14 All Too Common Physician Liaison Marketing Pitfalls
Establishing a successful physician liaison marketing program is vital for a private practice to generate new referrals from local doctors. When it comes to healthcare marketing the physician liaison referral marketing is the most effective for increasing new patient referrals from primary care and specialty doctors. The challenge is sustaining and managing a successful physician liaison program. If your physician liaison marketing for your practice is not producing results and growing doctor referrals you may be making these common mistakes.
1. Bargain Shopping or Not Making the Necessary Marketing Investment
Don’t be cheap! If you expect your referral marketing to deliver top results quickly and effectively you need to invest in it. The biggest mistake doctors make is being cheap when hiring a physician liaison by looking for the least expensive candidate to create and direct the largest portion of your marketing department. If you are picking a physician liaison and your most important criteria is that they were the lowest investment your physician liaison marketing will reflect that. No offense but an untrained, recently graduated college student that majored in marketing is just not going to cut it without proper training. Evaluate your practice revenue and develop a budget that fits your practice and invest in the highest quality candidate. Candidates that meet the quality criteria that you need to successfully manage your physician liaison marketing will produce the most effective results in the long run. Individuals with marketing and healthcare experience will bring additional assets and a huge value to your marketing department. Hiring for experience and know how will result in less stress and improved effectiveness which leads to sustainable growth.
Read for more information on the qualities needed to be a successful physician liaison.
2. No Access to Marketing Reports and Practice Analytics
Know your numbers! All too often physicians do not track or run referral analytics reports. How can you measure the growth of your referrals if you haven’t created systems to do so? It is essential to develop marketing reports to track/measure your patient referrals and revenue. These reports will also provide the practice with a map to structure where the referral marketing efforts should be directed. Referral marketing analytics provide a huge upfront value for your practice by providing a fully comprehensive view of the current status of the doctor referrals and revenue.
3. Not Creating Marketing Benchmarks
Once you have developed a comprehensive referral marketing report to evaluate the results and establish marketing benchmarks. Benchmarks provide the physician liaison with attainable and measurable goals. They also help keep your referral marketing organized and everyone on the same page as to how the practice is measuring the success of the program. As the employing doctor, you can easily track the return on investment (ROI) and the overall value referral marketing has provided for your practice.
4. Not Establishing Marketing Goals
A big mistake any doctor can make is not discussing and setting achievable goals for their physician liaison. Once you have completed the necessary steps and identified benchmarks set time aside to have a clear discussion with the physician liaison on what a “win” looks like for the practice. There are many ways to measure a successful physician liaison marketing program the most obvious being an increase in physician referrals. Other elements to measure when analyzing efforts are an increase in new patient referrals, new doctor referrals, and high revenue procedures. It is important to communicate these goals with your physician liaison so they are on the same page with you as the practice owner. If a physician liaison is only working towards one goal it limits the overall success of the referral marketing and creates frustration and confusion for both the doctor and the liaison. It may seem obvious but simply implying what needs to be done is not enough to define your marketing goals and lay them out.
5. Limited or No Physician Liaison Training
Mastering the art referral marketing entails training, lots of training. If you want a five-star healthcare marketing program your physician liaisons will need to complete an extensive amount of training. The first month of a physician liaison’s work at the practice should be “learning the ropes”. Medical marketing requires the necessary amount of medical training and research. As the medical director, make sure you have put in the time to train your employee about the services of the practice and the knowledge of your specialty along with common FAQs. Schedule time with them to train in different aspects of the practice on top of speaking and visiting with doctors. Remember, your physician liaison is a representative of your practice, your voice so to speak, and is there to build referral relationships and bridge the gap of communication. Training requires investing time upfront and organizing multiple schedules but it fully equips your liaison with the knowledge and confidence needed to be successful. A properly trained physician liaison is the most effective and reflects the level of professionalism of the medical practice.
Read to learn the difference between a quality and quantity referral marketing visit.
6. Forgoing Weekly Marketing Meetings
As the medical director schedule a set time and day in the week to discuss marketing with your physician liaison. Consistent marketing meetings allow the physician liaison the time with the doctor to recap the week and discuss the upcoming agenda. Use these healthcare marketing meetings to discuss the previous week’s highlights. Marketing meetings should not be too long because they are simply to review the physician liaison marketing and open communication. Your time is precious but invaluable to the program. 15 minutes for weekly marketing meetings should be sufficient and will help the progress of the physician liaison marketing by keeping you up to date with referring doctors.
7. Not Expanding Their Healthcare Marketing Network
Make introductions for your physician liaison to your network of healthcare professionals. As a doctor, you have worked throughout the years with other physicians and medical professionals so introduce your marketer to them and their responsibilities. By expanding their network of medical professionals you will increase their credibility and streamline their access to referring physicians and medical practices. Your physician liaison can also assist you in pursuing meetings with other healthcare professionals that may have fantastic synergies.
8. No Marketing Contact List
When onboarding your physician liaison provide them with the contacts the practice has accumulated including staff members, pharmaceutical reps, clinical managers, doctors, caterers, hospital contacts, and other healthcare professionals. This list will help avoid wasting unnecessary time to obtain information and delay any communication needed for marketing. While out in field visiting referring doctors your physician liaison will acquire a multitude of healthcare contacts. Supply the physician liaison with the necessary resources to organize their healthcare contacts. A contact system or software is the best to have all medical contacts and action items organized to create consistent workflows for marketing.
9. Refusing or Being Slow to Respond to Feedback
The easiest way to damage the efforts of your physician liaison is not responding to the referral marketing feedback they bring to your attention. Your physician liaison is an extension of your practice and serves as a direct line of communication to the practice physician. The physician liaison will receive information that will require your attention and expertise. Restricting their communication with you as the practice medical director makes the physician liaison unable to respond in an efficient amount of time or provide any value to the referring doctors. Mistakes happen, do not get offended or place the blame if the ball has been dropped and definitely do not shoot the messenger. React quickly, handle the situation and 9/10 times everything will iron itself out.
10. Lack of Support
This may sound self-explanatory, so the best way to describe how doctors can ruin their physician liaison marketing program is by listing ways they can fail to show support:
- Lack of Communication with Physician Liaison
- Not including the physician liaison in meetings regarding the medical practice
- Not providing the necessary resources
- Not providing additional practice staff assistance
- Constantly unavailable
- Inconsistent marketing meetings
- Canceling on marketing events
- Not willing to listen to their marketing recommendations & advice
- Not following through on marketing projects
- Overruling them on marketing agendas or delaying tasks
- No structure
- Overloading the physician liaison with outside projects unrelated to marketing
11. Not Providing the Necessary Resources for Healthcare Marketing
Don’t leave your physician liaison empty-handed. Not providing your physician liaison with the resources they need to execute on marketing tasks only hurts the overall strategy. They may require financing to develop marketing collateral for events and referral marketing. Help by reimbursing them for personal costs they may have obtained while marketing for the medical practice. Not all resources are financial most will be in contacts and Intel. Give the physician liaison all the structure they need to perform at the highest level. Physician liaison marketing can be complex and there are so many ways to ramp up patient referrals make sure they have all they need to accomplish their marketing tasks.
12. Unwilling to Listen
Physician liaisons work primarily outside the medical office and their day-to-day interactions are with referring doctors, hospitals, and healthcare professionals. They not only bring information about your medical practice but find ways the practice can better serve the needs of the referring physicians. Referring doctors may ask for something to help them when sending referrals or have questions and possible concerns. Listen to your physician liaison if they approach you with ideas to better serve the needs of the referring doctors it may be the key to maximizing outcomes.
Patient care is the highest priority when it comes to referring physicians and the medical practice. Listen to the suggestions your physician liaison may have for improving the patient’s experience at the practice as this insight can make all the difference and help retain patients as well as generate positive reviews. Healthcare marketing has many new ways of helping doctors grow their patients or improve their experiences as your physician liaison. They can give you great consulting insight to help expand the marketing efforts of the practice, utilize their knowledge and work.
13. Micro Managing Your Healthcare Marketing Program
Where is the line between managing and micro managing? Unfortunately, this is a mistake doctors make all too often. Micro managing can delay marketing and stunt the growth of patient referrals. If you do not give your physician liaison the appropriate amount of authority to execute on marketing projects you are only slowing down the process by making them constantly wait on your approval for every project. Let’s face it your busy being an incredible doctor you don’t have time to research healthcare marketing events or hospital reps. Don’t waste your time getting involved in every detail of the marketing initiatives establish a balance with your physician liaison. Discuss what needs to be accomplished or what you need and give them the responsibility to get it to 99% completion before your final stamp of approval. Trust in the capabilities of your physician liaison to effectively delegate tasks and get the marketing accomplished to the highest degree of professionalism.
14. Unwilling to Invest Time in the Referral Growth Efforts
Time is the biggest investment any doctor will need to make when it comes to building a highly successful physician liaison marketing program. After all, the doctor is the star of the show, and the time you invest will boost your referral marketing program. If you are unwilling to put in the time to meet with your physician liaison or referring doctors you can not expect to be successful. Take the time to:
- Examine referral marketing reports
- Review analytics
- Attend marketing meetings
- Train your liaison
- Teach them about the medical practice and specialty
- Market to referring physicians
- Attend lunches and events
- Collaborate with medical practice staff
- Provide resources
- Organize contacts
- Address referring doctor’s concerns
- Explore other marketing outlets
- Approve pending marketing projects and contracts
- Provide feedback and creative input
Building and sustaining a highly successful physician liaison marketing program requires time and experience but if done incorrectly can cause damage to your referral program. Implementing structure and hiring an experienced marketing professional to help build your physician liaison marketing program can help your practice grow doctor referrals and maintain patient growth.
Developing and running a successful physician liaison marketing program is not a small endeavor for a practice. It requires training, organization, consistency, tracking and physician involvement but if done right can be the most effective way to grow a practice over time. Pay attention to the things in this list to avoid costly mistakes, wasted time and potential setbacks that could render your program much less productive.
If you are struggling with identifying the right person to handle the physician liaison responsibilities, need help with the training process or find your program is lacking effectiveness give us a call or fill out a form because we offer comprehensive training and consulting programs. Schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation and get some sage advice all for FREE. Talk soon and thanks for reading!