Challenging “Drive By” as a Lead Source: Why Accurate Source Data is Vital to Your Lead Generation

One of the most important yet underappreciated elements of the senior living sales process is the identification of the original source of a lead. Did the prospect’s interest in your community originate from an ad in the local newspaper, a digital marketing campaign, an organic web search or a public seminar on a current senior living topic?

Knowledge is power and lead source information is crucial in optimizing the performance of both your integrated marketing strategy and your media budget allocation plan as measured in ROI.

Louise Schott, Senior Consultant at Sage Age Strategies, says, “So many times I see sales teams taking short cuts in this area – either because of lack of training or perceived lack of time – and opting for the default source option, ‘Drive by,’ when asked to identify the source of their leads. While some of your prospects might actually drive by your community periodically, there is usually a more compelling reason for their interest.

“Taking the easy way and not identifying the real motivation through discovery is counterproductive and has a negative boomerang effect on both the sales person’s future success and that of the community they represent. By inputting rather useless data points into the CRM system, the output in terms of sales and marketing value can be relatively useless as well – what market researchers refer to as ‘garbage in, garbage out’.

“In contrast, by digging a little deeper and identifying the true sources of their leads, sales teams can provide valuable consumer data for media placement and budget allocations that bring greater precision and cost-effectiveness to the sales and marketing process. Simply put, by taking a little more time to identify their lead sources, sales representatives are enabling their marketing teams to generate more quality leads for them in the future.

“To help sales personnel remember the importance of this activity, I often recommend that they place a note next to their phone or computer that prompts them to ask: Where did you first hear about us? Along with running reports to review and confirm new lead sources.

“This information does not have to be gathered during your first contact with your prospect if you feel it is not the ideal time to ask. It can be captured at a later time either on the phone, on a tour, or at the lease signing. The important thing is that it should be captured and entered into your marketing system.“

The Case for Accurate Source Capture, Coding and Utilization in Lead Generation

Louise adds, “One senior living community’s experience serves as an example of the value of accurate source identification and the problems that can result from opting for the ‘Drive by’ default option.”

A provider that was struggling with lead generation began to advertise with success in their local neighborhood newsletter. The community began to notice that families would come in holding the newsletter and referencing the community’s sponsored monthly advertorials.

Because of the success of this media, sales team members assumed it would be used again in the next fiscal year. However, their CRM system did not reflect leads being generated from this source, and when budget season came around the decision was made to cut the traditional print media due to the lack of supporting ROI evidence.

When the sales personnel were asked why the CRM data didn’t reflect the local newsletter as a key lead source, they responded with “I choose ‘drive by’ as the source when entering leads into the CRM because it’s just easier and faster.“

Leads lost. Lesson learned.

Source Identification Best Practices for Lead Generation

Today, lead channels are many and complex, and a company’s budget allocation decisions can be difficult and divisive.  The latest digital technologies enable marketers to capture and analyze lead information wherever it originates. And effective data collection can help your organization determine which channels provide the greatest revenue per dollar spent.

The article, “18 Possible Lead Sources Your Organization Needs to Measure” underscores the critical importance of accurate lead source identification to any business’s sales and budgeting strategy. They ask, “Can you quantify how many daily, weekly, monthly or annual leads your business receives from each marketing channel? More importantly, do you know which channels bring your most qualified prospects at the lowest cost of customer acquisition?”

As they point out, leads can come from many different channels today – both online and traditional.

Online channels include:

  • Webs searches (Is your website optimized for the latest search engine algorithm?)

  • Blogs

  • Digital advertising

  • Social media such as Facebook

  • Email marketing

  • Media coverage of your community from PR and public events

Traditional, offline examples include:

  • Traditional advertising such as print, radio, TV and outdoor

  • Direct mail

  • Special events such as grand openings, open houses, senior fairs and community tours

  • Community education activities such as presentations on topics such as Alzheimer’s disease at local clubs and organizations

  • Inbound phone inquiries

  • Out bound phone calls using prospect lists

  • Referral sources

Make sure that your lead source list is up to date and includes all channels that bring prospective customers to your door.

Tips for Optimizing Your Lead Source Management

Best Practices for Tracking Lead Sources” offers useful suggestions for optimizing your lead source tracking and management success. For example:

  • Set it and forget it – Always track the initial source (i.e. origin) of your leads. Once you have  established a lead source, it should not be changed or updated. It’s a good practice to protect the integrity of lead source data by creating a validation rule to prevent unauthorized users from changing this field once it’s set.

  • Keep it simple – Many companies have lists containing dozens of lead sources, which can lead to impatience and confusion. If possible, try to condense your lead source list to a maximum of 10.

  • Add a lead source details field – If you’re having trouble limiting your lead source options to 10, it may be that you’re trying to include specific events or other details in your lead source list. The best practice here is to create a custom field (e.g. a drop-down box) to track these specifics. This field is often titled Lead Source Details.

Although these best practices may seem like simple solutions, say the authors, they are critical for accurately measuring the ROI of your lead channels and translating that information into a more effectively targeted sales strategy.

Sage Age Strategies: Leaders in Growth-Focused Sales and Marketing Solutions

At Sage Age Strategies, our leading-edge sales and marketing team excels in best-practice integrated marketing strategies and marketing automation platforms that increase cost-effectiveness and generate quality leads. These services include optimized media strategies, CRM assessments and the creation of detailed customer personas to enable precise target marketing.

Our sales and marketing experts have helped many senior living providers to sharpen their media and marketing tactics, improve their sales funnel results and increase their ROI. If you need assistance in any areas of sales training and sales consulting, empowering the sales team and providing them with the best-practice tools, we invite you to contact us today for more detailed information.  

Sage Age Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth, marketing and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the unique senior living industry. To learn more, please call or email Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / adrienne@sageagestrategies.com.

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