Sales + Marketing + Senior Living: Maximizing Opportunities Part 2

The market is changing. Where are your sales folks spending their time? Are their responsibilities blended between marketing and business development? Are they truly able to sell effectively given the changing nature of the way the digitally savvy senior searches for their care options?

Jason McCloud continues the conversation with the FIFF team this week. Find Part 1 here . Jason is a digital marketing expert and the Digital Marketing Director for Benchmark Senior Living. Jason’s keen insights into the senior living space are a result of 11+ years of experience. His varied career spans across the provider, agency, and referral/lead aggregator sides of senior living. He’s seen it all, and shares his unique perspective for sales and marketing leaders at senior living communities.

In Part 2 of 2, Jason walks the FIFF team through the pitfalls facing both sales and marketing teams at senior living communities. Sales and marketing are ironically dumped into the same bucket. In reality, they’re two entirely different skillsets and disciplines.

Marketing: Where’s Your Community’s Expert?

Perhaps the biggest headwind Jason is noticing is an opportunity to deepen marketing knowledge and expertise across the senior living industry. This is an observation Jason derived after working on the front lines with organizations and teams of varying sizes. We empathize with the “one-person marketing teams” out there, wearing multiple hats with the expectation to exceed both sales and marketing goals.

We stress that your community doesn’t need to go on a marketing team hiring blitz. You don’t need an army; just several key people. That resource doesn’t have to do it all, either. They would need to help implement, oversee ongoing strategies, and hold external partners accountable. Unfortunately, as Jason laments, “you don’t know what you don’t know”, and sometimes community’s get burned without the right counsel. Having a team member considered an in-house expert is crucial.

Your community can leverage your current team’s marketing skillset development by sending them to conferences for additional training. In any case, the opportunity for communities to have someone in place to maximize the 60% of leads coming online will help your community meet its goals. This initiative is just as important for the community with one location as it is for the multi-state, 200+ location organization.

In short, have your internal marketers focus on:

  • Strategy (so your community can maximize the 60% of leads being driven online)
  • Leadgen pipeline
  • Conference Attendance (Argentum, SMASH, LeadingAge)
  • Getting the C-suite involved

Sales: Where’s the Focus?

Have your sales managers ask themselves a simple question: “How much time do you spend prospecting outside of the building?” If your phone rings with an interested prospect and no one answers the call, is the business getting closed?

The outside opportunities are shrinking (though not non-existent). But your manager has a greater opportunity to close business by being onsite, answering calls and fielding email inquiries.

As a discipline, salespeople need to mature a little. Instead of doubling or even tripling down on tactics that were once successful, we need to adapt and innovate. Become comfortable with change, even if it’s difficult and jarring.

Sales Teams! Use Your:

  • Data (What is your data saying? Why?)
  • Expertise (Consultation when Necessary)
  • Capabilities

The market will continue changing and sales teams will need to change with it to keep their community’s competitive and maintain occupancy goals. Figure out what your data is telling you and keep that as your source of truth, instead of continuing well-worn tactics producing results that may be leveling off. What worked yesterday may not work today, but your data will provide the clarity your sales team needs to make informed decisions.

What Else? Additional Topics Discussed

Operationally, Jason asks, “Is your community efficient on both ends of that spectrum?”

Your community will have to ask itself tough questions concerning both sales and marketing.

In addition to the pep talk we provided for both sales and marketing teams, the FIFF team also discusses:

  • The importance of integrating offline and online channels to create a truly integrated campaign
  • Home Healthcare and its impact and ramifications
  • Communicating trust from the provider side
  • Competing against the community with “shiny and new” features and amenities
  • The importance of building empathy with prospective residents and their families

While the FIFF team poses some serious questions for marketing and sales team, we hope the discussion will inspire your community to refocus its efforts to maximize the opportunities 2018 will present. You can learn more about Jason and Benchmark Senior Living by visiting their website. If you have additional questions, don’t be a stranger. Contact the Linkmedia 360 Fresh Insights from Fresh Faces team. We’ll do our best to motivate your sales and marketing teams to achieve and surpass occupancy goals.

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