Focusing Your Sales Efforts on Promising Prospects

Filed under Articles
Originally published in Market Research Letter: March/April 2012

When a home health agency or hospice makes the commitment to use a customer relationship management (CRM) application, it’s usually because they want to boost revenues, improve customer service, and, thereby, increase customer retention. In this month’s feature, we show how using external market data with a CRM system can help focus sales efforts on the most attractive prospects and maximize the return on sales representatives’ time.

Why Use a CRM System?

According to Wikipedia, CRM is a widely implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes such as sales activities, marketing, customer service, and technical support. The overall goals of CRM are to:

  • Find, attract, and win new clients
  • Nurture and retain a company’s current clients
  • Entice former clients back into the fold
  • Reduce the costs of marketing and client service.

For the sales force, CRM enables management to direct and monitor sales activities. Sales representatives’ most critical resource is time. How they choose to spend that time is a key determining factor in their success and, therefore, the success of their organizations. Every day sales representatives in home health and hospice are forced to choose among numerous hospitals, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and hundreds of physicians without any idea of their referral potential. Typically, the only guidance sales reps have in making these decisions is their company’s historical data and whatever “hearsay” evidence they may have gathered in the marketplace or on prior sales calls.

External Data Sources Can Provide Vital Market Intelligence

What sales representatives need is a source of market intelligence that can guide them in making these important choices. Fortunately, there are data sources that can make this task much easier. The information from this data can be used to identify overall referral source size, current referral and potential levels, diagnostic group preferences, and provider market share for each referral source. In addition, the data can be customized for sales forces promoting home health, hospice, or SNF services.
With this data, sales reps can:

  • Identify the physicians and facilities with the current highest volume, which enables them to “fish where the biggest fish are”
  • Easily find situations where a given post-acute service is being underutilized by comparing a referral source’s activity level to its referral level
  • Determine provider market share by physician, hospital, and SNF to help them know whether providers are loyal to their organization or a competitor
  • Identify those accounts where they can further grow their foothold, since it’s much easier to sell more to existing customers compared to developing new customer relationships.

CRM System Helps Create a Disciplined Approach to Using External Market Data

By using a CRM system together with the information gathered from external market data, a sales team can develop a more disciplined approach to their sales efforts. The following include some of the many ways a CRM system helps create a disciplined approach to using external market data:

  • Keeping the market data information in the forefront of the sales rep’s mind by displaying it every time a physician or facility record is accessed
  • Automating the process of identifying new accounts and integrating these new targets with existing activity: The end deliverable is sales call target list against which management can monitor the results
  • Guiding sales reps in developing physician and other referral source specific strategies, in light of their past referral behavior and provider preferences.

In this way, a CRM system can help focus sales efforts on the most attractive prospects, while external data can help identify those prospects and maximize the return on the sales representatives’ time.

Which providers in your market have the most potential for growing your business? Healthcare Market Resources has the external market data to help you answer that question. Email us or give us a call at 215-657-7373 today to learn more.