On the occasion of International Women’s day, sharing views of real estate industry experts from the
- & Finance
domains from within the real estate industry.
Realty Industry & the Marketing Function
1.Bangalore is a highly competitive realty market. How do you plan for/ counter the rising digital marketing costs & market conditions?
Bangalore realty is probably the closest to what you can call “permanent competition”.
There are many tier 1 players, prices are market-determined and 80% of the purchases are by end-users. This makes marketing real estate a tough job. Hence, at Brigade we focus on getting the fundamentals right – a promising location, a quality product & a price that justifies the product. With that, we ensure the communication brings out the best in the product while not overstating the facts.
Our marketing plan follows a scientific process & we have a marketing strategy team in place to look after aspects like budgeting, analytics, market intelligence, customer demographics & more. Through established processes, we have a clear picture of what portion of the budget to spend on each medium, expected ROI & cost per lead/booking from each medium. A dozen metrics are tracked every week & course correction happens dynamically to get the metrics to expected levels. This helps us keep our budget on track & invest in the most performing mediums.
On the digital marketing front, rising costs are also attributed to well-funded property aggregator websites which are making SEM bids much costlier than 2 years before. One way to look at it is that instead of trying to compete with them, you look at them as a part of the funnel – they pay for lead generation online & you pay them for the leads they pass on to you. This way, everybody wins.
Overall, at Brigade we focus on smart, cost efficient marketing using analytics & optimal partner collaboration.
2.Real estate players are known to be quite lead generation oriented, and we don’t often see awesome long term marketing campaigns that also focus on non-lead generation campaigns. Do you try to break this mold? How so?
At Brigade, a lot of importance is given to the quality of communication. Every piece of marketing collateral that goes out is screened for compatibility to the brand ethos & it’s appeal to the intended demographic. In fact, just last year we undertook a long rebranding exercise that resulted in a fresh new look to our communication, including a brand template that prescribes the visual cues, fonts & tone of voice to reflect our motto of ‘building positive experiences’. Every advertisement is differentiated not just from the clichéd communication in the market but also from all of our other product ads. We also spend a lot of time on understanding the customer demographic of every product & incorporate learnings into the communication. This results into an approach that emphasises on the process; leads automatically follow
3.Which challenges – do you expect – will the real estate marketers face in 2016?
2016 is going to be a year of ‘smarter marketing’. Many developers are now understanding the importance of data & it’s usage in making marketing decisions. In fact with the rise in marketing channels & competition, it is absolutely essential to track every penny spent in terms of its efficiency & effectiveness. Digital marketing of course will continue to play a big role with media agencies working on ways to get more quality than quantity.
Social media has not been very effective for real estate so far for multiple reasons but this year will see the rise of social listening & improved grievance resolution using technology. Lastly, with increased pressure on quality customer support from the rise of ecommerce, developers will also focus on getting their pre-sales & customer support teams more customer oriented.
Realty Industry & the Sales Function
1.What are the key contributions of a sales team to a realty organization?
The answer here is – Unmatched customer insights
A sales manager plays a key role in the success and failure of an organization. He is the one who plays a pivotal role in achieving the sales targets and eventually generates revenue for the organization.
A sales manager is responsible for not only selling but also maintaining and improving relationships with the client. Client relationship management is also his/her KRA.
As such, the value of a sales person is obviously well regarded.
Apart from the obvious ‘sales’ contribution, sales team of realty organizations brings a lot of consumer insights.
Sales team knows the pulse of customers. It is said that customers do business with sales people more often than with the brands (brand talks about quality, assurance & gives confidence to customers).
A sales professional in realty industry, understands the need of customers.
Very few developers look into post possession discrepancies if any at the project. Most of the time what happens, after forming a society is that the developer’s role gets over and then society issues start – such as non maintenance issues, infrastructure management, amenities management etc. However, a good developer takes care of this after formation of society, too. They appoint facility management team on board and make sure that there are no problems in society and people are happily living. This gives lot of advantages and subsequently build confidence in the residence. )
Sales people know how to deal with these situations & still work around solutions that might satisfy customers & keep the sales going for a brand.
After sales experience of a project, affect sales of future projects of a builder. It is the sales or post sales team that come in handy in situations.
2. How can sales team improve expertise in handling these situations?
Your lifeline is the connection, rapport & trust with customers. That, is the most important advantage that no one can take away from you.
Apart from this, feedback forms are a great way to keep a tab on developments & on ground sentiments.
Feedback forms are not just for collecting feedback. You could have multiple forms – for example, there could be 3 feedback forms-
- One at the time of booking
- Second feedback form at the time of registration of an apartment and
- Third is when you give possession
It is the skills & honesty of what the developer does at the time of possession that help in creating loyal customer base.
Customers have come back to us many times giving feedback about the overall experience of buying the property and it really gives satisfaction to us. Also, immediately they share good experience feedback with their friend circle
Luxury customers are different than mid segment customers & managing both segments takes different approaches. Skills sales people know this & you can easily distinguish sales professionals who are good vs those who are still catching up.
3. Does qualification matter in realty sales?
Having an MBA doesn’t really matter. If you are restricted as a sales person saying ‘this is not in my job description, or why should I do this it is not part of sales role’ then that is not the right approach.
As a sales person, you have to be able to think out of the box. For people who want to enter this field – as a sales person in realty space, I say this to them – Be prepared to take on challenges, be receptive of out of the box ideas, time should not be restriction for you, it is not a 10 to 6 job, working on Sundays should not bother you neither should working on any holidays. Sales is a dynamic function & hard work, patience, honesty, punctuality pay off here.
A sales person should be honest to both the employer & to the client.
Suppose as a sales person you know that implementing a certain change in processes can benefit customers, then by all means you should put it across internally. Not all changes get accepted & not all suggestions will be received positively, which is the situation in any industry. But you should keep striving for the better.
If there is something that doesn’t work out, or some suggestions do not get implemented still there are ways to communicate & get your suggestions at least considered seriously if you think they can make life better for you, for the employer & for the client.
Realty Industry & the Finance Function
Finance is a tough domain. Not that other domains are easy, but the fact that excelling in finance takes humungous efforts is undisputed. Which is why, the insights that Manali is sharing are special.
- Did number of women home buyers increase in 2015?
- Does it mean there are more financially independent women?
- Do young home buyers plan realty purchases?
- What is the Impact of Real estate Budget 2016
- How is real estate developing as an industry?
- What would you attribute your professional success to?
- Message to aspiring professionals
We at Superise, feel that such skilled, respected professionals are the ones who contribute their bit in taking the Indian real estate industry forward, and we respect them for that.