CRM for Real Estate Part 2: Realizing the Vision

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1 CRM for Real Estate Anne Taylor Contents Introduction... 1 Meet the Challenges... 2 Implementation Approach... 3 Demystifying CRM... 5 Conclusion... 7 Introduction Once the decision to implement a CRM system is made, challenges remain on the path to a truly successful CRM implementation, which requires a long and shortterm business strategy and an effective approach, working within the confines of the organization. Without them, many CRM projects fail to meet the business objectives at the end. The major challenges are outlined in the following pages, along with strategies to overcome. Copyright HIPERCEPT, INC. 1

2 Meet the Challenges Challenge: System adoption by end users First and foremost, talk to the end users. Don t ask them what they need, but rather gather information on what they do, why and how. This information will be used as business requirements for the system design and creation of use cases for system validation. The bottom line is if users don t perceive value-add in the implemented solution, then there is no value. Execute using agile iterative design cycles that involve users in the system design. Most people gather requirements from all stakeholders, but don t involve them in the design phase. Demonstrate the actual system functionality throughout development and ask the users does this work for you?. A lot of projects spend time designing and building functionality that users don t require or can t operate effectively and then of course don t use. Create a simple and intuitive interface. The system should be role-based and display applicable components only when they re needed. Front office users require simplicity and will not likely adopt a system that doesn t integrate seamlessly to their day-to-day job. Develop a communications and training plan that is specifically tailored for each user group. Integrate an extensive change management (Stakeholder assessment / change impact) plan, monitor and manage users progression through the change curve phases of awareness, understanding, acceptance, commitment and finally sustained adoption. Challenge: Ensuring system is relevant and supports business process Pick the right tool for the right problem. CRM is a focused solution with specific functional targets. The following outline some areas where CRM is not best suited or does not address the needs fulsomely. Central repository for all company data Comprehensive document management system Extranet / customer portal Transactional system (highly repetitive e.g. invoice processing) Financial or accounting system (mathematical engine) Business Intelligence reporting or analytics Avoid heavy system customizations by leveraging and configuring the basic CRM functionality to address your unique business needs. Align the system design with your business processes, rather than altering the processes to suit the system. Copyright HIPERCEPT, INC. 2

3 Challenge: CRM Projects are too long and expensive Think BIG; plan well; start small; scale fast. Formulate an implementation roadmap to fulfill your vision but start small. Begin with a small group of users to ensure success that can be leveraged in the subsequent phases. If your first phase doesn t start well, it s hard to gain momentum. Consider allowing word-of-mouth be the best endorsement of the new solution and to gain sponsorship for future phases. Upon the heels of a successful first phase, extend the system to other departments or increase number of users. Challenge: Key stakeholders can t devote time Secure senior executive support and commitment. Structure user participation in a meaningful way and engage users by promoting project importance and personal relevance of the implemented system. Implementation Approach The following steps are recommended to ensure a successful CRM implementation. 1. Focus on the sales related processes to identify where CRM can provide support. ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT LEASING/ SALES LEASE MANAGEMENT SERVICE ANALYTICS & REPORTING Account & Contact Marketing & Lead Sales Forecasting / Budgeting Term Sheets / LOI Consolidated Leasing / Renewals Space Lease Contact Term Sheets / LOI / Lease Generation Lease Document Operations Contact Tenant Operations & Web Servicing / Marketing (direct) Tenant / Lease Inquiry & Analytics Marketing / Web Analytics Sales Analytics Service Analytics Reporting CROSS-FUNCTIONAL Automated Event Activity Tracking ( s, Mobility Notification / Workflow appointments, phone calls) OTHER POTENTIAL TARGET PROCESSES (PHASING TO THE ENTERPRISE SOLUTION) Investor Tracking / Investor Relations Investment Tracking Employee C-Suite Relationship Asset Acquisition & Disposition Development & Construction Copyright HIPERCEPT, INC. 3

4 CRM for Real estate PaRt 2: Realizing the Vision 2. FoCus on and reiterate the drivers For Change and Manage Change There is not just one driver for change. You need to be able to address a variety of internal and external factors that drive your company to grow and remain highly competitive in the marketplace. The key is to identify and reinforce them throughout the implementation. The key drivers for change may include: Growth goals Competition / market share / differentiation Technology Efficiency Regulatory requirements Business continuity As change is introduced, ensure everyone is ready for it. 3. FoCus on the benefits In order to help pave the way for gaining support from all levels of the organization and expedite user adoption, you must clearly articulate and communicate the benefits of the system. Build it and they will come will not work in a CRM implementation. Thus, find and leverage the authority of the sponsors; identify and engage your stakeholders early and often; identify naysayers and address their concerns. Additionally, take immediate actions where process and business changes are required, thereby achieving key business benefits. 4. FoCus on agility The traditional waterfall project approach has been proven ineffective in CRM implementations, although detailed planning is paramount. The key is to establish a balanced environment allowing agility in a structured, phased approach. Again, start small and iterate often. CONTINUE ITERATION PHASES AS NECESSARY TALK TO PEOPLE Initial Requirements Gathering TEST DESIGN PHASE 1 BUILD TEST DESIGN PHASE 2 BUILD PILOT DEPLOYMENT FULL DEPLOYMENT FIGURE 1 PHASED AGILITY APPROACH CoPYRight hipercept, inc. 4

5 Demystifying CRM CRM is sometimes considered the magic bullet solution. Obviously, it can t be the solution to everything, but when approached holistically and executed with discipline, it can deliver significant bottom-line benefits in marketing, sales and service, as well as other surprising areas of the organization. Misunderstanding where a CRM system should be leveraged can be the biggest mistake in an implementation and the principal barrier to success. CRM Myth / Challenge Reality / Answer Real Estate verticals built on CRM systems will work for me Regardless, your business processes and requirements will be unique and need additional configuration and sometime customization to suit your needs. Think of these pre-built industry solutions as accelerators to get you started and to be built upon. CRM can do everything for me CRM can be a powerful tool, and is often times used as a platform for integrating other ancillary systems. However, there is a clear distinction between what CRM can do versus what it should do. Understanding the fundamental values of a CRM system and abiding by the less is more principle sometimes can be enormously beneficial in the long run. Ensure to keep your CRM system simple and easy to use, which does not make it less valuable. The concept of data tracking is simple, yet the benefits of organized tracking of your revenue generating groups will quickly pay off by allowing all stakeholders a better understanding of the customers. You can expect to build integrations between your CRM system and others, but that s ok so long as it is well planned. Copyright HIPERCEPT, INC. 5

6 CRM systems are just for sales CRM systems are highly customizable and can be extended to other related customer relationships and processes. For real estate, this could mean tracking the business relationships with investors, brokers, banks, tenants, vendors and property managers. When implementing a CRM system, ensure that you consider the entire application stack. There will be systems both upstream and downstream interacting with the CRM system. Therefore, a robust data governance program is extremely important to ensure data integrity and accuracy. A good practice is to determine the system of record where the true data resides, and eliminate the presence of fragmented and incompatible systems that can t share data. For example, don t manage contacts in both your CRM and property management system pick one and feed data to the other. Cloud-based systems are cheaper This entirely depends on the business scenarios, requirements and needs of the system. Usually there is an inverse correlation between number of users and total cost of ownership per user. This doesn t always hold true for cloud-based solutions given its subscription license model. That said, other considerations besides cost may impact the decision, e.g. 24/7 support, upgrades. The bottom line is that each scenario and many factors need to be analyzed to determine whether the cloud-based solution provides better value. Nobody likes CRM systems because they re just big brother watching over me Nobody likes poorly designed CRM systems, true. It is also true that there is a continuous balancing act between a company s initiative to increase visibility of information, competition and employees need for privacy and job security. The expectation of an easy and intuitive sales tool is increasing among today s workforce, and well implemented CRM systems that help individuals keep track of their busy and unstructured lives are well received and utilized. Copyright HIPERCEPT, INC. 6

7 Conclusion What can a highly integrated CRM solution deliver? Centralized business data management, better segmentation and pipeline visibility, proactive management of leads to executed leases, faster and shorter sales cycle, higher efficiency and predictable results, competitive advantage, talent retention, better tenant services and increased return on existing technology investments. It is also important to keep in mind that there are a number of areas that a CRM system cannot deliver. Understanding the dos and don ts of CRM, in conjunction with utilizing an effective approach, will be the key to unlocking a successful CRM implementation. A successful CRM implementation doesn t happen overnight, and there are many internal and external factors that can impact the project outcome. The technology is available, as is the business process expertise. Today s leading real estate organizations have the opportunity to take clear and direct steps to enhance their technological platform, prepare, and excel in today s fiercely competitive marketplace. For more information on Hipercept or the challenges met by CRM, please contact Anne Taylor at Hipercept U.S. 239 Washington Street Suite 305 Jersey City, NJ Canada 18 Haslemere Road Toronto, Ontario M4N 1X5 Colombia Calle 7 SUR # Office 209 Medellín, Antioquia Europe 130 Old Street London EC1V 9BD Australia 301 George Street Suite 1102I Sydney, NSW 2000 Copyright HIPERCEPT, INC. 7

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