Scott Smith, president and general manager of the Constellation Real Estate Group portfolio shares his insights on technology trends in 2020.
With a portfolio of 15 real estate tech company, Constellation Real Estate Group does extensive research on technology trends and solutions from the front office to back and everything in between. REAL Trends spoke with Scott Smith, president, and general manager of the Constellation Real Estate Group portfolio, about some of the trends he’s seeing.
“There’s some interesting stuff around marketing automation, artificial intelligence (A.I.) and Leads,” says Smith. “We will continue to invest in marketing automation to generate leads, automate follow up and more.
But, the other areas that are starting to get interesting are conversations down marketing. I’ll call it sort of A.I. People use that term loosely, but sort of A.I. is how somebody’s interacting with an agent, and we can automate the conversation via one of our products called Zurple.”
Here are some of the top trends Smith sees in technology:
Marketing Automation. Think social automation. “we have tools that are invested in auto-posting to Facebook and look to extend that out to Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter,” he says. The goal: To keep an agent front and center on many of the social channels. “We just acquired a company called Reach 150, which is an automated way to get recommendations and reviews, then retarget back to your consumers via Facebook and other channels,” says Smith.
Linked In=CRM. “We think of LinkedIn as the world’s best CRM. It’s user-generated content, it’s very social, and it’s interactive. It updates you on the things that are happening within your network, and it’s growing at a much faster rate than any other contact database that you may use,” he says. “It shows me what’s going on in my network, and I know who I should reach out to or congratulate.”
Race for Tech at Brokerage and Franchise Level. “There’s a big race for technology both at the brokerage and the franchise level. So, we’re seeing a transition from technology being a checkbox or technology is a recruiting and retention strategy to technology being a core part of the business to remain competitive,” he says. “We see much developing proprietary software. This is happening more at the franchise level, but we’ll see it move downstream to the brokerages as well.”
Pressure on Commissions Impacting Tech. “There’s pressure on commissions, margins, and profits for the brokerage. And, brokers are getting pressure from agents, forcing them to look at technology as more than just a checkbox to recruit and retain agents.” He notes that technology is seen as a “solution for prioritizing the consumer experience and capture more consumers.”
Overall, says Smith, “We’re definitely in an ecosystem where every brokerage will have solutions that come from multiple different sources. Even the large companies investing in and building out platforms are looking to third parties.” He says he “still strongly believes that consumers will work through a real estate professional.”
Also, the elusive one-stop-shop for all a brokerage’s technology needs is non-existent. “As you look at technology choices, look for vendors that work closely with existing standards, and are responsive to the integration with other platforms. There will always be strong point solutions, and there will always be core foundational components that are strong.”
It’s an excellent time to be in a brokerage if you believe technology is going to be a game-changer for your business, says Smith.