Data vs. Sales: Which Comes First in Driving Growth

Tammy Tiller-Hewitt  —  February 12, 2013 — Leave a comment

Parking yourself in a garage won’t make you a car just as purchasing external data won’t increase your market share. Successful organizations use timely and relevant data to direct and measure their efforts; however the real measureable success comes from what is done “with” the data. Timely and relevant data provide the map or direction, but alone will not provide the vehicle (sales team) to influence or reach your strategic growth destination.

data-vs-sales

Too many healthcare organizations today are spending a ton of money on external data before using available internal data or having a sales strategy and professionally trained sales team(s) in place.

Internal Data – If you’re Getting Paid, You have Internal Data

Too many healthcare organizations are putting the cart before horse and spending an absorbent amount of money purchasing referral databases/CRM systems before:

  1. Effectively evaluating and using their own [free] internal data, and
  2. Having the right people or team in place to strategically use data to drive measurable results.

Before spending limited resources on external data systems, organizations should make sure their internal data has been exhausted.

Don’t even try and sell me on “We don’t have good internal data!” I hear and disprove that myth every day as we launch Physician Liaison/Sales Programs. My response is always if you’re getting paid on claims, you have timely and reliable internal data that can be used starting TODAY.

Lack of internal data is rarely the problem (or at least one that can’t easily be resolved). 90% of the time the difficulties stem from internal processes or politics. It can be as easy as the data has never been requested in an organized or understandable fashion, so a “no data available’ assumption is born. Models can easily be built to show referral trends by individual physicians in all key strategic growth areas. This can truly be the easiest and quickest part!

External Data – Remember First Things First

My husband always says, “A new map doesn’t make the old car get there faster.” He is a car-guy, but I thought it was an excellent metaphor to drive home my message.

While external data can help get closer to the “whole picture” in terms of referral data, this investment shouldn’t be your first step. If you haven’t purchased external data just hold off long enough to use internal referral data and launch an effective sales/liaison program.

Purchasing external data is not the problem; purchasing data before using what is freely available, only to be viewed around the boardroom table and then shelved most certainly is a problem! Data has a short shelf life.

If you have already purchased external data, let me ask:

  1. What’s your expected return on investment?
  2. Are you confident that your organization has the expertise to use the data to bring incremental business?
  3. Who is the strategic navigator (not navigators) of the data to ensure ROI? Who owns it?

The Vehicle – The Right People

Just as you wouldn’t buy gasoline before purchasing a vehicle, it is strategically wise to first allocate resources for the team that will use both internal and external data to drive growth. The vehicle that will drive long-term growth is a professionally trained sales staff. Receiving, understanding, processing, and responding quickly to reliable and relevant data is the successful combination for focus and growth.

Neither sales without data, nor data without sales will offer a successful long-term growth strategy.

Obtaining Measurable Results

Measureable results happen when organizations combine a skilled team with timely market and referral data. Many organizations are in need of advanced training for today’s physician liaisons and integration teams.

At Tiller-Hewitt we understand the importance of both internal and external data in building laser-focused sales teams that enjoy long-term measureable results. Our Program is designed to maximize the strategic use of all data sources, and equip highly-trained liaisons with a proven system and structure that generates maximum long-term incremental market share growth.

Call us at 618-651-8700 for a consultation.

Tammy Tiller-Hewitt

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Tammy Tiller-Hewitt is a nationally recognized physician relations and retention consultant, keynote speaker, and writer. With more than 25 years of healthcare management experience, her work with both the health system and the physician practice side of healthcare give her a unique perspective on the complexities facing today’s healthcare professionals.

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