In today's competitive landscape, opening and operating a senior living community with any level of living is a significant investment. As a provider, the investments made in a community range from the physical plant, to the well-equipped staff, to marketing of the community. Like any investment, it is crucial to pay close attention to how we invest, who is managing that investment, and adjusting the investment strategy when needed to strive for long-term gains. It’s natural to think that the community’s sales and marketing team is paying attention to that investment. But, as with any investment, it is everyone’s responsibility to pay close attention to how the investment is being managed – and nurtured. One way to measure your investment’s success lies in the community’s customer relationship management tool (CRM). Specifically, more focus should be given to how leads are being generated, entered, tracked and managed by the sales team – for both existing and incoming leads.
How do providers fill up a community and garner sales revenue? It all begins with a single lead. Greystone analyzed a dataset of 20 of its marketing clients and their average cost per lead for independent living, assisted living and memory support combined, over the last four years. While it has fluctuated, especially given the pandemic, the average cost per lead stands at approximately $737 per lead. Taking the analysis a step further, we analyzed how many leads, on average, it takes to achieve one sale. The answer? 31. Based on these numbers, providers are spending an average of $22,847 per sale. Calculating the total number of leads – both active and lost – in the database for these 20 clients, over $2M was spent on lead generation. How can providers optimize their investment, decrease the cost per lead and increase the total revenue?
We have witnessed first-hand how such an investment can affect a community’s overall success. The positive news is, there are more age and income-qualified prospects today than there were yesterday. Lead generation is increasing with the proper investment, and that’s not expected to stop. Here are several ways providers can capitalize on that lead generation for the success of their community.
Greystone’s sales and marketing philosophy is to be relationship focused and metrics driven. According to Senior Vice President Mindy Cheek, focusing on building good relationships is an integral part of the lead nurturing process and documenting the details of what is learned is equally as important. “We can’t fully understand what our prospects are looking for, what they need or want, or what their expectations are unless we ask the right questions. When we do proper discovery, we build relationships and get to know each one of our prospects and their families personally and can then customize meaningful next steps and earn their trust.”
Assume there are 3,000 leads in the community’s database. At an average of $700 per lead, this equals a total investment of over $2 million dollars. To manage this investment effectively, an operator must monitor how the sales team is managing sales expectations. An operator should be tracking how many new qualified leads are generated each month, where the leads are coming from, how quickly the sales team is following up and scheduling appointments, and what the conversion ratios are. Having a good CRM and proven methods to track the information is critical to effectively manage your investment.
Invest in your sales team. Operators should consider if their community has the right number of sales counselors to manage the volume of new and existing leads in the database. Then, invest in training to keep up with new trends and market competition. Clearly communicate sales expectations and occupancy projections to your team. By giving your team the tools needed to effectively communicate, execute lead follow-up, and overcome objections, a community can significantly increase sales and occupancy. Prepare the sales team to track, manage, and analyze metrics in the database to create successful sales teams achieve higher returns.