- Zillow Group is launching a new, free Premier Agent app to help agents manage their online leads and their profile on Zillow and Trulia.
- The app aims to encourage agents to buy more Zillow Group ads.
- The app's features include push notifications, text-to-phone alerts, the ability to request reviews, and consumer information such as search history, among other features.
Update Nov. 30, 2015: Zillow Group’s Premier Agent app is now available in the iTunes and Android app stores.
Original story: Zillow Group is rolling out a new mobile app designed to allow agents to manage their online leads and company profiles more efficiently.
If it works, Zillow Group hopes it will inspire agents to send more advertising dollars its way.
Although it’s called the “Premier Agent” app, the app will be free for agents who have set up a free Zillow profile as well as for the “Premier Agents” already advertising on the site.
The app, which also has a free desktop version, is set to launch nationwide in mid-November in both Apple and Android app stores.
The app is designed to “eliminate friction” for agents and agent teams in their day-to-day businesses by allowing agents to manage their contacts, leads, reviews, Zillow and Trulia profile, and listings on their smartphones, Zillow Group Chief Business Officer Greg Schwartz told Inman.
“We think if agents get back to consumers and manage those experiences more effectively, they’ll buy more ads from us,” Schwartz said.
“Agents spend so much time getting leads on the front end. We think if we continue to help them become more efficient, they’ll be able to do more deals and ultimately buy more ads.”
Schwartz announced the new app today at Zillow’s Premier Agent Forum in Las Vegas. In its second-quarter earnings report, Zillow Group counted nearly 102,000 agent advertisers during the quarter, and its average monthly revenue per advertiser (ARPA) was $375, up 18 percent from $318 in the same period last year.
The new app will support Zillow and Trulia leads as well as leads that agents want to hand-enter from any other source, Schwartz said.
While some might consider the app a customer relationship management system (CRM), Schwartz preferred the term “lead management platform.”
“CRM” has come to mean something negative — complicated, hard to use, bloated, he said.
“It’s a bit like a slur. We really think of it as a lead management platform. It doesn’t have a scheduler or a calendar in it,” Schwartz said.
“This is all about managing leads effectively. And CRMs need classes. And support groups.”
Zillow Group will never ask agents to sit in a class and learn how to use their app, Schwartz added. “If they need that, we’ve failed as product designers,” he said.
Zillow Group does see potentially integrating the app with its newest acquisition, dotloop, in the future. But the company will be “really, really careful” about adding too many links or infrastructure to the app so that it doesn’t become too complicated, Schwartz said.
When asked whether the app could be seen by some as a step toward getting Zillow Group more involved in the real estate transaction, Schwartz said, “Those people would be wrong. This is about managing online marketing and helping those that are advertisers as well as those that get a bunch of leads from Zillow and reducing the friction in their lives.
“It’s not about transaction management, it’s not about anything more than it is. This is no more about getting involved in a transaction than Evernote is about writing a book. This should be the Evernote of contact management.”
The Premier App is different from tools brokers provide in that “brokers often provide richer experiences that integrate with their back end and integrate with things like dotloop,” Schwartz said.
“This [app] is really about rapid response to communications.”
The Premier Agent app’s features include:
Native push notifications sent to agents’ home screens as soon as a contact is received from Zillow or Trulia. “When a consumer generates a lead, they expect a response in five minutes or less. So we have to make sure the agent or agent lead knows there was a lead generated,” Schwartz said.
“Text to phone” alerts. Because sometimes agents are driving around and can’t see a notification on their phone, “if they sign up for this free feature, the app automatically triggers a phone call that reads them the substance of the lead and they can hit a button to call back,” Schwartz said. Lead contact forms on Zillow and Trulia require a phone number and email address, he said.
“Consumer Insights.” When an agent receives a lead, the app will offer the lead’s search history on Zillow and Trulia: the number of bedrooms and bathrooms the lead is interested in, their preferred ZIP code and home type and whether they have contacted the agent before on another home. The app will let agents know the lead’s move timeframe and loan pre-approval status, as indicated by the consumer on the agent contact form.
Agents will be able to designate a status for their contacts — hot, warm, cold — based on readiness to buy a home.
The app will also pull in information on the consumer from social networks LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Details could include the consumers photo, geographical location, employer, among other info.
“If I’m an agent … I want to call a consumer with most information I can possibly have about both consumer and the home they’re calling about,” Schwartz said.
“Think about the power of being able to respond with that data right in [agents’] hands.”
“Tri-panel approach.” Some of the most modern apps ask users to swipe right or swipe left, Schwartz said. The Premier Agent app has agents swipe right to see three panels of information. The first panel includes the content of the lead’s message to the agent.
An example would be “I’d like to tour 45 Kennwood Drive and Tuesday at 3 p.m. is my next available time to do it. Can you help me out with that?” Schwartz said.
The second panel includes property information about the listing, and the third panel includes the lead’s contact information and consumer insights.
Universal search. The app allows agents to search their contacts “by any parameter you can imagine: email address, first name, geography of the lead, price of the lead,” Schwartz said. This means that if agents want to focus on, for example, leads interested in the highest listing prices, they could.
Ability to request and manage reviews from the mobile app. Zillow Group often hears from agents that they’d like to be able to request reviews from their clients when they are ready — at the closing table, for instance. The app will let agents do that in real time, Schwartz said.
Agents will also be able to add past sales onto their Zillow Group profile from the app, manage their listings and post information on open houses or add additional photos, the company said.
The app is meant to smooth the mobile-centric lives of agents, Schwartz said.
“Let’s acknowledge the lives that agents and team leaders are living right now. They are not in their offices,” he said.
Despite rolling out its own CRM tool, Zillow remains committed to its “Tech Connect” program, Schwartz said. Through APIs, the program sends leads that are generated on Zillow and Trulia directly to over 60 CRMs.
“The best CRM is the CRM that agents and teams use,” Schwartz said.
“The Tech Connect API program has been wildly successful, so we’ll continue to support that.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated.