Michael Rooney, SVP & General Manager at bpm’online, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share his insight on the intersection of sales, marketing, and technology. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
Michael joined Josh to discuss on CRM adoption, multichannel platforms, and common challenges with real estate CRM.
Below are a few highlights from our conversation:
TechnologyAdvice: What’s causing the increase in CRM adoption?
Rooney: That’s a great question. I think there’s a lot of forces driving it. If you back it all the way up, it’s about that customer experience. When you interact with a company these days, you could be online, on the phone, mobile, social media - you're interacting in a much different way. There’s this omnichannel underlying current if you will. The company struggles with the ability to capture all those touchpoints and then put them into a consistent platform.
Without an automated CRM or whatever that platform might be, it’s very difficult to track that and I think we all know sales is a numbers game. If you let some of the numbers drop out of the funnel, you’re going to be less successful. By automating that process and capturing the data components per contact and customer, you’re much more likely to be able to capture everything in the funnel and hopefully transact more efficiently.
TA: How has bpm'online taken over the real estate market?
Rooney: Bpm'online is a ten year old company based initially out of Europe, so we’re really coming into a mature marketplace. From our point of view, while we are everything to everybody globally, here in the US we’re very focused on specific solutions. We’ve chosen real estate because we have a specific version of our CRM, a preconfigured version for real estate, for a couple reasons.
If you think residential, a lot of us rent an apartment, bought houses. You do an interesting thing when you go in with a request: I want a four bedroom with four baths and a pool in a certain location and then some agent matches that to a pretty disparate and multi-listing database and comes back and says you might be interested in these couple of things. You line up showings and then you negotiate over different pricing and home inspections. There’s a bunch of different steps in that sales process that is alien to any other industry.
We have devised a very specific solution for that, taking all that into account. When we look at it, it’s a fairly underserved market from our point of view. Most of the legacy systems out there are pieces of the puzzle I just described that are cobbled together into a bunch of different systems. Our focus is to bring automated process-driven-CRM to the real estate market. We want to speak their language and offer them special requirements. We think they’ll be able to be much more efficient and productive.
TA: How would that be different for residential vs commercial real estate?
Rooney: From the core, most residential real estate companies are not centralized. You have independent agents that sell for the brand if you will. It’s a franchise thing. The control over what system you use and the process and methodology to go through is a little hard to manage.
Part of our sales cycle is finding the licensing model that makes sense for that environment; whereas, commercial real estate tends to be much more brokerage driven and so the agents and brokers are employed directly by the company and the company can better dictate what technology tools and processes they use. The idea of inventory, property, listings, and availability is very similar in showings and all that. The corporate structure is quite a bit different.
Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download the show to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes.
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