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How to Align Senior Living Sales and Marketing Strategies

Align your sales and marketing activities into one powerful strategy that leads to improved efficiency and better occupancy. We’ll show you how.

Karen McDonald, 20th November 2023

Senior living communities have a challenging task ahead of them: they must continue serving a discerning target audience with complex demands, all while navigating rising costs and fierce competition.

But senior living operators can communicate with potential residents and their families in a more efficient and customer-centric way by making one major change: aligning their senior living sales and marketing strategies.   

True alignment between senior living sales and marketing strategies could result in as much as a 32% increase in year on year revenue growth. Other typical results include: a better customer experience, more top-line growth, and higher sales productivity.

In this blog, we’ll tell you:

  • Why your senior living sales and marketing strategies work better when they’re aligned
  • What sales and marketing strategies for senior living audiences have in common
  • How to seamlessly align senior living sales and marketing strategies
  • How to choose effective KPIs for sales and marketing in senior living communitiesWant to learn how this seamless approach can work for your senior living community? Read more…

Why your senior living sales and marketing strategies work better when they’re aligned

Many times marketing and sales strategies are are executed in silos. There are a few good reasons why.

Traditionally, each function operates on different timelines. Marketing takes a longer-term view, focusing on building brand awareness and nurturing leads over time. Sales, on the other hand, typically work on shorter sales cycles and immediate revenue generation. The difference in timelines can lead to a lack of alignment. 

Each strategy usually focuses on separate goals. Marketing strategies are focused on generating leads, creating brand awareness, and nurturing prospects. Sales strategies, on the other hand, are dedicated to converting leads into paying customers.

But the historical separation between sales and marketing can often negatively impact your ability to attract, engage, and retain residents. Messaging between marketing materials and sales calls clash. Efforts are duplicated or wasted. Hard-won leads go uncontacted and unconverted. It can be the cause of countless other missed opportunities, confusing messaging, and frustrated customers. 

However, when sales and marketing are aligned, all your efforts become supercharged to reach your goals. You’ll be able to attract more potential residents — all while getting a deeper understanding of their needs.

How to seamlessly align senior living sales and marketing strategies 

A senior living sales and marketing alignment strategy should account for the industry-specific challenges mentioned above. It must emphasize building relationships, educating and informing potential residents and families, and it must always start with prioritizing the potential resident’s needs.

To get your  sales and marketing strategies aligned, start with:

  • Setting goals: Setting concrete goals will help bring your senior living sales and marketing strategies together.
  • Defining what an opportunity is: Breaking down things like customer personas or clarifying what a “hot lead” is will help you know which leads to follow up with first.
  • Outlining the process: The senior living buying process is complex. Many potential leads will need to be nurtured slowly, over a long period of time. Your outreach will have to be enacted at different times throughout the buying process. Outlining specific action stepss will help you capture unexpected opportunities.
  • Employ the right tools to keep you on track: Strategies can look really solid on paper, but the reality may not meet your expectations. Sales and marketing tools automate the process and keep everyone one the same page following one process. 

How to choose effective metrics for success

Your goals could include things like increasing the number of incoming leads each month, improving lead conversion rates, enhancing customer satisfaction, or boosting resident retention. 

These KPIs could look like:

  • Frequency of time between touchpoints – 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.  
  • Forecasting – 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. 

Keep measuring the same metrics through a single business quarter and re-evaluate once core insights have come to light. Remember, constantly changing your strategy can be just as damaging as never changing it at all. 

How to set up your senior living sales & marketing processes

Now that you’ve established what you want your sales and marketing to achieve, let’s talk about how you can weave each strand together into one cohesive strategy.

Establishing the right senior living sales and marketing process will help you identify overlapping responsibilities, achieve a consistent external message, and find blindspots.

So how do you set up ideal processes for your sales and marketing senior living team? 

  1. Market research and customer profiling: Understand the needs and preferences of seniors and their families. Develop detailed profiles, considering factors like age, health status, lifestyle preferences, and financial capacity.
  2. Refine your message: Produce blog posts, social media updates, and videos that answer your target audience’s questions or address their pain points. This could be about healthcare, lifestyle, financial planning, and senior living options.
  3. Lead generation: Use online directories, senior-focused websites, email campaigns, referral services and community events to inform and attract potential leads.
  4. Nurturing leads: Develop a process for how leads are followed-up with and specific action steps. Keep the lines of communication open and active.
  5. Sales outreach: Schedule in-person tours and consultations. Address their concerns and provide detailed information about your community’s offerings and amenities.
  6. Read the numbers: Analyze conversion rates and occupancy rates. Monitor customer satisfaction and staff performance. Continuously refine and improve your marketing and sales strategies based on data-driven insights.

Establishing processes like this will help you connect the different strengths of your sales and marketing efforts so that your potential resident has the best guide available along their journey.

How to choose the right senior living sales and marketing tools

Aiming to optimize and align your senior living sales and marketing teams is no small feat. Your entire organization needs to be in constant communication and ready to respond and communicate with prospects without lag time— and that’s not something you want to attempt to achieve on spreadsheets or disconnected point systems. Investing in a dedicated senior living tool will put your sales and marketing teams on the same page throughout the buying process — helping you build and maintain a high-performing sales and marketing culture. 

Learn more about Aline’s sales and marketing solutions here.

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