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    The Rise of the Senior Living SDR: Why You Might Need One

    The Rise of the Senior Living SDR: Why You Need One

    Why Senior Living Needs Inbound SDRs

    An Inbound Sales Development Representative (SDR) or Senior Living SDR is responsible for contacting and qualifying inbound leads. These trained professionals are responsible for taking your qualified marketing leads (MQL) and turning them into sales-qualified leads (SQL). In the senior housing industry, you could consider somebody an SQL when they have reached the point that they are ready to speak to a sales director or are ready to take a tour of your community. 

    Sometimes this position is referred to as Inbound Sales Reps, Business Development Reps (BDR), Lead Generation Reps (LGR), digital lead response, or perhaps it goes by a different name at the company you work at. For the purposes of this article, we will use the term "SDR," and more specifically an "inbound SDR" is somebody who is responsible solely for the inbound leads. Inbound leads can come from website forms, landing pages, PPC ads, social media, or referral partners like A Place for Mom or Caring.com.


    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.


    Does senior living need a specialized sales role?

    The short answer is "yes." Especially if you want to create a modern-day sales team then "Yes", your senior living sales team should start to specialize. And yes, one of the first roles that you need to fill is an inbound SDR.  Your inbound SDR team should specialize in converting inbound leads to qualified sales opportunities. This is a totally different skill than outbound prospecting and different still from a sales director who is responsible for giving tours and closing new residents. While your sales director certainly has the ability to handle the inbound SDR tasks, you should carve out a specialized role for the inbound SDRs.

    Yes, And Here's Why

    An inbound lead has already visited your website, has interacted with your content, and is familiar with your company. They are interested in senior living and are at the point where they want to know more specific details about your community. This is where an inbound SDR comes in.

    An inbound SDR's job is to:

    1. Make contact with the prospect directly via the phone.
    2. Move the lead from simply being "interested" to somebody who's actually "qualified" to evaluate your specific community as somewhere that they (or their loved one) could live.

    An inbound SDR is expected to know more about your community than a typical outbound sales rep. However, they don't need to be actually on the ground in your physical community. They simply need to know enough about it to answer basic questions and qualify the prospect. They also need the skills to handle any basic objections. This is why at NextWave we have all our inbound SDRs trained through the Bild method, along with our own industry-specific training. Additionally, our community onboarding process results in an FAQ document that has all the common community-specific questions readily available.


    The Rise of the Senior Living SDR: Why You Need One


    Why You Need An Inbound SDR AND a Sales Director

    Full quota-carrying Sales Directors typically have a competitive compensation structure. This means they cost too much to be handling inbound leads. These key resources should be closing new businesses. They should still prospect for themselves, but they should only be prospecting to the extent where it closes new business. A sales director should not be spending their time chasing down form submissions from the website or playing phone tag with leads that come from A Place for Mom. They need to spend as much time as possible doing what they do best: giving tours, interacting with qualified prospects in person, and securing deposits for their community. 


    The Rise of the Senior Living SDR: Why You Need One*Inbound SDRs take care of steps 2 and 3 in the senior living sales funnel above. In addition to just connecting they also qualify the prospect for that specific community. 


    1) You Need to Respond FAST

    Time is of the essence when qualifying inbound leads. According to a study done by a Professor at MIT and InsideSales.com:

    • The odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes are 100x higher versus 30 minutes.
    • The odds of qualifying a lead if called in 5 minutes are 21x higher versus 30 minutes.

    It pays to be fast when contacting inbound leads. The speed which is required in order to successfully make contact with an inbound lead is a major reason this job role should NOT be handled by a sales director. They are busy on the floor of your community and can't be expected to sit by the computer waiting for incoming leads in order to respond within 5 minutes. It's not physically possible.


    The Rise of the Senior Living SDR: Why You Need One


    2) It takes A LOT of Follow Up to Book a Tour

    In fact, it takes approximately 6-12 sales "touches" to book a tour with a prospect. We define sales "touch" as a call, email, voicemail, text, or anything else that puts you in direct correspondence with your inbound leads. Ultimately, the goal for a Senior Living SDR is to qualify the inbound leads, so eventually, this ends up being talking on the phone with the prospect. However, an SDR might make several touches before actually getting someone on the phone. In fact, it can take between 6-12 touches to actually get somebody on the phone.

    In order to make the number of touches required to actually make contact with an inbound lead it takes a huge amount of time and back and forth. And often, all this follow-up doesn't result in anything!  The prospect might lose interest, go to a competitor, or simply change their mind. The fact that lead response has the potential to waste time is another reason that a sales director should not take on this role. Their time is much better spent on other tasks. 


    3) This Is a Relatively NEW Problem

    Another important thing to note is that inbound lead response was not a part of the senior living sales process until very recently. This role simply didn't exist not long ago. It's only been in the last few years (and even more so since COVID) that senior living companies have had to deal with a huge influx of digital leads. In the past, senior living sales directors didn't have to dedicate anywhere near the amount of time they do now to handle this task. And the role is only going to get bigger and bigger going forward and lead to more and more overwhelm on the part of your staff if you don't solve for it.  The sooner you can create a solution and system to handle the problem the better. Not only will solving this growing issue help you and your staff, but it will also give your company a competitive advantage over other companies who are still trying to handle every role themselves. 


    Sales development Rep (SDR)



    How many leads can an inbound SDR handle?

    A well-trained inbound Senior Living SDR can accomplish about 50-75 "touches" on any given day. If you assume there are 20 workdays per month then each inbound SDR has the capacity for 1,000-1500 touches per month. If you take it one step further and assume that each lead requires 9 touches then it implies that each SDR can handle 111-160 leads per month. 

    50-75 Touches per Day * 20 Days per Month / 9 Touches per Lead

    = Approx. 111-166 Leads Per Month

    Obviously, we've made a few assumptions here (based on our experience in lead response) as to how many touches an SDR can handle as well as the number of touches each inbound lead requires. It's possible that due to technology and automation your sales staff can handle more tasks, or perhaps that in your experience it only takes 4 touches per lead. Either way, the basic process for determining how much work an Inbound SDR can accomplish remains the same. You just need to plug in your own numbers to see how quickly this role can start to add up. 



    With more and more senior living leads coming from digital sources we believe that having an inbound SDR will start to become critical in order to compete. As your sales director's time gets spread thinner more and more digital leads are going to start falling through the cracks. And with limited bandwidth, it's going to become more critical than ever that their time gets spent as effectively as possible. 

    Marketing automation tools have allowed the digital follow-up process to be done extremely efficiently. However, there's still no substitute for talking with a prospect on the phone before allowing them to take a tour of your community. By outsourcing your digital lead response to a senior living-trained SDR team you'll have a competitive advantage in the industry. 



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