In today’s world of providing infusion therapy services; with audits, endless documentation requirements and declining reimbursement, independent infusion providers must find more physician referral partners and leverage more business from existing referral partners to thrive in 2017 and beyond. With the year nearly half over, 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, defining success and measuring results.
Creating a Data-Driven 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?
Which referral sources in your markets have adapted to prescribing infusion services in the home vs outpatient office?
Helpful Hint: the answers to all of these questions can be found in data.
Step 1: Dig into the data
The first step to growth in 2017 is utilizing data to identify, qualify and target key referral sources.
Many infusion providers 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.
In infusion, high volume does not necessarily mean high value. Market intelligence data can identify competitive market dynamics in your area and will help you identify which physicians send the majority of their infusion patients to an infusion office suite affiliated with their practice. Many of these physicians are high infusion prescribers, but independent infusion providers are unlikely to be able to convert new business due to the clinic affiliation. Understanding which infusion prescribers utilize outside providers, as well as those that are actively prescribing infusion therapy in the home, are the most valuable prospects in any market and data can help you identify the right targets to focus and drive sales plan activity.
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, resources 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 growth strategy. 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 IVIG referral is worth more than a new antibiotic 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 patients in need of infusion therapy. Focus on data to give your business an edge in 2017.
Ryan Ball is the director of VGM Market Data, providing data targeting services to post-acute health care providers.