Marketing works best when great leadership, strong systems and processes and healthy cash flow support it. Every now and again a new client requests marketing, and we very quickly identify that the issue is not in marketing, but in one of the other three areas. The following outline shows signs of success in each area, and may help identify challenges to overcome in each area:
Signs of Leadership Success
- The dentist and team are clear about the vision for the practice and regularly articulate it in an inspiring way.
- The practice has set and often discusses a quantifiable goal based upon actual numbers. For example, the goal is to see 35 new patients per month, and the practice is now seeing 20 new patients per month.
- Every team member has become a leader, working together to develop ideas, processes and systems for reaching the practice goal.
Challenges with leadership may make the marketing less effective. Only when we get the whole team on the same page do we experience true marketing success.
The best professional to help with challenges in the area of leadership is a practice coach, not to be confused with a practice management consultant. The coach focuses on improving people while the consultant works on improving systems.
Signs of Systems/Processes Success
- Internal systems and processes are strong, and allow the practice to focus on care.
- Trusted individuals who are not the dentist seamlessly execute the functions like equipment updates and maintenance, supply orders, lab orders, marketing, accounting, bookkeeping, billing, payroll, janitorial and recruiting.
- Day-to-day operations feel smooth and easy, never arduous.
When systems and processes are insufficient, the effectiveness of the marketing suffers. For example, a robust marketing strategy might attract new patients to the practice. When a new patient calls in, the phones must work properly, the intake process must be seamless, the billing process buttoned up, and the follow-up process dialed, etc.
The best professional to help with challenges in this area is a specialist in the given system or process; for example, one company to handle accounting, bookkeeping, billing, payroll and recruiting.
Signs of Cash Flow Success
- The dentist has a clear view on the money that will come in and go out of the practice in the next few weeks and months, or the practice’s financial forecast.
- The practice is able to hire staff, purchase equipment, invest in marketing and otherwise expand with confidence.
Cash flow is the fuel that propels the marketing machine. When cash flow is weak, it seems impossible to invest regularly in marketing that will maintain steady patient flow and strong production. When cash flow is strong and marketing becomes a standard monthly investment, marketing efforts are consistent and results are, too.
If this is an area of challenge then a cash flow consultant can provide accurate projections to get the practice back on track.
Signs of Marketing Success
- The practice regularly invests in marketing and realizes a healthy return on investment from overall marketing efforts.
- Someone besides the dentist, a true marketing expert, is at the helm in executing all marketing efforts.
- The dentist has access to reports that demonstrate what marketing tactics are deployed, how they are performing individually and how they are performing collectively.
Marketing is the oxygen to the practice, keeping it alive and well with a steady flow of new patients and compelling branding that keeps existing patients loyal. When marketing is weak, the practice sees erratic production month over month.
If this is an area of challenge, a reputable dental marketing agency can offer a strategy to correct course.