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A Better Way to Adjust Marketing Lead Management

Marketing Lead Management
September 2017

Intelligent Lead Management allows operators to more effectively monitor and proactively adjust their lead management efforts.

Make no mistake about it: Effectively managing leads is often a sizable challenge for apartment operators.

Determining which prospects are qualified, tracking the performance of leasing associates in wooing potential residents, analyzing which marketing channels are delivering a true return on investment… it can all add up to ample amounts of frustration.

But users of Rainmaker's Intelligent Lead Management (ILM) say they have been able to simplify their lead management efforts while simultaneously making them much more effective.

ILM provides a brand-new data source by synthesizing multiple data streams, and recording every communication between the community and prospective resident. Managers have greater visibility and control of the leasing process which increases conversions. The solution also evaluates the effectiveness of a community’s advertising sources in delivering leads and its leasing staff in interacting with prospects. The program is the industry’s only product to capture and score every inbound and outbound contact with prospective renters.

Courtney Smith, Marketing Director for Indianapolis-based Barrett & Stokely’s portfolio of fee-managed communities, is among those who say ILM has greatly improved her company’s lead management. “There has been a dramatic positive impact,” she says. “ILM allows us to spot problems quickly and get them under control and keep our leasing dialed in.”

A Better Handle on Advertising
ILM’s ability to analyze the effectiveness of a community’s advertising sources in delivering qualified leads has provided a needed boost to Davlyn Investments, according to Lindsay Love, Operations Manager of the San Diego-based company’s Multifamily Division, which owns and manages a 3,000-unit portfolio throughout Southern and Northern California.

“We now have a crystal-clear understanding of not only where we are getting traffic from, but where we are getting qualified traffic that converts to residents,” Love says. “By being able to review our advertising sources’ performance monthly, we can evaluate seasonal trends and demands and create a more strategic long-term advertising plan.”

Smith, whose company manages its own properties and also fee manages communities in the Midwest and Southeast, echoes similar sentiments.

“We’re able to determine the exact cost per lead from each ILS and make extremely data-driven decisions about the best use of each community’s advertising dollars,” she says.

Furthermore, “because of the system’s real-time data and easy-to-understand color-coding, I can log in and instantly know the current effectiveness of each ILS and other marketing channels in delivering qualified leads to our communities,” Smith says. “Right then and there, I can determine, ‘OK, I don’t need to worry about X, or I do need to worry about Y.’ That is extremely powerful.”

ILM’s analytical power also has corrected Barrett & Stokely’s misconceptions about some free advertising sources such as Craigslist, says Samantha Jameson, Marketing Director for communities that are owned and operated by the company.

“Operators feel like prospects from Craigslist are unqualified,” she says. “It just doesn’t feel like a good source,” she says. “Then you look at the numbers and realize you’ve got to be on Craigslist. It’s a zero-dollar source. It only costs time.”

The data provided by ILM encouraged Barrett & Stokely to embrace Google+, another zero-dollar source, according to Jameson.

Improved Interactions with Prospects
ILM’s call-recording and scoring feature has a big impact on users as well.

ILM represents a radically different approach to lead management by capturing and scoring every communication touch point between the community and the prospective resident. This creates a brand new source of data, which ILM serves up in the form of simple yet intuitive dashboards that give users visibility and control of their leasing processes, helping them to increase conversions.

As a result of the feedback provided by ILM, one Barrett & Stokely community saw its rate of answered prospect calls jump from 20 percent in Q1 2015 to 80 percent in Q2 2016. Another community has dramatically increased its conversion of calls from qualified prospects into onsite appointments; the community’s conversion ratio was just less than 20 percent in April 2016, but had spiked to more than 60 percent four months later.

“They have specific criteria that they’re listening for: Did the leasing associate ask the prospect for their name? Did the associate try to set an appointment?” says Shellie Sylla, Marketing Manager at Irvine, Calif.-based Steadfast Management Co., which owns and manages communities in 20 states across the United States. “They evaluate all of the important touch points that we want our teams to cover, and so they’re grading our teams based on that.”

Similar to information about marketing channel effectiveness, color-coded call scoring is easily accessible in ILM’s dashboard and allows Sylla to quickly ascertain if onsite associate performance is hindering prospect conversion at any of her communities.

“The dashboard is a great way of quickly identifying what opportunities and challenges we may have in our portfolio,” Sylla says. “If the analysis is positive, I don’t need to worry about that. I can move on to something else, and I’m not spending time in areas that I don’t need to.”

ILM also creates greater efficiencies through its real-time prioritization of leads, Sylla notes.

“That’s a really important feature,” she says. “It simplifies things for our leasing agents and sets the stage for higher conversion rates because you’re focusing time on truly qualified leads that are the right fit for your community.”