors, are still stuck in the spray and pray marketing mindset instead of inbound model. The idea is , instead of you finding patients and customers, help them find you.

What’s more, they don’t understand sales operations . The main function of the sales operations team is to smooth the sales process—reduce any friction and incorporate itself to the organization so as to ensure the execution of the sales strategy.

The basic building blocks of medical practice online marketing include building a website, having an search engine optimization (SEO) plan, using social media and managing your online reputation.

Hospital strategy and marketing officers, particularly those who have been recruited from consumer goods and service industries, stare in amazement at board meetings trying to understand why their docs won’t wear the sneakers and compete with the guys down the street. They fail to understand the culture of medical education and the profession that fundamentally places institutional affiliation and engagement way down the totem pole compared to peer acceptance and cooperation.

Another problem occurs when non-sick care entrepreneurs want to hire doctors as advisors, when, in fact, they want them to be salespeople to hospitals and other doctors on commission. The fact is that , in most instances, doctors lack sales knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies to do the job.

The main reason most doctors are not sales and marketing savvy is that they never had to be and they don’t want to be. But, times have changed. Maybe with an attitude adjustment, they’ll be able to get in a quick 18 holes after all.

Image Credit: Unsplash

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *