5 Steps to Build a Steady Home Health Marketing Pipeline

5 Steps to Build a Steady Home Health Marketing Pi

If you’re in home health marketing, you’ve got a unique set of challenges. You’re not marketing to people who will buy your service, but to the people you want to recommend it to. You’ve got a guy being discharged from the hospital who needs home health aftercare. Who gives him the referral? The hospital. And how do they decide who to refer? Well, they have two options:

  1. Choose at random from a list of companies
  2. Refer a person they’ve come to know and trust

You can be that person — but it takes intentionality and follow-through. With these five steps, you’ll build a steady pipeline and see your home health sales rise to a new level.

1. Identify Referrals

Who are you contacting regularly? As you’re planning how to market your home health care services, consider the different types of people you’re visiting. There are two types of referral sources: active and prospective.

Active referrals are the people you already know. They’re the companies who already send patients your way. Now, you just need to keep that relationship steady.

Prospective referrals are hospitals or doctors you’d like to win over. It’s time to start making face-to-face visits and building the relationships.

Who are your referrals now? Make a list. Do you need more active referrals or prospectives on your list?

2. Find a Rhythm

Now, think about how often you visit these contacts. Visits shouldn’t be random — they’re planned and intentional.

For your active referrals, set a routine period for seeing them — every 30, 45, or 60 days (depending on what works for you and feels right).

Then schedule time to get to know your prospective referrals. Fact: It takes 5 visits for hospitals and doctors to know who you are and what you do. Sure, they’ll know what you do and why you’re there sooner, but it takes five visits for them to understand that you’re interested in their referrals and willing to earn them by maintaining a relationship.

They have lots of people working to earn their referrals for different products and services — sales equipment, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and home health. But after five visits, it’ll click. Even if it takes you 10 months to see them five times, that’s okay, as long as your consistent.

3. Be Consistent

Make your visits consistent. Consistency builds trust — and hospitals and doctors want to feel comfortable recommending their patients to you. So, if you’re routinely coming by the office, following through on what you say, and generally proving yourself to be organized and reliable, you’re building their confidence in you.

4. Use the Waterfall Approach

Once you know what types of referrals you have and set a schedule for maintaining consistency, simplify your sales funnel. Keep your prospective client visits simple and in the same stage. Let’s say this month I meet five new prospective referral sources. Next month, I’ll visit those same five again (so I’m on the second visit). I keep this going until the fifth month when I “re-classify” them as active referrals. Then I’ll find five new prospectives to put through the five-visits rotation. This way, you’re building a healthy pipeline so your sales don’t drastically move up and down.

5. Use the Right Tools

You can do what’s traditionally been done in sales by generating a list of people to see. Then you can see those same people over and over again hoping it’ll pay off.

Or you could find some sort of mechanism to keep track of how many visits you have with each provider, see who the providers are, and identify new providers.

We like tools. Tools also help us see the true value of each referral. Salespeople sometimes mistakingly place the value in the kind of relationship they have with a provider, not how many people that hospital or practice can actually send them. In doing so, they miscalculate the return.

Maybe they think Joe, the single general practitioner, is their best customer. But he’s only one doctor in the practice. Really, Suzy might be the better customer because she has six people who send referrals. But, without the numbers, a salesperson may misidentify that value. The value of the relationship isn’t in how “cool you are” with that person — it’s what the potential is.

Remember, your current customers are your best prospects. So figure out their value and invest your time accordingly.

Bottom line: Keep in touch with your referrals regularly because your competitors aren’t doing the same. They’re only keeping in touch with the current active referral sources. They’re not seeing new people and they don’t have a rhythm. They’re working off spreadsheets and memory, or some CRM solution that’s data-entry heavy that they only use because it’s a job requirement. They’re not using it as a tool. They’re using it as “a thing I have to do to keep my job.”

CRMs should be built for salespeople to want to use. A CRM is helpful, not time-consuming. In fact, it should take less than two minutes to update and input so you can do it while you work — from anywhere. You shouldn’t have to go back to an office to enter data.

So use a CRM like CallProof that keeps you working your plan and doesn’t let your referrals fall through the cracks.

Related: A Complete Guide to Sales CRM Implementation

While your competitors are taking shots in the dark, you can methodically and consistently work your plan to a better pipeline and better sales.

Sales Funnel Management: Close More Deals by Eliminating the Noise

sales-funnel-management

If you’re looking to move your prospects from possibility to purchase, it’s time to reexamine your sales funnel management. At the top of this metaphorical funnel are any people who could potentially buy. Then, as they move closer to being a client, they move down the funnel.

But how does this funnel really help the sales process? It works toward two advantages.

1. Planning Your Sales Steps

Figuring out where people are in this process helps you manage your sales steps. So, if a person is a new prospect, you know what to do. If they’re a returning customer, they’re at a different part of the funnel, and you need to take a different action step.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

See, too often people wait for the customer or prospect to tell them to go to the next step. It works better if you figure out how to get them to the next step. Don’t just wait for it to happen — make it happen.

Look at your pipeline and ask yourself, “What’s the next action I need to do?” Keep your action simple. It shouldn’t be conducting extensive research and geological surveys. It can be as easy as setting a reminder to call them tomorrow. Use your pipeline to be proactive, not reactive.

2. Balancing Your Sales Steps

Funnel management in sales also keeps you balanced. Try to spend time with prospects in each part of your funnel: the top, middle, and bottom. You should be continually prospecting, quoting, and closing. If you focus on these areas in phases, your pipeline goes dry. The key is doing all of your essential activities regularly. Maybe you start with phone calls (the top of the funnel) and schedule a lot of appointments. Well, don’t stop making those prospecting calls when you start going to appointments.

Balance every stage of the process. That way, you keep your sales steady. Otherwise, you work a few prospects through your pipeline only to realize you have no one left at the top of your funnel. Once your current deals close, you’ll have to start at square one, and it’ll be a while before you make another sale.

More Tips for Managing Your Sales Pipeline

Keep Sales Stages Simple

The way you move people through the pipeline should be easy. Know your next steps for each level. How can you get them from the top to the middle? When you have go-to sales steps, the answer is easy.

Related: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

Limit Active Prospects

You only need to focus on a few sales-ready leads at a time. Now, you might have 500 prospects, but who are the sales-ready leads you can work through the pipeline? You can’t manage 500 records and move them to their next steps. It takes too much time. Instead, you need to be able to look at your sales-ready leads daily to figure out their next step. Then figure out who will fill their spot after they buy.

I used to be a sales trainer. Our first step was to look at pipeline reports. And so often, I’d see 100 people on their forecasting reports. They were proud of it. High numbers looked great on their report, but it wasn’t actionable, much less realistic. During our training, I’d ask them to get their prospect list down to seven people. Sure, they had more options than that, but they needed a smaller number to make it manageable. So they’d choose seven deals of various sizes to focus on, and they’d start closing them. It was way easier to close two out of seven deals than it was to close two out of 100.

De-Clutter Your Funnel

Most of the time, the pipeline ends up in an Excel file. Salespeople have reporting responsibilities, so they keep this file that they tweak and submit every Friday afternoon. But after a while, they become numb to it. They’re used to looking at the same data — after you’ve seen “oddball” on there for so long, it just stays. It’s natural, but not so effective for keeping the pipeline fresh.

If you want your team to get their funnel down to seven (or however many works for your industry), let them pick which prospects they want. Then they need to literally only focus on those potential customers until they close the deal or go back to another status. Delete the others from your file for now. They’re not your focus.

Your pipeline isn’t about how many prospects you can cram into it. It’s about what’s real. If you want to close deals, you want to eliminate as much noise as possible. The only people you should deal with are the ones you’re actively pushing through your pipeline.