• October 1, 2007
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

OutClick Media Gets a Second Opinion

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Hospitals and doctors' offices keep extensive records on their patients, but medical marketing companies don't always do the same with their clients. When Mark Cheong signed on as a vice president at OutClick Media, a digital marketing company serving the medical industry, he discovered the truth. OutClick's core businesses create customized marketing for physicians, clinics, and hospitals to generate leads for elective services -- such as cosmetic surgery and dermatology -- not typically covered by insurance. "Selling to our target market presents a bit of a conundrum because we're trying to sell a technical service -- although not something extremely complex -- to someone who is usually averse to it, so our sales cycle varies dramatically," Cheong says. He was tasked with better managing and forecasting OutClick's efforts to sell lead generation services to a wide variety of medical customers, from private practice physicians to hospitals. It wasn't very easy. "They had no CRM program," Cheong said, referring to OutClick's staff. "Everyone had their own version of ACT! on their computers and nothing was shared." With multiple ACT! databases, it was almost impossible to know what was in the pipeline, where prospects were in the sales cycle, and what sales revenue to forecast. Adding to the complexity was a new site the company had just launched -- UrFlick.com, an online video/social networking site targeting the action sports industry. Cheong considered installing a group version of ACT! so everyone could access it, but he wasn't thrilled with the interface. "Plus, I wanted something Web-enabled that people could access from anywhere," he says. OutClick needed a single, Web-based CRM solution for all its businesses with the flexibility to clearly segment its audiences, yet easily manage all sales efforts from one system. Cheong then looked at Salesforce.com, but read an article that suggested Entellium's CRM services had a price point and capabilities that catered better to firms the size of OutClick. "OutClick is a very small business split into very small entities," Cheong says. "Although [the entities] share characteristics it was good to be able to easily categorize them and then designate each salesperson's responsibilities and duties." Once the decision was made, it was critical to smoothly transition OutClick's staff from their individual systems. That's when Cheong discovered another benefit. "Getting people to sit in on the training was the most difficult part, but that is one of the best things about Entellium," he says. "The trainer was thorough and very patient and the training process was excellent." For Cheong, the transparency that Entellium provides into people's activities is a major plus. "From a sales perspective, that's what a lot of people find beneficial about Entellium -- you can actually see the progress," Cheong says. "Our sales process isn't complicated, so for us, it's a checklist that allows us to easily qualify where prospects are in the pipeline." OutClick now has complete and accurate visibility regarding leads, their quality, and their progress through the pipeline and sales cycle. That visibility has enabled the company to increase its close rate and revenue. The data has also improved OutClick's ability to forecast sales activity. "Since we installed Entellium our revenues are up 35 percent, so clearly it's helping us be more efficient," Cheong says. "Before, no one knew what was going on. There wasn't even an active update of who our clients were. We've seen a substantial improvement in close rates since we implemented Entellium. It helps us close the ones that are just lying out there by continuing to market them, and gives us a better idea of forecasting, too." The Payoff By implementing Entellium, OutClick Media was able to:
  • have a unified sales database to track activities;
  • forecast more accurately;
  • follow leads through the sales cycle better; and
  • increase revenue 35 percent.
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