Top 5 Business Development Tactics for New Infusion Centers

Launching an infusion center in 2023? Amanda Brummitt describes how to build a solid sales and infusion marketing strategy to ensure your success, and how to curate a patient experience that enhances your messaging.

Top 5 Business Development Tactics

How to Build an Effective Infusion Marketing Strategy:

Sales: Define who your target physicians are.

When it comes to growing an infusion center, WeInfuse’s own Julie Walker will be the first to tell you that a “build it and they will come” strategy doesn’t work. You need a proactive doortodoor outreach strategy to get the word out that your infusion center is serving patients and to build the trust of referring physicians.

Build a list of neurologists, gastroenterologists, rheumatologists, allergy/immunologists, cardiologists, and ophthalmologists within 15 miles of your center. Accurate names, specialties, addresses, phone numbers, and insight on if they offer infusions in their offices and any affiliations saves a ton of time later.

For instance, if a neurologist has an infusion suite in their office, they may not initially be the lowest hanging fruit. If you do call on them, be prepared to talk about complementary services that don’t compete with them, such as weekend or after-hours availability. Building your own list is the most effective method versus purchasing a list. Purchased lists often lack accuracy. Aim to have 50+ physician practices on your initial target list and expand specialties or geography if needed.

Sales: Hire a dedicated salesperson and develop your value proposition to align with referring physicians’ needs.

Your infusion center deserves a dedicated salesperson. Hire someone that knows how to sell into physician offices and get past gatekeepers. Can a clinician work? Absolutely. No matter what, this should be a high-accountability, dedicated position with sales and retention quotas as incentive to both develop and nurture relationships with referring offices. In the beginning, consider scheduling your medical director or lead infusion nurse to join your salesperson on physician visits. Those clinician-to-clinician interactions are priceless as you’re building trust.

Develop a value proposition for the sales pitch that aligns with the needs of referring physicians. Why should they pick your infusion center? What do you do better than the competition? How do you improve patient outcomes more efficiently or with greater care? The pitch should be about the needs of patients and referring physicians, not just selling your services.

Speaking of competition, research them so you know their strengths and weaknesses. Never mention them during a pitch but make their weaknesses your strengths. Does it take a long time to get an appointment? How fast are you processing prior-authorizations compared to other competitors?

Marketing: Create a website that is a resource for patients and referring physicians.

Think about your site through the lens of your two customers: patients and referring physicians. Segment these in the main navigation. What do they want to know? What problem do they have and how can you fix it?

For patients, include resources for disease-specific organizations that provide patient education, like The National MS Society and American College of Rheumatology. Build educational content around both conditions and drugs for search engine optimization. Write about the questions that patients repeatedly ask because that is what they are searching online. Include information on what to expect and how to prepare for an infusion.

For physicians, have easily accessible medication order forms on your website with check boxes to improve accuracy and efficiency. Include information on what injectables and infusions you offer, the logistics, and how you will help their patients. Remember to look at it all through their lens. What do they care about? Clinical accuracy, efficiency, reasonable pricing, and happy patients.

Marketing: Build a social media presence that is heavy on education and light on selling your infusion center.

No one wants to be “sold to.” So, create a social media presence that gives people a reason to follow you. Share information to make their lives better. What is the problem that our customer has and how can we solve it? Every post should be from the perspective of the customer.

Don’t push the same content on the same day to every platform. Spread it out and mix it up so people that follow you on multiple platforms retain interest (e.g. post a video of your team on Instagram and an informational post on LinkedIn).

While there is overlap on each platform between potential patients and potential referrers, segmenting platforms for audiences works well. Or, just be okay with the overlap and keep both audiences in mind when posting.

Consider using LinkedIn for physician and pharmaceutical manufacturer facing information since it is a platform geared more toward professionals. Everything you post should be about fixing their pain points: quick access for patients, pre-authorizations handled by the infusion center, order forms available online, no hassles, excellent clinical outcomes, customized care to their needs, engaged medical director, and anything else they would find appealing. Organic posts of your team and your infusion center always do well.

Possibly use Facebook for patient-facing information: easy parking, easy access, after-hours appointments, early morning appointments, cozy space, private rooms, fast Wi-Fi, friendly team, comfy chairs, great snacks, and gentle nurses. Include lots of patient education here: preparing for an infusion, what to expect, information on diseases, support groups, disease specific organizations, etc. Include pictures of the facility and staff so that patients start to build a familiarity with the center. Helping them see you as people makes it less daunting to visit the center.

Have fun with it and showcase your team! Do an “Ask the Pharmacist”, “Ask the Doctor”, or “Ask the Nurse” series answering common infusion or medication questions.

These could be images with text or video (which perform better than images or text). Keep it informational and you will grow an audience of engaged followers.

Curate a patient experience worth talking about.

Patient experience affects the success of your other business development activities. It will help or hurt your sales and marketing efforts. If patients have a great experience, they may tell their physicians (helps sales), and they may tell the rest of the world in person or through reviews (helps marketing). But if patients have a bad experience, they likely will tell their doctor (very bad for sales) and tell others in-person or through reviews (hurts marketing long-term).

The patient experience in your infusion center should align with what your salesperson and online tools are selling about your center. Look through your patient lens and see how it feels to be a patient in your center. Call your own infusion center as a prospective patient and see how long it takes to get an appointment. Be needy. Ask questions to see if your staff is friendly and patient. Leave a message (under another name/number) and see how long it takes to get a call back. Sit in your lobby to observe. When a patient walks in, does someone look up and smile at them? Does your team make them feel welcome? If not, train your team to create a patient experience more like a spa and less like a medical office.

Once your center is running, listen to your patient reviews. Look for trends and identify actionable areas for improvement.

One vital part of happy patients is a happy team. Build a culture that encourages your team to love their jobs. Choose software, processes, and systems that set your team up for success so they can put their energy and brainpower into safely caring for patients.

Parting Advice

Back to Field of Dreams and baseball. To build an amazing infusion center without a solid sales and marketing strategy is like striking out in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and two outs. All the pieces were in place for success, but the game is over.

Take the time to build a great target list of physicians in your area, hire a salesperson to reach out to them, and have a value proposition that aligns with their needs. Build a website and social media presence that is a resource for referring physicians and patients, and create a patient experience that makes people want to utilize your infusion center.

We wish you much success in 2023!

How does WeInfuse fit in?

With our consulting services, WeInfuse helps launch infusion centers from start to finish. Be prepared to reach your target audience and future patients BEFORE your center goes live. Amanda’s top five points above help you curate a successful sales and marketing strategy.

WeInfuse is the premier software provider for infusion therapy in the U.S. Implement WeInfuse software to help your practice operate efficiently, improve patient outcomes, maximize profitability, and decrease burnout.