How DecisionHealth Used a Valued Product as a Lead to Bigger Profits

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Editor's note: This is the seventh of an ongoing series profiling the 2018 SIPAward winners. See links to the others below.

Speaking with customers and prospects, Crystal Summers, marketing manager, Simplify Compliance, heard something interesting. Although electronic coding had definitely gained popularity, many people in the field still relied heavily on their books—sometimes even in conjunction with electronic coding products.

Some of us cling to our print datebooks, and some of us cling to our print manuals. Just try to pry them away. Summers would see customers flipping through their manuals, marking up with notes and comments and saying how easy they were to use and read.

But the problem was that they were often using competitor manuals, even though they admitted they weren't as good as DecisionHealth's. However, they paid such a low price (or the book was ordered for them), so they couldn't refuse it.

How could DecisionHealth get more of their coding manuals into more hands in a competitive market and bring in revenue? Almost $60,000 in income later, and they had an answer—and a 2018 First Place SIPAward in the category of Best Lead Generation/Nurturing Campaign.

Here are some keys to their campaign:

Know what's popular with your customers. Speaking with tenured employees, Summers learned that sales and marketing used to coordinate "book drop" campaigns. Sales reps would mail manuals to an office and follow up with a call, letter and/or email. Today, however, postage and the sheer size of the manuals would make this a costly effort—plus mostly untrackable. But the book was undeniably popular. So at the largest industry show—AAPC'S HEALTHCON—they put their ICD-10-CM manual directly into the coder's hands with a plan.

Don't let a good product sit idle. Summers found out how many of the current year's manuals were left in inventory and could be sent to the show. They still had another 5 months or so of relevance before the 2018 code set would be released. So 500 books were sent with the hope to generate enough future sales to cover the costs, around $5,000.

Get something valuable in return. No sense in just giving away a $110 manual. Summers worked directly with the physician practice sales team to determine 5 quick questions book-wanting coders would have to answer. The survey was created using Survey Monkey, and the responses were passed on to the sales team after the show along with any additional notes gathered during the conference.

Make the questions count. The two questions on the survey that caught my attention were:

  • In which time frame does your organization typically purchase code books?
  • Which of the following do you consider yourself in the coding book purchasing process? (And if not's you then whom?)


Stuff the giveaway. Summers designed a flyer (pictured here) to go inside each manual they handed out to conference attendees. The flyer was created with the overall booth theme (speed/racing) in mind, and offered a special discount if the customer called the sales rep with their book order.

Don't wait until the end of the show to act. Competitors are known to give away their bookstore inventory at the end of a show, but people always leave early. So DecisionHealth did their giveaway early on.

Make it easy for people. Two iPads were set up for people to quickly fill out the survey. The sales reps even jumped in to assist occasionally. The 500 books handed out generated nearly 400 qualified leads for the sales team.

Move quickly on leads. Summers downloaded the survey results and sent a spreadsheet of names to be loaded into Salesforce and tracked by the sales team. About a week after the conference, she sent out a "Thank You" email to those names, providing them with a link to learn more information about the ICD-10 manual, reinforcing the discount, and reminding them how to place an order. (And also giving a deadline—very important!) The email had a 42% open rate with an 11.8% click-through rate, and generated two orders for companion books and many calls for quotes.

Start selling. Over the course of the next few months, sales reps worked through the lead list and ultimately generated over $15,000 of new customer book orders, as well as a substantial SelectCoder (electronic coding tool) order of over $44,000! This would not have happened without the giveaway.

Be creative with print. DecisionHealth sold more books than the original $5,000 goal and closed a large electronic product deal. The ultimate payoff was that books do still have a large place in third-party tradeshows—in this case when used as a lead generation tool rather than a direct sale.

Previous 2018 SIPAward profiles:

January Spring – Best Editorial and Marketing Collaboration
EB Medicine – Best Use of Video
AAA Northeast – Best Product Launch
Access Intelligence - Best Conference Marketing
Behr's Verlag – Best Video Product
Cynopsis – Best Awards Program Marketing

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…