Like any other industry during the pandemic, senior living has struggled with sales over the past year. But as the economy continues to gain momentum – just as more older adults in the country are retiring and downsizing – senior living has set its sights on sales growth. In a webinar that aired in May 2021, panelists Sanela Graziose from Atria Senior Living and Brad Frasher from Glennis Solutions discussed the current metrics they are monitoring to help drive the senior living occupancy recovery. Read some of their insights below on the data that sales leaders in senior living need to be successful today.
Where Customers Are Coming From
Virtual tours of senior living communities were something of an exception pre-pandemic. But technology adoption surged in 2020, and suddenly virtual tours became the norm. Professional outreach went virtual; website and digital platforms took a larger share of many senior living companies’ inquiries. Today it’s crucial that we track the lifecycle of a digital conversion, knowing where people are coming to you from and which form they’re completing if they request further information. If the leads that you’re getting seem financially unqualified, for example, your referral sources may need to be updated, or your website form may need to have available rates included. Make sure your CRM filters out leads so that your sales directors can prioritize the inquiries that are a good fit for your communities.
What's Not Working
“Garbage in, garbage out.” The idea being that you can collect an infinite amount of data, so you need to start small and develop a strategy around the 3–4 metrics that yield the biggest results. Keep measuring the same metrics through a single business quarter and reevaluate once core insights have come to light. Remember, constantly changing your strategy can be just as damaging as never changing it at all. At the same time, data shouldn’t be punitive — it should guide us to insights about what’s working and what’s not (and knowing what’s not working is often as important as knowing what is). So, if your teams are slow to respond to leads on Tuesdays, make them comfortable with entering that information honestly, so you can dig in, find out why and make changes that address the issue. It could be as simple as inadequate staffing.
The Frequency of Time Between Touchpoints
According to the panelists, senior living doesn’t have a lead problem — it has a follow-up problem. There are plenty of leads, in fact so many that at times our industry can often let even self-elected inquiries drift away. For every day that passes after your last interaction with a lead, the probability of that person moving into your community drops off dramatically. So, when a prospective resident reaches out to you, jump at the opportunity to make a follow-up call or invite them on a tour. (This is when a CRM that prioritizes leads and guides teams through scheduled follow-up tasks is critical.) You should establish follow-up rules and timelines and identify leads that should be followed-up on directly and those that should be nurtured with automated marketing campaigns.
Stabilizing occupancy rates in senior living communities follows a certain one-step-at-a-time logic: First, look at overall turnover. You’ll want to figure out how many tours and inquiries are needed to get you to the required number of move-ins each month. Let’s say that five residents move out of your building each month. That means you need five move-ins to replace them. If you know that a third of your tours result in move-ins, you’ll need 15 tours. The numbers will vary building by building, but the sales strategy will probably be just as interlinked: Inquiries affects tours, tours affect move-ins. Marketing dollars are precious, so shift them away from inquiry pipelines that are ahead of pace to the pipelines that are behind pace. Develop micro-strategies that back up your larger quarterly goals and be prepared to allocate a different set of resources to each strategy depending on how they’re performing. That way, your data can help you act on (rather than react to) the trends you’re seeing in real time.
So many operators in senior living are afraid to be honest about what they’re charging. We all cast the net wide, and then we complain about having too many inquiries. Whereas if you’re transparent with your data, you’ll narrow the scope of your pricing and largely eliminate the problem of non-qualified leads that we mentioned above. Yes, your inquiries will most likely go down, but your conversions will probably go up, because now you’re talking to your best customer. Data transparency will allow senior living operators and prospects to better understand their product. This should naturally create tiers and segments in senior housing that will allow operators to better allocate their marketing dollars and prospects to better self-select if only because we won’t all be selling to the middle.
In all, data can make senior living operations more efficient and provide a better experience for our customers. Perhaps the most effective way we can harness data to drive senior living occupancy recovery is to make it more actionable — which means determining how your customers are reaching you, ensuring the right time lapses between touchpoints, and leverage data to target qualified leads. To find out how Glennis Solutions can provide the data and tools you need to do all this and more, schedule a demo today.