Nurturing leads is a time-consuming and complicated task, often without immediate success. In fact, it’s not unusual for a senior living sales representative to only touch a lead once and if the lead “isn’t ready” for the next step, the sales rep simply moves on to other leads that are. The result—a lost opportunity worth thousands of dollars as you consider the actual lifetime value of that potential lead. That’s the value of automated marketing. You can turn a labor-intensive process into an effective, time-saving system, in turn allowing you to focus on what you truly care about—closing sales and reaching occupancy goals.
Your Leads Are Valuable
As a sales rep, your most valuable asset is your lead database. Yet your database is only as powerful as you make it. You’ve invested a lot of time and effort into attracting leads. However, thanks to the internet, today’s buyer is savvy and may not be ready to talk with you yet. In fact, according to research from Gleanster, even when it comes to qualified leads, more than 50% of leads aren’t ready to buy on the day they first convert on your site. If you call up these leads and push them into making a decision right away, you will likely lose them.
These leads are valuable, though, and just because they’re not ready to talk with you now doesn’t mean they will never be ready. If you’re not managing these leads properly, you’re wasting your time, marketing resources, and money. Just think, 45% of all visitors to your website will buy from you or a competitor within the next 12 months (Gartner Group). The volume of leads needed in your sales pipeline today to account for your growing attrition rate, competitive market space, and slow decision making process by your lead means you can’t afford to ignore “not ready” leads.
Automation is the Answer
Ok, so we agree leads need to be nurtured—but how? You certainly aren’t going to get more staff to help manage this complex process. That’s where automated marketing comes in. An automated marketing system allows you to send an automated series of emails (workflows) to an early-stage lead in order to pre-qualify them before they’re ready to talk to the sales rep. In fact, according to Forrester Research, companies actively using lead nurturing and lead scoring generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead.
In other words, it’s a way for you to nurture your leads by staying connected and engaged with them on their terms (not yours) by using educational and informative content that will help them answer those top and middle of sales funnel questions they have. You know, the basic questions they ask you when they first engage in conversations—the questions that keep them up at night as they begin the process of lifestyle-change decision making. As they learn more and become more engaged with your brand, they begin to trust you and become ready to consider your service.
Workflows Convert Marketing Qualified Leads to Sales Qualified Leads
A workflow is a series of automated actions that you can trigger to occur based on a person’s behaviors or contact information. Workflows go way beyond simple one-time emails. With workflows, you can send emails, update contact information, add or remove contacts from lists, and trigger email notifications.
Gone are the days of sending one big email to all of your leads and hoping it’s relevant enough for some of them to click through or engage with. According to a report by Lenskold Group and The Pedowitz Group, 60% of survey respondents who use marketing automation say it has increased the quality of leads that get passed to sales. And Market2Lead also found that leads that go through automated workflows have a 23% shorter sales cycle.
Workflows give you the opportunity to do extremely powerful segmentation. Being able to group your leads based on different properties and behaviors means that you can very closely target your emails and your nurturing process to the leads’ specific interests and needs. A sophisticated automation system also provides the benefit of customizing the timing of your workflows so you can decide when each email or action should be triggered—down to the minute—after the lead is entered into the campaign.
The possibilities of workflow uses to nurture not only leads but existing customers within each level of the sales funnel is unlimited. A few possibilities include
Top of Funnel
- Blog or E-Newsletter Subscriber
- Content Offers such as a Decision Making Series (How-to)
Middle of Funnel
- Re-engagement (Reactivate Inactive Leads)
- Event Registration
Bottom of Funnel
- New Move-In Welcome
- Customer Advocate (Testimonial)
- Priority or Waiting List
- Customer Loyalty (Short Term Rehab & Community Based Services)
- Customer Happiness (Satisfaction)
Is the Time Right for Marketing Automation?
How do you know when the time is right for your organization to consider automated marketing? There’s no explicit answer for this, however a few indications that we have found with similar senior living organizations like yours include:
- You’re generating leads but ignoring the ones that are not yet ready to buy.
- Your sales team is unhappy with the quality of the leads you’re sending them.
- You’re sending the same emails to your entire list.
- You’re collecting valuable lead information, but not using it for segmentation.
- You’re not targeting your offers and messaging based on your leads’ needs.
- You’re sending or following up to all of your emails manually.
- You’re experiencing more leads coming via the website, yet you have no system to nurture those leads
Automated marketing not only ensures leads are nurtured at just the right time with the right message and information, it also increases the efficiency and productivity of the sales rep so they can focus on closing sales qualified leads. By now you’ve guessed that you need an automated marketing system connected to your website, along with the right strategy to develop and execute workflows that will result in conversions. An automated marketing system is an essential tool for ensuring your sales pipeline is full of sales qualified leads. Marketing Essentials, a digital inbound marketing agency, can help you discover if automated marketing is right for you. Connect with Patty Cisco at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more or visit mktgessentials.com