Successful lead generation can attract customers of all types be they good or bad. While it is the ideal to always focus on the customer, that does not mean your customers are gods (in fact, even the gods of myth are not all so kind). However, just as your marketing and sales brought you these customers, they are also your response to them when they start making trouble.
Just because you targeted healthcare as your first industry for sales leads does not mean your medical device can be limited to it. In fact, try this little thought experiment. Look at the wheel. All by itself. Note that despite its simple concept, this little shape has become a primary component in many industry devices (automobile, manufacturing, energy etc). The label rarely has any bearing on that function.
Lead generation is a marketing process and but if there is one thing that marketing is unconventionally good at, it is spreading awareness. As you know, awareness is one of the greatest weapons against disease simply because prevention will always better than cure. It is how epidemics have always been neutralized and dealt with.
Though speaking of epidemics, there are some that do their damage slowly and in long-term consequences in contrast to blatantly lethal images of plagues and contagions. How can your medical lead generation process combat these unseen enemies to public health?
When telemarketing (or in any form of communication for that matter), you should never judge just by looks. However, what if there comes a time when a prospect is in fact what they appear to be? These are not about those ordinary prospects who professionally present their work or practice. These are about those more eccentric professionals who behave in ways you think only their cartoon versions would behave.
Even healthcare, you do not always push the panic button and it is the same with appointment setting. However, perhaps it would be a good idea to elaborate more on the situations that tempt people to push this button. In fact, the overreaction could be the result of numerous factors that need to be organized.
Panicking During Lead Generation Is Counterproductive
In the following list, you will find some of the situations but despite their differences, these all can occur during the sales process where you qualify health leads. While serious and urgent problems can turn up, even those need to be approached with level head in order to critically evaluate:
- Feeling that a problem is being overlooked – You spoke with a prospect after a successful call but get the inkling feeling that something is off. You have all the details but the prospect never brought up any of the objections you often expected would be raised. Beware this feeling of suspicion because you could be treading the thin line between intuition and paranoia. The best way to avoid pushing the panic button here is by simply mentioning it to your sales. You do not tell them to make the mistake of assuming a problem until you hint it to a prospect. This is why encouraging feedback, even this early in a business relationship, remains to be an important rule to go by.
Related Content: Healthcare Telemarketing – Asking And Answering The Right Questions
- Prospect comes to you with a problem – Whether it is an unfamiliar prospect or one you are still trying to get to know, avoid getting caught up in their hysteria if they come to you in need of an emergency solution. Though realistically speaking, they may not have literally gone over the edge but are simply insisting on meeting with you soon. The best appointment setting strategy does not snap you under that pressure. It is supposed to carefully and politely evaluate their problems. Besides, there are many situations where a non-expert can overreact from issues that experts deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes the problems they are fretting over are not even the real issue they need to deal with.
Related Content: In Appointment Setting, Go Beyond What Is Wanted
- A customer comes to you with an emergency – Some might think that this is just the same as with a prospect except you have a stronger familiarity. That is only half true. In fact, if you really know your customers, you know that they can still be just as prone to making a big deal out of a small issue. Different customer types vary as well. For example, if the customer has been doing business with you for a long time, then perhaps their problem could in fact be quite serious. On the other hand, problem customers are always nitpicking over the smallest details so you tend to take their issues with a grain of salt.
This does not mean you should never dismiss the possibility of a major problem coming up. On the contrary, it is good to be vigilant. But again, vigilance and quick-response to a situation is not the same as your lead generation services being jittery with a panic button close at hand.
Healthcare may be no stranger to physical risks but it should be the same for business risks too (like lead generation). Then again, you might say that risks are not avoidable in business either. But despite that, you should draw a line before your marketing campaigns accidentally cut themselves.
Keeping A Lead Generator Safe VS Keeping It In A Bubble
There is a fine line between maintaining the health of your marketing and an irrational aversion to all risks. It is like the difference between someone who knows how to use a scalpel and a bone saw to address the same problem. That difference is not that hard to tell. And in business, all you need is a little marketing common sense:
- Using a scalpel – When it comes to B2B marketing and generating health leads, the first thing you need is attention. You want to present your business image and attract the interest of your market. This same market has an established need, a set budget, and the position to authorize the purchase. There are various methods and tools like telemarketing and social media. Each carries a certain risk but you must take those risks because your business needs to get out there and meet with people.
- Using a bone saw – There are some methods however that, despite promising high rewards, have risks that your business might not survive through. Do not be so easily tempted by such rewards. Have you considered the long-term consequences? Do you think money is the only thing that you are risking with this tactic? What about your reputation? How much is that worth to you? Are you prepared for the worst-case scenario? How much does this method leave in your control?
Related Content: Does Lead Generation Require Viral Attention?
Obviously, people exercise much more care when handling a bone saw compared to a scalpel. (And if not, congratulations, you are officially scaring people.) But for marketing, some methods are arguably so risky, it might be better not to delve into them at all. A few of them would include:
- Tying yourself to politics – Just because healthcare has been the subject of political debate does not give you any license to just jump right in. On subjects like this, tensions run high and your viewpoints can wind up more emotionally skewed (and not to mention, off-topic). Avoid getting caught up in election hype and keep your sales lead generation focused on the objectives of your business.
- Overusing celebrity connections – These days even B2C companies are wary about tying their brand image with that of a well-known public figure. And the farther these superstars are from your niche, the worse you will be doing if you think of parading them around. What you may not realize is that you are tying your brand image to theirs, not the reverse.
- Overspending on ‘new’ marketing tools – New or old, no marketing tool is mastered overnight and no amount of money is necessarily going to accomplish that for you. Instead of always jumping on the latest trend, check how much you are spending and actually measure it against how much you are earning. Start controlling your marketing budget before it devours itself!
Again, no matter how many B2B sales leads you will generate, there is no point if it results in your entire business cutting itself.
One 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.
A 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.
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