Identifying, Targeting and Converting Key Referral Sources in 2017

Posted on in Growth Strategies

By: Ryan Ball, Director, VGM Market Data

With several months of dramatically lower reimbursement rates now hitting providers, many DMEs are seeking new markets, products and efficiency solutions to help maintain profitability and drive new growth strategies. Now that we are in a new year, it is important to put a greater focus on finding new business and maximizing the potential value in current markets is a necessity, but how do you get there? By executing a strategic growth plan. 

How to Create a Strategic Growth Plan

In order to properly create and execute a strategic growth plan, you must first have a keen understanding of your market and be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who are the largest potential referral sources in your market, and how much of their business do you receive?
  • How many total referrals for your products are generated in your area?
  • Who are the largest referral sources for your main competitors?
  • If you are entering a new product area, how do you plan to target your sales and marketing efforts to establish yourself in the marketplace quickly?

Helpful hint: The answers to all of these questions can be found in data.

Step 1: Dig into the Data

The first step in executing your strategic growth plan is using data to identify, qualify and target key referral sources.

Many DMEs don’t use the data they already have at their fingertips within their electronic medical record (EMR) system. Ranking physicians by volume of referrals you receive, comparing year-over-year volume comparisons, strategic engagement plans for referral sources that do not send you a referral for over three months: these all are metrics right there in your EMR system, but it takes planning and analysis to turn that data into actionable intelligence for your sales team.

There is also market intelligence data available to help you better understand the competitive landscape in your markets. Your EMR can only tell you information about your business, which is only one piece of the puzzle. To succeed you must understand the competitive referral dynamics of key physicians in your market to separate you from your competition. Once you are able to identify the highest value referral sources in your markets, you will be able to create tangible goals and drive the day-to-day operations of your sales team.

Step 2:  Create Tiered Contact Plans

If you want to convert physician prescribing behavior, you must create tiered contact plans. Breaking your prospects into defined groups based on potential value can help ensure you focus appropriate resources for each tier. Contact plan strategies prioritize visits, touches, personnel and marketing to ensure your top prospects are the main focus. The best contact plans include multiple communication mediums and provide targeted, relevant information based on your market intelligence of the prospect.

Incentives can also be developed for executing the contact plans and growing business with key identified prospects. Properly done, this process helps ensure that your team is focused on the accounts that have the greatest potential value for your business.

Step 3: Measure Your Contact Plans

Measurement is also important to any strategic plan. Evaluate your contact plan to ensure you are effective in the marketplace. You can do this by tracing the volume attributable to physicians identified in your targeting plan. What are you getting from them on a monthly average over the past six months? After three months of targeted engagement, review volume attributable to each targeted physician, and see whether you’ve moved the needle. This exercise should also be done for physicians that you are not currently working with; did you find new business? These tracking mechanisms help you set and deliver on compensation plans for your sales team. Create incentives based on your strategic goals, a new order from a new physician is worth more than increased orders from a current physician, etc.

Whether you use your own internal data or acquire market intelligence data from a third party, data is here to stay and is a necessary tool to reach your goals this year! 

Ryan Ball is the director of VGM Market Data, providing data targeting services to independent DME providers.