From tentative steps to Excel spreadsheets from paper notes in the early 80s to the unveiling of the first online marketing platforms like Truly, Zillowand Zoopla In the early 90s, the technological journey for real estate brokers was never easy.
And even more for melarge brokerages who are even more reluctant to abandon old but still functional legacy systems and jeopardize the stability of the status quo.
EY’s recent study highlights the top technology adoption constraints and challenges that are hampering innovation in real estate:
Let’s take a look at them one by one and offer concrete solutions to address these challenges and hopefully dispel the uncertainty of real estate executives around the sensitive issue of technology.
Challenge #1: Other priorities are more important
I am not the right person to question the objectives and business projects of real estate brokers, but what I box do is educate them on the ultimate gains of technology adoption using the language of facts.
Deilotte studies show that a CRM system can increase:
- Lead conversion up to +30%
- Sales up to +30%
- Sales productivity up to +30%
- Customer satisfaction up to +35%
- Faster decision making up to +38%
- Turnover up to +25%
These estimates are substantiated by the real-life story of Pyramid Brokerage Cushman & Wakefield’s transformation among a few whose executives moved away from using Excel in favor of a modern CRM platform.
Multiply that by the many other success stories of real estate brokers embracing technology, and you’ll have reason enough why now it’s your turn to step up.
Challenge #2: New systems don’t integrate easily
And they never will – unless you start by creating a transformation management office led by a technology leader (a CTO) and populated by technology engineers with deep expertise in real estate processes and integration methods. .
Once you have this department in place, start by:
Conduct a thorough audit of the old way of doing things. This step helps you identify gaps in the productivity and usability of your current systems and define how these can be addressed with new software. Collecting feedback from your brokers is highly appreciated at this stage.
Cleaning your data. Dropping your data as-is into new systems can ruin even the most meticulously thought-out technology adoption plan. There are tools and methods to help clean data, from low-tech applications like Excel to more advanced data processing tools like those in Microsoft Dynamics Where Salesforce-CRM.
Integration of legacy systems with new software. The most laborious and costly step, this task should be orchestrated by skilled technicians who would be familiar enough with real estate processes to link different systems and create workflows with multiple data touchpoints. If you don’t have in-house technical staff, skip to challenge #3 below.
Performing User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Do not postpone this step after going live. Perform frequent system testing with real business users until you are sure everything is working properly.
Challenge #3: Lack of internal talent
While some large-scale brokerage firms may have technical departments, many turn to third-party technology-enabling companies – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Instead, such symbiotic cooperation results in multiple gains for a real estate agency, such as:
- Access to the latest technologies and skills
- Reduced training and talent onboarding costs
- And more so, the ability to learn from your technology partner’s previous experience with other brokers who may have had similar challenges.
The key criteria to look out for when selecting a technology partner is whether they have real estate-specific expertise. Otherwise, the benefits listed above easily evaporate.
Challenge #4: The existing culture is not open to change
“It’s people, not technology, that limit the growth of proptech ideas,” said a Hong Kong fund manager.
As the leader of a technology enablement company helping real estate companies adopt technology, I, like no one else, can justify how important it is to gain the trust of your staff members in new systems. and their results.
To do this, I generally recommend that my clients have an actionable change management plan in place. prior to the actual implementation of the technology. This should involve at least these three steps:
- Let your brokers and agents know how the upcoming changes will improve day-to-day business operations.
- Train your teams. Simple “end user training” sessions are not enough. To proactively communicate and promote the benefits of your new system, a well-documented integration is necessary.
- You can also appoint a change manager who oversight can facilitate staff buy-in and ultimately improve value.
The last thing to remember when innovating your brokerage business processes is that technology adoption is a journey, not a sprint. Nothing will come quickly, and that’s completely normal. But once you’ve overcome these adoption challenges, new systems and architectures are poised to deliver efficiency and revenue growth for years to come.
Wes Snow is co-founder and managing partner of Ascendix Technologies with 25 years of experience in CRM consulting.