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DSO Strategy: Fix Under-Achieving Growth Plans

Dental Support Organizations come in all shapes and sizes. As a DSO adds dozens or even hundreds of locations, it faces new challenges. One of the biggest ones is ensuring your entire footprint ties together.Kathy Lynn-Cullotta of i3 Ignite recommends understanding how different locations are performing relative to their peer group. “When you get to this size of a business, you've probably created some clusters,” says Lynn-Cullotta.

“The clusters of businesses could be ones that you feel are either like-markets, like-size, whatever it is, but you're starting to help them figure out where they are and what they need to do to get to the top end of their peer group.”

Diagnostic Tools & KPIs

You’ll need some diagnostic tools to anticipate when a location is starting to under-achieve in its market. Hopefully you have field teams in place who can spot when a location is starting to “go off the rails,” and you must have a way to deal with that. 

“Another thing that I would be looking at is the DSO itself,” says Lynn-Cullotta. “Are there some additional things they can do in the centralized services that would make a significant difference?” 

It’s important to be measuring key performance indicators, identifying issues, and implementing solutions that will move the needle quickly.

“This is something that we feel very strongly about, that you're continuing to iterate in areas you think will improve the business. You've got a process. You’ve got teams that are actually working on things, trying them, deciding what the impact is, and then deciding which ones are moving forward and which ones aren't.” 

Promoting Growth Through Additional Services & Products

It is also possible to examine the range of services of your business model. Are there some new services or new products you can offer to incrementally grow the revenue of under-achieving locations? At this point, you definitely need people at the corporate level focusing on evaluating segments and testing data-driven decisions to fine-tune your model. 

“You don't want them wearing many hats,” says Lynn-Cullotta. Based on the DSO’s model, you have a target for each location. “You want that team to be working as a team around the things that are going to be most impactful.” 

Prove with Data

i3 Ignite recommends doing a lot of pilot testing and data collection to see whether the pilot is working. “You do a lot of experimentation. You prove it with data. You can show the difference, and then you have a basis for your location teams to embrace it, because they know it works.” 

Where you have demonstrated success, you continue iterating and measuring the results. It goes back to the old saying, “Measure what you want to manage.”

About this Industry Leader:

Kathy Lynn-Cullotta - Profile Pic

Kathy Lynn-Cullotta

Strategist & DSO Consultant, i3 Ignite

For more than 30 years, Kathy Lynn-Cullotta has consulted with large and small companies on go-to-market issues related to delivering top-line revenue growth. A typical client, launching a new product or service, will tap Kathy's expertise in designing sales channel roles and customer support programs that will be effective in penetrating their target markets. In addition to providing strategic guidance to DSO teams scaling new platforms, she has worked on location-based growth models in other health care verticals, new construction, local media and property management.

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