By Susan Dolton, Vice President, Sales Services
Do you remember when senior living communities kept their leads on index cards, in plastic boxes in alphabetical order? Inevitably someone would drop the box and they would spill all over the floor. We’ve come a long way.
The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems we use today help us analyze prospect interactions, measure the effectiveness of marketing tactics, and calculate ratios to track our performance. Whether your community uses Matrixcare Marketing, Retirement Homes Software, You’ve Got Leads, or any of the other available software products to manage your leads, you likely have a system installed that is rich in function, features and capability. But are you able to obtain the information you really need from it? Your sales and marketing staff, and others have been fully trained on proper use of your system, right? Are you using your CRM to its fullest potential?
At Love & Company, one of our first tasks when we start to work with a new client is investigating their CRM. It’s important to remember that every lead base tells a story, and your CRM is the tool required to hear that story. We look for the sources of their leads. Are they generating leads through direct mail or advertising? How strong is their resident referral program? Did sales staff ask, “How did you hear about us?” at every new interaction?
Today, each new lead can cost an organization $500 or more to generate. We look at when new leads inquired, how frequently they are contacted, and their status – has the team determined they are hot, warm, or cool? Do they regularly update the status as they build a relationship with the prospect? We train sales teams to prioritize their work based on the timeframe of the prospect. If that information is unavailable, they are not being as effective as they could be.
[bctt tweet=”A deep analysis of your #seniorliving #sales’ “lost leads” sometimes yields very surprising results.” via=”no”]
An analysis of “lost leads” sometimes yields very surprising results. We have seen situations where many new leads are generated each month at significant cost to the organization. But a close look revealed that the team was making many of those leads inactive – they were “lost leading” them. If a prospect couldn’t be reached or said their time frame was greater than 5 years, they were “lost leaded.” Is your team nurturing the new leads you have worked so hard to generate?
Many CRMs allow for data to be entered that is very specific. Knowing a prospect’s hobbies, alma maters, clubs, pet ownership, home value, and church membership allow the salesperson to personalize their messaging. If there are residents who are alumni of the same university, inviting the prospect to meet them helps them visualize their life in the community. Does your team conduct enough discovery to learn this information about their prospects and enter it into your database?
If a CRM is used only to collect names, addresses, and phone numbers, it’s not much of an improvement over the messy, chaotic index cards of the past. Regardless of the software being used, your CRM is a powerful tool. But without proper training on its use and regular oversight, it won’t provide you with the information you need to analyze your marketing spend, measure the effectiveness of your sales team, and ultimately improve occupancy.