Mastering Multifamily Lead Management
When it comes to mastering multifamily lead management, innovative technology can make the process smoother. There are two important pieces of lead management — lead generation that comes from your marketing efforts and lead nurture to keep the lead engaged and your property top of mind.
To master multifamily lead management, you need to start with your lead generation strategy.
Managing multifamily leads is a changing science. While website traffic has been on the rise for a long time, multifamily property websites have seen an explosion in their own online traffic since the pandemic. Study after study indicates that there are more renters in the market now and leasing activity is at an all-time high. But these renters aren’t the same renters from years ago, their shopping behavior has evolved, and so should the technology that is being used to engage them.
The pressure to change how PMCs manage their leads is growing. The tools that were put in place to help manage multifamily leads are straining under the weight of increased website traffic, the change in shopping behavior and rental activity, resulting in quality leads falling through the cracks and a poor experience for prospective renters. There are a variety of tools that are in use by property management companies, such as:
- AI Leasing Assistants
- Property Management Software (PMS)
- Lead Generation
- Automated Lead Nurture
Multifamily teams jumped on the bandwagon when customer relationship management, or CRM, software became available for housing rental leads. It helped move the onsite team from managing renter cards on paper to managing them digitally, a big step forward. Today, with the increases discussed above, the CRM — designed to be a database that holds digital renter cards—is getting cluttered and overwhelming onsite teams.
Part of the job for a leasing specialist is being a salesperson. While there is clearly a level of personal skill that goes into being a successful salesperson, there is evidence that suggests that the most successful salespeople master sales because they are being handed good, quality leads from their CRMs and marketing teams. A CRM keeps all leads, purging dead ones periodically. When your CRM is taking in every single online visitor as a lead, it can quickly become difficult to maneuver.
Research published in the Harvard Business Review by analytics company VoloMetrix, found that top performers spent 18% more time with customers per week but interacted with 40% fewer customers per quarter. By spending more time with the leads that matter and less time with looky-lous, salespeople can close more deals. With shoppers that prefer to shop for new apartments at their own pace and speak to salespeople when they are ready, multifamily teams need new tools.
CRM isn’t the answer for this new buying behavior and it wasn’t designed to be either. What you need is the ability to engage rental shoppers while they shop, supporting this influx of website interactions while capturing prospect data, engaging consumers with the experiences they’re looking for, and using captured data to automate lead nurturing that moves rental prospects through their renters’ journey. Better data and tools that can tell when a lead is ready to speak with a member of your onsite team will clean up your CRM, improve the efficiency of your leasing team, and increase your lead to lease conversion.
It’s difficult to talk about lead generation without touching on inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is the method that has created the foundation for lead generation. Instead of capturing prospects’ attention through paid digital ads, inbound refers to capturing the interest of prospects who have arrived at your website. We have a number of blogs that go into detail on how to set up your website to attract prospects and keep them on there for longer.
Once they are on your site and interacting, a good website will help a casual online visitor be captured as a lead. Data such as how to contact them and what it is they are looking for helps you connect with prospects and engage them according to their preferences. In order to get this valuable data, you need the right lead management tools. Platforms like PERQ offer a complete solution that engages website visitors, answers questions 24/7/365, captures more leads from your website, and nurtures those leads with email and SMS automatically, until they are ready to speak to a member of your team. Ultimately, PERQ generates the high-intent leads your team needs. How?
For example, with PERQ, the rental prospects’ experience with your property is changed for the better because of the interactive and informative tools and forms that come with the solution. A natural language chatbot welcomes them to the site and is there 24/7 to answer all of the prospect’s questions and guide them through using the experiences. There are other interactive tools like a budget calculator and the ability to schedule a tour. It’s these engaging elements that help to capture basic info like contact preferences, budget, do they have a pet, what floor plans they are looking at, etc.
But the work doesn’t stop there, once your website is set up to generate leads, those leads need to be nurtured in order to keep your property top of mind.
Today’s consumer is savvy. Their experiences buying online and engaging with many digital brands means they have come to expect and truly appreciate automation and engaging with robots before speaking to a human. Renters know that the emails or texts they receive after engaging with the website are automated, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be personalized. When a property has a lead generation tool that gathers detailed and insightful data on a lead, that data should be used to personalize your lead nurture messaging. The prospect has at this point already given information on how and when they prefer to be contacted. Offering both text and email nurture options gives an added level of personalized communication between the property and the prospect, especially if your system knows how to leverage the preferred method.
The actual content of multifamily lead nurture messages you send should include way more than just the standard follow-up template of “floor plan, move-in date, price”. Including a pre-recorded video of the specific floor plan or if you have a blog (which if you don’t, you need to start!!!!) including links to blog posts about the area. If the property has a partnership with a local business where residents get a discount, this can be mentioned in the nurture messaging as well.
Nurturing a lead is important to get each lead to convert to a lease. Automating the process helps the leasing team’s workload as today’s rental prospects are looking several months in advance and want to be engaged over that time. According to data collected by PERQ’s solutions on property websites all over the US, nearly 40% of prospects are looking 3+ months out, half of those are looking 6 months out. Daniel Paulino, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Bozzuto talks more about this specific pain point below:
PERQ’s platform nurtures leads so that when they are finally ready to move, they already know which properties they want to go in and tour. PERQ allows you to customize your nurturing approach to be in brand colors and the tone of the messaging to follow the property’s brand voice. Consumers expect automation, but this customization on top of using data to personalize the message creates on-brand communications that look professional and put together.
We rely on technology to make our days easier and more efficient. We have smart devices like Alexa and Google Home to automatically turn on and off your lights or to start the coffee pot in the morning. We have keys that remotely start cars, so they warm up before you get in — a great feature for those of us that live in colder climates. We even have algorithms that place targeted ads in front of us and provide personalized scrolling on social media.
Why not use this same kind of technology to make it easier for multifamily teams to manage their leads?
You can! Today’s modern AI technology automates many parts of the leasing journey for a prospect so that leasing teams can focus only on building relationships with quality leads that are ready to talk, tour, and lease. But use of automation doesn’t mean that a property’s communication with prospects loses that “human touch”. It simply means that property management companies can streamline their operations and many of the repetitive tasks, like answering common questions or sending out nurture messages, can be taken off the leasing team’s plate. In fact, today’s shoppers are ok with these kinds of automation because they get what they need.
Having a lot of visitors come through from your website is great, but even if they fill out a form, they aren’t all worth the leasing teams’ time. Teams that treat every filled form like they’re an impending application quickly find themselves overwhelmed with too much to do. Without a solid multifamily lead management strategy, all of these “leads” are given equal attention, creating large backlogs of work for onsite teams and a lackluster experience for prospective renters.
For many multifamily properties, maximizing lead generation from the website makes a lot of sense. After all, converting leads from your website is usually lower cost per lead than leads from advertising sources. Setting up your property website to be engaging and interactive with tools that are powered with AI helps automate some of the processes mentioned earlier as well as:
- Natural language, cross-channel chatbot that can answer prospect questions 24/7/365
- Improve the data that is put in the CRM by making it cleaner and more complete
- Automate lead nurture with preferred communication, either text or email.
- Personalize nurture messaging with brand voice and colors
Platforms like PERQ offer all of the above as well as interactive website experiences, tour scheduling, all powered through an AI decision engine that has learned which leads are high-intent and which ones are looky-loos casually browsing the property website with no serious intent to lease.
Leasing teams are able to give high intent leads the attention they should be getting and know that PERQ’s AI software is working around the clock to nurture leads that are at different phases of the leasing journey and whose timelines are further down the pipeline.
From finally being able to digitize the leasing process to offering multiple options for touring and AI-powered technology operating on property websites, multifamily software for lead management has evolved a lot. This evolution mimics the evolution of automation in digital marketing that occurred from the 90’s when a startup named Eloqua was born.
Investment banker Mark Organ conducted research which found that salespeople succeed when they are given high-intent quality leads. Eloqua originally started as a way for sellers to chat with prospects through technology that lived on the company website. They would then send marketing emails with the given information. What they soon saw was that salespeople were cherry picking leads, picking out the ones that opened and clicked through the marketing emails.
Sounds familiar, right?
This scenario may have happened in the 90’s, but it is exactly what many leasing teams are doing today with apartment rental leads. As mentioned earlier, with more leads coming in from multifamily websites, CRMs become cluttered with looky-lous that aren’t ready to talk with the team about leasing. PERQ’s multifamily lead management platform captures leads at the top of the funnel, automates the handling of those leads through their leasing journey, and sends high-intent, quality leads to the CRM. As he said in the video above, Daniel Paulino saw within his own PMC’s portfolio how leasing teams need lead management and nurture tools in order to work more efficiently.
As businesses and markets evolve and mature, often practices previously put in place begin to show inefficiencies. Multifamily property management companies are no stranger to this. Keeping up with today’s volume of leasing activity that properties are seeing is often more than onsite teams can handle. With tech like PERQ, leasing teams can be more confident about the AI leads they are putting their time and effort into because they know that the AI engine has determined the lead is ready to talk to them. And they’ve been given all of the insightful data on the prospect and can see all of the messages between the prospect and the AI.
PERQ makes sure you make the most of every lead by extending your team’s reach using the latest in AI technology. By blending tech and human engagement, PERQ’s lead generation and automation platform enables multifamily properties to be set up for better leasing outcomes.
Unified Residential is one of many properties that have hired on PERQ, and the results speak for themselves. Keeping online rental shoppers engaged and nurturing casual website visitors over text message and email, Unified is seeing more qualified leads and tours, with less distractions. “It takes a lot of time for your leasing team to sift through what we call ‘looky-loos,’ when they could be working on more serious leads,” says Dalia Kalgreen, Director of Marketing for Unified. Across Unified’s portfolio, PERQ sends an average of 325 leads per month to Unified properties; of that, 83.84% had already scheduled a tour.