As I sit in my home office, I find myself gazing out the front bay windows staring at the bright green grass that's starting to grow, the Bartlett pear trees that are beginning to flower, the pine trees blowing in the wind and the oak trees lining the streets. Spring is finally here after what seems to have been a long Ohio winter.
The picturesque, almost mesmerizing view is perfect for clarity breaks. It makes me think of past times; it's hard to believe that Delta Media Group® turned 28-years-old this year. I don't know if there is a dog-years equivalent for technology firms, but 28 years seems like 100 in "technology years."
This got me thinking about how Delta has evolved into an all-in-one provider. In 1994, the journey started with simple real estate websites that contained property photos and data. Doing those websites was no small task back then, and I think we were the first to do it. Today the listing data and website thing is quite trivial to us, even though we handle nearly 100% of the listing data in the United States and some outside the country. We have evolved so far since then.
There is so much talk in the real estate industry around "all-in-one" versus "best-in-breed." I want to explore this dichotomy a bit.
First, let me try and clearly define both terms:
All-in-One — This is a term used to describe technology firms with a broad technology offering where many technologies are bundled together in one package that solves multiple needs.
Best-in-Breed — This is a term used to describe an approach where firms purchase multiple technology tools instead of purchasing all the tools from one provider.
If the technology entrepreneurs and the venture capitalists (VCs) are honest about it, what everyone is chasing is an all-in-one "holy grail" for the industry. I have been watching VCs pull together all the technology pieces needed over the past twenty years to try to bolt them together. That's why we see so many acquisitions of smaller niche technology firms in our space. I also know first-hand that VCs view Delta as a highly coveted hub that could pull off this all-in-one "holy grail," and I agree because that is exactly what I am trying to accomplish.
I believe the small niche technology providers have coined the best-in-breed phrase, and honestly, it is brilliant marketing. I mean, who doesn't want to have the best? I do. You do. Everyone does. The problem with this approach is that historically speaking, I have not seen where these small niche technology providers can survive long term.
Regardless of everyone's opinion and approach to technology, Delta will continue to pursue the all-in-one platform approach and allow the so-called best-in-breed approach with our platform. To me, the holy grail of technology is an all-in-one platform that is continually improving and evolving and that plays well with others. That's why today, we have hundreds of industry integrations, and the list continues to grow.
As time moves on, I believe that the all-in-one platforms will continue to mature and evolve and there will be fewer and fewer feature providers. What will drive this shift are three specific things.
First, healthy all-in-one providers continue to evolve and improve their systems. As one example, at Delta, we are working on DeltaNET® 7 CRM right now, and I believe it will be the best and easiest-to-use CRM in the industry.
Second, the all-in-one providers are automating more and more of the mundane tasks that should be automated. This simply is not possible outside the all-in-one ecosystem. As one example, at Delta, we are automating the whole AVM to CMA process. Salespeople will be able to configure how they want it all to work. Imagine someone visits your website, runs an AVM, and seconds later, you have a CMA delivered to your phone that you can share with that person and you didn't have to do anything. There are hundreds of automations like this inside the all-in-one platform ecosystem.
Third, an all-in-one approach is more affordable for the customer and more profitable for the technology firm. There is reduced overhead, shared resources, more seamless and deeper integration and everything is streamlined. I predict that we will see another wave of small feature technology providers going under during the next down cycle of the real estate industry.
At the end of the day, though, everyone has to implement a strategy for their business. If your strategy is best-in-breed, that's fine, but I would recommend that you at least partner with an all-in-one provider that plays well with others, such as Delta.
At Delta, we are all-in-one when you want it, and we support best-in-breed when you don't.
Real estate technology is moving faster than ever, and some agents are beginning to wonder if they'll be left behind. Big industry players have made moves to automate real estate in disruptive ways — but, in the long run, they've only succeeded in "disrupting" their own business.
It is becoming more obvious that the average buyer or seller doesn't want a fully AI-driven process, nor do they want to do it all themselves, no matter how convenient the tools become. What they want is personalized advice from a local expert.
Rather than replacing agents, the best technology enhances what they can do.
More Accessible Technology Means Better Results for Organizations of All Sizes
It was not that long ago when the best technology was available only to the largest brokerages. With the introduction of Customer Relationship Management tools like the DeltaNET®6, that's no longer the case. From large enterprises to independent agents, everyone can benefit.
Likewise, CRM technology was once limited mainly to B2B sales teams. With a CRM solution built by and for real estate professionals, it becomes possible for any member of a team to be more productive than ever before — while doing less work and making fewer errors along the way.
Not even the most advanced technology available can do what real estate agents do: Guide customers to informed, confident decisions about buying and selling. But what technology can do is accelerate and automate rote tasks and routines, especially those related to marketing and advertising.
You know marketing consistently is an essential part of your business success. But how often have you set out to do it only to have other priorities take center stage? It's a common problem for people at all stages of their careers, and precisely the one technology is best suited to overcome.
Technology Supports Your Efforts to Deliver the Human Touch Every Time
To work with you, someone has to know you, like you, and trust you. One unique aspect of real estate is that you often must build that rapport before the person steps into your office for the first time. For that to work, technology needs to be there to fill in the gaps.
From your real estate website to social media and email marketing, an all-in-one technology center of excellence like DeltaNET®6 ensures that you are always communicating with your audience in a humane, consistent way — no matter if you're talking directly to one person, one hundred, or one thousand.
For email, it does this through a combination of templating and personalization. You set up campaigns once, for just a few minutes at a time, then the system fills in the blanks based on individual behavior. Every mailing list subscriber gets a tailored experience based on their interests.
For social media, an event-driven approach is best. For example, you can have automatic updates made whenever details on your active listings change. You can also instantly publicize new listings, focusing a fast-moving audience's attention on virtual tours and other features that matter to them.
Yes, you could do it all yourself, painstakingly writing social media updates and emails by hand. In the end, though, this wouldn't make the quality of your communication better. Instead, it would just mean spending more time on it, to the detriment of all the other things that move your business forward.
The Future Is Now for Real Estate — and Marketing Automation Is Ready to Help You
As real estate agents, we know technology isn't the answer to every problem. Despite rosy predictions about the future of machine learning, we are probably 200 years away from fully autonomous robots doing the work of today's agents.
In fact, an Oxford study ranks "real estate sales agents" near the middle of the pack for their long-term computerization risk — suggesting it will take a long time and a lot of technological development before agents and brokers need to be concerned.
In the meantime, technology is not an enemy, but an ally. You can use it to build the practice you want by giving yourself the leeway to spend your time and energy wisely. It's no longer a choice between so many long hours of marketing or nothing at all. In this sense, at least, you really can have it all.
That's an essential piece of the puzzle for agents and brokers who want to optimize their business for work-life balance. Within just a few weeks of implementing real estate CRM technology, you can save dozens of hours. Those can be used to push your business further or get the rest you need and deserve.
Delta Media Group is here to help you bring the promises of technology down to earth in your career. Contact us to learn more or begin.