Webinar recap: Home Care Sales and Marketing Strategies and Tactics for 2017
Home Care Sales and Marketing Strategies and Tactics for 2017: What Smart Agencies Know
Nothing should be easier than sending a referral. Nothing.
This simple concept is the most important component of a well-thought out and developed sales and marketing strategy for home care organizations, says Jason Lewallen, director of business development at Home Care Sales, Inc. during a recent webinar on the topic hosted by DeVero. Lewallen, who also is a certified high-performance sales coach, used the session to discuss specific strategies and provided examples of what home care business leaders can do to win more in 2017.
But, before your home health agency can master the referral process, you’ll have to review some foundations that must be put in place to grow the business in the year ahead. For example, one of the most important things a home health leader must know when it’s working to establish an effective sales arm is to ask why.
What is the sales team’s “why”? Lewallen suggests that leading home health agencies are more than about making money, but also serving some of the frailest, most needy people in our country, those who are represented by the home health industry. Therefore, “smart agencies” define who they are, why they “sell” and what value they can be to those they serve, even to those who refer patients.
In coming to this understanding, smart home health agencies leaders understand who they are and what sets them apart in a competitive landscape. They are creating programs that others must respond to; making the industry try to match.
Smart agencies know
Smart agencies know some basic facts: They know which doctors hate home care; which doctors refer the most; they know who their best and worst sales reps are; and who is their best nurse and their worst nurse. These are simple things that any leading agency monitors and can respond to.
However, they also understand that the single most important tool in their arsenal is data. Data they have access to from the previous year, for example, and that can easily be analyzed. “The most important data you have access to comes from your own agency,” said Lewallen. “There is no more valuable piece of data than what you can review. Who has refereed to you, who referred and stopped, what type of patients do referrals send, and who referred to a rep who is no longer there? Knowing your data and who referred helps you pick up the baton and gain more referrals.”
Understanding such information means that smart agencies can dictate their marketing plans and set the bar on their competitive advantage. They can change what clients expect from the market. Others, who are less competitive, then need to change or adapt to their plans. Overcoming competitive expectation is to set the expectation. Owning your identity separates your organization from the competition and allowing yourself to create the company you would want to work with. Smart companies set the market expectations.
With data, you also can set expectations, even for your sales teams.
Data driven strategic sales planning
Data, then, also should be used to help you determine how to approach referral sources. Doing so is a simple, three-part process. Starting with reviewing what your data tells you, you should build out a list of who all the pertinent (sales cycle) information you’ll need to know to create an active sales plan. Examine who referred to you last year; who referred, but has stopped; who is referring less than they previously have; and, finally, try to answer the difficult question: why is anyone referring to us?
You need to build up this data so you can understand who you are working with – and why they work with you.
Next, identify what the intelligence is telling you, through the interpretation of your data. You can see who refers the most, who they refer; if they are loyal and if you can service their patients to meet their needs? From this, build a target list then try to determine what kind of relationships you have with these referrers. Now you can build out your plan and aim to sell more of your service to your top referral sources.
The final part of the data-driven sales plan is to develop a customer-centered strategic analysis – using your historical relationship data and the information about what your referral sources need for you to add more value. You then need to focus on education of your team – sales and intake personnel should be made aware of this. They must know and refer to what your unique selling points are, what benefits you provide and how you can leverage all of your data and intelligence to meet the needs of those you serve.
From there, you now must understand the kind of patients your referral sources see. In so doing, you’ll be able to connect with them and meet their need. For example, when speaking to podiatrists, talk feet. Neurologists? Keep the brain at the top of your mind.
Also, understand when referral sources want to see you. When you understand this and educate the members of your organization, you can plan your visits by building a reason for each visit. Plan ahead several weeks or months so that your sales team members always have a reason to go back to referrers and build that relationship.
Be aware, though, that even after all of this, you need to be ready to discontinue unfruitful visits or assign a different sales reps. Sometimes one sales rep is not made for one referral source; 90 days without fruit is often a good measurement, Lewallen said.
The reasons why
Everyone is responsible for business both won and lost, and everyone is responsible to fulfil your brand promises. Everyone is in the ship if it sinks or floats, and every time the phone rings, you have an opportunity to increase referral potential.
Why go through all the trouble, Lewallen asks, because, if you can prove that you care for your patients and those who refer them, and that you pay attention to details, understand what matters to your referrer, and be accessible, there can be no other result than success for your organization and easily gained referrals from many.
But work is required to ensure that you and your organization can get to the point where nothing is easier than receiving – and operationally capturing — a referral.
The points mentioned above are only the beginning; there’s more to learn from Lewallen’s discussion during the recent webinar hosted by DeVero. In addition to creating a purposeful referral organization that serves patients with quality care and builds rewarding relationships with referral sources, the conversation also covers strategies for partnering with other agencies to generate more referrals creating sales and operational harmony within your organization; and the difference between painting a picture of the value to be delivered and delivering that value.
To learn more or to see the entire presentation, visit the following link now.