Avoid these costly marketing mistakes

We’re starting to see more and more providers adopt the concept of direct to referral field marketers for their practices across the country. We’re pleased to see this as it confirms our early belief that direct marketing was the best return on investment for most medical specialty practices.

We’ve been managing marketing reps and professional medical sales reps for more than 30 years and we learned a few things along the way:

1) Training, education, and experience, in short qualifications, are important for this position. Nothing can replace experience…and yet providers try to short change this continually. Experience teaches your rep to develop a marketing strategy, manage their time, prioritize their prospects, identify hidden decision makers, follow up and respond in a timely manner, develop sales tools that the client values which get them in the door, build honest relationships that result in trust, etc. on and on and on.

Sales training is critical because it teaches your rep to ask just the right questions that guide your referral sources to take action for you.  Empathetic listening skills are key to this process and yet they are seldom practiced by the untrained sales professional.

2) Even your best people need to be managed and held accountable. In short, there is no substitute for experienced management oversight of your employee’s….especially remote employee’s. For instance;

  • How can you hold this person accountable when you have no real long term experience in this same position?
  • How much effort is enough? When is it too much?
  • When will your rep’s efforts alienate prospective clients rather than attract them? How many times should they call on a client? How much is too much?
  • Who is really making the referral decision in each practice?
  • How can you coach your rep through a difficult scenario or client when you’ve never really done it yourself?
  • How do you coach them to manage a territory?  Do you know where to begin?

3) How does one recruit, hire, and train an employee for this position?
Do I advertise on Craigslist? We don’t.
Should I hire a full time person? We don’t…and for reasons beyond costs/benefits.
Should I hire a Pharma rep? We don’t. We might hire someone with specific experience who also has pharma experience but the pharma model alone does not work for us or many other employers.
What other “sign posts” do you look for in hiring this person?
• Former athletes are good because they are disciplined and competitive by nature and training. We know how to use this competitive nature to achieve ever greater results.
• Motivation. Everyone says they’re motivated but what kind of indicators can you look for that proves motivation today?
• Education and training? Which training program is the “Gold Standard in professional sales versus fluff programs”? What kind of educational standards can we expect/command? BS? MBA? What is enough and how much is too much for this job?

Some firms suggest that you appoint a staff nurse or patient provider to this job. We know, based on our experience, that this never works, its apples and oranges…square pegs in round holes, etc. Clinicians are not trained in professional sales and their listening skills are different based on their training. In short, clinicians are trained to tell you what they know, (after years of boards and various testing), whereas sales reps are trained to ask questions and listen to the needs of the client. Referral sources don’t want to be told, they want to be heard.

We believe that this is an important position that merits credentials, qualifications, and management oversight for this person who represents your entire practice to the referral community. In our view this type of responsibility should require a professional with proper education and training, along with experienced on-going management at a reasonable cost.

Practice-Reps offer’s multiple options to help you with this process; from 1) turn-key in field support 2) remote management 3) assistance in hiring and training. Put our 30 years of experience to work for you.

Would you ask your staff to fix your plumbing or prepare your taxes? Would you hire an inexperienced electrician or attorney? Don’t throw good money after bad. Invest in this process with an experienced management team.  Give us a call at 610-323-4793; see our case studies on line at: www.practice-reps.com

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 at 10:11 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.