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The Care and Feeding of Sales Champions

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SOURCE Simione Healthcare Consultants

HAMDEN, Conn., Feb. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- When building and managing a sales team, home care and hospice organizations work very hard to accelerate communication and nurture relationships to drive business.  In today's climate of declining reimbursement, sales teams need more than pats on the back to improve referrals, boost census and feed the bottom line; they need clear and concise information about their organization's commitment to quality backed by objective data about patient outcomes. 

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According to Kara Osborne, Senior Manager, Simione Healthcare Consultants, hospitals and other health networks want to validate both clinical and financial benefits in forging relationships with home care and hospice organizations.  "Leaders in home health and hospice care must develop ways to help hospitals and other care partners monitor quality throughout the continuum.  We must ask important questions like, 'How can my agency extend the patient experience after discharge?', incorporating new technology and enhancing communication with referral sources to cultivate provider and patient loyalty," Osborne says.

Mike Ferris, Principal, Simione Healthcare Consultants agrees.  "Once a home health or hospice agency determines the right metrics for driving growth, it must communicate value through its outcomes.  A sales team that is empowered with information about patient outcomes will sustain a high level of pride and passion for the difference their agency makes in its community. At the same time, they will be able to demonstrate their agency's parallel efforts to reduce readmissions, control costs and improve patient satisfaction," he says.

Ferris and Osborne suggest that home health and hospice agencies use these key ingredients to satisfy the appetites of hospitals and health networks seeking solutions to their biggest challenges: 

  • Periodic interviews with referral sources to understand the issues and industry dynamics that concern them the most
  • Strategies and language to convey efforts to reduce preventable readmissions, reduce cost, and improve patient satisfaction
  • Presentations showing the solutions and benefits to each party, including an overriding value proposition to be communicated with every interaction
  • Consistent messaging for all team members in the form of a campaign theme, scripting and/or use of key words
  • Knowledge about the common chronic diagnoses and their potential complications
  • A performance dashboard that is visible to team members and discussed regularly at staff meetings
  • Initial and periodic training to refine sales skills and account/territory management
  • Dedicated time to coach/manage each sales professional and his/her territory, reviewing results and holding him/her accountable for activities
  • Demos and shadowing with sales staff to coach and mentor in a real-time setting

"Once you understand how quality is defined in any given facility, you can demonstrate how your services and solutions complement its efforts.  It's not enough to say 'We offer that service.'  The demands for outcomes and financial data will be high, and you will need to demonstrate the value that your home care or hospice agency can bring to the table," Osborne explains. 

Beyond hiring and training a talented sales team, Ferris recommends that home health and hospice organizations also structure sales management with specific goals for key account sales, phone sales, and activities targeting facilities, physicians, and patient navigators or care coordination liaisons.  "While a savvy, data-oriented sales team will present the value proposition consistently across all provider audiences, each aspect of a home health or hospice sales program must be nourished to ensure the timely flow of information for goal-setting, targeting, troubleshooting, and follow-through to manage the expectations of a growing referral base.

"Every home health and hospice organization will always have more potential accounts than they can effectively call on and build relationships with.  For that reason, each organization needs to keep its sales team focused and well-fed with information, support and incentives to do the job well – with a high level of enthusiasm for their work and the patients they serve," Ferris says.

About Simione Healthcare Consultants
Founded in 1966, Simione™ Healthcare Consultants embodies a diverse group of business talent in 23 states to provide accessible, cost-effective business solutions for the home health and hospice industry.  Simione supports performance improvement across the healthcare continuum, engaging hospitals, health networks and agencies for more effective delivery of home health and hospice care. More than 1,000 organizations use Simione's experts and tools to improve care, reduce costs, and minimize risk to drive business performance. Visit Simione.com for more information. 

Contact: Linda Wiseman
203-287-9288
800-949-0388

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