Mastering Multifamily Lead Management
Everything you need to know for more efficient multifamily lead management.
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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:
- Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)
- 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.
Helping Onsite Teams Succeed
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.
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.
Strengthen Your Strategy with Lead Generation Tools
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.
Personalized Automated Lead Nurture
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.
Doubling Down on Apartment Rental Leads
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 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.