Zillow is a Trailblazer

Zillow turns buying houses into making homes with Salesforce.


Zillow transforms real estate with new ways to buy and sell.

When Zillow, now the leading real estate and rental marketplace, first launched in 2006, it revolutionized real estate. For the first time, real estate information - like home value estimates and later property listings - was available online, for free, for anyone to access.

Fast forward 13 years, Zillow now sees the industry is ripe for its next revolution. Today’s consumers look for the same kind of simple, seamless experiences they get from companies like Amazon and Uber. The real estate transaction - with its stress, complexity, and huge financial commitment - needed the latest technologies like artificial intelligence and advanced software to turn home buying and selling into an easy, integrated process. To take on this big challenge and continue earning the trust of its customers, Zillow needed to create a seamless experience that gave people confidence throughout the real estate process, from finding the right home to moving into it.

To do this, the company needed an integrated, customer-centric solution that would allow it to turn the large amount of data it captures into insights team members could use to create more personalized customer experiences. It also needed a solution that would help it launch and grow a new part of its business, Zillow Offers. This groundbreaking service gives homeowners the option of bypassing the usual stress of selling a home by selling to Zillow instead. This gives people complete control of the timing and process of their next big move.

Zillow is a Trailblazer in revolutionizing real estate.

Zillow is the leading online real estate and rental network in the U.S. and one of the world’s largest. Unique users to Zillow Group’s mobile apps and websites recently reached an all-time high, with average monthly unique users up 5% to 195.6 million. In addition to home listings, the site adds value for users by turning the data it captures on more than 100 million homes into insights such as the “Zestimate” home valuation. The Zestimate is Zillow’s estimate of a home’s market value, calculated using public and user-submitted data, as well as home facts, location and market conditions.

Users can also access a directory of local agents, browse mortgage rates, connect with a lender to apply for pre-approval, get a mortgage through Zillow Home Loans or request an offer on their home through Zillow Offers. Real estate agents can also become Zillow Premier Agents through the company’s flagship advertising program that connects top agents and their teams with interested buyers and sellers in their market. To maintain their participation in the program, agents must deliver against a minimum service standard of customer satisfaction as rated by their connections and clients.

With thousands of sales and service interactions daily with both consumers and the professionals who partner with Zillow, it is vital that Zillow’s nearly 6,000 employees have the information and tools they need to work smarter and faster. The company turned to Salesforce to help upgrade its sales and service platforms to give employees a better view of the data, enabling them to deliver more personalized service and improving the overall customer experience.

“Data plays a huge role in helping us build a relationship with our customers and maintain that trust over not just months but years,” said Zillow Brand President Jeremy Wacksman, President, Zillow Group. “That’s something we discovered when we started the company almost 15 years ago, and we’ve been building on it ever since.”


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Service Cloud

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Automation streamlines processes and boosts productivity.

Zillow is leveraging Salesforce’s High Velocity Sales (HVS), part of Sales Cloud, to automate mundane tasks and streamline the sales process for Zillow Premier Agent sales teams. On the professional side, team members need to work with large numbers of agents from across the country to quickly identify their needs and close deals on the phone. On the consumer side, they need to ensure every house hunter receives the information they need to make decisions and move forward. HVS allows sales reps to keep their work in one place, see all of the relevant information, respond rapidly, and generally keep up with the speed that is needed to continue the team’s growth. As a result, it helps boost productivity for individual team members and allows the company to scale best practices seamlessly across different points of the business.

For example, Lightning Dialer allows sales reps to leave prerecorded messages instead of repeating themselves, saving time on every call that goes to voicemail. Sales Cadences ensure that every interaction is structured to guide the teams through scheduled, streamlined outreach plans with email templates, call scripts, and custom steps. Using Work Queues, team members can access a to-do list for their entire day — every call, email, and outreach activity is laid out. Plus, additional information such as zip codes and details of mortgages is shown in that same single screen. This not only helps teams work faster, but it also helps them deliver better service to customers.

“Prior to implementing HVS, we were making around 65 to 90 calls a day,” said Eli Eliason, Zillow’s Sales Executive Manager. “Now sales executives can make 150 or more calls daily. So it’s almost doubled their productivity. Executives are able to connect with more agents and drive that face-to-face connection, even if it’s through virtual consultations.”

Artificial intelligence takes the guesswork out of prioritizing leads.

The Zillow Premier Agent team is also using Sales Cloud Einstein to sell in a smarter way. This artificial intelligence (AI) tool helps team members better understand the needs of their customers - real estate agents across the U.S. - and automatically prioritize the right next step at the right time.

“We’ve got a huge number of customers wanting to use our platform, and our people struggle to prioritize what’s next,” said Greg Schwartz, Zillow’s President, Media and Marketplace. “Einstein allows us to distribute a high-quality prioritized task list to all of our teammates each day and throughout the day. This has resulted in real gains in conversion and in productivity.”

Einstein’s Lead Scoring feature is also important for Zillow Premier Agent because it takes the guesswork out of which leads are most likely to close. “Lead Scoring is really important for Zillow because we need to track how many leads we’re giving out to our agents,” said Eliason. “We want to make sure that we’re providing them with an accurate expectation of what we’re showcasing when they purchase an ad. So, we might say, ‘You’re going to see two live connections and about eight nurture leads on average’ — we want to make sure that that’s what we’re providing.”


Better case management streamlines internal communication.

The company is also using Service Cloud to power Zillow Offers, the program where Zillow buys homes directly from homeowners in the U.S. and quickly relists them for sale. For example, if a Zillow Offers advisor, who engages directly with a homeowner requesting a Zillow Offer, has a question for the pricing team, the advisor can open a case about a home’s offer price and estimate. Or, if a problem like a broken sewer is noted at a home inspection, the estimator or inspector can submit a case through the Salesforce mobile app to the Zillow Utilities team. Zillow Offers advisors can also chat with customers using Sonar SMS on Salesforce’s user interface.

Service Cloud’s scalability has enabled this new revenue stream to grow quickly. Only 18 months after initially launching in Phoenix in April 2018, Zillow Offers is now available in 21 U.S. markets, with plans to be in 26 by mid-2020.

Access to data is key to maximizing marketing impact.

Having dealt with data fidelity and syncing issues between the company’s previous customer relationship management and marketing automation software, Zillow recently switched to using Salesforce’s Pardot marketing automation tool.

This single platform solution gives marketing teams better access to the data and reporting they need to effectively communicate with customer segments. It also gives sales executives a more efficient way of accessing curated marketing content to accelerate sales.


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