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by Michael Ferris, Partner, Healthcare Strategica

Michael Ferris

Now that you have made the investment in a Relationship Management / CRM / Sales Automation Solution, it’s important to optimize your ROI thru utilization by your team. Start with the key functionality that will replace manual systems and support your sales process.

Remember that this is the opportunity to make sure that this is a Strategic Growth Platform not just a contact management program. Do it right and have the right vendor partner and it will drive your future growth and success.

Do not rush the process. Make sure everything is ready to roll before bringing the sales team up on the solution. Here are the key steps in the process:

  1. Map out your sales workflows and replicate them in your Relationship Management Solution. Recognize where there are process changes that will be made upon implementing your new solution and document these changes. Take your time with this step to get the best outcome from your investment.
  2. Use account ratings that take into consideration both the historical production of the account plus their potential, as reflected in your market intelligence data. Account ratings should, ideally, be pre-loaded and automated. If not automated, then make sure the initial ratings are done per the defined account rating methodology.  Require sales update the account ratings monthly. This is important since one key metric to measure each month is the total number of ‘A’ accounts by sales person, territory, region and or sales team.
  3. Territory alignment is critical, and this is the time to look at any realignments. The territories should make sense based on the historical production of the accounts, number of ‘A’ accounts and the number of potential ‘A’ accounts.
  4. Focus on targeting and efficient routing. This will give you the biggest bang for the buck.  Once accounts are rated, the actively worked accounts in the territory can be put on routing lists to make sure that you are maximizing sales face time with accounts and minimizing windshield time. 
    1. Tip:  For recurring appointments, on the first go around, have the sales team just do six weeks of routing. The first pass at getting the routing lists and scheduling will be a learning process. If they put the recurring appointments in until the end of the year (or the end of time, in some cases) then you have more to clean up when they get a better feel for what works for that account.

Integration with your electronic medical record (EMR) is a key element to a successful Relationship Management Solution implementation. 

  1. Test the data that is exported to the solution at installation and thereafter. Make sure that everything is coming over that needs to, and that any data integrity issues or cleanup are well thought out. You will always have sales people pointing out issues, so minimize complaints and let the team know of any known data problems.
  2. Do not train your sales people on the application until they can immediately use it in the field.

Nothing will bog down your new implementation than having sales people who are immediately suspect of the solution because of issues that haven’t been resolved. Have some beta testers to make sure it all works right.

  1. Use of the new Sales Automation solution is NOT optional.(that's a period, as in no exceptions). You will find that there are members of your sales team that struggle with the solution and always have a reason why they can’t use it properly. Check to see if the issue is accountability or process/workflow. We have found that many of the sales people with the most problems using a CRM solution do not want to be accountable. Accountability is very important for your sales people to stay on plan and exceed their goals. Your best team members will accept and embrace the accountability. Any sales person who complains about how this is just big brother watching their every move, should be evaluated and if retained, empowered to use the solution to maximum results.
  2. Superusers are those users who excel at using the solution, they should be identified and recognized. But much like your best sales producers, don't assume that they can teach others how to use the CRM solution. Many times, you will have sales people who are unorthodox in their approach and yet they produce big results. They are usually not the ones you want your new or struggling reps to emulate.
  3. Make sure that all their account data has migrated, and the market intelligence data is integrated. Market intelligence data is critical to successful CRM utilization. One of the biggest benefits you should derive from your investment is the ability to use current market intelligence data to drive decision making by your sales team. Targeting the right accounts is one of the most important predictors of success. By combining your historical data from the EMR with the market intelligence data, you can rate your accounts accurately for current volume and potential volume.
Michael Ferris

Managing the expectations of both sales and leadership thru regular meetings, good communication and timely business decisions will increase utilization of your new solution. Once your CRM is in place not using it is NOT an option, so you will need to work through any issues quickly with the vendor and your team.

Michael has over 24 years of experience in the post-acute healthcare sales arena and has written the industry best sellers, now available are his first new books in over a decade, “Definitive Guide to Healthcare Sales: Achieve Superstar Sales Success” and “Definitive Guide to Hospice Sales: Achieve Superstar Sales Success”. Order your copies today at

Feel free to contact Michael at with any questions or comments.

©2018 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only.