How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle with CRM Software

A Different Kind of CRM

Continuum CRM changes the way you'll view customer relationship management tools in Senior Living. It goes beyond activity tracking for the Marketing & Sales department. It helps sales people manage relationships and marketers track campaigns. For managers and corporate team leaders, it’s a powerful data-driven machine capable of providing insights to achieve better budgeting and strategic measures.

How Your CRM Can Shorten Your Sales Cycle

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Learn How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle with CRM

Knowing the Numbers

Your CRM is far more than an activity tracking tool. When used correctly, with knowledge of senior living industry and your community metrics, the CRM can help you shorten your sales cycles.

Think about the length of senior living industry sales cycles. The typical number quoted is an average of three years from inquiry to deposit. But what about drilling down further? By knowing the percentage of your prospects that close in a specific time range you’ll be able to better target the buyers that may be more ready.

Your CRM reporting tools should be able to easily calculate the length of time from inquiry to tour. You’ll quickly notice that while indeed the average is likely 36 months, your community will have several sales in two other categories. Those under 12 months and over 5 years. The community I worked at had 48% of prospects close within 18 months from inquiry. But we also had approximately 20% close in over 5 years, and most those were over 10 years, thus giving an average inquiry to close ratio of 36 months.

By only looking at the average, we are given false information about the prospects we should be targeting. If we want to work with the prospects most likely to give a deposit on a residence, we need to call those that have inquired in the last 12 months and the ones that have been in our CRM for more than 5 years.

Segmenting Leads in Your CRM

Now that we know which leads we should be targeting for follow up, how do we further segment our leads and ensure we are using our call time most effectively. There are several types of prospects we should be looking at. First, and likely the most obvious, follow up with the highest engaged prospects. Those who complete tasks you discuss, ask for more information, and are taking steps to become residents. These prospects need follow up and attention devoted to continuing down the path of residency. If they are following the advice of the counselor on steps necessary to make the move, they should be followed up with frequently.

You’ll also want to hone in on those people in your CRM that fit the target demographic of available inventory. If all you have available is one bedroom apartments, it won’t make sense to call wait list prospects that want larger homes. Instead, seek out those who have indicated they’re downsizing so their belongings can accommodate a smaller space. Look at singles, or possibly couples that already live in smaller homes. The adjustment to a small space won’t be such a stretch for them.

Look for prospects that meet the criteria of other depositors. If your average age at deposit is 82, it makes sense that you’ll want to call the leads that have inquired in the appropriate time frame, the right age at entry, as well as the right available residence. By doing so, you’ll have a higher chance at reducing your sales cycle.

Sorting Functionality in the CRM is Important

Your CRM should have multiple sorting and filtering capabilities, so you can easily find the people that meet all the criteria you’re searching for. As a sales counselor, you don’t want to have to spend hours looking through old notes or re-reading the information gathered on every prospect just to figure out who you need to call.

Once you know who you want to call, what should you be doing to ensure the highest possibility for engagement and success. The journey to residency at a senior living community is decidedly personal and your interactions should reflect the nature of the quest.

It’s about the prospect finding the place that feels most like home to them. The community which they feel they gives the maximum likelihood for the kind of life they seek. It’s your job as a sales counselor to figure out what they want out of life.

Does the prospect want to have a purpose driven life? Do they want to volunteer, give back to the community, or have a cause they’re passionate about? Does your community support the lifestyle the prospect seeks?

Whether they want to spend their days fully engaged in the activities and opportunities the community offers or they want to sit back and quietly enjoy retirement at a slower pace, if your community doesn’t support what they want, you have an obligation to let them know. The last thing you want is for someone to go through the process, make your community their home, only to find they can’t adjust because the community perception from the outside doesn’t translate to reality once they’re a resident.

If you’ve found someone whose desires match your community lifestyle and program offerings, you’ll want to seek to engage with them and promote attendance at community activities they’ve indicated interest. You should be able to capture interests, hobbies, and passions within your CRM.

The Takeaway

What does all this information mean? Your CRM system should have the technology to reveal the highest engaged, most likely to deposit prospect, who is ready to become your next resident.

Shortening the sales cycle is usually a top priority for any sales team. You’ll always have prospects who waffle and people who seem highly interested then suddenly disappear.

The data housed in your CRM system gives you the power to focus on the prospects that best match the profile of your current residents. Doing so ensures that you spend most of your time engaging with the people most likely to become your next residents which makes your sales cycle shorter.

Over to You

Does your community use lead scoring tools? What insights do your CRM or other tools provide to guide you to the prospects with the highest readiness score?

Lead scoring is another effective use of the information gathered to target the prospects that may be most interested in moving to your community. Continuum CRM has readiness scores built into every prospect record. To find out more, go to www.continuumcrm.com and request a free demo.


Kristin Hambleton

Kristin’s passion is in helping others succeed in the senior living industry. Her objective is to assist teams in becoming better sales people through consultative selling, and helping managers be more strategic in their roles through data mining and analysis. With her role at Continuum CRM, Kristin is able to focus on both of these efforts.