Email is used everywhere as a marketing channel, especially
for listings. Some would say that it’s no longer effective, but
there are few resources that are as cost- and time-effective.
Fortunately, the latest email marketing tools make it easier than
ever to produce quality content and identify leads.
Subscription services like MailChimp or ConstantContact are
commonly used to create professional looking email broadcasts
like listing flyers. Their latest innovation is recommending the
optimal time of day to send a campaign, based on past trends
with your recipients. They also offer amazing insight to help
identify likely leads based on engagement with your email.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a hot topic.
Companies big and small have been trying to get this right
for years. Leaders today, such as ClientLook and Salesforce,
continue to refine the cloud-based commercial real estate CRM
experience in the hopes of hitting the optimal mix of simplicity
A CRM helps you manage your contacts, track leads, organize
your schedule and your deals. It serves as the hub of many
companies to help promote more cooperative business
practices. When it’s implemented correctly, CRM is one of the
key factors to promoting growth, and it’s important to look for
a solution that most closely matches the way you work.
Our ability to generate distributable content is growing fast.
The average deal can have dozens of related documents with
numerous disconnected parties that require access. Cloud
storage sites like Google Drive and Dropbox appeared on the
scene a few years ago to make file sharing easier. They’ve
evolved into a core part of most CRE offices today.
In our office, we use Google Drive, as an example. We keep
our entire file system online, and it’s shared between locations
across the country. Sharing rights are assigned to folders and
even files in order to dictate access rights. We don’t need to
maintain local file servers. Setup is easy. Most of the content is
even accessible from mobile devices – it’s great.
Social media’s momentum continues to build. We all know
people who create online personas and develop sizable
audiences from scratch. These audiences are valuable in that
they can propagate your message – whatever that might be.
The debate continues as to the best way to engage with social
media, and I don’t have the answers. Personally, I find LinkedIn
and Twitter to be the most effective. Creating an audience takes
time and effort, but the rewards seem worth it.
Mobile phones are becoming the most common conduit for
online productivity. Tablet use seems to be waning as phones
are becoming big enough to bridge the gap while in the field.
New devices like the Microsoft Surface are starting to gain
traction. And, despite the premium price tag, Apple laptop use
continues to grow.
Let’s face it, commercial real estate technology is a niche, since
few products are made solely for our industry. Some things,
like mobile phones, don’t require any customization since the
typical use is aligned with the product’s core design. However,
other tools for email marketing, investment analysis and CRM
can require lots of customization. The problem is that most
people don’t have the time or ability to make things work right.
These challenges cause user adoption to suffer. Low adoption
produces a significant amount of cost through failed initiatives
and lost productivity. Unfortunately, this is common. That’s no
excuse to continue to eschew technology though. The potential
for failure is always possible with any tech initiative, but there
are ways to minimize the risk. Seek references, spend time
with training and commit to trying. Know when it’s time to
pull the plug though, and invest in something new.
WHAT’S IN OUR FUTURE?
I’m personally excited about the opportunity that exists in
mobile computing and particularly smartphones. Some suggest
phones may become mobile data servers that always maintain
a connection to secure networks containing all your data. Your
“personal clouds” could bring the corporate IT infrastructure to
the palms of our hands explained O’Rell with Xceligent, Inc.
“This would enable storage and retrieval of all forms of unified
and connected communication like email, voice, video and
instant notes, etc., leading to more immediate value creation.”
Industry-related technologies have become more reliable, more
integrated and more robust, and implementation of these new
technologies is no longer optional in today’s CRE environment.
Get on board now before this next wave of innovation passes
“Technologies are only getting better,” said O’Rell. “The
key is to leverage them in ways that have the most impact
on operations, provide a quicker ROI and enable real estate
professionals to be more strategic and more effective.”
Collectively, these emerging technologies should provide
more organizational flexibility, reduced costs and increased
workplace efficiencies. Ideally, this allows our industry to
achieve new levels of effectiveness that accelerates deal-making and promotes greater transparency. Time will tell
which technologies become the winners, but this evolution will
definitely make for an exciting ride.