It’s a new day in senior living — and the industry’s approach to sales and marketing needs to reflect that, with changes to their funnel and a new perspective on the definition of high performance.
“So many of us have fallen into the trap of measuring sales and marketing performance in the same old ways,” says Thomas Bierlein, Chief Customer Officer of FURTHER, a provider of AI-powered sales assistants. “Between staffing challenges and decreased face-to-face interactions, what formerly were the bedrock realities of senior living sales and marketing performance have turned upside down since the start of the pandemic.”
FURTHER’s client Senior Services of America (SSA) is a great example of an organization that is making the right improvements to impact performance, Bierlein says. Leaders at the Washington-based operator have worked to adjust their notions of how and why sales and marketing efforts succeed, helping them refocus their digital strategy and achieve greater outcomes.
How the new online landscape changes the concept of performance
Sales and marketing performance has long been rooted in certain realities about the industry, including the ease of face-to-face interaction between sales teams and prospects. Whether walk-ins from consumers or the ability for sales members to go into neighborhoods or hospitals, a certain amount of face-to-face contact was the norm.
From that norm came benchmarks that sales teams sought. They expected 50% conversion from tour to move-in, or 20% from inquiry to move-in.
“This isn’t the world we’re in today,” Bierlein says. “Most leads come from the internet, and internet leads don’t convert at the same rate as walk-ins. So strategies around performance and the associated metrics have to change. This is what the team at Senior Services of America was focused on improving when we began to work with them.”
“We knew there were so many opportunities for the funnel to leak, so we began to look at all the micro-conversions that led up to a move-in,” says Jodie Roberts, Director of Marketing for SSA. “One of the first areas we focused on was how we could better engage digital leads to drive efficiencies down the funnel.”
Engaging digital leads is important to ensure no lead is lost. But perhaps more important is the ability to qualify these leads so that precious time isn’t lost at the community with unqualified leads. An organization that does not solve for lead engagement and qualification will only be compounding its troubles considering another major new reality in senior living: staffing shortages.
Why automation matters more — and why that changes sales performance metrics
The industry’s staffing crisis, bad before the pandemic, is even worse now. Sales teams simply don’t have the human hours required to productively and efficiently sort through this massive load of top-of-the-funnel prospect connections. Varying degrees of lead quality places even greater importance on the sales team’s ability to connect with the right leads at the right time.
Connecting at the right time is important because the power of tours has not changed. “There are a lot of ways to slice and dice it, but at the end of the day, tours lead to move-ins,” Bierlein says. “No one moves in without tours.”
The question facing operators is how they can most effectively use the staff they have.
The answer is automation — and a shift in evaluating performance metrics.
“Calling 100 leads a day is no longer the best use of this finite resource,” Bierlein says. “Providers should focus on those meaningful tours and create ways to get more people in the door through automated means.”
For today’s operator, taking advantage of website optimization and automated engagement tools can be the difference between filling beds and scrambling for new prospects.
“We deployed FURTHER because we saw it could engage and guide our website’s visitors through the experience, giving them the information they wanted most, like pricing,” Roberts says. “I expected the automated engagement was going to help us increase leads. It delivered that value and so much more. FURTHER alerts the sales and marketing team when a prospect is engaged and ready to move on to the next step in the customer journey, providing key information to power more knowledgeable conversations.”
The ability to both increase leads and drive efficient qualification helps combat the battle for a sales leader’s time. Being able to measure and impact both qualitative and quantitative metrics through new solutions should be on the forefront of every team’s evaluation of new tools.
Bring these tools together to drive better sales outcomes
COVID has forced senior living to make leaps and bounds in the utilization of technology. To continue that path forward, operators are opening themselves to everything that this technology has to offer.
“COVID forced our digital efforts to get better, but working with FURTHER has helped us improve across the board and is held in high regard from our communities to corporate,” Roberts says. “Even those who were skeptical saw how easy it was to deploy, with our strongest performers gravitating to it quickly.”
This article is sponsored by Further. To learn more about how you can improve your website and drive more move-ins, visit talkfurther.com — and stay tuned in the coming weeks for more insight from Further and SHN on how to transform your marketing and sales efforts.
The post Solutions to Improve Performance Within A Changing Sales Funnel appeared first on Senior Housing News.