Survey results: The biggest challenges – and opportunities – facing health benefit sales teams

Consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) administrators face the task of growing revenue in a rapidly maturing, highly competitive and price-sensitive market. Additional headwinds come from new entrants, enrollment shifts and internal roadblocks. By digging a little deeper, TPAs can learn where their struggles and strengths originate, as well as the best path forward. Alegeus recently surveyed executives, marketers and sales professionals from companies providing CDH products and administrative services to better understand the strategies of high-growth firms, as well as the most common administrator opportunities and challenges. Here, we break down some of these results and offer a roadmap to success.

Where TPAs struggle

Results of the Alegeus TPA survey reveal the top barriers to selling CDH products include competing for time with decision makers (29%), competitors undercutting on price (27%) and understanding decision makers’ goals (15%). These dilemmas all relate to the same underlying issue – an inability to meaningfully connect with prospects in an increasingly saturated market.

Based on this lack of time and insight into decision makers’ goals, many TPAs default to a familiar pitch: good service. The Alegeus survey revealed that more than half (52%) of TPAs say they use service as their differentiator. Although an organization’s service may indeed be great, when most competitors tout the same message, it becomes lost in the noise.

 

Embracing a value-based sales approach

The single best way to stand out from the service crowd and compete with low-cost administrators is to adopt value-based messaging. Although “zero-fee accounts” is eye-catching and “best-in-class service” is familiar, TPAs that offer a complete CDH strategy can deliver more significant savings and truly meaningful service to their customers. Yet, according to the Alegeus survey, less than a quarter (21%) of TPAs are differentiating their business based on strategic value.

 

Where to start

A value-based approach to selling CDH can include focusing on the full consumer lifecycle, offering better plan design options, delivering better member communication plans and offering next-generation technology. Many TPAs seem to recognize the need for this last point in particular, with 45% of those surveyed listing a strong product and digital experience as their most desired tool.

First, however, TPA sellers must gain a deeper understanding of their customers. While a majority of those surveyed said they wish they could better understand things like customer challenges, winnability information, and benefit product details, only a third of them routinely research their customers. In our complete survey analysis, we dive into best practices for gathering information from prospects and clients, as well as how to then incorporate this knowledge into an effective value-based strategy.

 

Download our analysis for complete survey results around growth barriers and common objections, as well as the keys to success and strategies for achieving higher growth in your CDH business.

Download the Survey Analysis (PDF)

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