In today’s world of providing custom orthotics and prosthetics; with audits, endless documentation requirements and declining reimbursement, independent O&P providers must leverage business from more physicians if we are to remain relevant and thrive in difficult times. As we enter 2017 strategic planning season, 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 creating and executing a strategic growth plan, making goals, engaging your team and defining success.
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/services are generated in your area?
Who are the largest referral sources for your main competitors?
If you are entering a new product or geographic area, how do you plan to target your sales and marketing efforts to establish yourself in the marketplace quickly?
Helpful Hint: he 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 utilizing data to identify, qualify and target key referral sources.
Many independent O&P’s don’t utilize the data they already have at their fingertips within their EMR system. Ranking physicians by volume of referrals you receive, year-over-year volume comparisons, strategic engagement plans for referral sources whose volume decreases over time. All of these metrics are 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, but that 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/marketing team.
After identifying and qualifying key referral source opportunities with your sales team, assign key prospects to relevant sales territories, create tiers of prospects based on potential value and targeted contact plans for each tier. 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 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 based on their potential value to your practice. 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.
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 tracking the volume attributable to physicians identified in your targeting plan. What are you getting from them on a monthly average over the past twelve 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 that are data-driven and attainable. Create incentives based on your strategic goals, a new order from a new physician is worth more than increased orders from a current physician. A new prosthetic referral is worth more than a new brace referral, etc.
Whether you utilize 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 in 2017. Engaging key referral sources and increasing your brand awareness is more important than ever. Valuable physicians can’t send you business if they don’t know who you are and the benefit of working with you to manage the care of their prosthetic patients. At OPGA, we hold the strong belief that when an independent orthotist or prosthetist enters the care continuum of a patient, their health outcomes increase and the overall cost to treat that patient decreases significantly. We have a great story to tell, and now we have the ability to target the physicians we need to grow our practices and help more patients.
Ryan Ball is the director of VGM Market Data, providing data targeting services to independent orthotic and prosthetic providers.