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Automation, Connection and Trust in the Buyer’s Journey

October 04, 2021 by Sherpa

Your website is an important way to attract prospective buyers. But are all website inquiries ready to talk to a sales counselor? Visit your community? Buy?  

For a prospective resident or someone reaching out on their behalf, this may be just the beginning of their research into senior living. Going from perusing your website to “let’s schedule a tour” can be more of a leap than a next step. And the sales process can take many emotional turns with new objections along the way. 

We want to ask a few questions about the buyer’s journey. How can you be more empathetic in your marketing? What’s the right messaging and strategy that can support successful sales relationships? Let’s talk about using empathy and building trust through marketing automation.

First, some common misconceptions:

  • Marketing automation should be used in place of human connection.  
  • It’s either a generic email blast or mass text with multiple sends without consideration for the people who are reading them. 
  • It’s too difficult or time-consuming to build messaging related to the prospect and those involved in the decision. 

Just because your communication is automated doesn’t mean it should also come across as robotic or unfeeling. If you can make your marketing more human, early in the buyer’s journey, you set the stage for trust-building and connection later in the sale. Here are some ways an automated campaign can be empathy-centered:  

Personalized messaging 

You can use prospect data in marketing messages to make the content more relevant and relatable. And yes, you can address an email using someone’s first name but there can be more to it. Segment unique marketing messages by community, care type, sales counselor, stage of readiness to change, or whatever can narrow down the interests of the person reading your message.   

Concise targeting parameters 

Smaller groups or lists can perform better when it comes to automation. You want to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right person. CRM and marketing automation integrations let you know where your buyer is in their decision, in real time. 

Stating your intention 

It always helps to be honest and upfront about your intention in emails. Keep the message transparent and define your goals. For example, “My intention is to serve as an advisor or resource in your decision to make a change.”  

Personalized signature blocks 

A personalized signature, perhaps one with a photo, can go a long way in building trust and rapport through an email. Share some information about yourself in your signature block like a favorite hobby, interesting facts about yourself, or uninteresting ones, why not? When you’re the first to open up about yourself, you encourage a response and the potential for empathetic connection.   

Going beyond email 

As for the delivery of your message, automation goes beyond email sends. You can deliver personalized questions on your website forms using logic-based algorithms, send a well-timed pop-up, deliver information or receive an inquiry using a chat powered by AI. When done right, these elements work together to support connection and engagement throughout a sale. Multiple touchpoints are valuable in building relationships with prospects.   

The way people search for and research senior living options has evolved. It starts online and not over the phone. Sales counselors want to use their time wisely, so they need a way to connect with those who are higher in the sales funnel, those who may be “just looking”. Automating and targeting personalized messaging can make sure it’s sent at the right time and gives sales counselors time to spend on relationship-building and, ultimately, selling. 

The data and learnings automation platforms provide give you full visibility into the buying process. These insights help sales and marketing teams support both a healthy collaboration and the eventual progression from a marketing lead to a qualified prospect and eventually a successful sale. 

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