COVID-19 has impacted business across all industries – and real estate is no exception. While many businesses have been able to shift their operations online, the fact that the real estate industry deals with physical locations has made it particularly challenging.
For a long time, the industry has been dominated by individuals who have been using the same tried and true techniques that were applied by their predecessors. But now, the entire commercial real estate industry is being forced to reconsider and reposition its strategy to account for these new challenges.
So how can the commercial property sector adapt in the face of this uncertainty? The sector must develop a more agile, efficient and customer-centric service model.
One thing is for certain: any changes need to be made with the customer, client and employee at the heart of every decision. Just as customers have turned to e-commerce during the pandemic, the commercial real estate sector must continue to embrace digital transformation and emerging technologies at pace.
The future success of companies within the sector depends on their ability to provide a dynamic, digital, connected experience to their clients. A client-centric approach creates both operational efficiencies and a seamless, more efficient process – allowing businesses to stay competitive in an uncertain market and ensure the best client experience.
Let’s consider some of the key benefits of a digital-first, client centric approach for real estate:
When clients approach agents with concerns, questions, or other issues, they expect to receive a first-class service that’s personalised, efficient and fast. Thanks to the nature of cloud-based CRM, firms can respond and take action from any internet-enabled device. If fee earners have a full client history across all service lines and a single source of truth to rely on, clients have the benefit of nearly-instantaneous feedback.
Many Salesforce customers have stated that they have achieved major productivity gains through the use of the platform during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further to this, the cloud-based nature of Salesforce and its mobile-ready capability has made the switch to working from home relatively seamless for some firms.
Commercial real estate agents, operators and investors know that information is often siloed across many different databases. This is very relevant when generating and processing leads from a number of sources. However, this can be problematic as maintaining multiple databases for each of these sources is a time consuming and inefficient process.
Having a single source of truth through a unified system on which to manage every part of a firm’s day-to-day is imperative to ensure a seamless journey for both employees and clients. Salesforce is in a unique position to provide this single source of truth by connecting legacy systems and data to provide seamless access for employees and subsequently provide a better journey for clients.
During 2020, real estate firms have seen a major drive towards automating manual processes and a necessary focus on cost tracking and cost control. Automation not only drives cost savings but also makes maintaining client relationships much simpler.
Salesforce can be directed to keep track of important dates, send out reminders, and even contact clients directly, when necessary. Salesforce can take over a number of smaller tasks, allowing fee earners to make much more efficient use of their time.
There are a number of details that go hand in hand with tasks in the world of real estate. While these details may seem minor when compared to the larger issues at stake, they are vitally important. Setting up a CRM tool to automatically fill out forms, file important documents, and retrieve valuable data when it is needed can give both firms and clients time back to focus on bigger concerns.
Communications with an existing customer base, partners and employees is of primary importance to all firms in the real estate sector. The almost immediate halt to in-person events during 2020 has seen organisations place a greater focus on their marketing strategies, shift operations and change the way they interact with their clients.
Salesforce’s marketing technologies have been of vital importance to our real estate customers who were already using it. Going forward, real estate firms are looking at how effective their communication tools were during this shift and how they can improve upon them. To provide an even better client experience, organisations should consider bespoke, personalised marketing journeys to keep their clients updated with changes, re-opening plans, etc. on their preferred channels.
Salesforce has also seen an increase in the use of portal and community technologies as a platform for communication. Portals enabling leasing and other legal documents to be safely exchanged and acted upon by both sides are increasingly common. Requests for service and/or maintenance can also be provided via a community and connected with our mobile solutions, available for clients, property managers, and brokers.
Salesforce is designed to be able to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of work in real-time. By bringing together siloed sources of data and applying Salesforce AI and analytics, firms can learn from past failures and successes to drive more intelligent decisions faster.
Having a system of record that learns from historic workflows allows organisations to drive further success through a greater understanding of what works. Using automated prompts, reminders and suggesting best next steps Salesforce powered by AI ensures guided support to day-to-day work processes. Intuitive, configurable reports and dashboards allow seamless access for better insight and visibility of data.
Salesforce is the digital transformation partner that enables commercial property businesses to create an engaging, dynamic digital experience around their clients. Engagement-driving, intelligent tools make the most of every contact and build a complete client profile. Process automation tools drive greater efficiency in resource-heavy tasks – enabling staff to prioritise time more effectively and focus on revenue-growing activities.
Most importantly, the sales and marketing process is quicker, enabling commercial property companies to target and close opportunities with new-found efficiency, ensuring their long-term success.