The real estate tech industry reached a whopping $5 billion in deployed investments last year. As a brokerage, continued growth in this industry depends on your ability to get the best real estate technology for your company. Despite this, I continuously hear the same thing over and over when I talk to brokerages across the country: “We spent money on technology but we don’t feel that we, or our agents, are getting value from it”.
Technology is a game changer, but only if you have the know-how and the resources to help extract the value from that technology. Real estate brokerages need to consider what it will take to make new software a successful investment for their company. Here’s how you set yourself up for success!
It sounds like a given, but this is one of the most overlooked steps when buying new software. When you look back at the end of each year of your contract, what do you want to be different about your business and how will you know?
You must align what you want the software accomplish with the key drivers of your business. This vision of success and associated metrics should be your North Star, guiding your selection process, your roll out process, and your software partner’s client success process. At Boston Logic, we encourage brokerages (both prospects and clients) to create success frameworks that include:
The important thing is to identify a few key metrics that you can measure. Then, establish a baseline – your current level of attainment related to those metrics. Then, set your goals for moving those metrics versus the baseline.
This exercise takes some time, but will yield not only better value from your technology, but more focus for all of your operations.
It is critical to be real when assessing your internal capabilities. What resources can you bring to the table internally, and what resources will you need your technology partner to provide? Here are a few things to consider:
Do you have someone on staff who can configure and set up software to meet the needs of your company? Or will you need your tech partner to do that for you? Either way, you need to budget to cover this.
Just like getting buyers and sellers to visit your site, you will need a constant stream of internal marketing initiatives to get your agents to use the technology. Sales people generally don’t want to use tech unless they see that it can lead to more sales/income. Your internal marketing efforts cannot be a one time event. It must must be a constant- continuously driving home the value of the technology to your agents.
Who will train your staff to support your agents? Who will train your agents? How will you get new agents trained after the initial roll out? What can you do, and what will you require your technology partner to help with? As new features and functionality are added to the software, training will transition from knowledge transfer to internal marketing initiatives. So be prepared for have some training going on constantly throughout the term of your contracts.
Do you have tech-savvy agents on staff? Reward them and use their influence to drive other agents to use the technology.
When agents or internal users have difficulties, who will they turn to for help? Do you have the resources to provide front line support, or will you need your partner to provide support to your agents?
Who will be the executive sponsor ensuring the project stays on track and who can convey the strategic vision internally and externally? Who will be the project lead driving the day-to-day activities that will lead to success? Have you budgeted the time needed for both?
How much money are you willing (and able) to invest in achieving the outcomes you have identified as success?
When do you need to be live with the new technology? Have you budgeted enough time to go through a buying process, a configuration process, and a roll out process successfully?
Once you have an honest assessment of your resources, identify any gaps and make sure the technology partner you choose can fill all of those gaps for you.
This exercise will help you plan for a successful implementation, will give you more control over the entire technology process, and more control over expenses as you minimize risk of unexpected expenses (which are always costlier than planned expenditures).
If you have gone through steps 1 and 2 prior to approaching potential real estate technology companies, you will find it much easier to cut through the marketing noise and identify the partners who can best deliver on your vision for success. It also means that:
Over the past several years Boston Logic has been as guilty as anyone else in this industry of allowing you to buy our technology without providing you the expertise and resources to guide you on a clear path to success. But we have learned, and we now have an efficient and defined deployment process to help our clients better realize their vision for success and extract more value from their technology investments.
But it starts with you. Stop having the cost conversation and start having the value conversation with your partners. Stop buying technology and truly focus on buying success.