Medical marketing has undergone lightning fast changes in the modern era. From automated emails to targeted ads on websites and the social media revolution, one wonders if there is any purpose left in directly calling a potential healthcare lead via the phone. Surely, they’ve been inundated with advertisements already. Why would a call be any different? However, it can make all the difference.

While it may seem trite, there is a power to personal communication. In the computer age, people are bombarded with advertisements from all angles. By necessity, they begin to blind themselves to these even if the product advertised could be potentially advantageous to their practice. I began working in a call center at the beginning of 2014, making upwards of 150 outbound calls to a variety of clients a day. Even in that short time I can tell that direct communication is the key to whether a lead decides that they want to speak to a company’s representative regarding that new operatory chair or not. A human voice discussing the advantages of a particular product over its competitors’ or describing the curriculum of a continuing education event has the power to engage a person’s interest in a more direct fashion than any mass printed ad.

There have been times I was on the phone with a dentist, describing the advantages of a lube-free ceramic bearing handpiece as opposed to a lubricated metal bearing one. They may have seen an advertisement for said handpiece dozens of times, but without a person describing the reasons why switching is a smart choice, they might not have seen a need to take on the additional expense. It is a multi-tiered approach that works best, a combination of printed ads and targeted emails that give a caller a starting point to work off of when making the calls. And the caller gives those ads and emails a human voice. With proper integration and support, a skilled telemarketer can close a deal that otherwise would have slipped through a manufacturer’s fingers.

In my experience doing event recruitment, a personalized call following up a published invitation is invaluable in lending a sense of urgency and legitimacy to an event. When a doctor receives a flyer saying they are cordially invited to a continuing education event, it can easily be mixed into a pile of mail that hardly garners a second glance. That follow up call lets a doctor know that the event organizer really does desire their presence, as well as being able to convey relevant information in a more personalized manner. Some doctors care about parking, others about the menu, and some about the course’s content. Being able to emphasize different aspects on a case by case basis is invaluable.

There is no replacement for human interaction. Through developing a rapport with leads, a skilled caller can help any client make the most of their modern suite of advertisements. Telemarketers will always be your front line in potential customer interactions. With recent marketing automation tools, they can be targeted more accurately than ever before. A caller can populate lists in real time entirely of practices that have visited the websites of particular products, or opened up emails regarding said product. This enables the caller to know before they even pick up the phone that there is an established interest. This avoids wasting time and money on faulty leads. As these tools develop, call centers will become an even more integral, efficient part of a synergistic marketing environment.

Key to capitalizing on this technology is a skilled and well-trained call center team. The ability of callers to react to the needs and opinions of their potential leads requires an outgoing, friendly, yet professional personality. Also needed is a well-written script to provide a framework, and a willingness to listen as much as they speak. It isn’t a job for everyone, as you’ll need to be able to deal with rejection then pick up the phone and carry on. Or as we say, “Smile and dial.” But when you do have a good team, it can be the lynch-pin of a successful marketing campaign.