3 questions to guide your multifamily CRM strategy
The cornerstone of a strong sales organization (aka leasing team) is a thoughtful Customer Relationship Management strategy and investing in nimble, modern CRM technology to support it.
Salesforce, the largest CRM company in the world, defines CRM as, “technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers.” I would take that one step further to advise that CRM technology needs to deliver value to your bottom line. If your CRM doesn’t make a material positive impact on your NOI, then it’s just pushing pretty pixels around on a screen (and sometimes it’s not even that pretty!).
Multifamily CRM solutions come in all shapes and sizes, from a manual entry spreadsheet to enterprise-level front office platforms. You have many choices and those choices will have significant downstream impacts on NOI, good or bad. Luckily there is a modern CRM solution out there that will help drive NOI improvement, whether you’re an owner yourself or a third party manager looking to provide best-in-class tools on behalf of discerning owners.
Before you spend too much time Googling or poking around Multifamily forum comments about CRMs, it can really help to first understand what tools and workflows are currently driving success in your portfolio, as well as identify the gaps and areas of opportunity. These 3 strategic questions can help guide your CRM strategy playbook:
1. How happy are my leasing teams with the tools we’ve provided today? Can we do better?
Multifamily prides itself on being a “people” industry, and leasing teams are feeling more pressure than ever before to maintain business continuity and drive great sales outcomes despite facing increased competition, quickly evolving consumer behavior, and uncontrollable economic conditions. What’s more, on-site teams are considered essential workers and serve as the frontline for prospects and residents during Covid-19; now more than ever they need tools that give them the flexibility to conduct business with prospects and existing residents from a safe location, often at scale.
Have you invested in easy-to-use and report-from tools that guarantee continuity and flexibility for your teams? Is it an enjoyable, or dare I say “fun” experience? Does your current “sales engine” have gaps or require an upgrade? Are you able to access real-time performance results and provide immediate feedback? The beauty of improving day-to-day leasing operations for front office teams is that doing so can simultaneously improve the customer experience for both residents and prospects as well. A well-designed CRM delivers value to your bottom line, your team, and your customers throughout the entire multifamily revenue cycle.
2. How confident am I that I have fully maximized my NOI, or would I like to improve it further?
As an industry, multifamily manages one of the biggest sales teams in the country, yet many multifamily operators are discovering that their current lead management tech stack simply doesn’t address their desired NOI goals.
In a bull economy, when occupancy and rents are moving up and to the right, it’s tempting to underinvest in front offices. Rents are growing, so why change?
When things go sideways economically – as we saw in the 2008 Great Recession, and as we’re seeing now – multifamily operators that don’t have a nimble CRM that provides reliable, actionable insights and granular visibility into business operations are left significantly exposed to downside risk. The downside of this exposure can reverberate across your entire organization and impact operations, marketing, training, staffing, IT – and of course sales.
During uncertain economic conditions, the #1 lever you can pull to improve NOI is to review your current lead management tech stack and ensure that your organization is investing in partnerships that empower leasing teams to be successful in meaningful, technology- and data-driven ways.
3. Am I really meeting the modern buyer where they are today, and in the ways they prefer to engage with my brand?
No matter where the broader economy is heading, we still very much live in a modern, on-demand world, and it’s our responsibility as an industry to meet our buyers and residents where they are and engage with them in the ways that they prefer.
Does your current lead management stack enable your hottest leads to self-book their tours across your entire marketing ecosystem or does it only enable self-service when engaging with your property websites? Is it easy for them to contact you in the ways they naturally communicate today (via text, Chatbot, FB Messenger)? Do you have well-designed automation baked into common workflows that makes it frictionless for prospects and residents to get the responses and information they need in the tap of a finger?
Depending on your answers to these questions, it may be time to explore the very real financial, operational, and strategic value that a modern multifamily CRM platform can accomplish on your behalf.
For more on this topic, watch AIM’s CRM Playbook webinar.
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