Senior living providers looking to grow their business this year ought to take a closer look at their sales process.
That’s according to new survey data from Enquire Solutions, a Greenwood Village, Colorado-based customer relationship management (CRM) and contact center company focused on senior housing. The latest report includes input from 3,967 senior care locations, with 81% of those identifying as senior living rental or life plan communities.
Just over a quarter (28%) of respondents said that sales process improvement was the biggest opportunity for growth in 2019. Another 21% said innovative product development was the biggest opportunity for growth, followed by digital marketing automation (20%) and operational efficiency (15%).
The report also highlighted a few looming challenges that the industry will have to face. Those surveyed said rising employee costs (30%) competition price pressure (23%) and operational management will be among the top industry challenges for 2019.
Respondents said their average sales closing ratio was 35%, meaning there’s room for improvement on that front.
Automation could be one way to streamline the sales processes. The trend will play a prominent role in the senior living industry throughout the year ahead, according to Erin Hayes, chief revenue officer at Enquire.
“In 2019, we will see organizations begin to automate top of-funnel activities with integrated marketing automation that takes online visitors and converts them to opportunities,” Hayes wrote in the report. “With referring contacts putting up great numbers for the industry, I believe marketing automation will be used to push out relevant content to those sources ensuring they remain engaged.”
Automation isn’t the only way providers can improve their sales and marketing processes. Senior living companies could also strive to retool their sales culture, as Bridge Seniors Housing Fund Manager CEO Robb Chapin told Senior Housing News last month. Providers could also find new and diverse ways to connect with prospective residents.
It’s perhaps natural that senior living providers are trying to refine their sales processes to drive move-ins, considering industry-wide occupancy trends. Although overall occupancy has stabilized somewhat to start 2019, assisted living occupancy hit record low levels recently as competition has ramped up in some markets around the country.