The secret to marketing that every spine practice needs to know

How many leads did you get last month and where did they come from?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? Or what about this question, “I’m doing a lot of marketing but I don’t know what’s working”? That is probably the most common comment that we hear from spine practice managers and executives managing a busy practice.

So how do you answer that question? A collection of spreadsheets from marketing reps trying to use your EMR to track referrals? Looking at Google Analytics and trying to merge the data with new patients created in your EMR? Or maybe just a gut feeling number? You can do it that way, but you’ll only get part of the story and it can be extremely time consuming and frustrating.

The best approach and the secret to “Smart Marketing” that I mentioned in the title of this article is to use a customer relationship management system, aka CRM. A CRM can help to uncover the answer to that question and provide you with visibility to a lot more decision-making information.

What is a CRM and how do I get one for my practice?

Oh yes, and how much will that cost us? Here’s a quick way to implement a free CRM in your spine or orthopedic practice:

I’m sure you’ve heard of Salesforce or InfusionSoft, possibly ZOHO and maybe Hubspot. If you haven’t, all these apps are customer relationship management systems (CRMs). I won’t go into great detail about what a CRM is, but if you’d like to learn more you can read this article that covers the basics: what is a crm

You can also checkout this quick overview video from Hubspot.

A CRM is an important tool that any spine or orthopedic practice who is out there marketing to referring physicians or directly to consumers should use to help manage their leads, hold staff accountable (think follow-ups), create business process standardization and create reports on a bunch of other important metrics.

It doesn’t matter what type of marketing your practice is undertaking, a CRM is a tool if used properly, will make tasks, follow ups, and reporting much easier. It also allows a practice to give credit to a particular marketing channel for leads received, so you have better visibility to how well your marketing channels are working and what areas of marketing you should potentially focus on.

Here are a few other common issues (blind spots) that a CRM can help spine and orthopedic practices uncover:

  1. Patients referrals by source
  2. Leads received by source
  3. MRIs received by source
  4. Patients scheduled by source
  5. Surgeries/procedures performed by source
  6. And all the conversion metrics in between

If any of those metrics interest you then you should consider using a CRM.

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How to get started with a CRM in your practice

Today I’m going to show you how to implement a basic CRM for your practice. Hubspot is a sales based CRM that is 100% free to use, of course there are add-ons that you will have to pay for if you want added functionality, but it is a great system that is easy to use and easy to setup.

The cool thing about Hubspot, other than that it is 100% free, is that it integrates directly into your email account. In other words, you can do most of your CRM work from your email and the information is logged in your Hubspot CRM. This works only if you use Google or Microsoft for email.

Here is what Hubspot looks like in my email account. This is an email I sent to my good friend Josh Helms at Physician Partners of America. The right hand pane is data being pulled from Hubspot CRM which automatically appears when I open Josh’s email.

After setting up my Hubspot account it only took a few clicks to get it integrated into my Google work email. Now every time I send out a new email, receive a new email, reply to an email, etc I have the option to save the contents of the email in my CRM. With a click of a button it’s saved!

Create a Hubspot Account

Head on over to and create your free account.

CRM for Spine Practice

In just a few clicks you’re done!

crm for medical doctors

After going through the steps of creating your account, you’ll land in the Contacts module (that’s where I ended up based on my selections in the image above).

If you have a spreadsheet full of potential patients or referring doctors, attorneys, etc you can import them pretty seamlessly. Follow the import “how to” found here:

Importing data into Hubspot

Imports are divided into 3 categories: Contacts, Companies and Deals. Translating that into spine practice terms you’d have:

  1. Contacts = Potential Patients (leads)
  2. Companies = Referrers (doctors, attorneys)
  3. Deals = Your services such as: Surgical Consult, RFA, Stem Cell Injection, Spine Surgery, etc

You associate Deals with Contacts and Pipelines. A Pipeline can be a stage of a patient such as, “New Lead” or “MRI Review Inquiry” or it could be they type of patient based on expected treatment such as, “Surgical Lead” or “Non-surgical Lead”. It’s really based on the practice needs and preferences.

Let me walk you through a USE CASE so you get a better understanding how it all works together and how significant a CRM can be in tracking and managing potential patients.

  1. John Smith calls your office to inquire about a Free MRI review he saw in one of your online ads
    1. John Smith is entered in your CRM as a new Contact (he’s a lead)
    2. Pipeline is set to “Consult lead” (based on Free MRI Review your goal is to get him to a consult)
  2. Your staff takes John’s important info and saves it in the CRM
    1. Demographics – name, address, phone, EMAIL!
    2. Insurance information
    3. Why he called- MRI Review request
    4. Medical issue – Spinal Stenosis for example
    5. How he heard about you – “Google Ad”
  3. You verify John’s insurance then call him back to discuss MRI review findings provided by the physician who reviews his case (he’s a qualified lead)
  4. You are recommending John come in for a consult with a surgeon, he agrees.
    1. A “Consult Deal” is created and a value associated with it.
    2. John arrives for his appointment and then his record is updated to “Consult Performed”
    3. You could then update John to a new Pipeline called “Surgical Candidate”
    4. Create a “Surgical Deal” with an associated amount
    5. Once he has surgery you set him to “Surgery performed”

With the information entered into Hubspot you now have access to the following:

  1. Inquiries to MRI Review Conversion Rate
  2. MRI Review to Appointment Scheduled Rate
  3. Consult to Surgery rate
  4. Total value of patient
  5. Leads received by marketing source
  6. Cost per lead, per MRI review, per Appointment Scheduled, per Procedure by Marketing source
  7. The cycle time from initial inquiry to procedure performed

You’d also begin collecting information that can be used to market more effectively. You’d know where John is located, what type of insurance he has, how much revenue you can expect per patient and how much you are spending on marketing to capture patients like John. This data allows you to understand if it’s worth spending more money to capture more patients using the same marketing strategy or if you should shift marketing budget into other channels.

If your practice is considering a CRM you should also follow the steps in Hubspot so that any contact forms on your website go directly into your Hubspot CRM.  This allows you to properly track everything right from the start. It takes a little bit of tech skill, but if you have a WordPress website Hubspot has a plugin that simplifies the process. They have pretty robust Knowledge Base and setup documentation. Everything is laid out step by step. If you need help or have any questions just email me:

hubspot for doctors

Some final thoughts on CRMs for Spine and Orthopedics

If you’re doing any practice marketing that requires staff involvement and a budget or considering marketing directly to patients you should consider some type of CRM.

Much like an EMR system, a CRM, if not setup or implemented properly becomes a burden on staff and without staff buy-in it will be hard to get them to use it. Therefore it is very important to properly plan out what you want your system to do and who should be using it and finally, how to get your staff involved. A CRM like Hubspot can definitely provide answers to “how many leads” you received last month and also significantly improve your Marketing ROI.

I hope you find this article intriguing, your comments are welcome.

If you’d like more information about how a CRM can improve your marketing ROI for your practice we’re a phone call or a web contact form away. Don’t worry your information will go directly into our CRM!

(678) 825-5838

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