As healthcare marketers, capturing the attention of our audience and converting them to patients or customers is one of our biggest goals. Campaigns, whether on search, social, your website, in print, or anywhere else are a great way to drive those conversions. But, while extensive effort, time, budget, and strategy goes into creating successful marketing campaigns, managing and nurturing leads from those campaigns through to scheduled appointment and beyond can often be an afterthought. As a wise woman once said “Great lead management requires the right mix of skill and insight.

As healthcare marketers you’re highly skilled, but the truth is you can’t accomplish effective lead management with just your marketing department. Your marketing team can do everything right for the campaign, from the planning to the launch, but if you don’t have internal buy-in and resources for follow-up, your organization and your consumer experience suffers.

We’re often asked who should be involved from your organization for effective lead management. From the very beginning of strategy planning, it’s imperative to have a cross-functional team in place. Individuals on this team can differ based on your organization’s size, market, resources, etc., but at minimum you should include:

  • Front line staff who respond to the initial campaign CTA, (this is usually a call-center, whether in house or through a partnership) 
  • Service line managers
  • Nurse navigators
  • Operations
  • IT
  • Providers
  • And, of course, your marketing team

All stakeholders must agree that your organization has the manpower to not just respond to the leads but also handle the increased volume of patients and appointments that could follow.

Let the Consumer Lead the Way
Once you have all stakeholders dedicated to the same strategy, you can turn your attention to the campaigns best suited to help you reach your organizational goals. Here, it’s vital to map your consumer journey prior to embarking on any marketing campaign. This helps paint a picture of the essential touchpoints that guide a consumer along the path from awareness of your brand to conversion to a patient to the ultimate goal of becoming a loyal patient. For instance, think about what you want the follow up to be once they respond to your CTA. What happens next? Are there parameters to what communication should happen for follow up and how quickly? Do you have a plan and the content necessary to move the consumer to a nurturing program until they book an appointment, etc.?

To provide the ideal consumer experience and effectively manage your leads, you need to strike while the iron is hot. 47% of consumers expect a response to inbound inquiries within an hour, and 84% do not want to wait more than a day, according to a survey from Altitude. To win at healthcare consumer experience, you have to give consumers what they want, when they want it, how they want it … whether that is a request for information, an appointment, or booking a seminar. Your front line staff has to be highly responsive with valuable information and next steps. If you don’t engage with healthcare consumers in a timely manner, they’re likely to move on to another healthcare organization or provider.

Ready the Troops
Unfortunately, healthcare organizations often don’t have dedicated resources to act as the first line of defense with lead management. Internal staff members often have competing priorities, and you need a budget for a dedicated call center. Without highly trained and engaged front line staff accepting the phone calls, form fills, emails, and more, your consumer satisfaction with their healthcare experience could be dampened or that lead might even be lost in the transition.

It’s so important to involve your front line staff from the beginning of the lead management process planning. Meet with them, ask about their day-to-day duties, and let them have input into the campaign CTA. If it’s easier for them to respond to forms or emails over phone calls, take that into account when developing your campaign – with the caveat that your consumer experience strategy should come first. Keep an open line of communication so you can engage your front line staff in the process and give them a sense of ownership. Since they’re working as the first line of defense in your campaign, they often have valuable input into how to improve lead management. If you don’t have the internal resources available to handle this kind of lead management, you should consider call center outsourcing to fill that gap.

The Technology to Support Your Efforts
According to an Aberdeen study, 71% of best-in-class companies surveyed said they utilized lead management technology. Lead management technology helps you track individual consumers from the first touchpoint to ensure they’re receiving appropriate nurturing and communication at every step of the way.

Beyond having buy-in across your organization for the lead management process, having technology in place that supports your effort is huge. Lead management technology drives the connection between marketing efforts to reporting and downstream financial success.

With lead management technology, you can see interactions in real-time, update campaigns that may be struggling, troubleshoot while campaigns are in flight, identify gaps in communications, tweak messaging, CTAs, etc. and show the value of your efforts more easily. The best lead management solutions allow you to measure and manage leads for any campaign you’re running — from traditional to digital, including multi-channel campaigns. Lead management technology helps prove to executives that the leads and revenue that come in are directly attributable to a campaign and your marketing team’s efforts.

Want to learn more about how lead management paired with your CRM technology can lead to more tangible results? Download our Definitive Guide to Healthcare CRM .