Streamline: (verb) to change something so that it works better, esp. by making it simpler.
Source: Cambridge Dictionary
The idea of streamlining comes from a process often utilized by vehicle manufacturers to describe the optimization of aero or aqua dynamics. In its simplest terms, it means to minimize the drag of either air (aero) or water (aqua). This quickly translates to business as a process to minimize any type of drag or slowdown that hinders a process from beginning to completion. Organizations should always be striving to ensure that they have the most streamlined processes that work within the framework of their organization. Unfortunately, sales is often one of the more inefficient divisions for many providers.
When you consider the clinical aspects that often require investment and how much they rely on an outreach sales team to keep patients filling census numbers, an expectation of sales efficiency and effective processes emerges. If you buy an expensive car, you will most likely get the oil changed and take it to the car wash every once and a while. Sales faces a similar set of circumstances. They often enter the field with very little training, no plan to acquire new business, and a reliance on paper logs or memory to manage their relationships. Yet they have an expectation of Medicare admissions that is often high, even for an experienced salesperson. Partner that with a 50% turnover rate in post-acute care and you’ve got a formula for losing money.
The investment in sales can often be nominal to get the results that you require. First, you need to consider your sales process. For those of you who may not be sales inclined, these are the steps and expectations you lay out for your salespeople to achieve their results. They generally follow a similar pattern to example below.
- Discover – Find your ideal referral sources
- Qualification – Discover if your referral sources are an ideal fit for your services
- Value Proposition – Position your services to help your referral sources
- Close – Gain patient/referral
- Deliver Service – Take Care of the patient and deliver excellent service
- Follow up – Follow up during service and after discharge to gain more referrals
Once you’ve got a solid process in place, you have to evaluate all of your referral sources. Dividing them into a rank by the most profitable to the least. There are two ways to do this. One is to analyze your referral sources that have already used your services. Understanding who works with you and how you are received is a key to gaining more referrals. Another way to measure your referral sources is to acquire outside claims data. This can fundamentally change the way you target possible referring partners as the data will tell you exactly how much each referral source refers. This removes the guessing and keeps you on target.
Understanding your referral sources gives you a reference point. It helps you to know who to focus your efforts on and how far along in the sales process they are. Perhaps they are already referring, but there is potential to receive more. You have to manage the sales process as it relates to each account. Finding out if each account is qualified, what programs they are referring for and if they are receiving good customer service after they have referred ensures that you are putting your best efforts to partnering with the highest-value referral sources. With such a limited supply of potential referral sources, protecting them while maximizing their loyalty to you is paramount.
So how do you track your sales process? Inefficient methods of the past would be using paper, a spreadsheet, or simply relying on the brainpower of a workforce with an incredibly high turnover rate. Weekly meetings are important, but to track day-to-day process, you need a CRM.
Building your process into a CRM is relatively simple. Make event types based on each of the steps in your sales process. Now measure the progression of those event types against the accounts being visited and how much they refer. Think about it. If an account isn’t referring and the steps of your process have been followed, then it's most likely time to switch this account to a different rep. If the steps haven’t been followed, then it’s time to look at the overall process of the salesperson. This doesn’t mean that the salesperson is in trouble. If they are hitting their numbers, then you need to evaluate their process and find out if parts of what they are doing will be beneficial for the rest of your team. Remember that your sales process is dynamic and must be ready to change if you want to stay successful. Referral sources and market conditions change and those who do not change with the times, tend to see a loss in revenue to those who are willing to reevaluate their process when presented with new information.
How will you track a process via written logs? Can a spreadsheet process data in an effective manor? Even if you answered yes to both of the above questions, will your sales team take the time to use it? Consider a CRM solution built for providers just like you, with customization options that are unmatched in this industry.
With a customizable CRM like Enquire, you can easily build your sales process into our system. If you’d like to discover how we are helping organizations grow in an increasing competitive market, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for a demo here.
Interested in learning more about sucessful sales processes? Read our blog: Using Process to Ensure Sales Sucess