Nothing beats eating your own dog food. This is specially true when there are dozens of “off the shelf” products in the market, but one is forced to custom develop their own product to solve the healthcare marketing problems they face daily.
I used to provide medical billing, medical call center, community outreach, surveys services – aka business process outsourcing services to healthcare payers and providers. We were not a large enterprise with deep roots in the market and years of business relationships with large payers and providers.
This put me in a position that many of our own competitors face.
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Our healthcare marketing challenges?
- I never had enough budget to purchase clean healthcare marketing data / marketing lists from the big guys like definitive healthcare, IQVIA etc.
- We can’t depend on deals with larger payers and providers for business as the larger, more mature BPO firms have a stronghold on that market. This leaves us with marketing to mid sized and smaller healthcare businesses.
- Healthcare, much like any other business vertical is a pyramid. Few large clients on the top, poached by the few large BPO vendors in our space. The rest of the industry is fragmented and is up for grabs by scores of smaller firms like ours.
- Having a large base of healthcare prospects to market to, might, upon first glance, seem like an amazing opportunity. BUT, it’s got its own set of pros and cons.
- I usually don’t have direct contact information of practice managers nor business owners. This leaves us to starting business development activities via the healthcare business main phone and fax numbers. This, as you can imagine, is a challenge because the same numbers are used by patients, vendors, pharmacies etc. This also means that our gatekeepers are the front desk – folks that are just not accustomed to mature sales processes and view anything digital or “outsourced service” as a threat to their own jobs.
- Healthcare providers typically don’t spend their budgets on digital transformation unless they’re forced to do so by payers, with the carrot of “getting paid on time or getting paid in the first place”.
- Most office managers ultimately need a sign off by the physician owners (smaller practices), so you really do need to get to the physician owner… ultimately.
- We compete for attention of the doctors with the medical sales reps – backed by large pharmaceuticals with endless budgets.
As expected, we have the following marketing processes
- We get our marketing data from public data sources (CMS data, that’s notoriously dirty).
- We send massive amounts of faxes much like most marketing folks would send emails. Of course, this means that we also track fax activity much like most marketing folks would track their emailing and calling activities. BTW, faxing is NOT cheap.
- We clean and append our marketing data by spending our own time and money (aka call center agents) to add relevant contacts to each practice, finding the right fax numbers, right email addresses that patients are not emailing to etc. Since each call center agent makes an average of 150 calls per day, we also have to track massive number of call activities.
Could we use any of the “off the shelf” healthcare CRMs in the market?
Maybe, maybe not.
The big guys like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and salesforce healthcloud concentrate on patient relationships management more than traditional high volume sales and marketing.
The smaller CRMs don’t seem to consider faxing as a marketing channel at all.
None of them are really made to help a sales manager manage a prospect list of multiple millions (too many clicks and web pages to get to information).
Larger firms have massive sales teams (aka feet on the street) but we can’t even begin to think of that.
Even if we were to concentrate on just one specialty, there are multiple THOUSANDS of prospects to handle on a daily basis.
On top of this, since our first touchpoint is almost always to a “general inbox”, not hearing back from a prospect (yes/no/maybe) doesn’t mean anything.. as our outreach could very well be overlooked or deleted mistakenly – due to the high volume of TODOs in these general inboxes.
So, what do we do? Well, we first started with spreadsheets.
That was great.. for a few weeks.
Then it became unmanageable. Too much data and too much to keep track of. Too many reminders and follow ups to handle.
So, we built our own healthcare CRM that helps us market to the healthcare vertical and affords us the volume of activities we do, daily.
How did I use our own medical crm?
Not very different from any other crm in the market.
- Our sales managers create / have created territories for their teams of sales development reps. Each sales manager has a call target/quota.
- Each territory has a set of accounts and sales development reps. These accounts, more often than not, contain healthcare practices, filtered in some logical way (geographical, specialty based etc).
- Accounts, call targets are divided/assigned to sales development reps along with call targets/quotas.
- Sales development reps create account lists that they market to, filtered based on whatever logic that makes sense to them (they have meet their target after all).
- Each account has one or more contacts that are already available in the system (providers and non clinical staff).
- Each account has data appended to it that provides more information than what’s available in the NPI database (we combine several public databases including PECOS, physician compare, LEIE data, physician patient demographics, LTCH, CLIA , Medicare parts A,B,D , limited physician referrals pattern data, HCAHPS data etc). These data points allows reps to send really personalized outreach campaigns.
- Each rep is given a power dialer, a bank of fax numbers and phone numbers for outbound activities. This truly improves their productivity multifold.
- Each rep is given call scripts that can be dropped as voice notes. These are not generic call scripts and include personalization of the person being called, faxed etc.
- Each rep is assigned an extension on our company IVR since, invariably, many conversations happen via callbacks / returned calls. Reps typically don’t use their outbound numbers as their callback numbers as outbound numbers are rotated from a bank of numbers to avoid being marked as “spam likely”. Reps tend to leave their company extension as the callback number.
- Each rep is given the ability to automatically log their activities so they can avoid the “donkey work” associated with updating a CRM for their managers.
- Reps are given the ability to create their own task queues and just hit start / pause/ resume / end on their daily queues.
That’s pretty much how we designed, continue to use and improve our healthcare CRM.