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October 28, 2021

SMASH 2021 RECAP

IMG_1559The Further team has returned from Vegas after an amazing week of meeting so many new and old friends. It was a fantastic opportunity to finally join together (in person!!!) and share in conversations about all things sales/marketing related to our industry. We know not everyone could make the trip to SMASH, and even for those who were there with us, it was hard to choose between so many great sessions. We did our best to divide and conquer with a goal of absorbing as much of the great content as possible to share back with you.

Here were some of our favorite takeaways: 

Hot Topic in Sessions: Re-thinking Your Website Experience

We heard this topic come up in several sessions and through several different lenses. The shift to the digital buyers journey had already begun, but was largely accelerated due to the pandemic. Now you have prospects who are increasingly tech-savvy and naturally inclined to begin their search for a community online. So what does this mean for your websites? 

  1. Your site should be aesthetically pleasing and well designed to pass the instant eye test. Also make sure your site is accessible to a variety of audience types. Visually impaired, hearing impaired 
  2. BUT - your site can NOT just be a pretty digital brochure
  3. Your goal should be to answer your prospective residents questions as quickly as possible 
    1. Visitors will bounce and continue their search with another community if they find it slow or difficult to get answers on your site
    2. Give them the information they seek quickly (like starter pricing) 
  4. You must engage your site visitors - be PROACTIVE - not reactive
    1. People want answers, but they also have questions. The reactive approach of a form fill and a phone number to call puts all the onus on the prospect. Instead, engage them with an automated assistant that can direct them to the answers they seek

Biggest Theme in Conversations: “I’m not sure what to do, but I don’t want to be left behind”

With so many new strategies, new methods, and new technologies to consider, it's challenging for a sales and marketing team to gauge where they should invest their time and attention. In many of our conversations we heard from operators who were fearful they weren’t investing in the right solutions, fearful their competition was going to take a step ahead, or fearful that they were falling behind the curve. Questions would surface like, “should we be looking at a new CRM?”, “Do we need a new ad agency?” and “What are we missing to get more leads?” 

We know this is a difficult topic as we all have the desire to improve, but sometimes its difficult to know what the best moves are. 

Here’s our list of things to think about when considering new strategies, methods, or technologies:

  1. Don’t search for greener grass, but find the grass that fits you best. Not every solution will be perfect for everyone. Instead, think about what problems you are trying to solve and what outcomes you are trying to achieve, and then align that to the solutions available to make the most insightful decision. 
  2. On that note, use data to make insightful decisions. If you don’t have a handle on the metrics you want to achieve you likely need to start by aligning with a solution that can help you learn from the data you already have. This doesn’t mean going full bore with a data-analytics project, but instead partnering with your current providers to understand what information you already have access to and can learn from. 
  3. Once you are empowered with your data, revisit step 1 again. Don’t always get lured by “greener grass” but instead focus on solutions that solve problems you’re not currently solving. 
  4. And finally, if you’re still not sure where to start, start as early in your buyer’s journey as possible. Find solutions that help you attract and proactively engage leads earlier in their search to increase your opportunity at converting leads to move-ins. 

Biggest Challenge at the Communities: Staffing. 

We heard this at Argentum. And we heard it here too. The national labor shortage is placing significant pressure on our industry and the impacts can be felt in sales and marketing too. So, what can we do about it? 

  1. Partner with your HR/Recruitment teams to offer assistance in the recruitment process
  2. Think about our first topic (Re-thinking your website experience) and adjust your site to attract potential employees with a direct path to get information about your communities openings. Create a landing page where they can go, ask questions, and apply. 
  3. Leverage solutions like our Recruitment flow to guide prospective employees through a proactive experience to increase your chances of capturing/converting candidates. 
  4. Market to candidates in a campaign just like you would prospective residents. Promote openings on social, create open role newsletters, and keep the market informed of your openings. 

Our Biggest Takeaway: “We have to work smarter, cause we’re already working harder”

Embracing new solutions and technologies can seem daunting at first, but so many operators we talk with who’ve ventured down the path with us can give incredible testament to the impacts and results they’ve been able to achieve since deploying solutions like ours. Using technology to provide improved experiences all while automating tasks your team used to take on seems like a “too good to be true” offer. But as we saw on display at SMASH, there are a number of thriving companies who’ve built solutions that do just that. From automated conversational engagement, reputation management, crm solutions and more - there are so many tools available to you. Deploying these solutions with the key integrations to help them work together will help you save time, expand your sales capacity, and achieve greater results. 


Your plate was full 5 years ago, and it’s been overflowing ever since with the addition of so many new responsibilities digital has brought to your plate. We encourage everyone to fight digital duress with digital opportunity, and embrace new solutions that help you automate, improve, and ultimately focus on what matters most. 

There so much more we could list here after a great few days together. But, we’d love to hear from you! What were your big takeaways? What was something new you heard, learned, or saw? What made the most impact for you? We’d love to know! 

Until next year, here’s hoping we see you in Vegas! (I’m sure we’ll all meet up in line at the Lucky Penny for lunch )

 

Tag(s): Marketing , Insights

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