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Using Inbound Marketing and Sales to Fuel Growth in Senior Living

Dan Tyre, Sales Director, HubSpot

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Inbound marketing is a phrase that many senior care marketers are familiar with. Yet, we find that the majority of senior care organizations have not yet fully embraced the inbound methodology. That’s a big miss and we’ve got a big personality on the show to tell you why.

On this episode of the Senior Care Growth Show, Dan Tyre, Sales Director for HubSpot, a leading inbound marketing platform, shares his advice on how inbound techniques help senior care organizations fuel growth.

Ready to get fired up about modernizing your marketing and sales? You’re not going to want to miss this episode.

How do your marketing and sales activities stack up to other communities?


Winston: Welcome to this episode of the Senior Care Growth Show. My name is Winston. I am super excited today to be joined by Hubspot’s own, Dan Tyre. Dan is the Director of Sales for Hubspot, the leading inbound-marketing and sales platform. We are super excited today to be talking about how you can leverage inbound-marketing and sales to just send your organization to the moon in terms of growth. So, Dan, welcome to the Senior Care Gross Show. Just by way of introduction, maybe you could tell the audience a little about who you are and what you do.

Dan: Sure. I’m super excited to be in Richmond, Virginia, it’s the first time I visited. Such a nice place. Everybody’s so nice, like Winston’s nice, Alana’s nice, Rick’s nice. For the last 11 years I’ve been a pioneer in the inbound revolution. I started with HubSpot in 2007. I was the first salesperson for HubSpot, or a sales manager, or the sales director. And, over the last 11 years I’ve functioned in virtually every capacity. I’ve worked in sales recruiting, scaling businesses, I’ve worked in the mid-market, at corporate and I have just a ton of fun going out and talking with people about the impact of inbound on their particular business.

Winston: Yeah, that’s great. In the senior living or senior care industry inbound might be new to a lot of folks. Let’s just start with what is inbound marketing and sales?

Dan: Great question. And it’s not just senior living organizations, it’s like lots of people. Even though we’ve been doing this for a decade, lots of industries are just starting to understand the competitive advantage of utilizing inbound help to grow their business. In 2007, when you wanted to buy something, you had to talk with the salesperson because it was really before the pervasive use of the Internet to do research. And so a salesperson had all the information. In the last 12 years, that has completely changed. And the latest statistics say that 97 percent of people before they make a selection, like where they’re going to look for their parents for a senior living home, they’ll do online research.

Winston: Yeah, of course.

Dan: Does that make sense?

Winston: Yeah, absolutely.

Dan: You’re a millennial, of course you do?

Dan: So, you’re kind of wondering what are the other three percent do? Sometimes it’s word of mouth, but the new word of mouth is social media, social networking and social bookmarks. So, that process changes everything now that the customer/prospect is at the center of that process. And for you to work with that prospect or a customer, you have to start establishing a relationship in a much different way and much earlier in the process. The way you do that is you add value and have an understanding of how to help those prospects solve their problems way before they become a paying customer. And so the way you do that is you trick out your website so lots of people who don’t have any idea that you exist are going to find you. They will find you based on keyword phrases, based on associations that you have and based on the way that you optimize your website, they’re going to find you.

Dan: And then when they find you, you want to bring them through a buyer’s journey where first of all you build trust. Lots of times you’ll see in senior living homes they have a ‘contact us’ form, but you’re asking people to get married on the first date? You want people to understand the demographics that they service. And you want them to understand a little bit about what the process is and when you should start thinking about this and how much it costs and all of those details. It’s like content or documents that will help people understand whether you’re a good fit for them. And then after they’ve been to the website a couple of times, you may want them to drop their contact information and then further on down the process, then after they’ve educated themselves and understood if you’re a good fit, then maybe you want to contact one of the salespersons to understand if they want to start becoming a customer. That whole process of inbound, it’s different than outbound. Outbound is you call everybody and say the same old stuff. Inbound is you waiting for people to come to you and that you’re offering to help. So when you’re connecting with people, the only questions that you’re asking are number one, how are you doing today and number two, what were you looking for help with? And they’ve already shown intent typically because they’ve dropped their contact information on the website. Now you can begin to build that relationship over time. So hopefully at the end when they’re making that final selection, they’ll think of you as a being on the shortlist.

Winston: Yeah, that’s great. So compared to the traditional, you touched on this, but compared to a traditional sales model, it’s all about putting the customer first.

Dan: Yes, and most people like that. And most people don’t like to be qualified on the connect call. They like to be helped. And this is the whole way that the instant gratification Omni channel world functions, right? You want to play poker? You download one of 20 apps on your phone, you cycle in, you learn how to run the app without any instruction, without education and people are giving you free stuff all the time. They like free stuff. Don’t you love free stuff?

Winton: I know, love free stuff.

Dan: So it’s free education or free software or some way. For a senior living home, it’s the checklist for understanding what to consider when you’re making a senior home selection. The three page ebook of how to prepare or what do you do or how to talk to your parents about perhaps this transition in life. All of those things are incredibly valuable. And the inbound kind of approach is to first of all, define the specific personas that you’re working with. I’m in the old days, I mean like 2016 you could sell to everybody, but today in 2018, everybody wants this personalized experience. They call it a segment. They want one specific person to know what they’re all about as quickly as possible. So, if you can define that niche and then if you could service that niche with all of those type of that content, with the information, with helpful ways that they can solve their problem, then when they get to a point of consideration, they’re like, no, no, no, no, that guy he gave me all that information I have to at least call them. And in the old days we sold to everybody, right? It was the salesperson that was in charge. Today the salesperson has to make a consultative decision, is Winston the right fit? Is he going to be happy here? And in the old days it was like buyer beware. If you made the wrong choice, it was your fault. Today, if I provide service to somebody who’s not a good fit, it’s going to be all over social media and that very much impacts your branding, your reputation and your word of mouth. That is super important in today’s world that we live in, so the whole inbound process is to find the right folks to help them through the process at the point of decision making, then you engage with the right type of resources and make sure that you have super happy customers that are talking to other folks so that you can have more of that word.

Winston: Yeah. So you touched on a lot of different areas where I think inbound helps and it’s such a good system for being helpful and for positioning yourself as a thought leader in the space, but a really helpful resource in this decision, which could be a $75,000 – $100,000 decision, but also it’s your life or your parents’ life and where you’re going to be a such an important one. So why not be helped?

Dan: Exactly. Well, you just have the inbound aesthetic.

Winston: Of course this is why we’re doing the podcast. We’re giving helpful information to the whole community.

Dan: Exactly. You got it before we even called it inbound. The thing is that this is a revolution. We’re going to speak tonight in Richmond, where there’ll be 150 people there. Half the people will have never heard of inbound. It’s just because it’s relatively new. It will make sense to most people and they’ll say, “I want to help my customers.” Those deep relationships are the most important component that you have in competing with technology aggregators like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, all those people have superior technology like transaction solutions, but what they don’t have is that relationship and what small business owners and what senior living organizations need is to start to establish that relationship. The epiphany for most people isn’t that this is the process, it’s that you have to start that process years before people are ready to make that consideration. And so sometimes it takes years for people to take that step and stick their toe in the water and then pull together all the information.

Winston: Yeah. So you mentioned, you know, the relationships pulling together information and publishing the right content. What are some of the keys of a successful inbound strategy?

Dan: Yeah, so first of all, you want to attract people that don’t know you exist, right? So do that. You have to start putting content on your website. A great way to do that is a blog. And, I know you blog periodically. Do you like blogging?

Winston: Not really. I love helping people, but I’m not a writer and it’s taken me a while to get comfortable with that. But, I’ve written more and I’ve gotten better at it and now it’s not a big deal. I’m just sharing helpful information. A lot of times I’ll have an email exchange with someone and I think that other people could value or use this information, so I just anonymize it and then I just publish it on the site.

Dan: Super good. And so when we say blogging, all the senior managers on the podcast, they’re all glazing over that saying “I don’t want to write.” It’s just having a conversation, right?

Winston: Right.

Dan: Everybody likes to talk and what you just said, there are certain things that are obvious to senior home executives and are obvious to people the first time. They’re kind of moving into this kind of stage of their life. Uh, and you have to take baby steps and there’s two choices. You could either tell those people over the phone, which is human and it takes a little bit of time, or you can post that on your blog, right? You can educate folks. You can even do it in a variety of different formats, right? We’re using a podcast and then we’re going to transcribe the podcast and put that in this blog article. And then we’re going to have a couple of youtube videos.

Winston: It’ll be on Youtube, it’ll be on iTunes. So yeah,

Dan: Exactly. If you’re selling to a millennial, I’m kind of a persona or demographic. They love video. It’s easy, it’s quick. And we’re not talking about like our long professional video, we’re talking about the video where you like turn on your macintosh and boom, they are. Do It on my phone. I had one with Randy yesterday. It works perfectly fine. So once you trick out your blog, right, you’re going to have certain keyword phrases that you’re going to have, right? And the idea is to get more people when they’re either Googling or putting into social media to show up on your website. Got It. The next part of the inbound process is you want to get them to convert, right? Only one or two percent of the people who come to your website are ready to buy the first time they come to the website. Most people, they’re looking around and they’re going, does this website really know me?

Dan: People, uh, they cater to folks that are what say boomers looking for their parents. Do they understand somebody who’s at the very beginning? Or is there somebody? It’s more kind of an advanced type of environment. And that should be evidenced by putting all kinds of content on your website. So there’s this content we call top of the funnel content and what top of the funnel content is. It’s not about your product, it’s not about your service, it’s about helping people. It’s the checklist for evaluating senior living homes or it’s the 10 things that you need to know before you make a selection or the three mistakes. Right? And that’s an ebook and you put that in a squeeze page, you put it behind a call to action and a landing page and what that does is people will put in their contact information in exchange for that content.

Dan: Yeah. And I think that that idea of the top of the funnel content and content that’s really less about the community or the organization and more about just helping people is, for me, that’s one of the hardest things I think our clients struggle to wrap their head around. It’s like why would I create these resort? They have nothing to do with selling the community and our business specifically. But that’s really not the point. And in a way I mean your positioning, it’s all positioning of the organization to being that helpful resource. And in such a competitive space as senior living, I mean, if you’re here talking to somebody and you’ve got all the resources in the world, you’re helping them make the best decision for themselves. The other person’s just emailing you maybe once a week calling you. They don’t really remember who you are, you know, which one are you going to go with?

Dan: Yeah. So the key in 2018, right is helping not selling. Absolutely. Because that’s the way people like conduct their regular lives. Especially here in Richmond, right? People like open doors for you. They offer to like hold your dog right there, just like nice and friendly. It’s just when we get into this realm of marketing that people get like totally weird, right? In the old way of selling just doesn’t work anymore. In the old days you had three or four competitors that was at. And so the salesperson who engaged first, right? There’s the person that you typically work with today. There are 20 competitors in virtually every industry. There’s so much more competition, right? That, um, and, and a lot of these situations, the end user product isn’t that differentiated, right? So the only thing that really matters is the customer journey, the experience for you to educate that person to you, to understand that person, for you to make sure that you are building trust with that person. And then you make the short list and then you can determine if it’s good.

Winston: Yeah, that’s it. I think so once you sort of make the short list. So we do a good job. Let’s say that someone’s going down this road of inbound. They create some really helpful resources on the website. They’ve got a great guide to choosing the right senior living community or a checklist for when you go on a tour, taking notes, you know, some kind of a resource that helps these folks out when they’re trying to make this difficult decision once that lead is generated. You mentioned response time. Still a good thing to get back to people quickly. Right? And then what would your recommendation be in terms of inbound selling and how do you continue to be helpful through the sale?

Dan: Super great question. Because many marketers embrace the inbound aesthetic, right? Right. They don’t really want to send junk mail. Yeah, right. It’s hard to measure, gets a low return on investment and they want to try something different. Salespeople, right? Are New to the inbound revolution, right? And there’s lots of like legacy salespeople who are still stuck in a selling mode rather than helping. So, um, there’s an inbound sales certification, just Google HubSpot inbound sales certification. It’s a three hour free class, right? And it will teach people how you win business in 2018 and beyond. And it’s a seminal piece of content. You can watch it, you can watch a one and a half times speed if you want to move quickly through, except my part, which you can’t watch at a time and a half because you won’t understand or be like, my son is like, really?

Dan: I can’t do it. Double time when you’re talking, I’m going, yeah, that’s the way it works. Uh, and salespeople then need to understand that, um, they have to have all the lead intelligence, right? So I call you Winston. You subliminally want me to know about you, even if we’ve never talked to you want to know how many times I’ve been to the website, you want me to know how many times, like you’ve opened emails and you want me to know a little bit about you, right? So a modern crm will provide that information and then you want me to call you within five minutes when you’re interacting with my site or my email and after five minutes you’re like off onto the next kind of. Absolutely. In salespeople have to engage in a way in which first of all they say, I’ve noticed that you’re interested in some like, um, uh, some part of the process and be smart enough to understand which process they’re in.

Dan: If they’re just at the beginning of the process and you cycle in and like giving information or content, that’s the end of the process. It’s going to be weird, right? If they’re at the beginning of the process, right. My favorite question is, well, what were you looking for help with? Right. And people would say, well, I’m just earlier, I’m just education. And you’re like, oh my goodness, so happy to connect with you. I can either send you the recordings, I can send you the blog article, we have all of this content that we’re happy to share with you so that you can learn a little bit more about it. And then when you move from like awareness stage, the consideration stage just let me know. Right? And that is a good salesperson. You’ve got to be organized enough so you know, when they move back to that and you have to drip them like these, um, emails in the, like a frequency that they expect so that they get that information when they’re looking for it so that they will remember you when they’re ready to go.

Winston: Well, and you know, you mentioned the organization and drip campaigns and sort of what we call lead nurturing and that series of emails that you send out. Um, I’ve advocated for this on other podcast too because I think especially in the senior living space where it might be a, and this probably resonates with our listeners, but someone who’s in a marketing position, they’re also covering sales functions. Yep. They’re short staffed, they’re short on time yet, like we said, such an important decision and you need to have those multiple touch points and you need to be giving out those good resources. So the answer to me is better efficiency and it’s, it’s a platform that allows you to do that.

Dan: Great Point. Uh, Winston, they said, that people who blog, right? Get three times the leads of people who don’t, uh, three times the traffic, four times the leads and they also that most people before they make a decision and are going to look at between four and six pieces of content, right? So they want to review that information. They want to make their own decision, they want to feel empowered, right? And your job is to just give them everything that they need so that they can come to a good conclusion. If you do that, you have a huge competitive advantage. Number one, you’re not wasting your time, right? The conversion for cold calling and direct mail is like less than two percent, right? So that means you’re wasting 98 percent of your time, effort and money, and lots of people do it. It’s still multibillion dollar industry because that’s what they’ve always done.

Dan: Except in today’s world, if you’re cold calling people, not only are you getting a two percent yield, but you’re also taking off everybody you call, right? And it doesn’t really create a great company environment, right? With inbound, right? You are helping, helping, helping, and then the conversions are much higher, right? The conversion for a lead to opportunity can be as high as 10 percent, like 10 times or five times what it is for a, um, like an outreach, global outreach kind of thing. And it’s just nicer. You build this, I’m a annuity where the more people you touch, all you’re doing is getting them ready and then they decide when they’re ready to move to the next.

Winston: Yeah, that’s perfect. And um, you know, that goes back, my kind of mantra for our senior living sales is speed, empathy and priority and I think that a system like Hubspot or any kind of marketing automation platform that it gives you those tools and allows you to get back quickly to be empathetic and descend all those good resources and then also to help you prioritize the leads who are most engaged in who are ready for a deeper conversation. Um, to me that’s the only system for sales reps who are short on time to do the right thing, but also not work 24 hours a day.

Dan: I mean, it is right that we call those modern salespeople, right? They’ve got to be able to have the automation prioritize for them what they should do, how they should, um, who they should call first, uh, who is closer to that consideration process around the same thing all the time. And then they need to tailor the approach so that everybody feels like it’s a segment of one that they’re doing their own kind of thing. Yeah,

Winston: I love that. So, uh, you know, folks are hearing all this good information and they want to do it. They’re excited about inbound. Dan has gotten a fired up, what are some good next steps to get started?

Dan: Uh, well, they can contact you guys and your spot agency partner and you know, this whole process, right? And you’ll talk to them for no charge and you’ll explain a little bit about what it’s all about and you’ll explain. I wasn’t seeing him up for a. That was a nice here. I mean, you’ve got this beautiful conference room. We’re in the shark tank, right? And we’ve talked with like twelfth prospects and customers over the last day or so and super nice. And we asked people, what are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish? What’s your occupancy rate? What kind of availability you’re gonna have, how are you nurturing for 2019 and 2020? And then super open and excited. Or you can go to Hubspot. HubSpot software starts at free, right? There’s free sale software, there’s free marketing software. They’ll soon to be a service hub, free service hub.

Dan: There’s all of the training classes that we talked about, there’s tons of content that we provide so that you can learn a little bit more and then we’d love to work through our agency partner program like, um, Whittington consulting because you guys focus on senior living, right? You guys are very attuned to the space, you understand the vocabulary, understand the rhythms, you understand the seasonality, you understand that staffing levels that you were talking about. Four people in this, a persona and demographic, right? And, um, it’s a great one. The senior living facilities that move towards inbound more quickly. We’ll just by definition get more of the folks attracted to their website and if it’s tricked out where you’re helping people grow and you’re giving them that educational information, it’s likely you have a great app. Yeah, I think that’s great. And so a final question here for Dan.

Winston: What are a few things that listeners can do today to blow out their sales quota?

Dan: Okay. So number one, trick out your LinkedIn. Everybody on Linkedin, right? Connect with Winston, right? Uh, and Dan Tyre, happy to connect. Say I listened to you on the senior living podcast, I’m going to connect. I’ve got like 14,000 connections and if there’s anything I can do to help you personally, uh, that’s important. Linkedin is your new resume, right? And so people want to see a picture or like a good picture of you. They want to understand who you’re connected to. Number two, you want to make sure that you’re helpful, right? So any time that you’re talking with people, that phrase, what were you looking for help with is a, a great way to go. Number three, if you’re looking for more customers, right? You want to blow out your quota, call your current customers, right?

Dan: And ask for references, right? Um, I think it only happens like a small percentage of the time, but it makes perfect sense. You’re doing good work for somebody. You say, do you know anybody else? Right? That’s the word of mouth. You just want to get them a little bit, get the ball rolling a little bit, and a windscreen can send you a blog article about how to get a customer referral program in place right now. The fourth thing for me is that if you’ve had an engagement over the last two years, right? And, uh, the person just stopped somewhere in the process, right? I want you to pick up the phone and call those folks, right? Three questions. Number one, how you doing big smile on your face. Number two, do you remember our conversation? Yeah, right. Number three, has anything changed? Gotcha, right? Because, um, I think a, lots of times in modern times, people get all excited about doing something there.

Winston: It’s right on the priority list. They’re ready to go and they’re not deaf, right? And everybody thinks, oh, they chose somebody else or it’s not like I screwed something up and that’s not it. It’s just they just got busy, they just got busy and then it moved back beyond the priority and then it moves to the priority again. And then I think the final is a video email is pretty important. Yeah, we use Soapbox and we use Vidyard and we use Loom and all three of those are ways that you can inject some humanness into what you’re saying. So you get a little movie, it’s just like Harry Potter, so totally cool. Right? And you can personalize it. And even though Winston, I’m trying to track you down, I want to know how I can help and you actually see me in my HubSpot tee shirt and like people respond very, very well to that and that’s one of the ways you could generate more.

Winston: That’s great. I love it. Man. Dan, good advice.

Dan: Thank you very much. Had a blast. Thanks for having me on the senior living podcast.

Winston: Absolutely. So thank you Dan Tyre from HubSpot for being on the show. You’ve been listening to the Senior Care Growth Show where senior care sales and marketing professionals come to grow. My name is Winston. We’ll see you next time.

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