Magnetude Consulting gives you a closer look into the startup community. We interview tech startups and other entrepreneurial leaders to bring you their stories, as well as insights into marketing techniques that have helped them along the way.
Today’s interview is with the VP of Sales & Marketing of Forerun, John Routhier. Forerun is a SaaS startup that is leading innovation in medical charting software for emergency departments.
When was Forerun founded, and how did the idea come about?
The company was founded in 2006 by physicians and IT professionals at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The idea behind Forerun was to try to solve the issue of documentation and workflow within hospital emergency departments. The documentation solutions that were currently on the market were slowing down the amount of time that physicians and nurses could spend treating patients because they were forced to spend most of their time documenting charts.
Who is the product for and what problem does it solve?
Our product is built primarily for emergency room physicians and nurses to give them an optimal charting solution that bolts on to their existing hospital information system. Many hospital information systems are built for the hospitals and don’t take into account the employees who use them. It can sometimes take doctor seven clicks just to get to the results that they want on a particular patient. Our product is built for the medical professional, allowing easier access to patient records, which in turn lessens the amount of time it takes to chart and allows doctors and nurses to spend more time with their patients.
How do you describe the value you bring to your customers?
We provide value to both the hospital employees and the hospital itself. For doctors and nurses, we offer a faster documentation solution that provides an easy, efficient chart to use and manage. We have shown to save about 30% of doctors’ time, allowing them to see more patients and decrease patient emergency room wait times.
Our product benefits hospitals as well. We insulate a hospital’s revenue because we make their chart iron clad insured against a reimbursement audit. We also enhance communication throughout the hospital by allowing medical charts to be quicker to read and patient information easier to find.
How do you define marketing?
For our purposes, I define marketing as the act of making our industry aware of our technology and our product, and engaging with the industry through different means of communication, whether it be social media, blogging, webinars, conferences, etc.
Have there been marketing channels that have been the most effective for you?
Our blog has been by far the most effective. Since we started our blog and became active on social media, our website traffic has increased by about 5000%.
What is your biggest marketing challenge?
Our biggest marketing challenge is generating new content for the blog. Due to the nature of our product, it can take us a while to come up with a creative post. It can be challenging to determine how to write content that is useful, well-written, and grabs our readers’ attention. We usually combine the efforts of our marketing department and clinical professionals for our blog posts. The marketers will create the shell of the blog post, and then we’ll have our subject matter experts fill in the content and make edits as needed.
What is your process for customer acquisition?
We start with marketing-generated leads, which then get qualified by sales. Once we have a qualified lead, we usually do a product demonstration for physicians or the IT department of hospitals. We like to go onsite to show our product and talk about how we interface with existing hospital information systems.
What are your overall marketing and business development goals for 2013?
We are looking to grow by 50% by the end of 2013. We’re focusing on building out our top-of-the funnel lead generation efforts so that by end of year we will have a full pipeline of new leads and opportunities.
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