By Susan Dolton, Vice President of Sales Services

Many marketing directors of Life Plan Communities are starting to panic. Matrixcare has announced that their support of REPs will cease in June 2018. REPs has been the industry standard so this announcement has left many wondering what to do.

Spoiler alert – this is not a review of customer relationship management programs (CRMs) specific to the senior living industry. Rather, we will offer some highlights of each, specific features and benefits that you should consider, as well as some criteria to use when doing your own evaluation.

Know this: if you like the look and feel of REPs and want the world to stay the same, get over it. Every product out there, including Matrixcare’s REPs replacement, Matrixcare Marketing, has improved features that will lead to higher productivity and more accurate reporting.

You might not even know you need some of the new features now available. For example, Continuum CRM is integrated with Microsoft Office in a way that allows the user to autofill fields in document templates. In other words, the days of filling in each field on Residence Agreements and Deposit Agreements is over. By pre-loading documents, all fields in required documents can be automatically filled with depositor/resident information. Of course, this also means all pertinent documents are saved in the depositor’s record. Imagine the time that will save!

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is another advanced feature that you may find interesting. A lead score is assigned to every prospect based on their demographic and behavioral data. For example, a prospect who lives within the primary market area (PMA), who is part of a couple, and has attended two marketing events and one personal appointment will have a higher lead score than a prospect who lives three states away and has never visited. Retirement Homes Software (RHS) has the ability to recalculate lead scores in the background, in real time, with a goal of utilizing artificial intelligence in the near future to further develop the lead score.

Digital Leads

Nearly all of the CRMs you might consider handle digital leads better than REPs did. Gone are the days of having to re-key all prospect information from an email into the CRM. Thanks to application programming interfaces (APIs) between websites and the CRM, contact information is automatically entered into the CRM. What happens next is something you should ask about.

Digital leads should be treated differently. With the use of email drip campaigns and other digital marketing tools, they can be “warmed up” to the point that a sales counselor can begin to develop a relationship with them. Enquire Solutions is introducing “Pre-Leads” which will allow Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) to be stored separately from Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).

Reporting

Do you want customizable reports and dashboards? No problem. You will find that with many of the new senior living CRMs. Would you like to easily track your team’s progress against sales and productivity goals? Be sure to ask, as this capability is still somewhat rare. Are you tired of having to copy/paste emails into prospect records? Nearly all the products have syncing capability with Outlook, but look closely to be sure it’s as smooth as you would like it to be. Are you interested in utilizing broadcast emails using Mail Chimp, Constant Contact or My Emma? Not all CRMs support these programs so be sure to ask.

Customer Support

Last but not least – training and customer support. Learn the details of how, where and when training is provided. Your team will not be able to take full advantage of new features and functions without being trained. If you have a problem or a question, how is that handled? Is there a live chat? Do you email a support desk? How long does the typical resolution take? Is there a phone number to call and if so, does someone answer it? Ask for customer references and call them. Find out from others if they are pleased with the company’s customer support.

A new CRM won’t be the largest financial investment your marketing department will make but it is among the most important. Not only is it the database containing all the pertinent information about your leads; it is also a vital link to your digital marketing efforts. If you have any questions about figuring out which CRM is right for you, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help. We’ve used almost all of them!

Reach out to either Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013, or Rick Hunsicker at 214-906-3801 today. Or, reach out to us online.

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