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Getting Unstuck: 3 Ways to Move Prospects Through the Pipeline


Medical practices today are challenged by a competitive industry and increasing pressure to meet growing consumer expectations. Attracting new patients and quickly getting them through the evaluation process means having strategies that are consistent, immediate, customer-focused, and constantly connected to the prospect at each step. Here are 3 ways you can help alleviate lead to consult bottlenecks to drive more booked appointments.


1. Know What Drives Leads

OptiCall’s annual Medical Marketing Outlook analyzes data from over 1 million patient phone calls and web leads to determine the most effective ways medical practices are attracting and converting more prospects to booked appointments.

This year’s report shed light on a number of key areas, but one of the most notable was the spike in leads that came from Internet Search. A shift that almost directly correlates with the decrease in Word of Mouth Referrals.


2018 Medical Industry Snapshot

How did you hear about us? 2018 % of all Booked
Change from 2017
Word of Mouth Referrals 47.07% -8.51%
Internet 33.56% +7.43%
Radio 6.90% +0.25%
TV 2.61% +0.46%
Signage & Billboard 2.26% 0.00%
Insurance 2.08%  +0.05%
Print 0.62% -1.44%
Event or Health Fair 0.36% -0.06%
Direct Mail 0.26% -0.08%

This data indicates consumers are less inclined to turn to friends and family to help inform their decisions, and instead, are increasingly relying on their own research for more information. Mobile is a major catalyst in making this information available any time, anywhere.

Internet Search is of course not a new thing. But it has evolved dramatically as not only an information source, but a way for consumers to get in touch with companies instantly. With mobile click-to-call and the ability to easily submit a contact form 24 hours a day/7 days a week, digital is empowering the consumer to make better choices and connect them to brands like never before.

As a practice looking to streamline the lead to consult process, it’s important to have internet and mobile search a key part of your marketing strategy.

2. It’s All About Speed to Lead

Driving leads is one thing, but the bottleneck from moving a prospect down the pipeline typically happens just after a prospect has taken action. Without a plan or effective process for promptly and consistently answering phone calls and online leads, many promising leads are not engaged and turn their attention elsewhere.

It can’t be stressed enough, time is of the essence when it comes to following-up with patient inquiries.  Consumers are increasingly making decisions “in the moment”, often out of an emotional need to solve a problem or to fulfill a desire. Their expectation is all about solving their problem right now.

That’s why it’s never been more important to capture prospects at the right time by responding quickly to every phone call and online form submission. Data shows a practice that’s in the habit of putting calls on hold is immediately losing about one-third of their leads, and contact quality rates decrease by 10x after the first 5 minutes of a prospect submitting an online form.

However, it can be challenging for office staff to juggle managing inbound leads while also being attentive to patients in the office. That’s why many practices have found outsourcing phone answering and online lead management to ensure no lead falls through the cracks, but instead is handled immediately by a trained counselor.

If you’re wondering how your practice is currently managing inbound leads, OptiCall offers a free practice assessment. This report can help you understand how your practice is performing and where there may be bottlenecks at this stage in the process. Click here for to request your assessment.


3. Stay Top of Mind by Staying in Touch

Practices can implement all the best strategies to help move patients through the sales process, but there will always be prospects in a research phase and not ready to take the next step at an initial contact. This isn’t good-bye.

Your efforts should switch toward a systematized plan for nurturing them with various touchpoints and key content so that when they are ready to make a move, you are top of mind.

To do so, you need to ensure your staff collects key information at the initial point of contact such as name, phone number, and email to be able to send information right after they have spoken with the patient and be able to follow up over time.

OptiCall’s Capture web lead response program incorporates multiple touch points over the span of three months until the patient takes action. A combination of direct outreach and relevant content over a sustained period of time helps your practice stay connected to the prospect and significantly increases their likelihood of re-engaging when they weren’t initially ready to book. Click here to download the Capture Infographic.

The patient’s journey from lead to consult and ultimately booked procedure is evolving. However, the most successful practices ensure they have strategic processes, rapid response times, and the touchpoints along the way to help them stay connected and top of mind.

Maybe you’re one of the few practices that has streamlined the sales process. However, if you’re unsure where prospects are getting stuck, our free practice assessment is one of the best ways to identify bottlenecks. We’ll determine how many leads are either contacted too late or never followed up on so you can understand the impact on your practice’s bottom line. To get started, complete the fields below.