How bringing together sales and marketing technologies can create the ideal home buying experience.
Have you ever wondered what the home-buying process of the future will look like?
Imagine model interiors like the Star Trek holodeck, where you walk into an empty room, call up your favorite virtual floorplan, and the space instantly transforms into a fully decorated model - complete with your preferred options and finishes. While this type of gadgetry would certainly add excitement to the buying experience, there are many other (less "sexy") technological changes that can affect the home buying experience in a way that's just as dramatic.
To get a sense of priority, let's start with 6 things we know about the current home buying process:
- It's not buyer-centric
- Technology is under-utilized
- Sales and Marketing silos are unsustainable
- Lead-nurturing processes are outdated
- CRM and Marketing Automation are vital to the buying experience
- It will not work with the digital generation
Changes in each of these key areas can start to paint a picture of what the ideal home buying experience should be.
1. The current process isn't buyer-centric
If it were, the entire home buying process would be designed around what the customer's needs are. As a builder, when you start to analyze (and invest in) your home sales process through this lens, you'll start to see things completely differently.
2. Technology is under-utilized
Our clients are some of the top (privately held) home builders in the country. Yet none of them would say they fully leverage leading-edge technology in their sales and marketing processes. It's a big investment and carries with it a certain level of risk. But when it's done smartly with the buyer experience front and center - it carries huge rewards.
3. Sales and Marketing silos are unsustainable
This is a huge one. And has possibly the greatest effect on the buyer's experience. When a prospect is attracted through marketing and experiences any disconnect whatsoever with sales - the buyer's experience (as well as your brand image) is tarnished. And in today's competitive market this could mean you get cut from the short list. As the digital generation becomes more knowledgeable about their options they will demand a seamless experience. And your competition will give it to them if you don't.
4. Lead-nurturing processes are outdated
This one could also fall under number 3 (or 2...or 1) - but it deserves special attention because so many builders fall victim to it. And just because your sales team uses social media or text-messaging to communicate with leads doesn't mean they're doing it right. Today's buyers are being nurtured in ways they don't even realize - with campaigns that automatically monitor prospect activity and respond appropriately. A truly integrated campaign harnesses the powerful combination of human interaction and automation (e.g. by integrating email, follow-up phone calls or SMS, and reminders triggered in your CRM).
5. CRM and Marketing Automation are vital to the home buying experience
Most builders already know how important a CRM is to their sales team's efficiency. And as Marketing Automation (MA for short) becomes more prevalent, smart builders are realizing its value to the sales team as well, increasing sales interactions while decreasing staff resources. This is certainly valuable. But when you look at it through a buyer-centric lens these 2 technologies take on a new life. Their role in creating the ideal new home buying experience can't be overstated.
6. The current home buying process will not work with the digital generation
The digital generation is here. It's not a Gen-X or Gen-Y thing. It's people who know the power of the internet in making purchase decisions. They use it to learn everything they can about their prospective home builders in an effort to disqualify all of them but one. It's a buyer that demands a buying process which puts them in the driver's seat. By saying the current process will not work with them, it doesn't mean they won't buy homes. It simply means that they will be the ones that buck the old school process and do things their way. And in doing so, they will be the ones that shape the new home buying process of the future.
Where to start
So how do you as a builder begin to create the ideal home buying experience for your buyers? It starts by thoroughly evaluating your current sales and marketing processes to see how aligned they are with the customer experience. Your cross-channel marketing plan must be completely re-engineered, leveraging technology both internally and externally. Your Sales and Marketing teams should work as one, and more importantly, be accountable to one another.
The digital generation isn't satisfied with basic email campaigns and exhausted follow-up scripts. They require a well-oiled Sales and Marketing machine. And, they deserve one.
At the Bokka Group, we're passionate about perfecting the buying experience. Contact us to find out how we do this for top builders.