By Susan Dolton, Vice President of Sales Services

Leaders of Life Plan Communities know the importance of a CRM (customer relationship management system) as it relates to tracking sales leads for independent living. But, they often overlook how CRM software can also help make their assisted living and skilled nursing admissions teams more productive, and build better relationships with their prospects.

Because assisted living and skilled nursing is a needs-based sale, a lead may be generated, worked and closed in less than a week, as compared to the years-long sales cycle for independent living. This fast-paced process has led some sales people to falsely believe that Excel or index cards are all that is needed to record names, addresses, and phone numbers.

On the contrary! Today’s mobile device-friendly CRMs are generations beyond their early predecessors that were not much better than a desktop Rolodex (some of you readers may remember those).

Effective Relationship Development
Imagine you are the assisted living admissions counselor for Shady Grove Life Plan Community. While conducting outreach at a local short-term rehab facility, you receive a notification on your smartphone that an adult child has contacted your community through your website. The integration between your website and the CRM software via API means that all the information provided by the prospect is already in your CRM database, without any additional keystrokes. Quickly, you reply via email to the adult child, suggesting some times for a personal appointment. This communication is automatically logged in the CRM.

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By the time you return to Shady Grove, you have alerted the receptionist of the appointment so the prospect can be greeted by name. After the appointment, additional information about the future resident is entered into the CRM, allowing you to quickly retrieve it when speaking with the adult child the next day. Relationship development is just as important during the assisted living and skilled nursing sale as during the independent living sale.

The Growing Importance of CRMs
While excellent response times are critical in today’s healthcare environment, the capabilities of the CRM don’t stop there. Software like MatrixCare, Retirement Home Software, Sherpa, Occupancy Advantage, and Enquire Solutions are some examples of innovative CRMs. With today’s CRMs, the referral source responsible for a new lead is recorded, and a thank you email is automatically sent. If the lead is the result of a marketing campaign, that too has been recorded, and the return on investment is easily tracked. Some of today’s products also provide occupancy and revenue forecasting, synchronization of contacts and calendars, and support of electronic health records.

Dedicated and disciplined use of a CRM in your Life Plan Community will allow you to answer some important questions:

  • How many new leads do we receive each month?
  • How many of those leads become residents?
  • How long does it take from inquiry to move-in?
  • Who are our best referral sources?
  • Which marketing campaign is most effective?

These are all important questions. However, for your admissions counselor, the use of a CRM will allow him or her to easily record a prospect’s interests, needs and goals. Knowing all of this leads to a more positive interaction with a prospect and their family.

No matter how sophisticated the technology, people buy from people they like, and we like those that listen to us and care about us. This will always be true.

For more information on how to use a CRM to generate qualified leads for assisted living, please contact Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013 or Rick Hunsicker at 214-906-3801.

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