Can Your Potential CRM Vendor Answer These 5 Hard Questions?

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05/09/2019 in Blog

It’s been a tough 7 years for CRM. According to Greystone, confidence in CRM efforts among healthcare marketers continues to decline, a full 11% since 2016. Satisfaction in experience with CRM vendors is also beginning to trend downward, and only 12% of healthcare marketers view their level of CRM deployment as “advanced,” down from 16% a year ago.

Three years ago we saw the beginnings of a replacement cycle for healthcare CRM, due to implementations that weren’t living up to the vision, strategy, and expectations set for the CRM program. That cycle is continuing, according to Greystone’s findings, with over 20% of healthcare marketers planning to change CRM vendors this year.

But why?

The truth is, some CRM vendors have over promised and under delivered. Their technology platforms and strategic and tactical support services fell short of what their clients needed to build patient loyalty and long-term success.

To avoid falling for a vision with no substance and instead invest in a CRM that can actually help deliver ROI, satisfaction, and improved consumer experience, you need to ask these 5 tough questions:

1. How many health system CRM clients do you have live on your platform, and what type of ROI are they showing?
If the vendor you’re talking to doesn’t have at least 20 live clients implementing omnichannel campaigns and showing ROI beyond clicks and form fills, you don’t need to be talking to them. If your potential partner can’t demonstrate ongoing investment into R&D and planned growth for their service and support teams (size and expertise), you shouldn’t be considering them. These installs require a huge investment in technology and people in order to be successful.

Look for a partner with depth and breadth of experience who has dozens, if not hundreds of health system clients actively executing campaigns that deliver ROI. Award bonus points for features like executive dashboards that give you a built-in, 10,000-foot view of your performance metrics across your system, facility, service line, and marketing channels. You want to be able to easily share performance data across your organization, with the tools and flexibility to analyze performance from any vantage point. A robust omnichannel reporting methodology should allow you to measure the true incremental effect of your communications, dividing credit for conversions among touchpoints so you can determine how much ROI any touchpoint generates.

2. How will the AI and predictive modeling in your CRM platform help us reach and engage more people across the full scope of the consumer journey?
Getting the most intelligence from your CRM requires advanced data science models. You also want that data to serve as the engine for continued learning and advancement, which takes time and experience. With better data science you can more accurately target consumers, adapt to behaviors and preferences, and create more effective campaigns. Ask your vendor to prove to you that they have actually invested in a data science team and that these people are well versed in machine and deep learning. You’ll also want a partner who tests their models regularly to continuously improve yield. These tools are the future and require a deep investment to get the outcomes necessary for success.

3. What tools do you have or what is your service model for understanding how to leverage my CRM more effectively?
CRM technology is, by nature, complex. Without the right reporting and analytics, you can’t find the best opportunities to engage your patients and consumers. You need either intelligent reporting and analytics capabilities or experienced, dedicated analyst resources to light your path … or both. Without experienced strategic support or simple connections to a full suite of marketing services, your team could be too in the weeds to get any value out of your investment. Ask your potential partner how many existing accounts they are servicing, and how the team assigned to you will be able to handle the potential workload. Will they be hiring new resources that need to be trained? Or do they have existing experienced resources that will be dedicated to your account? If existing resources, you will want to know how large the “bench” is and what existing projects these teams are working on.

Look for CRM that includes out-of-the-box reports and analytics to identify market opportunities in areas like patient engagement, population health, patient acquisition, and market expansion. Your partner should have tools to support best practices in campaign planning and execution, and a services team with a successful track record helping multiple clients build and optimize thousands of successful campaigns.

4. How much funding and support do you have for R&D? How will your platform scale beyond 10 or 20 clients?
As we’ve mentioned above, technology has to continually evolve in order to stay competitive. Startups often don’t have the full funding they need to develop a project to viability, and raising money is distracting. Once you are live, you also want an organization that is stable enough to stay agile and improve as consumer preferences and expectations change. It is not out of bounds to ask a smaller company how they will support an aggressive roadmap and to prove to you how many engineering, data science, and other resources they have on staff to support what they are selling. Are they appropriately funded with deep pockets to actually pull off what they are selling? The CRM and big data spaces require massive capital investments to succeed. Don't get caught with a partner that does not have the funding to win the end game.

Because more data and integrations also present more risk, you want a partner with a dedicated security team to ensure that their solutions adhere to the highest levels of compliance and are continually being monitored.

5. What are your CDP capabilities? Does your platform meet CDP Institute criteria? How many health system clients are live?
Consider this fact: 90% of the world's data was created in the last two years. This data explosion is unprecedented. The types of data being created were simply not anticipated when CRM, EDWs, and other data platforms were architected. The next generation of platform will need to handle massive amounts of loosely and unstructured data types, and it will need to give marketers insights into anonymous users and what their behavioral activities are before they identify themselves.

Beyond marketing’s traditional reach, CDPs enhance CRM efforts to allow population health, care management, and other strategies to be fueled by the same single source of truth. With a CDP your organization’s data can reach across the entire care continuum to fill in gaps. Customer Data Platforms are the future of customer data ingestion and analytics.

It’s important to understand what a CDP vendor’s qualifications are, and if they can really do what they claim with the data they can ingest. What experience do they have scaling their platform? What types of data have they ingested, can they handle unstructured data, and can they handle both identified and anonymous users? A REAL CDP is the future (not CDP light). If you aren’t planning on investing in this technology, you could be setting your organization up for long term failure. To set your organization up for success, look for a healthcare-specific customer data platform, one that’s a member of the CDP Institute.

Want to learn more about a healthcare-specific CDP that enhances your CRM efforts? Learn more here. Or dive in to CRM strategies that have proved successful for healthcare organizations like your own.