Why CRM isn’t Always the Answer

Why CRM isn’t Always the Answer

You will find dozens of articles and blogs about how amazing CRM, or customer relationship management, software is for any business. These articles aren’t wrong, a CRM can do wonders for any business when it comes to centralizing their leads and sales activity. The multifamily world is fairly new to adopting this kind of tech, and while it has helped the leasing funnel modernize from using paper contact cards, it doesn’t offer a complete solution to managing multifamily leads.

 

 

THE TECH GAP

So where is the disconnect? CRM is a database of all the data collected on every lead. As they get worked by the onsite leasing teams, the lead’s contact record is updated by your team with activity. Most people will tell you their CRM is full of dirty data and needs to be cleaned up. As a database, it will keep everything that comes in. The net result of a dirty CRM is weakened operational efficiency and difficulty with reporting. Leasing teams must sift through all of the junk to find their work and data.

 

While CRMs typically purge leads that are marked dead after a short period, CRMs are still challenging to keep organized. When you plug multiple data sources into your CRM, you are at risk of making the problem even worse.

 

 

MAKING CRM WORK BETTER

As a database, CRM does what it should. A challenge is that CRM is being used as a marketing reporting source, which is not its original intent. Further, in multifamily, where roughly 20% of apartment rental leads go unfollowed, and the cost of a lead is on average $17 to $24, CRM is clearly not helping the team manage all the leads in their funnel. So what’s the solution?

 

The answer lies in B2B marketing history. In the late 1990s, a marketing automation revolution began in B2B.

 

An investment banking researcher at Bain Capital named Mark Organ conducted research that showed that the most successful salespeople were in companies that figured out how to give the team really good leads. This gave birth to a startup called Eloqua.

 

Originally envisioned as a technology for sellers to chat with prospects on the company’s website and an engine for marketers to send bulk email, Eloqua carried some big hype. But their team learned quickly that the chat product wasn’t being used by the salespeople. Instead, the sellers would cherry pick out the leads that had clicked through to the website from marketing emails that had been sent by the marketing team through Eloqua.

 

The “cherry picking” scenario is pretty similar to the challenges that multifamily is seeing today; leads don’t get followed up on, onsite teams don’t have time to chat with tire kickers, and marketing dollars get wasted. Maybe multifamily doesn’t need more leads, but rather better leads for the onsite team?

 

So going back to our multifamily CRM, the problem isn’t necessarily the CRM technology. It’s the way this technology is being used. Let me explain.

 

Today, CRM treats every lead like it’s equal. Whether it is someone very early in their leasing process, a person PERQ calls “low intent”, or someone who is more ready to sign a lease, aka “high intent,” records are added to CRM as a “lead”. At PERQ, we believe this concept is largely flawed. Leasing CRM should be reserved for REAL leads, people who are ready to talk to someone on the onsite team. PERQ believes people who are low intent aren’t yet a “lead,” even though they are valuable records that deserve attention.

 

Returning to our Eloqua story, the smart people at Eloqua realized they were onto something with the leads being cherry picked out by the salespeople, and they made a change. They stopped using CRM as a catchall and began getting more sophisticated around lead strategy for the valuable contacts that were not quite ready to speak to a salesperson:

 

  • Leads were only put into the hands of salespeople when they were ready to talk to salespeople
  • Lead records only entered the CRM when they were ready for sales activity (otherwise they stayed in Eloqua), and
  • Marketing took on the early engagement with the customer to get them ready for sales and it was all tracked in the lead nurturing automation system to be passed into the CRM when the person was ready to speak with a salesperson.

 

What this new strategy did was free up salespeople from having to treat every lead like it needed equal attention to focusing on only the leads that were really ready to engage in a sales conversation, or “high intent.”  The people that had not demonstrated high intent remained as marketing contacts in the Eloqua system for marketing to “nurture”.

 

A lot of good things came from this “nurture” approach and it ushered in a new era of marketing sophistication that was desperately needed to ensure that the customer experience and the buyers’ journey was providing prospects the engagement then needed before they were ready for a conversation.

 

As a result of this approach, the consumer experience was consistent and always to brand standards from first touch to signed agreement. Conversions at every stage of the funnel improved. Salespeople got better at closing deals due to their increased focus. Marketing became experts in why people buy and tuned their marketing messages and marketing spend so that it was exactly what was needed to get results.

 

I’m sure you’re saying to yourself “this all sounds good, but I don’t have a multifamily technology whose purpose is built to address this.”  And, chances are, you don’t have people on your team that can write and send this kind of volume of nurturing communication messages to your low intent marketing contacts.

 

Both true, and both changeable.

 

 

POWERING A MULTIFAMILY MARKETING REVOLUTION

PERQ was developed to address this specific problem.  We have the benefit of being able to look back at the history of marketing technologies like Eloqua and their competitors through today’s more sophisticated technology lens.

 

PERQ has cracked the code on the consumer experience for leasing, automating your engagement with consumers on your website, SMS and email. PERQ complements your CRM and, reduces the CRM mess by engaging and nurturing low intent contacts until they are ready to speak to a person, but we do it better than it was done in the 1990s. We leverage today’s technology to improve the consumer experience using built-in nurture science and AI. With this technology, low intent contacts receive cross-channel engagement that is personalized to them. Once they’re ready to speak to someone live, the lead is passed to CRM and the leasing team. And, PERQ is always on the lookout for capturing more contacts to nurture, offering communications and experiences across channels to convert unknown visitors to known.

 

IN SUMMARY

CRM is not your funnel’s savior and it was never meant to be. If you are frustrated by your current marketing approach or want to see first hand how PERQ’s platform is revolutionizing lead capture and automation, schedule a demo.

Tackling Property Management Leads

Tackling Property Management Leads

After March 2020, many multifamily companies saw a dramatic increase in the number of property management leads coming from their website. That sounds amazing, a huge number of leads to pick perfect tenants from. The reality is these aren’t all real leads. Some of these are just casual online shoppers or trash leads that go nowhere. The increase in leads comes from a lot of factors, one being that lifestyles have become more remote. With more people at home, they have more time to look up property websites and think about moving from their spaces more often to feel less cramped.

 

Let’s dive into some tips on how to improve property management business when it comes to lead capture, nurture, and automation.

 

 

POWERED BY AI

One of the biggest developments in multifamily tech recently has been the integration of artificial intelligence. AI in leasing has proven to fill a lot of the gaps in property management marketing. For starters, the insightful data that AI can give can improve your follow-up and first initial conversations. Leasing teams are more empowered as they have more information on what the prospect wants, needs, and what their budget is. Not to mention they save hours of time each week not having to sift through a crowded CRM. They know that every lead follow-up is one that is high intent and qualified.

 

You might be thinking, shouldn’t a CRM be enough? A CRM is just a database. It doesn’t do lead capture, nurture, or automate anything. Without an AI platform, like PERQ’s, every lead from the top of the funnel gets put in your CRM and makes it harder for the leasing team to find what they are looking for and, in some cases, make them follow trash leads.

 

AI platforms include an AI Leasing Assistant that can engage with prospects on your website through chatbots and interactive experiences. Through this, it can collect insightful data on what the prospect wants and needs, their timeline and budget and more. AI is smart enough to hold off on sending those leads to the CRM until they have reached the bottom tiers of the funnel and are ready for a human to lead them through the leasing process.

 

Leasing AI also keeps those leads nurtured through automation using the data it has on the lead. It’ll keep your property top of mind until the Assistant knows it’s time to send the lead to your leasing team.

 

 

NEEDED INNOVATION

Adding AI to your property management marketing materials is part of the evolution of digital marketing and sales. In the late 90’s, Mark Organ, an investment banking researcher at Bain Capital found that the most successful salespeople were the ones that were a part of teams that were able to hand them only good leads. This led to the creation of Eloqua, a startup that would engage with prospects through chatting on the website and help marketers send bulk email. What they found was that the salespeople weren’t looking for leads that had chatted with the chat product, but were cherry picking leads they saw come from the marketing emails.

 

This is a mirror of what is going on in multifamily today. Leads don’t get followed up on and leasing teams waste time trying to chat to looky lous and other unserious leads. With Eloqua, they began to realize they were onto something with the leads being cherry picked out by the salespeople, and they made a change.  They stopped using CRM as a catchall and began getting more sophisticated around lead strategy for the valuable contacts that were not quite ready to speak to a salesperson:

 

  • Leads were only put into the hands of salespeople when they were ready to talk
  • Lead records only entered the CRM when they were ready for sales activity, and
  • Marketing took on the early engagement with the customer to get them ready for sales and it was all tracked in the lead nurturing automation system

 

What this new strategy did was free up salespeople from having to treat every lead like it needed equal attention to focusing on only the leads that were really ready to begin going through the sales process with a human. The people that had not demonstrated high intent remained as marketing contacts in the Eloqua system for marketing to “nurture”. This innovation is what led to marketing automation and lead capture evolving and is what PERQ’s platform does specifically for the multifamily industry.

 

Are you ready to take the next step in property management lead capture and automation with PERQ? Schedule time to chat to one of our specialists or book a demo.

SuperHuman: How Leasing AI Supports Multifamily Teams

SuperHuman: How Leasing AI Supports Multifamily Teams

Picture a typical day in a typical leasing office: You have your typical leasing agent daily checklist — leads to look through in a crowded CRM, tours to give, residents who need support, and a steady flow of routine inquiries — some from promising prospects, others from people kicking the tires who’ll never engage with you again. By the time you climb your way out of the daily minutiae, it’s closing time and you’ve barely squeezed in high-impact activities like developing a new marketing campaign, meeting with high-potential leads and getting signatures on rental agreements.

 

If only you could clone yourself or add more hours to your day, right? It turns out you can.

 

What would be possible if you found a way to automate low-impact, time-sucking tasks without sacrificing customer care so you can do what you most enjoy and are best at? That’s what AI leasing assistants can do for your team.

 

Making brands more human, and humans more efficient

As ironic as it sounds, natural language AI leasing assistants actually make brands feel more human. That’s because they enable brands to engage consumers on a more personal level at scale, writes Mike Kaput, a senior PR consultant and Chief Content Officer at the Marketing AI Institute.

 

As humans, there’s a limit to the number of one-on-one conversations, relationships and tasks we can manage, let alone manage well. It’s no wonder workers get burned out and customers feel frustrated by delays, miscommunication and hit-and-miss exchanges. AI plugs that gap.

PERQ bot icon | AI Leasing Assistant

“With chatbots and other forms of conversational AI, marketers can participate in one-to-one conversations at scale, 24/7/365. And consumers, 90% of whom want to communicate with businesses through messaging, now have the means to connect with companies on their own terms, whenever they want,” says Kaput.

 

Kaput goes on to list specific things AI assistants can do to benefit workers and consumers. (We’ve added a few of our own to this AI Leasing Agent Resume.)

  • Provide instant answers in real time, ‘round the clock.
  • Eliminate or supplement lead generation forms.
  • Schedule property tours, calls or meetings — even while your leasing agents sleep, go out to lunch, or serve other customers.
  • Engage cold leads and warm them up for leasing agents.
  • Deliver support to less qualified or lower-priority leads so your team can focus on high-potential prospects.
  • Execute consistent follow-up and lead nurture.
  • Capture prospect preferences and behavior insights, learn from every interaction and adapt so messaging is increasingly relevant and personalized.
  • Make personalized recommendations.
  • Shorten the sales cycle and accelerate revenue growth.
  • Capture prospect data and instantly sync up with your CRM.
  • Facilitate decision-making, reveal blind spots and money-making opportunities with rich behavioral data.
  • Increase the value of connected technologies like your CRM and internet listings.

 

Multifamily property managers who’ve partnered with PERQ report they’ve been able to free up 10-12 hours of leasing specialists’ time per week as the AI leasing assistant tackles 70% of routine inquiries and captures 3-5X more prospect data points. As a result, they’ve experienced a 200-400% boost in leads, and up to 50% increase in tours and lead-to-tour conversions. The same is possible for your team!

 

Human + machine = more engaged employees

Shorter sales cycles, greater productivity and revenue are big benefits of AI leasing assistants, for sure. But for the humans on your team, it’s also a way to sharply reduce tasks that keep them from doing impactful work that requires human leasing agent skills.

 

“Organizations can use AI to automate mundane tasks, freeing up human workers to apply their uniquely human capabilities (such as interpretation, communication, judgement, and empathy) to less-routine tasks, as well as explore new problems and opportunities,” reports Deloitte researchers. “The focus is on augmenting people, not replacing them.”

 

Consequently, AI assistants help create an environment that’s more fulfilling for workers — a much-needed antidote to the wave of burnout and attrition growing across all industries.

 

From innovation to industry standard

Like the advent of cars, computers and smartphones, AI is just another revolution in a string of revolutions designed to enhance human experiences. And it’s quickly evolving from innovation to an industry standard, driven by consumer demand for instant gratification, deep personalization, and anytime/anywhere access.

 

“The landscape has changed,” reads the 2021 State of Marketing AI Report. “Leading marketers know that in order to deliver the personalization and experiences modern buyers expect, marketing must become smarter. It must be marketer + machine.”

 

There will always be jobs. Will AI change job functions? Sure. And that’s something to be excited about.

The Secret Behind the Best Multifamily Websites

The Secret Behind the Best Multifamily Websites

Your multifamily website is your biggest asset when it comes to prospecting and resident satisfaction. LocalIQ recently conducted a study of renters and found that 4 out of 5 renters will look at a few property websites before making a decision about coming in to see the property in person. With 80% of renters looking at multiple properties online, only the best multifamily websites will make the cut.

 

How can you transform your property websites so they stand out in a crowded search?

 

 

BRING PHOTOS TO LIFE

It’s safe to say that most multifamily websites look and feel the same. There’s gallery photos, a list of amenities, and ways to explore different floor plans. For some reason, many property websites have this cold, gray tone to them. Not all of them do, but there tends to not be any life in the color palette of these websites.

 

Multifamily properties don’t like the term “apartment complex”, they prefer the word community instead. The thing is, when your website is more generic and just photos of the property and staged units, it feels less like a community and more like…well a complex. Creating a community oriented website starts with the kinds of photos you have on there.

 

Yes, it’s important to have staged photos of units but that doesn’t mean it has to be super gray and boring. You can add pops of color to your staged photos with different kinds of rugs or throw pillows. It would even be interesting to have a person or a couple in some of the photos too. After all, it is going to be a place where people live. It can just be a person sitting on the couch and watching tv or working on a laptop.

 

In the same way that Jamin Harkness found his self-guided tours to be more successful after he stocked the fridge and pantry with drinks and snacks, having just a few of these photos with a person doing something normal, like cooking or watching tv, will help prospects visualize themselves in the space more.

 

You can even do short, stock-like videos, of someone cooking in one of the kitchens or making themselves a sandwich as part of your gallery that runs on the landing page. Adding some sort of life will go a long way in creating a lasting impression. You’ve got them on your website but you need them to stay long enough to capture insightful data and make more of an impact. This is where blogging comes in handy.

 

 

COMMUNITY BLOGS

Blogs are great for spicing up your website but also for helping your SEO strategy. Blogs give you more areas to include keywords on your website, making it easier for search engines to find your website and rank it higher organically. Blogs also help create a community oriented website vs that dreaded “apartment complex” look most multifamily websites have.

 

Apartment related content is huge on all social platforms, with billions of posts and views. It’s no surprise since a lot of Gen Z enjoy reality entertainment, from tv shows to influencers who vlog. Your blogs can also include YouTube or TikTok videos that relate to the topic as well. Some content ideas include:

  • Moving tips, specific to your property
  • Move-in Day vlog
  • Renter friendly decor ideas
  • Small space storage ideas
  • How to request maintenance
  • Reviews of local businesses
  • Recap of resident and local events

 

There are a ton of topics you can blog about. Prospects will get a more intimate glimpse of what life is like at your community compared to all of the other websites that are generic and typical. They can begin to picture what it would be like to move in and settle into one of your units and a general idea of what it would be like to live in that neighborhood. You can also ask residents if they’d like to write a guest blog on your website. If you’re a student housing community, this is a great opportunity for residents who are looking to expand their writing portfolio for internships and jobs post graduation.

 

If you run out of ideas, don’t worry, you can easily look up #apartment on TikTok or YouTube and there are billions of videos that you can gather inspiration from.

 

 

ENGAGING AND INTERACTIVE

The last way your multifamily website can stand out is by having an engaging and interactive website that is also capturing valuable prospect data. Investing in a 24/7 natural language chatbot that can provide support round the clock to prospects is a must have with this new generation of renters.

 

Gen Z’s consumer buying habits are centered around instant gratification and automation. They expect this kind of service even for big financial commitments like buying a car or renting an apartment. Leasing AI is one way to help meet these buying needs. PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant combines a 24/7 natural language chatbot, personalized lead nurture and follow-up, and keeps your website engaging and interactive for prospects while gathering data your onsite team will need to get that signature.

 

Halloween Themed Ideas for Apartment Communities

Halloween Themed Ideas for Apartment Communities

It’s officially spooky season! This is a great time for onsite teams to do some fun and festive events, contests, social content, and promos for local events. Depending on your location, this could be a time of year where there is a lull in leasing and you’re focusing more on resident satisfaction. Resident events, while for residents, can be used for your own marketing and SEO purposes as well. Taking photos and writing recap blog posts of these events can help boost your search rankings organically and give you more fun content to pull from when promoting posts on social media or running your ads later.

 

 

CONTESTS AND EVENTS

witch bot | PERQ AI Leasing AssistantHalloween is a great theme for events. Some themed activities you can do for your community include:

  • Door Decorating Contest
  • Costume Contest
  • Scary Movie Nights
  • Trick or Treat
  • Craft Night
  • Carving Jack O’Lanterns
  • Halloween Trivia/Bingo Night

 

It can be difficult to get resident participation, and this varies from community to community. Creating some incentives for winners and participation can boost your attendance numbers. For every post on social media, and for attending, you can give them a raffle ticket for either gift cards to local businesses or for online shopping. You could also do physical prizes like a new vacuum or pots and pans.

 

The best part about these kinds of events is that you can take photos and videos of them to use for content on your website, Instagram and TikTok. This will help break up the stock photo like posts of gallery photos and random community reminders. You can also write recap blogs about the events for your website. This can help boost your local SEO and give prospect’s a reason to stay on your site longer. People like to know about what life is like in different communities. That’s why reality tv and vlogging is a huge segment of entertainment.

 

If your community is all ages or has kids, hosting a trick or treat or a craft night for kids to help with door decorating will be a great win for prospects and residents with children. They want to live in communities that care about their children. Making it a fun place for kids to live will attract more families and encourage the ones that are there to renew. Not many communities tend to focus on the kids but if your property has a lot of families, you need to have some events and activities to cater to them as well.

 

These ideas can be done year after year. Tag us on Instagram or TikTok, @perqmarketing, if you end up doing any of these. Happy Halloween!

Creative Ideas to Boost Your Apartment Marketing

Creative Ideas to Boost Your Apartment Marketing

The last couple of years have been all about adapting, evolving, and finding new solutions when it comes to how we market apartment communities. While the world has gone digital for quite some time, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit for remote lifestyles to become more normalized. Today’s generation of renters are different from any generation of renters before them and we have access to insightful data on their buying habits and what they want from a rental unit. Let’s dive into ideas that will strengthen your apartment marketing efforts from SEO to creative social media content.

 

LOCAL SEO MATTERS

You need your apartment community to show up on the first page of Google. In order to do this, you need to lock down a local SEO strategy. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of finding what keywords and phrases your target audience is using when they search on Google or other search engines. Knowing these keywords allows you to add them to the copy on your multifamily property websites so your sites get ranked higher up on search results. We all know how important it is to be on the first page of results. These websites get more visibility and let’s be honest, how many times have you gone to the second or third page on Google?

 

LocalIQ conducted a study of renters and found that 93% of respondents used a search engine when looking for their next lease. 80% of respondents in the same study noted that they actually would visit three or more property websites before deciding which ones to visit in person. This shows that it’s important to be ranked higher up in searches when 4 out of 5 renters will look at multiple property websites. Local SEO needs to be prioritized in your marketing strategy. There are SEO strategy agencies that can help you or you could have someone dedicated to this by using SEO tools like Moz or SEMRush.

 

A WEBSITE TO REMEMBER

Once you’ve got your apartment SEO down, you need to have a property website that’s engaging and set up to collect insightful data on the prospect. There are a lot of fun marketing ideas for apartments that talk about social media, which is important and we will touch on, but another important and creative marketing idea is blogging.

Blog Assets | PERQ AI Leasing Assistant

Creating and maintaining a blog can be a lot of work but it’s worth it. Businesses with blogs have 55% more online visitors than those that don’t. Writing blogs will allow to have more places to add keywords onto the copy of your website page helping boost your search visibility. There are lots of things you can write about as a property to including:

  • A Move-in/Move-out Guide
  • Decorating tips for specific floor plans
  • How to put in maintenance requests and what to expect from them
  • Renter friendly storage ideas and DIYs
  • Recap of resident events
  • Local business reviews

 

There really is so much you can write about it. This is great not just for prospects but for residents as well. Creating a neighborhood/city guide will position your property website as the hub of information for what’s what in your local neighborhood. When renters sign a lease with your community, they are also committing to the neighborhood too. They want to know what life is like there and if it fits their needs — whether it’s vibrant nightlife or a quiet community, this impacts renters decisions too.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT

Apartment related content has over a billion views collectively on YouTube and TikTok. Getting your property in these tags will help you meet today’s renters where they are online. A lot of fun marketing ideas for apartments include Facebook contests, but let’s be honest, Gen Z don’t care for Facebook. A lot of them don’t even have an account.

 

While it’s important to keep a Facebook presence, your social media strategy needs to be focused on Instagram and TikTok. Luckily with Instagram you can easily share your posts on Facebook too so you don’t have to waste energy keeping your Facebook active.

Untitled design 21 | PERQ AI Leasing Assistant

When it comes to TikTok, a lot of the ideas of things you can blog about can easily be transformed into video content. Stay up to date on what the trending tags and sounds are as this is how you will be found.

 

Even if some of the trending hashtags don’t relate to what you are posting or relate to apartments in general, the way the TikTok algorithm works is based on adding those tags as well as #foryoupage and #fyp in order for your video to show up on renters’ feeds. Some ideas of posts, which can be done on both Instagram and TikTok include:

  • Pet of the month
  • Meet a member of the onsite team
  • Move-in/Move-out tips
  • Resident Event vlogs/recap posts
  • Local business review

 

Apartment marketing needs to be more creative in order to get the attention of Gen Z renters. They will look at your competitors before making a decision so you need to make sure you stand out and really show how your community can be their future home.