Health Insurance Software Procurement: Overcoming Internal Objections

You’ve got a pain you’re trying to solve. So you go searching for a solution and discover software designed to alleviate the pain. You try to build consensus internally to purchase the software so you can alleviate your pain.

But you encounter a person or team that objects to the software.

For expensive software purchases in large organizations like health insurers, you’re likely going to encounter internal objections when trying to procure complex software. Our automated premium billing and payment solution impacts several organizational units. The billing team serves as a primary user, but member services and the technology team are involved in the health insurance software procurement process. As a result, there are a lot of voices in the room. In many cases, that leads to division. The team responsible for billing is experiencing pain — and a lot of manual processes and reconciliation. But other departments likely don’t and may be afraid to change.

What are some tips for overcoming internal objections in health insurance software procurement? Here are five:

Keep the Buying Team Lean

We’ve presented demos where as many as 30 people are on the call. One way to overcome objections is to avoid them from the start. You can do that by limiting your buying team to those teammates that have the most say in the decision-making process.

For example, we wouldn’t recommend that buyers considering our software invite five members of the member service team to a demo.  You wasting their time. Most of what we demonstrate focuses fundamentally on premium billing. Member services teams may indeed need to access the software to review member payment or invoice information. But the member services manager or even an operations director or VP is a better fit. Realistically, one role of management is to make decisions and then communicate them to staff. By inviting an entire member services unit to the buying team, you’re increasing the odds that someone will object. You want feedback, but a manager, director, or VP should be able to provide that feedback.

Our best advice: pick one or two key members from each of the departments impacted. Instruct them to review the solution and, if necessary, gather more information from their team. But don’t invite the entire team to demonstrations and presentations.

Use the LAER Method

In sales circles, there’s a common framework that sales representatives use to overcome objections. It’s called LAER. Here’s what it means:

  1. Listen — Your goal is to understand your team’s objections so you can work to overcome them. To do that, you need to listen.
  2. Acknowledge — If you want dissenters to feel heard, acknowledge their pain. Don’t be dismissive. The best way to overcome an objection isn’t to blow by it, it’s to understand it, acknowledge it, and then…
  3. Explore — If you want to overcome an objection, you need to understand it. So ask follow-up questions to understand the objection. For example, your technology team may find that timing is an issue. They may have other priorities and deem installing or integrating the software you’ve found as lower on their list of priorities. If that’s the case, you’ll want to explore their priorities. You may find that in that exploration there’s a compelling reason to prioritize your project.
  4. Repeat or Respond — As you explore the objection, you may need to repeat the process. For example, by exploring, you may discover another objection, which you’ll need to acknowledge, explore and respond to.

Rely on Leadership

To complete complex software installations in a large organization, you need leadership support. The identity of that leader varies but having a C-suite sponsor helps. Typically individuals arrive in the C-suite because they’re persuasive and get things done. So getting that person’s support can help propel the project forward and streamline the health insurance software procurement process.

Focus on Benefits

If you’re trying to persuade team members that the software solution is a good fit, be sure to frame the conversation around benefits, not features. You’ll find that the day-to-day user cares about features, but management craves benefits.

As an example, one of our customers was looking to expand its footprint. But they worried that their current billing process was too manual. They felt it would be difficult to bill thousands of new members. So one of the key benefits revolved around how our software solution — built on the cloud and easy to integrate with upstream and downstream software and files  – would enable them to scale. With our software, they could automate what were today many manual processes.

So when pitching to their CFO and CIO — who were interested in expanding their territory — the focus centered on how our software would help them scale their billing process to handle the additional members.

Suggest a Proof of Concept

If you’re still having a hard time proving the value of a software solution, it might be time to try a proof of concept or parallel testing to see the value of the solution first-hand. Typically a proof of concept is a scaled-down version of the software that enables you to test the process, but may not be a full-scale install. That can be easier to accomplish for simplistic software. The more complex the software, the more difficult it may be to perform a proof of concept.

Another option some of our customers prefer is a parallel billing run. They’ll run a month or two of invoices on our platform and at the same time use the existing process. They can then compare the results and ensure the new process meets their needs before going live.

There are costs associated with both of these options, but they can help persuade your peers who are on the fence.

Certifi’s health insurance premium billing and payment solutions help healthcare payers improve member satisfaction while reducing administrative costs.

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