HousingStack Phase 4: Lead conversion
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Keeping on the theme of leads, leads, leads, I’m going to highlight some of the products that focus almost exclusively on this area. You could argue that many of the companies we’ve covered so far in the HousingStack help in lead conversion, and you’d be correct. But these companies, especially the ones focused on listings, are squarely in the conversion crosshairs.
For starters, let me summarize what I mean by lead conversion. The products I’ve put into this category primarily help in converting leads, prospects and opportunities into contracts. Specifically, I’m talking about listing agreements and sales contracts. So the products I’ve put into this category are really focused on either helping agents win listings or helping them convert lookers into buyers.
Scott PetronisHW+ Analyst
As we go further down the funnel, you’ll notice that there are fewer products focused on those areas. Lots of people build products to help you build your brand and fill the funnel. While it’s technically fewer, lots of companies help you engage and nurture all of those leads and create opportunities out of them. In total we’ve identified more than 165 companies, but here we only have around 30 companies/products. As always, I caveat this with “I know there are others” and I expect to hear about all of the ones I’ve missed. But regardless, there’s a marked difference in the sheer number of options.
I’ve broken this down into three sub-categories. The first is listing tools – the products designed for you to convert potential sellers into listing contracts. The next area is predictive analytics or companies that try to predict who’s going to buy, sell or do “something” at the right point. And the last area is seller tools or companies that help to convert lookers to buyers (I could probably have thought of a better name here).
By far the most popular conversion tools out there are Comparative Market Analysis tools. Used in conjunction with listing presentations, these tools take recent sales, current inventory and list pricing, market absorption and a variety of other factors into account to help you determine the right price. But perhaps even more importantly, they help you show the homeowner the value you bring to them.
While I’ve indicated six specific companies in the listing tools area, there are actually many more out there. Many are embedded into other products or even into your MLS. One of the most widely adopted is CloudCMA from W+R Studios. Not only do loads of brokerages offer it but also many of the top MLSs as well. Others include dashCMA, a newer entrant that was recently scooped up by Inside Real Estate. Another relative newcomer is APC Data Analytics who uses machine learning to deliver what they say is the most accurate valuation available. Then there are ToolkitCMA (in business since 1990!) and FlashCMA another more recent entrant that grew out of the Austin PropTech boom. Lastly, Buyside takes a different approach in that they focus on the buyer demand side of the equation, helping agents not just identify the potential value but also what demand looks like and how many potential active buyers are there for the property.
Pricing listings isn’t child’s play nor is providing a comprehensive look at the market to convince prospective sellers that you know what you’re talking about. There are numerous companies who power many of these seller tools including MLSs with active listings, real estate data providers like CoreLogic, Black Knight and First American, who provide automated valuation models and property data, and data aggregation companies like Attom Data, Local Logic and Niche who tie in local demographic, school, lifestyle and other crucial attributes. There’s a pretty massive ecosystem that each of these products tap into.
While it seems like this concept is a new phenomenon, truth is, predictive analytics have been in use in many industries for nearly 20 years. Conceptually, the idea is that you can leverage all of the behavioral data flowing through your systems to identify important patterns and attributes, then use those to determine who’s going to do what when. What is rather new is the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to help speed the process up, make it more reliable and leverage computers rather than really smart people to continue to make the predictions more accurate.
Two companies in this category that have been doing this for a while (since 2008) are SmartZip and Quantarium. In different ways, these companies have leveraged massive amounts of data and computing power to do things like identify more accurate home values, determine who’s most likely to sell their home and what opportunities exist within your existing client database.
RE/MAX felt strongly that they needed something to help their agents identify conversion opportunities, so they acquired first.io in 2019. Constellation group believes pretty strongly in the promise on this front given their acquisition of both offrs and SmartZip in 2019. Likely.AI, and Revaluate are designed to integrate into your systems while Brytecore and Homebot (acquired in 2020 by ASG) take a more holistic approach in providing an end-to-end system with integrations.
Seller tools / Buyer conversion tools
I call these “seller tools” because they’re really all designed to help make listings stand out and be the best that they can be. And as we’ve all seen this year, the tools that facilitate digital engagement with listings are not only in high demand, but have been the saviors of many agents. I’m sure these folks aren’t getting much sleep.
By far the most popular product on this list (no offense to anyone) is ShowingTime. The word “product” doesn’t do it justice, let’s call it a system. It’s hard to imagine that you don’t know what it does, and I feel foolish describing. But, the system can identify a listing your client wants to see, schedule the showing, conduct the showing, track everything that happened, let the sellers know how it went and let the buyers comment on what they liked, or didn’t. It can also do a lot more than that.
Additional companies and products in this category include open house tools like Spacio (acquired by HomeSpotter last year), VHT and HomeJab (handling photography, virtual tours and floor plans) and Kleard (who provides “smart security” for listings). All of the companies and the many more highlighted in HousingStack provide products that either help to directly convert business or provide an added advantage to help put you over the edge.
While this category had fewer companies and products than the other HousingStack categories, that’s not a reflection on the importance of this area of the funnel. Also, as I mentioned, there are other solution providers that bundle conversion capabilities right into their offerings whether it’s a CRM, marketing automation product or even some transaction management systems.
As always, I expect there to be companies and products that I missed and we’re constantly updating so please submit your comments and additional companies here.
Next up, I’ll tackle back office products.
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