Senior living communities typically collect hundreds of data points on each prospect throughout the sales process. This data is used by sales counselors to inform their strategy and interactions with the prospect. Once the sales process is complete, all of this valuable data sits unused in the customer relationship management system (CRM), benefitting nobody.
Alternatively, you can use your historical data to uncover new insights and guide sales strategies. Rather than relying on anecdotal evidence and gut feelings, your own data can give you a clear picture of which factors really matter in the sales process. A few examples of the questions you can answer are:
How many phone calls does it take, on average, for a prospect to convert?
Which market sources have the highest conversion rate?
How many days does it typically take to go from initial inquiry to deposit?
How frequently should we reach out to a prospect if we haven’t heard from him or her?
What is the relative value of each interaction? (For example, are calls more impactful than emails?)
At WildFig, we work with our senior living partners to develop data-driven prospect scoring solutions to help answer these questions. In simple terms, all of this data is passed through a statistical model that weighs things such as the interactions with a prospect, their market source, their demographic information, and whether or not they become a resident. This outputs an effective, unbiased picture of how important each of the factors is in securing a conversion. Each version is a custom to each organization, so the insights are unique and tailored to each community.
Once you begin using data to get a clear look at past performance, the next step is to incorporate the findings into your sales process and impact future behavior. For example, if phone calls tend to have a high impact for your community, it may be smart to take the time to reach out and initiate that conversation rather than sending a text message or email. Further, if you find that getting a prospect to visit your campus makes them 8x more likely to choose your community, it would be prudent to evolve your sales process to encourage campus visits early and often. As behaviors change, the data will also change, which will in turn will require behaviors to change again! This continuous cycle of analyzing and adapting to what the data shows is how organizations can stay ahead of the curve. While this may sound daunting from a management perspective, the model will continuously update as new information comes in, and will show you what is most important.
For more information on the benefits of a data-driven prospect scoring solution and how to put your own data to use, please contact Dr. Kevin Purcell, Chief Data Scientist of WildFig, at .
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Latest NIC Survey Findings: More Move-ins and Rent Concessions
At our weekly sales & marketing roundtable, we all shared creative tactics we’re using to attract prospects as COVID-19 rates spike in some areas. We’d especially like to thank Lana Peck, senior principal at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) for sharing the latest insights from executive surveys completed since the pandemic hit.
Check out the insights and survey results below. We also invite you to our next roundtable this week.
Not the same 70 for every wave, but 60–70% are repeat takers, so there is some continuity.
Geographical dispersion of respondents:
There’s a slight underrepresentation in the Northeast compared to national coverage of the NIC map.
For the most part, participants are coming from all over the country.
We’re promoting this more strongly with operators, as we’re getting some national media exposure.
It is important for operators to know that, by participating in the survey, they have the opportunity to ensure that the narrative is accurate.
We went from ⅓ in wave 10 (early August) to just under ⅔ in the most recent wave — a lot more organizations are offering rent concessions.
90% of organizations are paying overtime to mitigate staffing issues.
Staffing/temp agency usage has grown throughout the pandemic.
About ⅔ of organizations that have IL in portfolio are offering rent concessions.
Organizations with nursing care are less likely to offer rent concessions.
Discussion from the group:
We are giving concessions on entrance fees and support on moving services.
We are offering $3,000 toward moving expenses and incentives to get people to move more quickly.
Organizations reporting no change in pace have been growing. It’s the highest it’s been in wave 14.
Deceleration of move-ins is lower in IL, AL and MC in wave 14.
Most respondents are citing increased resident demand (increase in move-ins).
Fewer organizations with nursing care beds in wave 14 reported acceleration in the pace of move-ins, with the fewest respondents citing hospital placement since wave 7 surveyed mid-May — presumably due to anecdotal reports of hospitals sending patients straight home to recuperate from surgeries or illnesses with in-home health care.
A quarter of organizations have a backlog of residents waiting to move in.
Organizations may be providing incentives. The month-over-month change in occupancy has been starting to rise.
About ¼ of the organizations that have IL in their portfolio; ⅓ of those with AL; ½ of those with MC; and about ½ with nursing care are seeing an upward change in occupancy rates in the past 30 days.
Fewer folks that have IL are seeing a decrease in occupancy.
48% in nursing care are seeing increases, and 37% are seeing decreases.
Please join our next roundtable discussion on Thursday, November 5, at noon ET.
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New Research Shows Interest in Community Living is Shifting
At our weekly sales and marketing roundtable, aging services expert Scott Townsley, principal of Trilogy Consulting, LLC, joined us to discuss consumer research and other insights related to the pandemic.
Check out the takeaways below. Please also join us for our next roundtable, coming this week.
Highlights from presentation on consumer research by Scott Townsley, Principal, Trilogy Consulting, LLC:
Opportunities are already emerging amid COVID-19—this will change who we are as a field and will change the product. Here are some resources that can be helpful as you deal with this situation.
The End of Competitive Advantage and Seeing Around Corners, two excellent books by Rita Gunther McGrath
“Inflection point” is a key concept she discusses, which she describes as jerking the steering wheel while driving
Unfortunately, by the time you recognize an inflection point, it can be too late; for example, discovering that occupancy has dropped from 96% to 80%, and it’s not going back up
My observation is that skilled nursing is at an inflection point—it was already changing, but the coronavirus has pushed it to this point—and that a portion of it will be forever changed
Life Plan Communities aren’t at an inflection point yet, but we need to have our eyes wide open
“While uncertainties can be painful, they are also, by definition, eras of change. They’re destabilizing because they’re a threat to the status quo, which is also precisely why they represent an opportunity for innovative and cultural rebirth.”
The risk is that we seek information or anecdotes that hint we’re returning to the “way things were” sooner rather than later—rather than seeking actual data
We can’t look to the past (even January 2020) for clues about the future, because we’re probably going to be wrong; I refer to it as the “perilous backslide to the status quo,” in which we will innately make decisions thinking things will get back to “normal”
Virtual tours are a great example of how we’ve adapted
When I first saw a billboard for telemedicine, years ago, I thought, “Who’s going to want telemedicine?” But without it, many people (particularly in skilled nursing) wouldn’t have been able to see their physicians; we went from talking about it to it being a key part of life
Consumer Behavior Survey
We just completed a 1,000-person survey of four market areas in Pennsylvania (southeastern, south-central, west-central and northeast), one in Maryland and one in Delaware.
Too often, we’re talking in anecdotes, but we need to use data that tracks consumer behavior. This is especially risky when talking about the coronavirus.
Background on the study
Participants are 60 to 80 years old; all income groups
Conducted last week in July/first week in August
Asked approximately 50 questions
All telephone conversations (landline and mobile)
Allowed us to reach the “essential non-customers”
With people at home, it was easier to reach them; they’re still answering their phones
Completed 1,000 surveys in five days
What’s key is that this survey has statistical validity—it provides insight into the thinking of consumers rather than anecdotes
Early on, it was clear that we (as an industry) knew neither the questions to ask nor the answers. Today, there’s more clarity about the former (the questions that we, as an industry, should be asking) and an ability to obtain the answers. Hence this survey.
We asked the question, “How concerned are you about coronavirus in your area?” Seventy-eight percent are very or somewhat concerned about the coronavirus in their area. For those whose adult children are involved in making decisions about retirement living options, that number increases to 87 percent.
It’s also notable that, in this and prior surveys:
The percentage of people who are concerned about future long-term care needs is typically low
The percentage of people who are concerned about their ability to afford their retirement is also low
The percentage of people who are concerned about dementia or Alzheimer’s, for themselves and those they love, is incrementally higher than the other two—but still a fraction of those concerned about the coronavirus
We then assessed the impact of COVID-19 on Senior Living Community (SLC) interest later in the study:
By and large, every cross-tab is very or less interested due to the coronavirus
With respect to SLC interest, there are as many people who are less interested as there are who are more interested—due to the coronavirus
Interestingly, people who identify as evangelicals are 17% less interested in senior living communities than the average (due to the coronavirus)
There’s still a core of people who remain interested, which may be proving the naysayers wrong, but: (a) it’s too soon to know for sure, and (b) the coronavirus has significantly reduced interest in senior living “congregate”-type options
The field could be in jeopardy if the virus stays around
The virus has, conversely, also made some people more interested
Note: This study won’t be valid six months or a year from now—everything is changing so quickly
It’s critical to talk to people who are “the essential non-customers”—those who are living outside the senior living world (and who aren’t on your lists)—to understand who is motivated and why
Ask how they feel about congregate living on their overall health and well-being
In unprecedented times, we need to rely on information that’s current
I was wrong about the recession in 2008–2010—I thought the loss of value in portfolios would have a searing effect on people’s decisions about senior living, much in the way the depression impacted how people spent money
This didn’t happen, and the for-profit sector took advantage of that
The not-for-profit sector did not jump on it
It’s possible that, six months from now, if there’s an effective vaccine, the consumer could forget about this—but it’s also possible that it will stay with them for a long time, perhaps forever
It’s important to note that concerns about the coronavirus did not increase the interest in a stay-at-home program (though the percentage of people “very interested” in a stay-at-home program is twice what it is for a senior living community)
HJ Sims is soon coming out with a national study that will be fascinating to review; it, hopefully, will include all regions of the country, not just those heavily impacted by COVID-19
The secret to success is data analytics, and WildFig (Varsity’s sister firm) is ahead of the curve
“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that: It’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” – Rahm Emanuel
Please join us for our next roundtable discussion on Thursday, September 17, at noon ET.
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Last week, communities swapped ideas about marketing during challenging times. Varsity partner and WildFig President John Bassounas joined our roundtable to share his thoughts on the importance of using data to drive decisions.
Check out a recap of our discussion below. Please also join us for our next roundtable coming up this week.
Recap of John Bassounas’ discussion on data and analytics:
We believe that:
The future belongs to organizations that embrace a data-driven approach.
A comprehensive data strategy is at the core of a winning organization.
Analytical applications transcend disciplines and drive efficiency across the entire organization.
First-party data, plus open-source data, has significant potential to transform strategy and drive positive outcomes.
Why be data-driven?
What are common obstacles to using data?
Lack of strategy
Poor objective mapping
Lack of integration—data is in silos
No adaptive response
Keep things simple—ask what questions need answers, and what data can help provide insight?
It’s valuable to look at data through a descriptive lens.
The more forward-looking the question, the more value it has for the organization.
Who is responsible for analyzing the data you collect?
We have a web partner that does Google Analytics, and a digital marketing person on staff who pulls data. I was also a market analyst, so I do a lot of the analyzing myself, through Enquire. We’re not currently using open-source data.
Once you collect and analyze the data, it’s important to get it to the right person, and teach them how to act on it/make it actionable.
For example, we take fall data and present to a fall committee, which can make the findings actionable and integrate changes seamlessly into day-to-day behavior.
Fall data may inform decisions about ramps, bars for walking, needed staff, etc.
Frequent fallers may have decreased engagement in wellness programming, and there may be an opportunity to re-engage them.
Allows for proactive vs. reactive decision making
We are in a position to predict the likelihood of a person contracting COVID-19 when they onboard to a community.
If you’re interested in seeing data and analytics examples, or tools that we use, please let us know. We would be happy to share any of the tools and walk you through the process in more detail. This is an opportunity for differentiation, growth and efficiency, and we would love to share more information. Contact John Bassounas directly, at , or contact Derek Dunham at .
Join the next sales and marketing roundtable on July 9!
Please join our next roundtable discussion on Thursday, July 9, at noon ET.