Beyond Activity Tracking - CRM as a Strategic Planning Tool

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.

Your CRM as a Strategic Planning Tool

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Using CRM as a Strategic Planning Tool

The Struggle Between Sales and Management Is Real

The company CRM today is more than an activity tracking tool, yet many are still underutilized and too many sales people and managers still believe it’s all about logging tasks. The struggle between sales and management is real in their quest for data entry into the company’s CRM.

Sales people don’t want to enter data. They want to sell. They want to build relationships, have meaningful conversations with their prospects, and meet their sales goals. They don’t care about detailing every aspect of the interaction into the CRM system.

Communities have multi-million dollar annual budgets. The CRM can be a great tool in identifying the best way to spend those dollars.

Helping your sales team comprehend the depths to which this affects your organization can change the way they engage with their CRM. It can also give the entire organization a holistic approach to budget allocation.

The problem is, sales people aren’t often given the big picture when it comes to managing the organization or team, so they don’t feel the same motivation as management does to collect data. It goes back to the old WIIFM, “What’s in it for me?” mentality.

Leaders need to not only convey the what’s in it for me for everyone, but also what’s in it for the organization as well as the future resident when data is gathered. Once everyone has a clear picture of why the information needs gathered, the buy in and dedication to recording data will be embraced.

Sales teams need to feel included. They’re more than drones churning out numbers. Give them the opportunity to be included in the big picture. Call a meeting to outline the reasons for data collection and how it affects different departments, budgets and future strategic plans. Be clear on how this affects them and what can be done in the future to help make their sales goals.

Identify Which Departments Benefit From the Data

Let’s first look at how recording inventory data affects different departments. Consider property management. By entering residence styles, sizes, entrance fees, and turnover information in your CRM, you’re able to analyze a whole host of scenarios. Knowing what size and style residence is sold the most can lead to strategic decisions on construction spending. Turnover information reveals which homes experience the highest turnover and allows for research into why this happens.

Is the incoming resident on average older or more frail? Is the apartment style undesirable? Do you have too many of a particular size home? Is the layout still in demand with today’s new resident? Does your organization need to be more pro-active in the redesign and combination of older residences? OR, does your marketing department need to allocate budgets differently in order to target the ideal prospect for that kind of home?

A robust CRM like Continuum CRM houses all this information. It has built in reports and dashboards to reveal all the answers needed for effective strategic plans. Each question above ultimately affects sales. This is why your team needs to be included in the conversation, not just told to enter data.

A Better Resident Experience

Let’s take a look at Activity Facilitators and Executive Directors. Whether it’s incoming residents or existing ones, everyone can benefit from the information in the CRM. It allows for better resident event planning as well as smoother transitions for new residents to the community.

What better way to make the new resident feel welcome than to match them with a mentor with similar interests and background? Your CRM can gather information on the front end, and provide for the match before the new resident arrives. This creates a more personalized experience, and goes a long way in making the new resident feel like they’ve arrived home.

It also makes the Activity Facilitator a rock star in the eyes of the new resident, AND the mentor. New friendships are created and less time is spent reassigning a new resident with someone they have more in common. It enhances and contributes to the overall success of the program.

It also helps your Executive Director get to know something about new residents before they arrive. There is a whole host of conversation starters from hobbies, interests, travel experiences, professional backgrounds, and hometowns to talk about.

The ED can better plan and prepare their first interaction with the resident by having access to notes made during the sales process. They’ll know whether or not the resident is nervous about this transition. They’ll be able to inform dining services and resident nursing about special dietary or other medical restrictions. They’ll understand whether or not the resident is excited to move or just doing it because their children or spouse want them to.

Let’s say your sales team receives frequent feedback that your community needs to be more flexible in their dining program. There aren’t enough gluten free options available. You can’t go to dining services and tell them they need to incorporate more gluten free items without proof. However, if the team documents and tracks this in a field in the CRM, you can create a solid argument over time for the implementation of a gluten free program.

Sales Incentives and the CFO

The occupancy crisis in senior housing is over. The economic downturn is long past and communities are not offering deep discount fire sales to unload stagnant inventory. No longer does your team need to offer discounts or special promotions. Or do they?

Tracking the discount amount and reason can be quite eye opening. You may find providing a small move incentive or a waiting list match is quite attractive to prospects. Often these lower cost programs can be even more successful in converting sales than large fire sales of the past.

If you need to sell it to the CFO, who I promise cringes at deep discounting, the proof is in the data you collect.

Marketing Dollars Better Spent

Your marketing team spends big dollars to generate leads. In turn, the sales counselor needs to follow up.

What if 50% of the leads are duds? What does that do to the sales counselor?

It’s really de-motivating. Nobody wants to spend 60% of their work hours calling unqualified leads. Without valid information on effective lead generation, the marketing team is spending blindly.

Documenting lead sources, calls on dedicated lines, responses to direct mail, ad campaigns, email marketing tracking, and event attendance accurately and consistently gives the marketing department the ability to spend money wisely. It will increase qualified leads, making the calls the sales team has to make more effective.

Your company’s CRM tool is so much more than an activity tracker for sales. It’s a major strategic planning tool.

Bring your sales team into the fold of management. Uncover all the possibilities affecting them directly. Inform the team why the information needs collected. Provide them with the vision of how it can improve the organizations bottom line, their performance, and quite possibly, their paycheck. Share your leadership’s strategy for success with them. Then, you’ll have a data driven sales team eager to gather every tidbit of information you want.

If you want a CRM tool that can help you plan and execute your business strategy, give Continuum CRM a look. To find out more, request a free demo today.


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.