• Teams need the right systems in place from the get-go. Without adequate infrastructure, new teams are likely to struggle in the beginning.
  • An agent's personal solutions don't always work for a group. Knowing what questions to ask is vital.
  • Systems that manage lead coverage and distribution are as important as IDX and CRM integration.

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Creating real estate sales teams might be the industry hottest trend, but any new endeavor is likely to be fraught with new challenges and a potential mistake or two.

Team development creates additional complexities because the systems, processes and strategies that might have worked for an individual agent can fall flat once migrated to a team.

Not having the right systems in place from the get-go is perhaps the biggest mistake new teams make. Systems drive your business processes and rules. Without the right infrastructure designed for the group, most new teams will struggle right out of the gate.

What kind of questions should new team leaders ask to make sure their current systems will support their new business model instead of working against it? Here are five questions to help you evaluate whether your setup is transferrable or if there’s a better solution:

  1. How well will your systems control your costs?
  2. Are your systems designed to automate your processes?
  3. How well does your CRM solution work for a team?
  4. How will your team handle leads, and can your system automate your business rules?
  5. How is your team going to manage schedules?

Now let’s walk through each of these aspects.

Cost control

Growing a team means incurring more costs, but those costs don’t need to be exponential. For example, if team leaders are paying a monthly subscription for one technology solution, there should be a discount for a team.

The addition of two to three team members should not equate to paying two to three times as much. Technology solutions built for groups will reflect this in their pricing. If not, that’s the first hint that an individual agent solution isn’t necessarily designed for a team.

Automating processes

Today, most individual agents aren’t tapping into the power of the cloud. For example, most brokerages use antiquated telephone systems with no lead capturing, no MLS data integration and no contact relationship management (CRM) integration.

Technology today allows for a team to create their own cloud-based phone solution with all of these features at a fraction of the cost of standard business phone systems. This technology allows teams to automate many of their business processes.

Agents know that the phone and the Internet are two of their most valuable tech tools, and by integrating these two things fully, they can both be more efficient as a team and make sure every lead that comes in is handled the right way.

CRM integration

Research shows that one of the biggest challenges brokers face is having all of these cutting-edge technologies that can’t talk to each other. The same is true for teams, both new and established. The core challenge for teams is a standardized CRM.

Most CRM solutions built for individual agents won’t work well for teams. It’s inefficient for anyone, individual agent or teams, to try and manage multiple systems that generate a lead, track a lead or nurture a lead through multiple dashboards and interfaces.

Having one technology that marries all of the ways a team interacts with a lead translates into more deals and less headaches for the team and its leader.

Lead management for teams

Think of answers to all these questions and how they will play out on your team:

  • How does a team handle leads that come in?
  • Can the team identify what kind of lead it is, such as one coming from the curb in front of a yard sign or from inside someone’s home?
  • Where does the lead go?
  • How are leads distributed among team members?
  • How are leads tracked and measured in terms of follow-up?
  • What are the business rules in place to route a lead that calls in?
  • What happens to the lead after hours?
  • When a lead comes in online or via text message, are there rules in place to handle it?

These are just a few of the system questions a team leader faces in setting up a new team. The good news is: technology built for teams can automate the business rules that solve many of these challenges.

STILLFX / Shutterstock.com

STILLFX / Shutterstock.com

Managing schedules

Let’s face it, one of the top reasons teams are created in the first place is for agents to have more than a business life. Having someone cover an open house or respond to clients so an agent can finally take a real vacation is a genuine motivation to go this route.

But creating a new team and using one’s current scheduling system built for an individual agent won’t work. This is where the right system can save a team from a headache.

Consumers calling in, no matter when they call, expect to be handled now — not later. Yet we know that 42 percent of all calls that come in from a yard sign — which might be the hottest kind of lead there is — go to voicemail.

Homebuyers don’t want voicemail — they want to talk to a real person. Having the right technology that’s built for a team can solve this problem. Teams should not be hiring someone to answer their phones. That coverage is for only eight hours a day at best.

Teams need coverage 24 hours a day. The best solution is an automated system that minimizes the number of calls that go to voicemail. Consider features like a dial-by-name directory, call routing with simultaneous ringing and lead identification from GPS technology all tied into a local phone number.

Team leaders need to fully assess what they are using upfront and ask and answer the tough questions early on. This will prevent time wasted trying to fit a square peg into a round hole by forcing what has worked for them individually on a group with diverse needs.

Randall Standard is CEO of VoicePad and a 20+ year veteran of the mobile phone industry.

Email Randall Standard.