Fortune 500 Medical Diagnostics Company Uses Virtual Reality To Accelerate Mid-Funnel Sales
On April 21, 2018, at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) Conference in Madrid, Spain, a Fortune 500 molecular diagnostic company wanted to establish a transformative moment using virtual reality (VR). The goal of this transformational experience was to shorten their lengthy 18-to-36-month sales cycle by allowing pre-qualified decision makers to experience their “lab of the future,” by designing a laboratory.
Understanding the Need
According to Gartner, there are an average of 6.8 people involved in each B2B purchase decision—an increase from 5.4 in its previous research. In this case—in addition to the actual decision-makers—there are hidden purchasing “influencers” (medical director, CFO, COO, lab director) whose interests and goals may be less than transparent. This increases the complexity of the buyers’ journey when designing a laboratory.
For this diagnostic company, having multiple individuals collaboratively justify a capital investment of more than $900K for new laboratory equipment services and annual supplies required multi-level buy-in.
Within this industry, products must be considered as part of a “network purchase,” with multiple hospitals, influencers and many decision makers all involved in the buying process.
There is an effort to consolidate multiple laboratories into a collaborative centralized lab used by many. This company is selling a next-generation family of systems that cross key laboratory disciplines, and are designed to simplify diagnostics. They help the lab deliver results that drive better patient outcomes, but must be considered as part of a collaborative “network purchase.” These laboratories are often used by multiple hospitals, influencers and clinicians, all of
whom are involved in the buying process.
At ECCMID, the company launched a pilot VR lab configurator experience where mid-funnel sales prospects were invited to design their “laboratory of the future” and then immediately immerse themselves, navigating virtually around the space in real-time using a virtual reality headset. Sales representatives assisted users in creating their lab. Users defined the exact dimensions of their existing or future labs, and then added 3D products, lab equipment, etc.
Personalized Virtual Reality that Accelerate Mid-Funnel Sales
Purchasing Alignment: Some of the most critical outcomes influencing the success of a lab are operator walk-away time, space utilization, and total cost of ownership.
Every lab has competitive equipment or existing equipment under contract, making it difficult to swap out. It can be hard to visualize how new equipment will look and fit in the lab. Does the Lab Director feel comfortable that a new product or configuration will work? Space is at a premium, which is why every square inch is important in a lab environment.
Lab planning and design takes significant time. In the lab configuration VR experience, the customer is part of the design process, in a compressed timeframe taking only 5-minutes to configure a typical lab. Though it is just conceptual, this process makes the lab feel more real. This generates a greater emotional connection with the buyer.
Purchasers also want the equipment to run on its own more effectively and for it to support more tests in less space. These key elements were emphasized in designing the lab VR experience.
“This experience allowed them to get over some of their biggest concerns: why change, this is expensive, and is it going to fit,” said the Marketing Manager.
The lab configurator VR experience allowed the diagnostic company to ask a
lot of questions of the customer—many that the customer had not yet considered. It also gave the marketing manager the ability to connect with the client in a way that furthered the sales process.
Change can be difficult, but the lab configuration VR experience is quickly helping clients get over their concerns by providing multiple B2B purchase decision-makers with answers to their specific questions. Other results include:
- Greater duration of time spent in a meeting
- Greater customer interaction, generating 2x the conversations
- Greater levels of prospect buy-in and trust, due to clear articulation and understanding of why they do the things they do (past vs present) when configuring their lab
As a consequence of these benefits, the team institutionalized the VR experience as a standard part of their sales process.
“It is a narrative journey walking a user through workflow and what your day could look like. Here’s what we see people doing in the lab today versus tomorrow,” said the Marketing Manager. “I envision this lab configuration VR experience being used across all divisions as part of our sales process. A requirement in moving people through the sales funnel.”
This type of personalized, immersive VR lab configuration is unique in the industry, and this marketing innovation has materially differentiated this diagnostic company from their competition.