December 29, 2021
3 minutes to read
Biography / Disclosures
Peter J. Polack, MD, FACS, is a cornea, refractive surgery, and external disease specialist at Ocala Eye, a large multi-specialty practice in North Central Florida and founder of Emedikon Marketing Systems. He has written and podcasted on EMRs and technology in healthcare and is also a co-author of The Ultimate Ophthalmic Marketing Guide.
This blog is a continuation of Part 1: A Counterintuitive Approach to Marketing Conversion Funnel Mapping.
In Part 1, I said, “Mapping your marketing funnel gives you four features that you wouldn’t have without a visual representation of your patient’s buying journey. These 4 abilities were discovered as I navigated a new way to manage LASIK growth from within the practice.
My Situation: I was a busy surgeon in a large multi-specialty practice trying to increase our LASIK income. At the time, I couldn’t understand why our number of LASIK cases had stabilized when our number of LASIK surgeons had doubled.
The main problem was that I didn’t know how many LASIK opportunities (to sell them surgery) we had ahead that were lost. The phone was ringing constantly, so for a long time we never suspected how the LASIK business volume was declining. In the meantime, we have had numerous cataract surgeries that have kept us busy.
Here’s the catch: How many calls never went anywhere? Have we actually counted the number of times we could have sold LASIK or cross-sell an alternative service (RLE or cataract when the caller was too old)? Over and over again, the answer was no. The call center didn’t know. The refraction coordinator didn’t know. Not sure. Not by looking for them in a prospect database.
In addition to not knowing the number of opportunities, we also never knew the disposition of these requests. How many attempts were we actually making to connect and get them to come? Were we losing one sale to another practice?
We had never explicitly told our staff the number of reconnection attempts before abandoning a lead as a lost opportunity. We also didn’t specify how quickly they should contact after receiving a message. As you may or may not know, follow-up times of more than 3 hours for any new prospect can be a huge loss of opportunity, and not just for LASIK. Callers today want to hear from you as soon as possible, as many will switch to your competitor if their questions aren’t answered on their first call.
Subjectively, I “knew” that we had done more surgeries in the previous 5 years with fewer surgeons in practice. Sadly, there didn’t seem to be much interest in the fall or its root cause, as cataracts kept everyone busy.
So I had to become a thug. I did a careful breakdown and process analysis of our LASIK marketing and sales funnel.
Then it came to me …
By mapping the entire end-to-end process, I realized we could run a better process to take advantage of LASIK phone inquiries. We could do this with assets that we already had or that we could build in-house. With zero advertising dollars. Not needing outside consultants or agency servants. No change of personnel either. All I had to do was redesign the lead capture process and plug the holes where our new LASIK opportunities were leaking. At the same time, I realized that this was proof of the power of process documentation not only to improve our inbound LASIK marketing, but for other premium services as well.
It also became clear how valuable process maps were in aligning (and defining) all stakeholders BEFORE running a random campaign and increasing costly traffic generation with a lot of advertising (after all, paying more. of water in a leaking funnel will only result in a higher volume of leakage). I could plan all aspects of a campaign BEFORE I invested a dime in building it.
My plan was to start with a simple “as is” and “to be” map showing where we are at and the key steps needed to reach our goal of selling more LASIK. This outcome would be measured by not losing the organic opportunities that flooded in by phone no matter how the caller found us. Discussing this initial map within our LASIK group would hopefully reveal who was / was not on board the new process and whether we were on track with the goal.
So I held an alignment meeting with all the stakeholders.
Participants included the process owner who handled LASIK sales as well as all participants in the LASIK process and marketing staff responsible for LASIK. The alignment meeting resulted in a unanimous decision on the ‘big picture’ of how the new process should play out and what we each should contribute to bring about the desired change.
After that, we developed a process map to help us identify new marketing assets that we might need as each prospect progressed through their buying journey. We called this card our production plan. Each existing or new marketing asset has been noted on the LASIK Marketing Card and the LASIK Commercial Card. We have named our process “LASIK CAPP (Capture All Phone Prospects)”.
Based on our successful documentation and alignment, we decided to apply it to marketing for other premium services that require revenue growth.
Within 35 calendar days (not business days) of activating the new process, we had captured low to medium 6 digits in LASIK opportunities from inbound telephone inquiries.
And that’s why I’m so happy to share the frame with you. Hope your results will be similar.
Stay tuned … in Part 3, I’m going to break down each step of the process mapping framework and explain why it helps build, manage, and optimize our LASIK CAPP phone request funnel (or any other service).