How to Qualify Senior Living Leads
After countless marketing agencies and various PPC campaigns, you're FINALLY starting to get some traction from digital sources. Congratulations. Generating "more leads" is often the KPI for senior living marketing departments and one that many companies have a hard time accomplishing. However, nowadays there's a new problem to solve: How do you actually qualify senior living leads to see if your lead generation efforts were even worth the trouble. After all, there's no use getting MORE leads if every one of them is a dud.
This article is intended to help you start thinking about how you might qualify a senior living lead once you finally get ahold of them. Once the lead has been qualified you'll be able to label it an SQL. "SQL" ( or sales-qualified lead) is a commonly used term for a prospect who's already traveled through your marketing and sales funnel and has qualified themselves to be sold to based on a set of particular criteria. In the senior living industry, these criteria typically come down to the same basic factors. If the qualifying process is done correctly it will make life so much easier for your sales director when they eventually interact with the prospect.
If you're short on time and simply want to learn to generate
more senior living leads, click here to download our
free guide to senior living lead generation.
*The goal of a good senior living sales process is to help your prospect successfully navigate the senior living journey
Whatever your method, it is important to differentiate between a senior living prospect who is just starting their journey vs one that is ready to talk to sales. Sales and marketing teams are working more closely than ever to generate inbound leads and are using marketing automation to help in the lead nurturing process. When an inbound funnel is set up correctly it makes for a seamless buying process and enables prospects to be treated differently based on which stage they are at in the process and determine if it is a qualified senior living lead.
Benefits of a well-thought-out senior living sales process:
- The prospect has a better overall experience with your company and brand. They know that they won't feel rushed or urged into a sales situation before they are ready.
- It allows for much more efficient use of your sales team's time by only interacting with prospects who are ready to do so.
The cool thing about sales and marketing in today's world is that you can leverage technology to your advantage. By using marketing automation tools you can nurture a prospect online without having to interact with them directly. However, when the time comes to speak to a member of your staff, you can deploy the human touch at the right moment. And when the time comes to make this human touch it's important that nothing's left to chance. Since it can often take numerous "touches" to actually make direct contact with an inbound lead, it's more important than ever that you make the most of the interaction and effectively determine whether the lead is actually qualified to take the next step. In senior living, the next step after determining a qualified senior living lead is typically to either speak with a sales director or actually visit the community and take a tour.
*At NextWave, we help clients increase their "Lead-to-Tour" conversion percentages
and help book pre-qualified appointments for their sales teams.
The BANT Framework (For Senior Living Leads)
A common framework for qualifying an inbound lead is the BANT framework. While there are many sales frameworks out there for qualifying a lead, BANT is one of the most common. In the section below we'll break down how the BANT framework would translate to leads in the senior living industry.
Budget: Does the prospect have an appropriate budget?
This is the question that's on the minds of both the prospect and the sales director. The "elephant in the room" in The Senior Living Industry. In our experience, we've found that it's the question most asked by prospects, and the question that most sales directors are afraid to broach. Has this prospect thought about the financial implications of moving their loved ones into a senior housing community?
At some point, you're going to need to ask it. How, and using what metrics, is up to you. But in order to qualify the lead and not waste your sales director's time you need to know if they can afford it.
Authority: Does this prospect have the authority to buy?
Is the person that you're interacting with the "decision-maker"? In senior housing, the decision-makers typically are the seniors themselves or the "adult child." As you go through your discovery process with the prospect It's important to find out who else will need to be involved in the senior housing decision. Often it can be a consensus from key family members. It's important that you understand who else is involved in the decision-making process so that you don't end up repeating yourself or wasting your time with somebody who ultimately holds no authority in the decision.
Need: Have they identified a pain that you can solve?
Is senior housing something that they really need? If so, what care level? Are you both fully "sold" on the fact that senior housing is the best solution for them? If the prospect hasn't thought these things through then they will need to be given further information and education. It's no secret that there's a huge learning curve for senior housing. Most prospects have no idea if and what they need when they start their search. This is another reason that a lead nurturing process is so important. You want to make sure the prospect has had ample resources to educate themselves before speaking with a member of your staff. Whether it's educational videos, blog articles, e-books, or just simple brochures, you need to make sure they're educated.
Once you've established that they have a real need and that senior living is a viable solution, then you can move on to the next box to check in your qualifying process.
Timeline: Is there a pressing need to find a solution?
Often prospects can be ways away from making a buying decision. This is especially true in senior housing. The buyer's journey is long and often prospects could be months or even years away from putting down a deposit and actually moving in. It's essential for you and the prospect to agree on a timeline for move-in. You'll want to uncover what makes senior living the right thing for them to do NOW versus next year. And you'll both need to conclude that it's the right time to make a move to a community.
No matter which methods you use to qualify senior living leads, it's important to get these questions answered before the prospect interacts with a salesperson. If they can answer these questions in a positive way then it is time to turn the lead into an opportunity, set an appointment or tour for the sales director, and turn the lead over to the sales staff at a specific community to take it from there.
If the lead does not fit all these criteria they should either
- be marked as unqualified and removed from your CRM or
- be sent back to marketing and nurtured until a future time when they are deemed to be more qualified.
Every interaction with your prospects should be documented and learned from. Each data point that you collect can be used to tweak your marketing programs so that your lead generation efforts result in better-qualified senior living leads. It's the companies that continuously iterate on their inbound lead generation campaigns that will come out on top. And the only way to make improvements is by collecting data from each interaction, analyzing it, and making adjustments.
*Try to always double down on the lead generation methods that drive to more SQLs. The only way you'll be able to know which methods are the best is by tracking the interactions using a tool like Hubspot.
Many industries call the person who does this senior living lead qualifying an "SDR" or "sales development rep." This senior living SDR role is one that we at NextWave think will become vital for senior living companies. Whether you have one location or fifty, somebody needs to be responsible for contacting and qualifying your senior living leads from digital. Often times simply responding quickly to digital leads is the difference between getting the sale or not. We help senior living companies set up lead response systems that result in more tours and more move-ins from digital.