Post-Acute Business Development: 4 Tips for Planning Your 2021 Budget 


By: Shelly Wing | September 25, 2020

Budget season is here again. It’s time for post-acute care organizations to make the financial decisions that will guide them throughout 2021. So, how will you allocate funds to help your organization grow and thrive in the coming year? It all begins with setting goals, defining success, and tracking metrics.


To help you create and meet those goals, we’ve put together a basic roadmap with four areas to consider as you build your post-acute sales and marketing budget.


    1. Define your 2021 sales and marketing goals
    2. Examine industry trends and impacts
    3. Identify the tools and technology that can help you achieve your goals
    4. Map your goals to your overall budget
    Walking through these key budget strategy steps can help you grow and optimize your referrals in 2021.


Defining Your 2021 Sales and Marketing Goals


What are your goals for the coming year? Do you want to grow your referral numbers? Perhaps you have enough (or more than enough) referrals, but you’re not getting the kinds of referrals that fit your organization’s offerings. You may also be receiving referrals too late, which is increasing your overall cost of care.


Take this time to define what success looks like in the coming year. Your sales and marketing goals for 2021 might be something like:


  • Increase early hospice referrals by 25%
  • Gain 15% more referrals for cardiac patients from hospitals in your region
  • Decrease cost of care by 5% per patient


Examine Industry Trends and Impact


In any year, external factors and industry changes will impact your performance, and they should be considerations when you set your sales and marketing budgets. If you keep these things in mind, you can determine how your organization should pivot to gain more high-quality referrals.


In 2019, for example, you probably weren’t thinking as much about telehealth and virtual meetings. This year, as social distancing restrictions continue to play a part in the post-acute care market, virtual meetings will likely be a big part of your business development strategy. What will this mean for your marketing software budget?


Similarly, PDGM is now in effect, with a strong focus on patient outcomes in home health. So, if you’re a home health agency, you may want to look at where you stand on specific quality metrics.


In fact, across all post-acute organizations, there is an increased emphasis on patient outcomes. Whether you’re in home health, skilled nursing, or hospice care, you’ll need to be able to identify where you’re excelling and where your organization could improve.


Identify the Tools and Technology that Can Help You Achieve Your Goals


As you consider how to position your organization to receive more referrals, think about the technology and tools that can help you achieve those goals. To improve patient outcomes, you need to know where your organization stands in relation to competitors in your area. To show that you’re the best referral choice for cardiac patients, for example, you need access to the metrics that show where you excel in regards to patient outcomes. You can use that information to make meaningful changes and improvements internally and to also build engaging and effective presentations for meetings with referral partners. Using analytics, you can show your referral partners why your agency is a strong partner for them and their patients.


If one of your goals is to improve your referral source targeting, the right technology can help you discover who your top referral sources are, where they’re currently sending patients, and where you have potential opportunities for growth. You can also use this data to understand the competitive landscape in your region. Pull data and analytics for the metrics your referral sources care about most and use this information to see how your organization stacks up against your top competitors. Understanding your current market share can help you determine the best route to capture more referrals in the coming year and beyond.


Map Your Goals to Your Overall Budget


The last step is to analyze your overall budget. How much revenue do you have to work with for sales and marketing in the coming year? With budget considered, compare the costs of the tools and campaigns you plan to undertake, and the projected growth you see occurring from those tools. Where can you improve efficiencies and free up more budget for things that will produce a higher ROI?


If, for example, you’re paying for third parties to help increase referrals, you may want to take a look at the number and quality of the referrals they’re bringing in. External vendors usually come at a premium, and they often don’t attract the quality of referrals that you really want. Instead, why not arm your team with the training and tools they need to be more effective?


Along with training, you’ll want to be able to easily track your referral sources and their needs. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, especially if you’re trying to keep track of everything in an Excel sheet. Implementing a CRM solution like Enquire can increase transparency, reporting, and visibility – and let you identify gaps and bottlenecks in your process to help drive more efficiency. This can help you determine which relationships need more nurturing and areas where you could get more referrals.


The unfortunate truth is that COVID isn’t going anywhere. Throughout this pandemic, and even once it’s over, we expect telehealth and virtual business development meetings to be a necessary part of the post-acute care industry. Have you budgeted for HIPAA-compliant virtual meeting software or will solutions like Zoom work?


Finally, do you have a way to accurately track your performance against your competitors and your referral sources’ needs? In addition to assisting with internal improvements, access to these analytics can help you prove your value to your referral network. Marketscape by Trella Health provides the insights you need to show referral sources that your organization is the best option for them and their patients. Our customers see an average of 10% more revenue growth than they originally forecasted based on their performance for the previous two years. And, as a CMS Innovator, we get the fastest access to 100% of Medicare Part A and B claims data. We pass those insights on to you, so you can act on the latest metrics and analytics, further setting your organization apart from the competition.


Hopefully, with these considerations in mind, you now have a roadmap to guide you as you budget your business development, sales, and marketing efforts for 2021. Keep your goals – and the technology that can help you achieve them – front of mind as you allocate funds.


With Trella Health’s analytics solution, Marketscape, you can:


  • Effectively target quality referral sources
  • Tell your story and show referring partners why they should choose your organization
  • Identify areas where you excel and/or where you can make improvements


To learn more about how Marketscape can help you set your organization apart and gain the referrals you want, request a demo today.

About the Author:

Shelly Wing, Demand Generation Manager

Shelly is a passionate B2B marketing and content strategist. She creates and executes demand generation programs to make it easier for potential customers to learn about Trella’s solutions.


She studied English at the University of Georgia before entering the world of sales and marketing. With experience in multifamily, SaaS, and IoT companies, Shelly consistently creates content that engages buyers at the right time and in the right way.


At Trella Health, she’s excited about helping make a meaningful impact in all areas of post-acute healthcare.