CDC_CRMP_HBAR_CRMinHomeBuildingCRMAdvocate_US by PivotalCRM

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									                                                                                                                A r t i c l e
CRM in Home Building: Building Good
Homes and Strong Relationships
By Steve Lewkowitz, Pivotal CRM Professional Services Director, Home Building and
Real Estate, CDC Software



Developing strong relationships and delivering superior customer experiences are important to
success in any industry. But in home building, where the products sold usually represent the
largest purchase their buyers will ever make, this is especially critical.

While the real estate market has been hot for several years, it has cooled over the last several
months as the market has corrected. This slowdown is forcing home builders to look for new
strategies and tools to address a more challenging market.

Traditionally slow to adopt new technologies, home builders are nonetheless warming to the idea
that technology can help them lower costs and refine processes. Many are turning to customer
relationship management software to help them reach more prospective home buyers, manage the
sales process more efficiently, and provide consistent customer service cost effectively. With fewer
homebuyers in the market for a new home, builders are recognizing they can’t leave these critical
processes to chance. But builders also recognize that they have needs that are unique to their
industry, and they don’t want to have to customize a system heavily to fit their processes. Many are
finding a good fit in “verticalized” CRM systems that come pre-tailored to home building.

With the majority of homebuyers researching their home purchases online, both through
builder websites and broader home-hunting portals, builders need to be able to capture and
manage online leads reliably. Therefore, builder-focused CRM systems need to have robust
online marketing and lead management features, with the ability to gather leads from own and
third-party websites. Just as important is ensuring leads don’t go cold waiting for a response,
since prospects are more likely to choose the company that contacts them first after they
request information. Automating the follow-up process ensures immediate contact and offers a
cost-effective way to send out marketing collateral such as brochures, while automatically and
immediately routing hot leads to the right salesperson for more in-depth follow-up.

Fostering relationships is especially important to home builders due to the lengthy sales cycle for
homes, which can last 9 to 12 months. Given the size of the purchase, homebuyers need to feel
comfortable not only with their sales representative, but also with their end-to-end experience with
the builder. Using CRM to implement methodical sales action plans ensures regular, consistent
contact with the homebuyer, building confidence and moving the relationship steadily toward
a purchase. For prospects who are many months or even years from a purchase, the same
automated marketing features used for initial responses can be used to inexpensively nurture
prospects with automated communications flows until they’re closer to a purchase, allowing
salespeople to focus on the buyers with more immediate sales potential.




This article was originally published by CRM Advocate.




                                                                                        Pivotal CRM | Article
                           Using a builder-focused CRM system allows builders to                     they need to cement a more personal and lasting
                           capture specific kinds of information about prospects,                    relationship. Maintaining the relationship post-sale
                           such as their hobbies, whether they have school-                          through ongoing communications ensures a more fluid
                           age children, who their realtor is, contact-method                        transition from prospect to customer, rather than an
                           preferences, desired communities and amenities,                           abrupt cessation when the sale closes, keeping the
                           preferred plans and lot configurations, and more,                         builder front of mind with the homebuyer long after
                           which can then be used to position available homes to                     the purchase.
                           them more effectively or to create more personalized
                           marketing materials and communications.                                   Providing good post-sale customer service (known in
                                                                                                     the industry as “customer care”) also goes a long way
                           Managing quotes and contracts is a complex process                        toward maintaining a reputation for excellence and a
                           for home builders because of all the available options                    lasting customer relationship. A builder-tailored CRM
                           and features. A CRM solution verticalized for home                        system makes detailed current and historical data
                           building takes into account all the information that                      about the customer and home easily accessible to the
                           needs to go into a contract, from basic information                       customer care team, equipping them to resolve any
                           like location and release, right down to specific details                 problems faster.
                           about light fixtures and windows, and stores all the
                                                                                                     Home builders may also be able to use industry-tailored
     A home builder has to think long term as well, nurturing                                        CRM software to track and manage service requests
                                                                                                     and work under warranty, assigning subcontractors and
     relationships that can yield additional business.                                               recovering warranty costs where appropriate. Keeping
                           data in one central location. The best systems provide                    comprehensive service records helps pinpoint potential
                           integration with user-friendly options-selection or                       construction issues, and some systems may even
                           “design-center” tools, allowing buyers to review all                      enable builders to perform root-cause analysis to get to
                           available options on their own time and create wish-lists,                the bottom of service issues.
                           accelerating their options-selection appointments with
                                                                                                     For home builders, building strong relationships can
                           the salesperson.
                                                                                                     be as important as building good homes, especially
                           A good vertical CRM solution will allow additional                        in a tougher market. An industry-tailored CRM solution
                           information specific to the home building industry to be                  can assist home builders in presenting a unified
                           entered as well, such as final home-inspection data,                      face and consistent experience throughout the entire
                           and may even be able to generate the initial home-                        customer lifecycle, helping them gain an edge in this
                           inspection template based on the contract. Having this                    competitive industry.
                           information readily accessible removes any confusion
                           as to the readiness of the home to be handed over
                           to the customer. Home builders can increase their                         Steve Lewkowitz is Professional Services Director,
                           customer satisfaction by delivering a home confirmed to                   Home Building and Real Estate, for CDC Software’s
                           meet every requirement specified by the buyer.                            Pivotal CRM, a leading line of customer relationship
                                                                                                     management solutions. E-mail him at
                           Beyond just the immediate home sale, a home builder
                                                                                                     slewkowitz@cdcsoftware.com or
                           has to think long term as well, nurturing a relationship
                                                                                                     visit www.pivotal.com/homebuilders.
                           that can yield additional business through referrals or
                           second-home purchases while recognizing that these
                           may be several years down the road. Using CRM
                           software to gather and store information centrally,
                           builders can obtain visibility into each and every one of
                           their customers and prospects, giving them the insight




take the Pivotal Step with Pivotal crM for Pivotal Home Building and real estate
To learn how Pivotal CRM for Home Building and Real Estate can help your organization streamline sales and create customers for life, call us today at
+1 877-PIVOTAL (+1 877-748-6825) or visit us at http://www.pivotal.com/homebuilders.

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