PlayMaker CRM Educational Series

How to Select a CRM for Post-Acute Care

how-to-thumb.pngCustomer Relationship Management (CRM) is a key business component for post-acute care companies looking to increase sales and improve customer service. A purpose-built CRM system can effectively manage accounts and contacts, track sales efforts and results, reduce time spent on administrative tasks and provide real-time reporting to help your company achieve its goals. If you are at the point where you are ready to invest in a CRM to manage sales efforts and grow your business, you need to be prepared to ask the right questions.

Here are 10 questions to ask when selecting a CRM for post-acute care:

Is customer support included?

Gone are the days of sending a support ticket into a black hole and waiting for a reply. Make sure you have a dedicated account representative with phone and email support available to you anytime you need it. This should be included in your package and not an additional charge each time you request assistance. 

Are there additional fees?

Ask if the configuration and add-ons are included in your package. The last thing you want to happen is to sign on the dotted line and then be surprised with additional fees for add-ons and professional services that can make or break your CRM investment. You may see a low price on a matrix comparison that seems more cost effective, but pay close attention to what is actually included. Nothing will negatively impact your ROI more than hidden fees.

Is the platform a true SaaS model?

The platform should be a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, meaning that it is built in, and accessed exclusively through the cloud. This ensures that all system updates and improvements will be available to you as soon as they are completed rather than having to wait your turn for updates, reducing your need for additional IT resources.

Is there a fee for hosting?

Look for a company that will not charge an extra fee for hosting and housing your information and CRM software. This helps avoid headaches when major updates take place. If the software is hosted on your own server, not a SaaS platform, this can equate to downtime for employees. You may even need to hire outside contractors to make sure updates are done correctly. If you are paying for hosting, then the CRM is not a true cloud-based system.

Where does the market intelligence data come from, and when is it updated?

Some CRM systems give you the option to purchase market intelligence data that reveals critical information about where patients are coming from, where they are going, and who in your area you should be focusing your sales efforts on. If you are interested in purchasing this data to support your efforts, make sure you have a clear understanding of the source for that data. Are they reputable? Do they have a proven track record within the industry? Are they the choice of top companies? Also, get clarification on the types of updates that are done and when. For example, the intelligence data is only updated annually, whereas certain demographic data is updated quarterly. If the source of the data cannot be confirmed, you should question the validity of the data itself.

Does the CRM platform integrate with your EHR?

Integration can be a daunting task and it’s important to note that you should anticipate playing a role in the preparation of your data. The CRM platform should make available data cleanup services prior to integration. A general guideline is that integrations can take 6 to 8 weeks to complete. Anything less should raise a red flag. It is important to choose an experienced CRM provider that has developed relationships with all major EHRs. This will ensure that all data fields are mapped properly, which will provide accurate data as the basis for all informational reports coming from the CRM system.

Can you speak with real customers about their experience?

Ask to speak with real customers of any CRM provider you are considering and make sure those customers are in a similar situation as yours, such as being on the same EHR. Talk to different people in each department, including sales, marketing, IT and management. Get as much information as you can about their experience with the implementation, integration, training, customer service and overall effectiveness of the CRM.

Was it built for the post-acute care industry?

The last thing you want is to waste time and money customizing a generic platform. Find a system specifically built to support the needs of the post-acute care industry. Otherwise, you will be fighting to get the program to do things it was not designed to do, which is the quickest way to end up with a failed CRM implementation.

Is there a powerful mobile solution available for iOS and Android devices? Does it cost extra?

Mobile apps are the new wave of CRM and they are here to stay. Here are a few things to look for in mobile solutions that are critical for success:

  • The app should be included in your package and not an additional cost.
  • For best results, be sure it is a native app built for iOS and Android.
  • It should provide your reps in the field with real-time alerts. For example, when a referral comes in, they will be notified immediately to pick up the order or send an e-card thanking them for their referral.
  • Make sure it can track expenses while in the field. Reps should be able to attach a photo of their receipts, immediately and accurately record the expenses to ensure compliance with marketing expense limits.

Is the system secure and HIPAA-compliant?

Protecting your data (and the data about those you serve) must be of the utmost concern to any CRM platform for post-acute care. They should include authentication using encrypted passwords and be secured by a 128-bit SSL 2 certificate issued by an IT security leader, such as VeriSign. You’ll also want to ask about timeout features, which will automatically log a user off after a certain period of inactivity. Finally, if the mobile solution has the ability to work offline (meaning a limited amount of information has been stored locally on the device), ensure that the data stored locally will be automatically deleted the next time the app is launched after a defined period of inactivity (usually 72 hours).

Summary

Investing in a CRM system for your post-acute care business is not something to be taken lightly. There are often business processes that need to be revised and improved to give you the maximum return on your investment. However, the combination of the right CRM provider and a commitment to success on your part will result in transformative results for your sales and marketing efforts, giving your organization an unparalleled advantage over your competitors.

To learn more about how PlayMaker CRM can help you grow your business, request a demo or contact us today!

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