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Yardi Newsletter – Product and Technology

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Research, Marketing, CRM and ERP—How the Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

By Kevin Yardi, Director, Consulting Practices, Yardi Systems

For brokers, owners and managers of commercial property assets, optimizing revenue is the name of the game, and the game includes four key components: research, marketing, customer relationship management, and operations. One reliable way to optimize revenue is shortening the lead-to-lease timeline. After all, the faster a lease opportunity is marketed and executed, the sooner they can move to the next opportunity. To that end, what role can technology play in making the leasing process more efficient?

One approach involves employing a software solution that integrates the entire leasing workflow—from property research to marketing to customer relationship management (CRM) to deal to lease—within one mobile ERP platform. This means asset managers and brokers can eliminate disjointed systems in favor of a single toolset that gives deal participants actionable marketing intelligence, enables real-time online marketing, offers leasing agents mobile access to core property data, pipeline status and risk analysis, displays portfolio health analytics—and ultimately shortens leasing cycle times.

Research informs listings
Leasing brokers use listing services to market their available spaces and survey other space options within a desired area. They then research recent trends in lease pricing within neighborhoods, submarkets, and wider metro and regional markets. In completing their market surveys, brokers need to be aware of new space entering the relevant marketplace from new supply, space soon to be available from expiring leases, and the rate at which new space is being absorbed by economic activity such as employment, e-commerce volume, and retail sales. Brokers also use lease expiration schedules as prime sources to market their services to occupiers and owners of space. Asset owners and managers, meanwhile, broaden their distribution channels and earn a highly visible marketing presence by listing available properties and spaces online.

Mobility matters
Brokers and leasing agents can keep their “feet on the street” and their eyes on revenue opportunities with mobile CRM systems that automatically capture, track and report their contacts, activities, leads and deals. Real-time CRM data provides instant transparency to owners and managers and enables a data-driven review of leasing absorption.

Efficiency from integration
For all the richness of their individual parts, these components produce the best results when connected with the property management and accounting system used to manage the properties. For example, a marketing portal that’s integrated with a market intelligence system as well as the core property management system allows agents to list properties the instant they become available and compare them to competitive offerings. This eliminates late and inaccurate listings and saves occupiers time spent searching other off-and on-line channels. And, property listings can easily be exported to other listing services to broaden the distribution network.

Similarly, an integrated CRM system can seamlessly incorporate leads from the marketing portal into the core platform, allowing brokers to manage contacts, leads, deals and activities on the same platform with which they manage their properties, as well as incorporate market-level data into all phases of the lead-to-lease lifecycle. There are no errors created or time lost from manually entering data and transferring data between systems with a single-platform technology solution because the entire process is integrated and automated. In many respects, the developments within commercial real estate are analogous to the changes that have already occurred with the multifamily sector over the last decade.

Measurable results
A single-platform approach also ensures accessible, easy-to-use portfolio reports incorporating business intelligence and analytics into comprehensive deal pipeline reporting including terms, economics, clauses and options, comparisons of a deal’s net effective rent to budget, and other key factors. Using market intelligence data, this can be compared to competitive offerings to determine whether leasing performance is consistent with expectations. And, an integrated platform provides portfolio visibility with a degree of online dynamism that’s not available with static PDF reports.

All of these factors lend themselves to a single platform for researching, marketing, leasing and managing commercial properties. The synergies made possible by bringing multiple rich data sources together in a single source of the truth are exciting, forthcoming and long overdue.