1. Combine efforts between marketing and sales
One of the factors that leads to the loss of potential customers is the lack of communication between the marketing and sales departments. While both departments share the goal of acquiring new patients – and keeping current ones – the differentiation between the groups that has been established for decades may be conditioning the conversion of end-customers.
Why? Because each group has its own individual objectives. While the marketing team is in charge of programming medium-term campaigns to attract leads, the sales team is in charge of converting the lead into a patient. Seen in this light, it seems that there are two essential branches in the conversion process. However, what happens to those leads who were so close to closing the sale, but have backed out?
What happens to those leads who were so close to closing the sale?
Today patients have changed their consumption patterns. While some are encouraged to request an initial consultation at the clinic, they either do not show up, or do not want to take the call from the clinic team. Cold calls from the clinic mean more hesitation on the part of the patient, and this can risk losing this sales opportunity. So are indecisive patients lost sales opportunities, or is there a way to keep them connected to the practice even though they are undecided?
What is the best way to keep them connected to the practice?
In a market as competitive as healthcare, it is essential to keep the potential customer connected to the clinic. And this implies understanding the fact that between marketing and sales there should be a communicative link to be informed about the progress of potential customers in the buying process.
They should be informed about the progress of potential customers in the buying process.
1.1 The service level agreement
To establish this connection between Marketing and Sales, it is essential to arrange an audit in which managers from both teams are present. In this audit, it is a good opportunity to analyse in depth the internal procedures of the clinic to convert new sales opportunities, study the reports of previous periods, and share ideas between those in charge.
Clinics sometimes require professional help from an external company that knows how to establish contact between Marketing and Sales, so that the link is made successfully.
One way of agreeing the responsibilities to be managed by each team is to draw up a service level agreement (SLA). In this agreement, the departments define the responsibilities that correspond to each team, as well as the roles to be taken and the platforms to be used.
The purpose of this agreement is to confirm that Marketing and Sales will strive to fulfil their tasks, while informing the other team about leads that may be of interest to them. By the time the marketing leadis ready for the sales phase, Marketing will have to report on this lead evolution, so that Sales will be in charge of closing the sales process.
But if it should happen that a patient is undecided and decides to wait to resort to a treatment in the clinic, Sales would inform the marketing team that the lead is backing out of the buying process, so it would be up to Marketing to nurture it with marketing content again.
In this way, the service level agreement allows Marketing and Sales to share efforts so that, between them, they collaborate to help the undecided patient move forward in the sales process
How do you track the evolution of leads? Nowadays the most suitable tool for this function is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management). This technological tool can help your clinic track leads’interactions with your company’s website, from the ebooks they download to the treatment pages they’ve recently visited.
A CRM offers multiple possibilities, such as the incorporation of a points system or lead scoring that identifies leadsready for marketing or sales. In addition, CRM can help you to develop different techniques to optimise marketing and sales actions – and consequently close more sales processes.
2. Set actions for MQLs
Which actions would correspond to the Marketing department? Those actions that correspond to maintaining the relationship of leads with the brand, but specifically those leads who are interested in the contents of your clinic. In other words, those who are not yet ready to make the leap to the final stage of the buying process. But who are still in the middle of the funnel and have an interest in your company that is essential to mature.
The middle of the funnel is the middle of the funnel.
The leads that are the marketing qualified leads or Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).
The leadsthat the marketing team needs to attract are the marketing qualified leads or Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).
2.1 The first conversion
It is essential to differentiate between leads at the top of the funnel (TOFU) and marketing qualified leads. The former are users who subscribe to your blog’s newsletter, or who download an educational ebook on health. The MQLs are leads who are already interested in your clinic, but for the moment their interest is merely educational or informative. They have your clinic as a reference point for health information.
However, leads at the TOFU stage are not interested at this stage in moving forward in the purchasing process. You have their first name, last name, and email address but do you have more data that you can leverage to move the lead towards the purchase process?
You’ve got the lead.
Getting a lead, then, requires one more effort to start having valuable information to leverage. This effort can be made by creating a Thank you page or thank you page. This page, on the one hand, thanks the user for downloading your ebook. But on the other hand, it provides information about other offers that may be of interest to them, or even products or services of your clinic that may be related. At this point you can start the maturity of the lead to become an MQL.
2.2 Lead nurturing
Since you have your lead email, and you can leverage the information in your CRM, it is essential to leverage access to both to carry useful information to your potential customers.
Nowadays, potential customers will not be convinced of the quality of your services by cold calls, but by the valuable content you can offer them. Having a CRM can allow you to adjust in greater depth the content that you can send to your leads, especially to design email campaigns more tailored to the segments of interest of your clinic.
2.3 Information on services
Another way to check the interest of potential patients in your clinic is to give them the possibility to subscribe to emails that include more information about your services. This is a good way to find out if the potential patient is ready to move on to the next stage of the marketing and sales methodology.
3. Define actions for SQLs
Nowadays, healthcare clinics do not rely solely on the telephone or direct visit for enquiries. Thanks to advances in conversion options, a patient can request a clinic appointment by simply filling out the form on your website. Obviously, getting to this step implies that the lead has completed all the actions set out in the MQLs phase.
But if the sales team now needs to change its methodology, what needs to be done?
But if the sales team now needs to change its methodology, what needs to be done?
3.1 The call to confirm appointment
If you have a loyal audience for years, it will be no problem for them to call your clinic to request an upcoming visit. However, you will find on more than one occasion that there will be leads who ask for an appointment, but end up refusing the appointment request, or looking for excuses not to attend. Why does this happen? In many cases, it is because the lead is not really ready to become an end customer, so they back out.
The lead is not really ready to become an end customer, so they back out.
So how can the link between Marketing and Sales help to solve this situation? The moment Marketing reports on leads already qualified for sale, they become the responsibility of this department. This means that Sales will have people with a greater interest in hiring the services of your clinic, so their efforts to try to make the conversion will be more effective than a user who suddenly requests an appointment.
They will have a greater interest in hiring the services of your clinic, so their efforts to try to make the conversion will be more effective than a user who suddenly requests an appointment.
There may be different methods for confirming the first appointment. While some clinics choose to make a call after sending the request, other clinics directly prepare the form for the patient to request date, time and treatment. This will of course depend on the trends of your buyer personas (whether they use mobile phones in particular, whether they book via their computer, etc.)
The main thing to remember is that the buyer personae are not always the same as your buyer personae.
The most important thing is to accept the appointment request on time. If it takes too long to accept the appointment request, the patient is likely to have doubts, or decide to go to another medical practice.
3.2 Reminder email
One of the ways to keep in touch with the patient, without putting the appointment request at risk, is to schedule a send out automated appointment reminder email. Since many of your patients will be stressed by the day-to-day and their responsibilities, this is a way to make them mindful of their first appointment at your clinic.
This reminder email can also be another way to keep patients interested in your practice. You can offer them access to information about other services, or even useful information about the first visit. Thus, you are already creating a positive expectation in the patient.
4. What to do after the first consultation?
The patient has arrived at the first visit.
The patient has arrived for the appointment, and has been to the consultation. Although the first consultation may have been positive, not all patients will accept treatment at this visit. In many cases they will need time for reflection to decide.
Your CRM can also help your sales team to analyse the actions the patient is taking after the first consultation – such as reviewing your treatment pages again.
They can also help your sales team to analyse the actions the patient is taking after the first consultation – such as reviewing your treatment pages again.
These actions can guide your team to analyse whether the patient is close to accepting the treatment or, conversely, close to rejecting it. This will allow the sales team to forward information on the evolution of the lead to Marketing, since in the event that the patient rejects the treatment, there is still the option of continuing to maintain their interest in the clinic through marketing content
Images: LinkedIn Sales Navigator | Ani Kolleshi | Amauri Acosta Montiel