We’re all excited to bid farewell to 2020. While the promise of a new year and the distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations have made us hopeful for a better future, the current state of the market suggests that the challenges faced last year aren’t quite behind us.
Increased pressure has been placed on Sales and Marketing to recoup lost revenue as operational costs continue to rise and senior housing occupancy benchmarks remain at all-time lows.
What can community leaders do to overcome headwinds like low in-market demand while budgets and resources remain scarce?
Focus on middle-of-the-funnel leads.
Kurt Krejny, senior vice president of client service and Marissa Centofanti, vice president of web & SEO for GlynnDevins teamed up with Senior Housing News and Angela Green Urbaczewski, vice president of sales and marketing at Cappella Living Solutions to discuss why mid-funnel strategies are the key to converting your existing demand into move-ins to grow occupancy across service lines.
To recap the full discussion, here are three top takeaways from the webinar.
Today’s middle of the funnel calls for teams to lean into new methods of outreach, technology and data sources to break through the noise, accelerate conversations and nurture leads toward a move-in. Between an increasingly complicated buyer’s journey and the learning curve for staff to learn the latest technology, it may seem like a daunting challenge to know where to begin with managing leads that “feel stuck” in the sales process.
The good news is that senior living Sales and Marketing teams don’t have to have every facet of an automated buyer’s journey in place at once.
In essence, by putting the analogy of “building the bicycle while riding it” into practice, providers can nurture middle-of-the-funnel leads while testing new messaging and methods of automation, depending on the channel or tactic that’s delivering the highest ROI.
An automated email program is a great place to start. Continually test various elements to see how it impacts conversion rates and engagement. Test components such as:
This data informs your strategy and understanding of your buyer’s needs, which enables you to create content that aligns with their unique stage in the buyer’s journey. Simply start with where you are, optimize and test various campaign elements to see what resonates with prospects, and layer in automation technology investments gradually as your team proves out success.
Your mid-funnel strategies are underway and optimized, and you’re building trust with helpful and relevant content over time. Along each touch point, useful data is collected on your prospects and specific behaviors can be used to analyze and inform your Sales team on when a lead is ready to move into the next stage of their buyer’s journey. When connecting these data points (backed by first- and third-party sources), it can be leveraged to shorten your sales cycle.
During the webinar, Marissa Centofanti explained how technology is critical in helping teams scale mid-funnel strategies. She went on to describe the role of lead scoring as, “…the vessel that helps us better prioritize and identify mid-funnel leads that are marketing-qualified, or ready to engage with the Sales team.”
The creation of a lead scoring system helps Marketing and Sales teams assign and weigh interactions based on agreed-upon metrics and KPIs. The example below shows how lead scoring can segment a provider’s prospecting audience to help Sales identify which lead is worth pursuing. If a lead’s score surpasses the “nurturing” stage threshold based on actions that demonstrate a lead “raising their hand”, the timing is right for Sales outreach to have the most impact.
In the case of Angela Green Urbaczewski and her team at Cappella Living Solutions, their story was similar to many providers in the space: Tour volume was down, the sales cycle was getting longer and they needed to turn their efforts toward increasing their inquiry-to-tour ratio.
Through ongoing optimizations and by layering data pieces together with collaboration and execution from the GlynnDevins team, Cappella Living Solutions was able to combine offline and online channels to create truly memorable ways to reengage leads and recapture occupancy opportunities.
Cappella Living Solutions pivoted to new ways to engage with leads during the pandemic, specifically by virtually hosting nearly all their events that were originally in person. Integrations with video conferencing, CRM, and marketing automation created efficiencies that set the foundation for successful virtual events and tours.
One example of a virtual event that drove high RSVPs, participation, and post-event activity that Angela highlighted during the webinar was a “Teaching Kitchen”. During home visits, the Sales team would deliver ingredients, the recipe and a special gift for RSVPing. The participant would attend a video conference where they would learn about a specialty dish and follow along as the community chef prepared the meal. During this time, the Sales team also discussed updates and benefits of community life.
By tracking and monitoring the data around these events, Cappella Living Solutions was able to extend the life of their highest-performing virtual events through sharing the recorded sessions on their blog and snippets on Facebook Live. They then incorporated digital display advertising to drive more visitors to these high-value content pieces. Through strategic execution, prospects got an inside look into community life while staying engaged with sales and marketing.
In addition to the takeaways shared above, watch the on-demand webinar to learn: