Has 2020 turned out the way you expected for your business? If you are like most of the country, the answer is no. With the COVID-19 pandemic taking center stage for providers in home medical equipment (HME), home health and hospice, this year has been one of disruption. Many providers have been knocked off target and must course correct to end the year strong and set a strategy for 2021.
I will examine how market data has changed over the years, the key elements that claims data can provide and an actionable data strategy plan every provider can use as you strategize your 2021 sales plan.
Data Has Changed
As coding and claims tracking have improved over the years, so has the data produced by these submissions. Less than 10 years ago, data was wildly inaccurate, and this often created confusion and distrust for the marketing and sales team—and even for leadership in many instances.
While claims data is not 100% accurate, the quality of the data is better than ever and timelier, too. Data is no longer 18 to 24 months old. Now, claims data is typically from the previous quarter and provides a complete market analysis that can drive all sales efforts.
The Three Key Elements that Accurate Market Data Provides
Market data provides a clear path to target referral success and prevents time wasted on accounts that either produce minimal referrals or are already deeply entrenched with competitors. Here’s what to look at:
1. Referral Source Ranking
This is typically a range from 10 to 1, where any referral source ranked with a 10 would be associated as a high-volume prescriber of that specific product, and a 1 would indicate a low-volume prescriber. The data validates what you have already assumed about a specific referral source.
2. Specific Targeted Product or Service
Source ranking will further quantify the volume of referrals done. Don’t rely on gut instincts and or prognostication; rather, the data will clearly show who the top referrals are and the volume they prescribe for a specific product or service.
3. Competitive Trending
Market data provides in-depth historical and current trends on each referral source for a specific product or service. That means you have the ranked referral source and the volume of referrals, and you know which competitors they are sending referrals to. This will also show you how much business you are getting (or not getting) from these referral sources, as your provider number is in this data.
Know Your Competition
Competitive trending is the differentiator. Take a look at the competitors vying for a share in your marketplace. Who is a constant presence at nearly every sales call your team makes? It’s important to understand the competition as if it is a battle to be fought. To come to the market without knowing your competition at this level will leave gaps in your market approach, strategy and penetration.
It is highly recommended that a S.W.O.T. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis be done on each competitor. This must be a joint effort for leadership and the sales team. Take the information gathered about each competitors’ strengths and use them as the opportunities your business has to beat the competition as you go into each market. Competitive trending allows providers to take the information from the SWOT analysis and exponentially enhances what the strategy with targeted referrals sources must be.
Develop a Data Strategy
Market data is more reliable than ever before, and the three key elements that data offers are competitive game-changers. Yet there are countless providers who have this information but don’t optimize it to positively impact their business. Simply stated, providers do not live by data alone.
To differentiate and capitalize on the data the way it was intended, you need to have a specific data strategy.
In the December 2019 issue of HomeCare, I shared an article titled “Getting From Here to There in 2020.” This article provides a four-step strategic planning process to optimize your business. The four parts of this strategy are:
- Understanding the Here
- Defining the There
- Finding the Path
- Getting There
It’s important to note that after navigating from here to there, you still must execute the plan. Execution is how your team works together to achieve the business optimization steps laid out in the plan, measured by the established metrics and reported upon during the business optimization meeting. That article (which you can find at homecaremag.com) will help as you create a 2021 sales strategy and will prepare you to develop a strong strategy that produces results. The incorporation of market data will accelerate the results of your plan.
The best time to begin your 2021 sales strategy is now. Your plan will affect not only 2021, but also the remainder of 2020.