Real estate brokerages crying out for technology that integrates

CRM, transaction management and e-signature platforms not always compatible

Brokerages are starving for technology platforms that integrate well with each other, according to a new broker tech survey conducted by the WAV Group.

The survey of 360 broker-owners and office, technology and marketing managers from small, medium and large brokerages revealed that one of the main factors fueling broker dissatisfaction with their technology was its disjointed nature.

Puzzle image via Shutterstock.
Puzzle image via Shutterstock.

In some cases, brokers have multiple tools -- like customer relationship management, transaction management and e-signatures -- that do not seamlessly integrate with one another.

Just 15 percent of respondents said that their firms' technologies integrated with each other, while 53 percent said some integrated with each other and 21 percent said they did not integrate.

Although more than half of the survey respondents (52 percent) noted that they were "very satisfied" with their current technology, a significant proportion (37 percent) indicated that they were "somewhat satisfied."

The smaller the firm -- perhaps those without the scale and buying power to purchase more premium tools that integrate well with each other -- the more likely it was to be less satisfied with its technology, the survey showed.

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Less than half of the survey respondents who worked for firms with one to nine agents (39 percent) and 10 to 49 agents (47 percent) indicated that they were satisfied "overall" with their firm's technology. On the flip side, at least 60 percent of the reps from larger firms surveyed noted they were satisfied with their technology.

The survey also revealed that brokers may be missing opportunities to attract and retain agents and enhance their search engine optimization.

Just 67 percent and 52 percent of the respondents' firms paid for a customer relationship management platform and a showing scheduler, respectively, for their agents.

Since CRMs organize sales and customer records for firms and their agents, and showing schedulers make agents' lives so much easier, WAV Group noted that those two technologies are easy ways for firms to provide valuable services to their agents that they may not be providing now.

Different ways to achieve search engine optimization offer another opportunity for brokerages to make valuable tech investments, WAV Group noted.

While 31 percent of surveyed brokers said they would like to replace their SEO technology in 2014 -- second most of any tech platform in the survey -- just 7 percent said they were looking for a new virtual tour provider. That could be an oversight by brokers, because the YouTube videos that some virtual tour vendors make for their clients' listings have large SEO benefits, WAV Group said.

More brokers (34 percent) wanted to replace their transaction management platforms than any other in 2014, giving firms that make transaction management technology like DocuSign, dotloop and Instanet Solutions and others an opportunity to grow their client base.

After their transaction management platform and SEO technology, brokers revealed in the survey that they wanted to replace the following technology this year: recruiting tools (30 percent), document management (29 percent) and lead management (27 percent).

The survey also revealed who -- brokerages themselves, agents, franchisors or multiple listing services -- most often pays for which technologies.

Brokers were most likely to cover email (90 percent), accounting services (89 percent), marketing tools (86 percent), SEO (86 percent) and recruiting tools (82 percent), the survey showed.

The survey showed that agents, on the other hand, were most often responsible for: agent websites (57 percent), virtual tours (54 percent), the purchase of leads (48 percent), advertising on consumer portals (44 percent, i.e., Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com) and marketing tools (42 percent).

The surveyed brokers revealed that franchisors were most likely to pay for: recruiting tools (12 percent), e-marketing tools (11 percent), marketing tools (11 percent), email drip marketing (10 percent) and free listing syndication on consumer portals (9 percent).

According to the survey, MLSs were most likely to pay for: tax data (59 percent), form software (42 percent), comparative market analysis (38 percent), school attendance data (36 percent) and market statistics (35 percent).

The survey also revealed that most of the firms surveyed (75 percent) had updated their website in the last five years.

WAV Group estimates that the property search tool on brokerage websites accounts for about 80 percent of the traffic to them. Brokers surveyed were were relatively happy with their sites' search speed (80 percent), usability (75 percent) and design (70 percent), and mostly concerned about upping their traffic (52 percent), SEO (45 percent) and leads (43 percent).


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