By Erin Hayes, Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Enquire
Believe it or not, senior living prospects are inquiring as much or more than they did at this point in 2019. The big difference? As the world has changed, so has the nature of their inquiries.
Our team at Enquire has found that today’s seniors are doing much more research on communities before calling or emailing directly. Prospects are taking the time beforehand to review a community’s website, blogs, social accounts, online reviews and informational content, so that when they do finally reach out, they already have a general idea of what your community offers.
This means your sales team will need to adjust to what we previously knew to be the senior living sales cycle, so that they can deliver more relevant content, to the right person, at the right time.
I recently joined a panel of experienced colleagues from Love & Company to discuss this in the webinar, “The New Senior Living Sales Cycle – Explained.” The 90-minute session included how to most effectively integrate your digital marketing efforts with your CRM, among other topics, and you can view the recording by clicking here.
Fellow panelists from Love & Company have already discussed how to maximize the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts using lead nurturing campaigns and letting new technology assist your sales team.
Right here, we want to focus on how your organization can optimize the nurture experience by using valuable intelligence and automation tools within the CRM so your team can work smarter—not harder—for even greater ROI. Here are three pieces of advice that we at Enquire have shared with providers across the field.
Focus on “speed to lead”
One of the fundamental block and tackle sales functions that we are encouraging for all of our clients is the quick lead capture followed by timely dissemination of the information and content that each prospect needs and expects. Communities need to make sure that all digital leads entering their system get the info they requested right away, and that the sales team follows up rapidly—“speed to lead.”
There are only so many inquiries to go around, and the reality is that in today’s sales cycle, a prospect inquiring about your community has probably inquired about a couple other communities as well. This competition makes it crucial that sales teams conduct quick, detailed lead capture in the CRM.
Although several digital tools can help automate a lead scoring system, sales teams must understand the prospect data (e.g., which landing page was filled, which email link was clicked) and have a data-driven plan on which to base their follow-up with each lead. We at Enquire have seen that teams who do this are the ones having success.
Harness the power of the CRM
With how the senior living prospect experience has shifted this year, sales teams should be guided on using the CRM to its maximum potential. The CRM is a powerful strategic and tactical tool and it’s so, so much more than a phone book.
For example, CRMs like Enquire have the ability to load in data appends, therefore vastly expanding what you know about a set of prospects even if they weren’t in your database from the start. Harnessing functions like these can make a measurable difference in your community’s ratio of MQLs to sales.
For the “boots on the ground” sales staff, it’s about consistency, accuracy and timeliness (as mentioned earlier) with lead capture, discovery and follow-up. When applying those principles to CRM usage, the platform becomes a trusted, timely and in-sync source of information for the entire team to harness.
When working in concert with a robust digital marketing program, prospect data input into the CRM can also inform the next layer of their nurture journey, allowing leads to automatically get warmer and ideally easier to close.
To realize these benefits, leadership may have to initially work on breaking sales teams members’ habits of avoiding documentation and keeping all their knowledge of a prospect in their heads. But they should know that with better data comes a better sales process, more sales and more commissions, too.
Train and reinforce
With many new tactics proving their effectiveness in today’s digital landscape, training the sales team members on the new best practices and tools is a critical step to set them up for success.
New and better-targeted tools like Enquire’s custom discovery forms built into our CRM and others like platforms for personalized video follow-up can make a huge difference in moving prospects through the sales funnel and converting more MQLs to sales.
But it’s important that your team members have a firm understanding of how to use the tools at their disposal to unlock their full potential.
Studies have shown that 80 percent of mobile apps are deleted because of a lack of understanding on how to use them. You wouldn’t want 80 percent of your organization’s shiny new sales tools to go unused just because you didn’t train your team! Especially in today’s work-from-home environment, organizations should also put their training sessions online for sales team members to review at their pace.
“When leadership invests in ongoing training for the sales team on these new tools and processes, it is really a revenue generator for the organization,” Joan Kelly-Kincade, another fellow panelist on the recent Love & Company webinar, said. “It shows that the community leadership believes in its team and wants to help it perform at its best.”
Another way for leadership to encourage sales teams to use new tools to their full potential is to reinforce their efficacy by using them in internal communication with the sales team. For example, a leadership member could use a new video tool to create and send a message to the sales team.
“It’s mirroring and modeling the tools you’re using with prospects,” Joan added. “It goes back to always being consistent and all of these things are about communication and reinforcement. It’s a new way of doing things, yes, but everyone needs to keep trying.”
I hope you’ll watch the webinar recording for a deeper dive into each of these topics, as it’s been really exciting and inspiring to see so many senior living communities adapt to this “new world” of marketing and sales. Your organization can be next!
For more of Love & Company’s resources on senior living digital marketing, click here; or call Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013 to find out how a confluent digital marketing program can help your existing Life Plan Community advance its mission.