A Review On Appointment Setting Topics Discussed In B2B Healthcare

Appointment Setting, Medical Appointment Setting, Appointment SetterEven in B2B, it can be tiresome when your appointment setting strategy has been recently setting you up with prospects that keep having the same problems over and over again. Sometimes it’s not even that different from a tired doctor who has to treat patient after patient, all with the same illness.

On the bright side, it could also mean you have reached a point that you are now very familiar with your target market. And in appointment and lead generation, such familiarity is a much needed advantage. Another benefit from this familiarity is that it keeps you from making false assumptions about your prospects.

Some might say a highly predictable market can also lead to a false sense of security but that’s why it’s important to review. Awareness of these common problems can speed up the process of qualifying prospects, leading to a much faster medical appointment setting. Your marketers may not be able to really present a solution but they can quickly communicate between your prospects and your salespeople on what will be the prime topic to discuss during the meeting:

Patient Care

Patient care is the number one priority for not just professionals, facility managers, and other people you would set B2B appointments with. It’s your number one priority as well, being a business that is supposed to only foster and improve their dedication to that priority. The way doctors handle their patients’ problems should reflect in the way you handle theirs. Don’t just focus on marketing something fancy. Market something that actually says up front that it will help them in their work. Show them that you have a product or service that can only help them deliver better care.

Waiting Times

Speaking of which, a particularly nasty problem that often plagues medical professionals is the simple waiting period. There is probably more than one industry under healthcare that focuses itself entirely on this one, singular problem. For example, you have health IT firms like RegisterPatient (as reported from MedCity News):

Using a HIPAA compliant Facebook app, it helps patients start the registration process from home, request appointments, prescription refills and send secure messages and documents to a practice’s office.”

The longer patients are kept waiting, getting complaints are the least of your prospect’s worries. It’s the fact that they’re delivering lower quality care because of they’re having difficulty managing their time. Aside from healthcare IT, even facility management services can find medical leads among doctors like this (you could offer faster processing for instance).

Compliance

Finally, there’s a reason why that quote chose to mention the HIPAA. Compliance with federal regulations and standards is also another critical element to ensuring quality care. Groups like the FTC have been known to come down really hard on violators these days so don’t expect prospects to be any less lenient. Though on the flip side, prospects who aren’t could also be meeting with you because they want to know how complying with these same standards (hence, which is why they seek compliance consulting firms).

If you believe that these can’t always be the only problems of your B2B prospects, that’s actually even better. Again, the more you know about common problems and more familiar about common topics, your appointment setter is only going to work faster (while trying to identify more unique problems on the side). Always review common ailments before considering rarer problems.

Does Lead Generation Require Viral Attention?

Lead Generation, Lead Generaiton Services, B2B LeadsJust like real viruses, videos that have gone viral are a big marketing hit and their success could tempt you try them for lead generation. On the other hand, just the term ‘viral’ alone should give you pause. As a business that offers support to healthcare practices, you should know how anything that emulates a contagious bug is usually a bad thing.

It still pays to be a little more objective though, so exactly what falls under the definition of viral in terms of lead generation?

Well viral, as demonstrated by many hit videos on YouTube and online personalities, is simply word-of-mouth at its most rampant and widespread. Its generating buzz at an erratic pace and, at least ideally, runs solely on the will of the masses. You could probably consider it as a more organic form of advertising. However, you should know that not all marketing and lead generation services are jumping on the bandwagon.

B2B marketers, in particular, should be forewarned that viral attention doesn’t always translate into best results. Look at how a typical viral piece of marketing actually works:

  • Step 1: Create a gimmicky video that attracts a lot of attention on YouTube (or even perhaps Facebook and Twitter)
  • Step 2: Watch it spread like wildfire across the internet, letting the raw attention do all the marketing for you.
  • Step 3: Wait, what’s step 3?

Simply put, you can’t just make a viral video for marketing and then expect it to end there. And don’t forget, viral attention works best if a lot people spread your influence around. Do you really want to ‘qualify’ that many people for your B2B leads?

Stop and just think for a moment, what is your target market? Your target market consists of medical facilitators, professionals, managers, hospital owners etc. Do you really need a spread-shot technique like viral in order to reach them? You might even be better off with niche social marketing (and even then, that too can still be an incomplete strategy).

As a matter of fact, even viral itself is not as authentic at it seems. Some owners of viral videos actually pay extra to the hosting site for more exposure. There are times too when the video content itself is 100% fabricated. And if you’re still not convinced, here is an article from Worldcrunch that reports about a French PR agency that actually experimented using fake viral influence. Below is a quote from the agency’s director:

Arthur Kannas, the brilliant inventor of Mars Kebab and director of the Heaven agency, says that ‘purely viral’ is a myth. ‘Advertisers naively believe that if they publish amusing or interesting content on an advertising page, visitors will flock to it as if by magic. That isn’t true. To make people come, first you have to prime the pump artificially, one way or another.’”

Aside from Kannas’ suggestion, you can also simply generate health leads just by getting your marketing back under your control. Use tools like targeted email or even telemarketing to reach prospects. And don’t forget, try to complete your social marketing strategy. Who knows, maybe with those tools, you can give viral a try. But like any virus, you should try to keep it contained and controlled.

Sales Leads – Balancing Between Promotion And Engagement

Sales Leads, Medical Sales Leads, Lead GenerationCustomer engagement has been given higher priority recently, even when attracting sales leads from healthcare organizations and medical institutions. And with social media leading the charge, many of the social networking companies are only pushing forward.

So far, LinkedIn has proven to be at the head when it comes to B2B marketing and sales leads. And according to Entrepreneur, recent changes on the website are already reflecting their insistence on engagement even in the B2B sphere:

The new LinkedIn website focuses on engaging LinkedIn members which will keep them on the site longer and entice them to return more frequently.”

Do take note, however, that social media by itself doesn’t automatically make up a complete marketing strategy for generating leads. If you take a look at any form of communication, most of them can be tailored to conduct one form of engagement or another. Furthermore, you shouldn’t forget your main purpose either. You may not want to do it so blatantly, but your objective is still a form of promotion.

The bigger question now is how does one promote one’s business when the idea of engagement seems wholly contrary to the ideal.

Well, the article talks about three things people should know about LinkedIn’s new company pages. But on third, there is where you’ll find your clue:

This change lets you prominently feature products and services above-the-fold on the home page instead of being hidden on an internal page. This change will give your products and services significantly more exposure to your LinkedIn community and encourage more interaction with your brand.”

They keyword is exposure, which, ironically was what many B2B companies had been primarily using social media for. Though don’t forget that, while the promotional aspect should happen through exposure, engagement should serve to supplement it.

For example, if you’re marketing medical devices and have placed suitable images of what you can sell to doctors, some of these doctors might have questions to ask. This is where engagement comes in but furthermore, it can go beyond comments on a company page. In fact, if your clients would really want to go one-on-one with you, a telemarketing call or an email exchange could accomplish that much more than just merely social media.

People have this mistaken notion that any form of product promotion shows that you’re just out to sell. You don’t want to talk or engage about whatever issues your target market has with a product or service. On the contrary though, B2B marketing calls, business email exchanges, and now B2B social media have always focused on transparency between businesses and customers. Besides, how else could you qualify medical sales leads if you don’t find a way to talk one-on-one with every prospect? How do you expect to learn of their specific needs and get an understanding of their situation?

This too is also another way of showing how engagement and promotion go hand-in-hand. Getting a prospect interested is something they’re both meant to do and helping each other is the best way to keep them balanced in the eyes of prospects.

How Different Lead Generation Results From Different Resources

Lead Generation, Health Lead Generation, Sales LeadsB2B marketing and lead generation requires resources that could depend on your industry and niche. Even you’re just marketing support or tools for standard healthcare services, there are still a variety of sub-industries under that umbrella.

Of course, variety is the spice of life and a distinguished identity is one the first requirements for attracting many prospects in lead generation. It just so happens that these differences will result in different marketing resources and how to best use them:

  • Marketing materials – While it can be argued that materials needed for marketing are worth pennies compared to the cost of healthcare services, cost won’t be the cause of scarcity. There are just some things that neither you nor your prospects expect you to have when marketing. For example, you would presume a supplier of medical devices should have pictures of the actual device but don’t expect as much from a compliance consultant. Regardless, businesses in either one should market along those expectations. Whatever is more naturally available to your business should be utilized to the maximum.
  • Where you market – The places where you post your content and materials will also be affected. If you’re into visual, sites like Pinterest will probably be more suitable for attracting health leads. If you like engaging medical professionals directly, social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and more specific sites like Sermo are the way to go. As with marketing materials, play to your strengths. When you lack resources to establish presence in a certain area (be it online or offline), it’s not a good idea to waste time making it a first priority.
  • Your marketing channels – This is heavily related to the places that you market. But more specifically, how do your materials define the medium? It could also require more than one. And even if you have content (e.g. statistics and successful customer experience), how do you go about transmitting the information? How much information should you even share without overburdening your prospect’s mind? Finally, how do you keep this information (and thus, your business’ identity) consistent across these different channels?

Now there’s a good chance that you might as well opt for a multi-channel approach to cover everything. But as stated before, even marketing across multiple channels will not eliminate the need to consider how the resources most naturally available to you will determine your selection. Mismanaging your different channels will only spike up the costs of your health lead generation.

  • Start with what you have most – If you have more visual resources, try to be as creative and diverse when it comes to presentation but limit it to channels and areas where these are more appropriate. For example, if you have a slideshow presentation, don’t just stick to SlideShare. Try turning it into a video or an infographic. If you’re using written content, don’t just be limited to websites and blogging. Consider telemarketing condensed versions or use your content as a guide to ask when surveying prospects.
  • Support with less specialized channels – Some channels are simply unfit to transmit some of the materials and content you have, no matter how you reshape the latter. So instead, try using them as support for the channels that prove the better fit. For example, if you can’t use a video, at least condense a few materials in one and then link to a website where they can be better presented.

Again, having different marketing resources isn’t so bad. What’s bad is mismanaging the way you use them so play to your strengths and let the rest provide support.

Telemarketing Doctors – Beware Of Blow Ups!

Telemarketing, Telemarketing Companies, B2B LeadsOne popular telemarketing fear is getting a raging response on the other end. If you think that this is only common among consumer telemarketers, studies are hinting that B2B healthcare marketing is constantly under that same threat. And the top source of blow ups? Doctors!

At least, that’s what this Businessweek article is indicating. And if your telemarketing targets are primarily medical professionals, the prevalence of flaring tempers is all around:

In one study, published in American Journal of Nursing in 2002, 90 percent of hospital workers, including doctors and nurses, reported “yelling” and “abusive language,” along with “condescension” and “berating colleagues.” A quarter of the 1,200 people in that survey said they witnessed such behavior weekly. “There isn’t a doctor alive who hasn’t seen it,” says William Norcross, executive director of a program at the University of California at San Diego that uses anger management to treat irascible physicians.”

Despite that, there is still no room for fear if you want to generate health leads. There is only awareness and then action. Now that you’re aware of this anger epidemic among professionals, what are you going to do? Well first, what you should not do is fight fire and with fire. Instead, keep the following things in mind when you’re contacting a doctor:

  • Time to call – Depending on the particular practice, are you calling them at the right time? Is the number listed on your CRM connected to their desk phone or are you taking risks with mobile? Sometimes it’s better to send a polite email first before making the call. Take note, don’t just stop at email. Not finding some other means of following up could result your message in being completely ignored.
  • Staying calm – This doesn’t just apply to outbound calls but you could also end up getting the heat from an inbound complaint. In either case, stay as calm as possible because you’ll only contribute if you or your agents end up losing their own temper. It’s even more important if you’re outsourcing your call center to telemarketing companies.
  • Resolve objectively – Keeping calm is not the same as holding the handset (or headset) as if you were holding some rabid species of vermin. Despite all that rage, listen for the actual problem. Be objective when analyzing their response. If it’s clear that you called at a bad time, briefly apologize and hang up. If they’re calling you instead, strictly follow basic inbound protocols on what to expect in spite of all the heat.

If you or some of your agents think this is too much, then reread this portion of the article before you all say you should expect a little more professionalism:

Their hours are brutal, the stakes are high, and the threat of malpractice suits is ever-present. The life-or-death nature of the work wears at steely nerves even on the best days…”

You may be right about them getting more help and keeping their composure but be a little more sympathetic as well. In B2B telemarketing, being aware of your prospect’s temperament is the best way you’ll attract sales leads. It shows you to be more understanding and has been applied in all kinds of successful marketing practices.

When To Use Telemarketing To Share Your Expertise

Telemarketing, Telemarketing Services, Appointment SettingMany products and services that support the healthcare industry do so by offering additional expertise. And contrary to popular belief, telemarketing is a high-end tool for sharing that expertise.

Although, perhaps one reason why telemarketing gets such a bad reputation is because it’s not used properly and not always at the right time. For example, if your expertise focuses on medical facilities management or compliance consulting, not everyone is always eager to hear what you and your people have to say.

This can be due to them either not caring or unable to take the time and learn anything at the moment. In either case, what you have is a problem of information overload. It can also give you a disadvantage. If you give them too much information, you’re in danger of giving away your entire business for free! That sounds like a sweet deal for some but in truth, it’s not exactly fair on your end. Your health leads need to be attracted first with the small facts they can easily digest and use the sales process to further and further increase their own understanding.

Here’s a basic outline of this idea:

  • Simple facts: Simple facts and simple statistics are understood by most people so start with those. Don’t just quote anything though. Cite research about common problems and bad processes that can be easily recognized by your target market. As for the best tools, you can use a website to put these simple facts on display or send out an email blast on a well-targeted list. In fact, a shorter message is often the ideal when marketing with one or the other. Also, make sure to include a call-to-action in the right places indicating that you know more than just these facts and can give further assistance via other channels.
  • Longer discussion: Some prospects may already have knowledge that goes beyond common facts and would like to discuss something more specific to their situation (that’s what the CTA was for after all). These are the types to skip over content and go straight for the action you called them to. So what are these actions? This is where the phone now comes in and the time to get your telemarketing services in gear. Make sure your telemarketers are equipped with knowledge that only adds to the basic facts you put on your publicized marketing materials. You don’t have to pressure your agents to learn everything but the purpose of having more knowledge is so that they can convince prospects to meet with your salespeople.
  • Getting a personalized appointment: Just like email, a phone conversation with a prospect still has its limits. Neither of you can afford talking on the phone for so long. This is the moment for sales to start stepping in and your agents to start appointment setting. In addition to that, your telemarketers should be able to record important facts discussed during the conversation so that sales can take note. Make sure they keep both parties aligned in terms of scheduling.

It’s true that putting information overload and telemarketing (or any form of marketing actually) together only produces bad results and annoyed prospects. On the flip side however, don’t forget that not all prospects are as ignorant of the common problems that your services and products hope to address. You’re going to have to market them all so it’s best to have a sales process that suits varying desires for knowledge and expertise. Keep your image consistent and carefully control just how much you share.

In Inbound Telemarketing, Every Bit Helps

Telemarketing, B2B Telemarketing, Sales LeadsA common use of inbound telemarketing is customer support. This service is commonly outsourced in case companies lack the resources to build their own marketing crew. But in healthcare, it’s important that your providers organize your inbound calls carefully between B2B and B2C inquiries.

For some, such telemarketing basics are trivial. Regardless, every bit helps, even something as easily done as organizing incoming calls. For others, they will actually counter that it’s not that easy, especially when your products cater to both patients and consumers alongside medical professionals. (Medical devices are one good example.)

B2C and B2B telemarketing groups tend to focus on needs that are unique to the inquirers they receive. It is important to know if the telemarketers either cater to B2B or B2C. Whether you use a single company that handles them all or several others specified to a certain type of caller, avoid making the following mistakes:

  • Burdening your agents – It can be quite unethical to force an agent to receive both B2B and B2C inquiries. Either one could require more than a whole volume of subjects that inbound callers want to discuss. For example, a regular consumer could be suffering a single troubleshooting problem but another call could be from a doctor who wants to discuss the invitation you sent them for an upcoming event. It doesn’t take a lot to image that an agent who takes both kinds of calls in a single day won’t stay sane for long.
  • Wasting time – Emergency rooms ideally prioritize critical emergencies over anything less life threatening such as simple colds or minor injuries. The same goes for your inbound telemarketing. If a consumer calls in for a small problem, redirect them immediately to the appropriate B2C agent. On the other hand, this should be so that your B2B agents can have more time to answer the more complicated inquiries coming from medical professionals. Don’t keep the likes of busy doctors waiting because they too have a lot of work to do! You can also save more time by making a note on your website the directs the right parties to the right numbers to call.
  • Too much automation – Speaking of which, you should also avoid the other extreme of excessively automating your entire customer support before callers can actually speak with a human being. More often than not, auto-responders serve more as a barricade to them than a form of assistance. The same goes for troubleshooting procedures on websites and help manuals. In case that they come with an issue that really is so easily solvable by those materials, then it shouldn’t take much time for B2C agents to simply point it out and then tell them to have a nice day. Now for B2B inquiries, it’s even more important to eliminate automation completely. Their reasons for calling are generally too complex for a simple program or a set of steps to really resolve. Who knows, some professionals might not really have a problem but are instead calling to be qualified as completely new medical leads!

Again, every bit helps, from the basic division of B2C from B2B and to the common sense of redirecting a customer. Such simple tasks and understanding can save a significant amount of time as well as stress. Use that knowledge to know the kind of telemarketers to outsource and avoid the above mistakes.

How To Keep Lead Generation Simple For Your Prospects

Lead Generation, Lead Generation For Healthcare, TelemarketingNo matter how complicated it gets on your end, your lead generation strategy should never confuse your prospect. Examples range from inconsistent marketing messages to loaded content that sends prospects fleeing from their sheer size. Avoiding the many different ways to make this mistake can be tricky but it always takes the following, basic steps:

  • 1: Make a plan and stick with it – Always have a plan when starting out and make sure to stick with it until the end. Some might argue that these days, B2B prospects are always switching channels. The new marketing plan-of-action should not be static but flexible. Well, guess what? That just further proves you shouldn’t just blindly change to whatever new marketing tool or technique that presents itself as a sure winner. Don’t use new channels that your prospects aren’t using. If you have to adapt, make sure it doesn’t come at the cost of the original strategy.For example, if your main lead generation tool is telemarketing, keep it that way. It’s all right to use email or any other medium but only if it’s used to improve the engagement done over the phone. You can also use email as a means to let the call push through (like sending an email to the decision maker asking for permission to bypass their gatekeeper).
  • 2: Have a consistent image – Sticking to your guns and not wildly trying to adapt leads to a consistent image. Since you’re in the healthcare industry, maintaining your image means you must stick closely to how your current customers view you. If they’re often used to hearing from you via a single website, the occasional newsletter, or monthly phone call, then don’t just ditch those tools even when something new comes around.

    Determine first just what it is you have as your advantage (marketing and otherwise) and expound upon it. One thing that distinguishes this step is that it calls you to not forget those customers and that you should keep in touch. Comparing what they want with what other new markets desire not only forges brand identity but that character is what differentiates you from your competitors.

  • 3: Listen more, talk less – Jargon and highly technical terms do not attract health leads. You may be in the same industry but there is still room for knowledge gaps. There’s no guarantee that you’ll know everything about what your prospect does without directly talking to them about it. The last response you’d give to this challenge is to present highly-loaded content and hoping that your expertise can attract interest.

Lead generation for healthcare strongly emphasizes on knowing the business needs of medical practices and institutions. These needs in turn are centered around delivering quality healthcare without constantly raising exorbitant costs. Most of the time though, these needs can be determined just through a simplified discussion. In fact, it’s always the basest components that two different entities tend to have in common. Why not narrow on that notion? Don’t confuse your prospects by switching to new tools all the time, diverting from what gives you an edge, or stuffing too much information.