When you scan Marketing Director/VP/CMO Job openings you find the following list of ‘requirements’ –
- Increase Sales leads
- Increase Brand awareness
- Create and Manage Social Media marketing, Direct Mail and other campaigns
- Manage Trade-shows
These are not enough. While all of the above may be necessary they are not fundamental. As a Marketer, the mindset must be to find and close business. This means, it is your responsibility to get a handle on the entire sales funnel, and its implications on economics. You need to work closely with sales leadership and team.
One essential element of understanding the sales funnel economics is to understand the ratios and metrics. How many Opportunities are required to close a sale? How many leads are required to get qualified opportunities? By extension, knowledge of what it takes to move a lead to be qualified.
EMR sales is non-linear. Providers, Office Managers, IT staff and Billing heads are most probably your buying constituents. You need to understand their behavior and by implication the fundamentals of nurturing these leads.
For Revenue-Centric Marketing there are three essential things you need to do in order to understand Lead-Potential-Sale metrics and mathematics.
1. Social Lead Buying Signals
I did not say ‘Social Media Marketing’ intentionally because social media marketing has a very narrow definition, that of generating followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. and amassing ‘likes’. This is absolutely the wrong focus.
You should not care about how many ‘handshakes’ you have in a meeting or a party, what matters is how many people get to really know you in a meaningful conversation. Similarly in a virtual social gathering you must focus on building conversations, and engaging your followers in an active two-way conversation, having discussions about things that matter to them – their afflictions and aspirations.
This of course, is just the starting point.
Once followers (pre-leads) are engaged, they start opening up more and will almost invariably reveal ‘buying signals’ and intentions. This revelation yields to filling up your top portion of the pipeline – lead generation.
You need to take advantage of this with a mix of human and technology automation. Good human writing and good marketing automation tools can significantly drive your top funnel.
2. In-bound Marketing essentials including SEO.
You’re probably thinking – “We’re already doing this.” so what’s new?
Behind SEO or any in-bound marketing effort is the understanding of what drives natural traffic. It is not just search and keywords. Rules of ‘search’ from a buyer’s perspective are changing daily.
Even if you are listed on the first page of a search engine with relevant keywords, why would someone click on your link? How to create content that drives perpetual inbound interest for your EHR system? There are tons of vendors and products.
The most important driver (and the only one I can safely say) of successful in-bound marketing and SEO is great content. If you are not getting traffic from your in-bound marketing efforts, take a look at your content. It is probably not unique enough to drive a conversation and interest that touches aspirations and afflictions of your prospect market.
3. Nurturing Leads – Workflow and Drip Development
We all know the reality – not all leads and prospects convert right away. Most of them are not ready to buy; yet. Most need ‘nurturing’ before they think of buying.
The reality with most EHR vendors is that there is no comprehensive strategy to address how your customers buy. You must gather this knowledge to design processes and tactics throughout the company that understands the buying process and empowers prospects wherever they are in the buying process/stage.
Making follow-up phone calls, sending occasional (or even automated newsletters and emails) is not a strategy.
Your prospects have their own timeline independent of yours. Your sales people may be good at managing the sales process, and following up diligently, but prospects may feel they are being bombarded and pressured.
Marketing Automation tools can help nurture leads by crafting effective workflow and drip campaigns reflecting buyer behavior, signals and paths that prospects take with your content and conversations.
In summary, combining old world marketing tactics with the three strategies I’ve talked about here will help increase not only leads, but more importantly, improve essential metrics and revenue performance at every step of the way.