Category : Lasso

5 Ways to Save Time with CRM

5 Ways to Save Time with CRM

This article was originally posted on the Lasso CRM Blog.

A Customer Relationship Management system can save new home sales pros time by automating and streamlining necessary, but time-consuming, tasks. Here are a few examples:

1) Set it and forget it

How many leads do you get in a day? A week? Are you counting both walk-ins and online? Now, how are you following up with them? With a CRM system, it’s easy and fast.

Step 1: Create however many sales processes you need.

Step 2: Decide which criteria trigger those processes.

Step 3: Let the system do the work for you.

You’ll get daily reminders of exactly what information you need to send (including email templates and phone scripts!) and when you need to send it. One click of a button and you’re done!

2) Design, send and track emails from the same application

When you use a CRM system with built-in email capacity, you can send both individual emails and mass marketing emails with just a few clicks. Select a template you like from the library, drop in your own images and text, then select the individual prospect or list you want to receive it. No need to toggle back and forth between design software, your database and a 3rd party email service.

3) Automated lead capture, distribution and auto-response

This is a big one in new home sales. According to the DoYouConvert.com team, 100 percent of your prospects are influenced by the Internet. You must be able to efficiently capture online prospects. In addition to the registration forms on your website, your CRM should integrate with multiple online listing directories. But it doesn’t stop there. With Lasso, for example, leads are automatically distributed to the agent or Online Sales Counselor who will follow up with them. That agent will receive an email notification that they have a new lead, and the prospect will receive an immediate auto-response from that agent. This all happens within a few seconds, giving the agent a few more minutes if necessary to send a personal follow-up.

online registration process

4) Auto-distribute weekly sales reports

Have a sales meeting each Monday at 9 a.m.? Are you arriving to work super early on Mondays or scrambling Sunday evenings to pull together your sales report? With automatically distributed reports, you choose what information to send, who gets it, and when. Set it once, make sure your sales team is entering lead information daily, and you never have to worry about having your reports done on time again.

5) Send and organize communication between multiple parties

Real estate transactions are rarely a two-way communication event. There are several third parties to consider – co-op agents, lenders, attorneys, appraisers, designers, the construction team, etc. By adding all people involved to your CRM, and associating them with the homebuyer, you can keep everyone in the loop, and see an organized history of emails right there in the registrant profile.

These are just a few ways a homebuilder CRM system can save you time and automate tasks, freeing you up to focus on the most important thing – writing more contacts!

For more information, contact a Lasso team member here.

5 Tips to Get Your Sales Team to Use CRM

5 Ways to Get Your Sales Team to Use CRM

Originally posted on the Lasso CRM Blog.

As the person responsible for sourcing a new CRM system, you’ve done your research, found the solution that best fits your business needs, and made the initial investment. You’ve worked diligently alongside your client director to personalize the database to your exact specifications. Launch is imminent – you’re excited to see results! Your sales team? Not so much.

CRM adoption has gotten a bad rep. It conjures images of an evil manager pushing mundane data-entry down the throats of his sales team. The sales team rolls their eyes because their time could be better spent, well, selling.

The CRMs systems of today are different. Instead of just being a way for managers to keep tabs on their teams, CRM is now a tool that mainly benefits the sales team – and helps them sell.

How do you get salespeople onboard and comfortable with the idea of using a new CRM tool? We have a few suggestions:

#1: Get the buy-in.

Treat your sales team like a prospective buyer – your job is to close the deal! Get the team together, buy them breakfast, and explain why you’ve selected a new CRM system, ask for their feedback, and take their comments and questions into consideration.

#2: Demonstrate the benefits.

It’s proven that homebuilders with a CRM system follow up with leads more quickly and effectively, resulting in higher conversion rations and more sales. (See the 2014 Online Lead Follow-Up Survey.) Create a flyer with this type of information and give it to your sales team during the initial CRM meeting. Remember, you are selling to your own team!

#3: Train, train, train.

You’ve invested in a new CRM system; now invest in your team. The magic of CRM doesn’t happen unless every single salesperson is using it the way they should. Remember, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Check out Lasso’s training options here.

#4: Be flexible.

Once your team is using the system, check in with them regularly. Ask what’s working, what isn’t, what can be improved upon, what isn’t needed. Remember, this is a tool to make their jobs easier (more so than yours!) so that they sell more homes. Be open to their suggestions.

#5: Encourage the use of technology.

Many CRMs are built responsively. Lasso, for example, can be accessed on any device – desktop, laptop, tablet or phone – and the user experience is seamless. If it’s easier for a salesperson to take their tablet along on a presentation and record information, encourage it. Many builders and developers are even going paperless, getting rid of antiquated registration cards. The world is online – sales agents should be, too!

For more ideas on successfully implementing CRM, download the Lasso’s free e-guide: 7 Steps to Rapid CRM Implementation, or contact a Lasso team member.

Using Facebook, Twitter and Google + to Market New Homes

In this two-part series, we’ll look at some of the major social media channels and how you can use them to effectively market new homes. This article originally appeared on the Lasso CRM Blog.

Facebook LogoTwitter LogoGoogle Plus Logo

 

 

 

 

 

As marketing and social media expert Carol Morgan said in her latest Lasso CRM guest post, “…with the rise in technology also comes the need to change your company’s marketing practices to be inclusive of the new technology that your potential buyers are using. Right now, that means adapting a solid social media strategy…”

With 90 percent of home buyers starting their research online, consumers are scouring the Internet for information on your company or community. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they will likely move on. These days, having a website alone isn’t enough. Consumers want to see how people interact with your brand. They want to follow your updates without investing too much time until they’re close to making a purchase decision. With social media, you can drive much of the content consumers seek.

In this week’s post, we’ll look at three of the most prominent social networking sites – Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – and the most effective types of content to post for each.

Facebook: This continues to be the most popular social networking site on the planet; it currently has 1.11 billion users. (Your buyers are definitely on here!) Facebook is not a channel for hard selling or in-your-face marketing. It is a vehicle to show your brand’s personality, what you stand for, and why people like and buy from you. Engaging photos along with timely, relevant content are the best ways to leverage the viral nature of Facebook by promoting Likes, Comments and Shares. In addition to scheduled posts, be spontaneous, creative and fun.  It’s also important to be social on social media! Like other businesse pages in your area to foster a sense of community. Don’t forget to interact and engage with others, as this will draw even more people to your page. Facebook is also a great way to capture new leads in a non-disruptive manner. As users are browsing your content, you can provide a registration form right on your profile page.

Twitter: This micro-blogging network is gaining users at a rapid pace. You have only 140 characters to express each thought, so posts must be clever, relevant and entertaining (easier said than done!). Twitter is a great platform to develop a voice of expertise or authority about a certain subject. As a marketer of new homes, post about events, businesses and developments in your community, neighborhood or city. Share articles about the home buying process and what makes your community unique. Think about the kind of information you’d want to read if you were a buyer, and post it. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to engage in conversation on Twitter. Many large companies are even using Twitter as a customer service platform. If someone asks a question or directs a comment toward you, respond! It will show there are people behind your brand, and that you are part of a responsive, responsible company.

Google+: With its latest timeline redesign and improvements in ease-of-use, Google + is quickly gaining users. But the power of Google + is not in the number of daily users; rather, it is a direct path to the Google search engine. Posting unique, optimized content on Google + will increase your organic search engine rankings, which means more potential home buyers will find you on the Internet.  Google is also a big fan of photos, and it’s algorithms will throw more weight to relevant posts that include pictures.

It would take three separate white papers to discuss how to effectively leverage each of these social media channels, but hopefully this article gives you a broad overview of the differences between them and why they’re important to use daily.

Stay tuned for our next article on social media. We’ll discuss Linked In, Pinterest and YouTube. If there are other social networks you have questions about, please comment below!

How to Judge a Successful Mass Email

Email marketing diagram

You’ve spent hours crafting a beautiful email to your database. You’ve tested it, got the right balances of text and images, it’s been designed for mobile, and you’ve even created a couple of different versions for your segmented lists. You hit ‘send’ and sit back, proudly crossing your arms over your chest. Now what? Was that email actually successful?

When asked what constitutes a successful mass email, many people would automatically say a high open rate. And it’s true, the higher the open rate, the more people have read your email. But the true test of a successful email is the rate of engagement. After all, the point of most emails is to take some form of action, right? How many people clicked on your Calls to Action (CTAs)? How many people forwarded your email? Did you have a lot of unsubscribes or opt-outs? These are all elements that help determine whether or not your email did its job.

To start, let’s look at open rate. The real estate industry standard is about 20 percent. If your open rates are less than that, research may be in order to figure out why. Spend some quality time with your database to weed out older, inactive, or invalid leads, and adjust their preferences or send them an email asking if they’re still interested. (Lasso CRM offers Self-Serve Registrant Updates, which allow registrants to update mass mail preferences themselves.)

Did those who opened your email click on your CTAs? If so, which ones?  Armed with this information, you are able to constantly refine the content of your emails, making them more targeted and appealing to your audience. As a general benchmark, the industry click-through-rate is about 2.90 percent.

Did the email drive any additional traffic to your website? Are they returning visitors and if so, what information are they looking at? A robust website analytics platform will allow you to see when traffic spiked, where those visitors came from, how long they spent on the site, and the exact pages they were looking at.  Again, this is powerful information that will help you fine-tune your strategies and connect with hot prospects on an individual level.

Did walk-in traffic increase following your email? Be sure your sales teams are gathering traffic sources from each and every prospect, so that you can continue improving your marketing campaigns.

Permission-based email continues to be at the forefront of consumer marketing programs due to its low cost and high ROI. Just be sure your emails are not only beautiful to look at, but that they are effective, lead-generating tools.

To find out more about successful email marketing, download Lasso’s latest white paper, subscribe to our blog, or contact a Lasso team member at sales@lassocrm.com.

Managing Condo Inventory with CRM

Mosaic on Hermann Park Condomimium

Mosaic on Hermann Park, Houston, TX (Photo source: mosaichouston.com)

Selling a condominium community can be lots of fun. Often, condo buildings are located in bustling urban centers and present opportunities for creative sales and marketing techniques.  Selling condos also presents a unique set of challenges, particularly when it comes to managing inventory.

Given the physical structure of a condo building (and often the sheer number of homes), tracking inventory on Excel-based spreadsheets can be overwhelming and frustrating. It’s difficult to see sales patterns based on stacks, which often determines how the building is priced. For example, sales of the downtown-facing ‘A’ stack may be outpacing those of the parking lot-facing ‘B’ stack, and it’s helpful to see those patterns to determine pricing and release strategy.  Using a spreadsheet to manually manage price adjustments, upgrade packages, availability and deal status can easily lead to costly errors.

With a home builder CRM solution with built-in inventory functions, it’s easy to manage one condo tower, or a hundred. With Lasso CRM, inventory is uploaded only once and a graphical stacking plan with real-time pricing and availability is immediately generated. Inventory is color-coded by status for easy reading, and it can be exported as a list or Excel file if necessary. Availability boards can be printed directly from the CRM system, or sent in an automatic email that is distributed to the sales team a certain time each day. Here are some additional inventory features:

  • Price Revisions
  • Mass Updates
  • Inventory Search
  • Commission Calculation
  • Document Storage
  • Storage and Parking Space Assignments
  • Sales Projections
  • Advanced Reporting

Let us help you better manage your condo or multi-family inventory with a CRM solution. Contact Lasso to learn more.

Getting the Most from Your CRM System

Originally posted on the Lasso CRM Blog.

Goals bulls eye with dartDuring the recent Lasso webinar with online marketing expert Mike Lyon, Mike said something that really stuck with me. He was discussing how to create and implement a successful online lead follow-up process when he said, “CRM is the process.” In other words, using your CRM system effectively is the best way to follow up with leads and prospects, and ultimately close deals.

So how do you use your CRM effectively? It’s not enough to know it’s there in case you need it – it has to be used properly, on a daily basis, in order to help you reach your goals.  Mike hit the nail on the head when he said, “Your system is only as powerful as the information you put in, and the people who use it.” So let’s look at some ways to get the most out of your CRM system.

Implementation: The system has to work for the way your organization works. That could mean changing terminology, adding custom fields, adjusting the dates sales reports are generated, or making sure existing contacts are uploaded and grouped correctly. It’s best to discuss these items with your CRM client representative at the time of set-up to make sure your system is user-friendly and intuitive.

Do the work on the front end; Save time on the back end: We know sales people are extremely busy, but it only benefits them (and the company) when detailed information on prospects is promptly recorded and tracked. This not only allows sales and marketing reports to be generated on-demand, but more importantly, it will help sales agents remember details of their prospects and implement the appropriate follow-up process. If you’re not doing it, your competitor surely is.

Use an Administrator: It’s always best when at least one person in your organization (ideally the one who oversaw implementation) is the CRM administrator. This person will know the intricacies of your database, how to search for specific information, and can be a resource for sales agents and marketing teams.

Using CRM is not an option: Going back to Mike’s statement, it only works if it’s being actively used. Granted, every sales person is not a “database person.” But that doesn’t matter if they understand its importance to the company or community’s sales goals. Make CRM use mandatory. Provide ongoing training and support. Explain how having automated email campaignsonline lead capture, detailed prospect information, and reporting all in one place can help agents with individual success.

The benefits of using a home builder CRM system are numerous, but only when the system is implemented correctly, updated frequently, and used daily. You’ll see the difference in prospect engagement and appointment conversions, which are the pathways to sales.

Why You Should Manage Duplicate Registrants

Paper dollsAs a sales professional who uses a home builder CRM system, you’ve undoubtedly heard the request time and time again to clean up your duplicate registrants. It sounds like a lot of work, but done routinely, managing duplicate files can become part of your everyday CRM use. So, aside from having a clean database, have you ever pondered the specific reasons why this task is so important? Well, today you get answers!

Keep notes, history and activities all in one place: If your colleague happens to assist your prospect on your day off, it’s important that there is one file where he or she can enter notes and next steps. Also, as prospects may register on your website multiple times, it’s important to consistently check for duplicates so that multiple agents are not following up with the same lead and assigning repetitive sales activities or automated emails.

Reduce mass mail inefficiencies: Lasso CRM software is smart. It will search for duplicates for you and send a mass mail to only one of the addresses. (Otherwise, if a sender tries sending two emails to one address simultaneously, if could negatively influence your sender rating with email providers.) However, sending email to duplicate addresses will impact your Mass Mail reports by marking the duplicates as ‘Not Sent.’ This skews your reporting and makes it impossible to know your true email marketing success or how to plan your next campaign. Also, merging duplicates beforehand will save you the time of going through your ‘Not Sent’ emails, only to discover they are dupes!

Send emails faster: As mentioned above, the Lasso system will automatically search for duplicate emails prior to sending a mass mail. The software also searches your database for registrants who have opted-out, emails that have hard bounced, and records with no email address. This takes time and as a result, your email takes longer to be sent compared to a clean email list. This is especially important if you send multiple mass emails in a day to a segmented list.

Lasso makes duplicate management easy by searching and finding all duplicate registrants within a community, or merging duplicates across multiple projects. If you would like more information on managing duplicates within Lasso, please contact your client representative or email support@mylasso.com.

Using Auto Responders Wisely

As discussed in the recently published Lasso CRM white paper, The 2012 Online Lead Follow-Up Survey, sales professionals who send personal communication to an online registrant within one hour experience higher conversion rates to appointments.  In fact, a Harvard Business Review study found that “…potential customers within an hour of receiving queries are nearly 7 times as likely to have meaningful conversations…” Customers who are browsing online have a short attention span (and are likely looking at two or three of your competitors), so the goal is to reach them quickly with relevant or interesting information.

But we are, after all, only human, and if we don’t have the resources of an Online Sales Counselor, it can be difficult to reply to every online lead personally within 60 minutes.  We may be on a sales presentation, writing a contract, or (shhh) grabbing lunch. This is where the auto responder comes into play, and can be a tremendous benefit when used correctly.

Oftentimes, we implement an auto responder just so some message reaches our leads immediately. But how much thought are we giving to what this simple email can achieve? Every email communication, personal or not, should have a goal (or several) behind it. Here are some suggestions for the auto responder:

  • Reinforce Your Brand – While it doesn’t need to look like a marketing email, the auto responder should be neat, well organized, and contain relevant information. You want every piece of communication you send to be a positive reflection of your brand.
  • Establish a RelationshipPersonalize your auto responder with the lead’s first name and other information he or she filled out on the web inquiry form.
  • Opt-In – Although the lead has opted to receive email communication from you by filling out the web inquiry form, set expectations for the type and frequency of communication they will receive and present the option to opt-in again.  Leads who do so will be an engaged audience.
  • Link to More Content – Invite leads to continue to explore your community by providing links to all your social media sites.  This is also the perfect opportunity to guide the lead deeper into your website by providing links to the Blog, News or Press sections.
  • Let Them Know You’ll Be In Touch – Most importantly, let the lead know that you, a real person, will be in touch with them just as soon as possible to answer any questions about the community.

Here’s an example of an auto responder:

Example of Lasso Auto Responder

Even with your auto responder looking and performing its best, it’s important to remember that it’s still no substitute for a personal response. It merely helps you to continue the conversation the online lead started when he or she registered, until you can respond personally via phone or email.

For more information on how you can implement auto responders using a home builder CRM system, email sales@lassocrm.com.

The Benefits of Integrating Website Analytics with Your CRM

Website analytics is a powerful tool to help your marketing team understand web traffic patterns and the types of online activity Website analytics is a tool to understand prospect behaviorthat spark the most engagement. When integrated with your CRM system, website analytics goes a step further by allowing your sales teams to monitor the website activity of existing registrants in your database. This is called website activity tracking, and when used effectively, empowers your teams with detailed, specific knowledge that can help convert prospects to buyers.

With integrated website analytics, a good CRM system will be able to generate reports that display the following information in an easy-to-read format, including:

  • Page Views – Displays the Page URLs and Page Titles that were clicked on along with the number of times that each page was viewed
  • Traffic  - Shows the visit dates as well as the number of New Visitors, Return Visitors, Total Page Views, Average Page Views, and Registrations
  • Referrers – Shows the sites that visitors have come from, including Referrer Name, Referrer Type, and number of Visitors and Registrations along with their Conversion Rate (Learn about analyzing referral traffic here.)
  • Keywords – Displays the words that were typed in the Search field and the number of times each was entered

In addition, with a CRM’s website activity tracking tool, each time a registrant is on your website, the appropriate sales agent would receive a notification and be able to see what pages the prospect is viewing.  For example, on the registrant’s profile in Lasso, the sales agent can view the following:

  • Most recent website visit
  • Number of visits since the initial visit
  • Average number of page views per visit
  • Total page views
  • Unique page views
  • How the Registrant found the project website

With such detailed information at their fingertips, sales professionals must be careful with how they use it. Customers don’t want to feel as though they are being watched. Rather, if they begin to receive information that is in line with their interests, customers are more inclined to pay attention and ultimately, engage. Here are a few ways sales team could use website tracking to their benefit:

  • Emails – If a prospect has returned to the website to view two-bedroom floor plans, send a marketing email containing specific two-bedroom information.
  • Phone Calls – The next time your agent speaks to the prospect, they should mention any special pricing or incentives on the two-bedrooms.
  • Follow-Up – If a prospect has been on your site every day for the last week, it’s probably time for a follow-up phone call. Catch them while they’re interested.
  • Marketing – If more people are looking at two-bedrooms than one-bedrooms, consider your general marketing strategy or incentivizing the one-bedrooms.

This may sound like a lot of information to process and keep track of, but with a CRM system that offers web analytics and tracking, it’s easy. Call or email us today at sales@lassocrm.com to learn how.

CRM Software Cornerstone 4: Tracking and Reporting With Project Marketing Tools

Here we are in the home stretch. We’ve been talking with you about the importance of CRM software for home builders and developers in our 4 recent posts:

These powerful project marketing tools can help utilize the 4 cornerstones for a successful new home sales strategy and eliminates the messy inaccurate manual tracking that many of your competitors currently use.

It doesn’t matter how detailed the spread sheet, if it’s a manual system, it will not hold up to the test of time that a full bodied CRM can create for a home builder or developer.  In a new home sales market where every sale counts and competition is stiff, it’s so important to do everything in your power to  increase your share of sales.  CRM should be a tool at the top of your lists of must haves. Not only can you create ratings systems to account for the individual prospect types you’ve identified, but you can also use it as an effective communication tool to build trust and ultimately build sales.  But the best part is, it’s instantaneous, you can track and quantify and you can see results both from the stand point of marketing and that of sales.

A CRM like Lasso allows you to:

You can track where your leads are coming from based on the information forms used on your website to capture leads(This helps your marketing department better target the use of marketing dollars to its most effective means).

Tasks on to do lists can be accurately tracked and completed for successful on going follow up.

See open rates on mass mail, it allows you to analyze the success of your individual and mass mail campaigns.

You can share information between the management team, marketing and sales.

You can find all this in one place and run a variety of reports that do not require the maintenance of clunky spreadsheets and hours of data analysis. Let the CRM program do the number crunching for you.

If you’d like more information on how Lasso can help you implement a CRM system and create the positive change you’ve been looking for to aid in your new home sales success we’ll be glad to schedule a time to chat. The positive effects of a CRM and the ease of implementation make it a must have tool for any serious home builder or developer in the current real estate market.