As most builders will tell you, the foundation of a project is its most important component. The foundation, both in physical construction and everything else you do, is the base upon which all else will be built. Without a solid foundation, a building will begin to sink, floors will begin to crack, and you inevitably run into myriad different problems. But with a solid foundation, on the other hand, you will be able to build upon your initial efforts for many years to come.
While this “foundation” metaphor is one that may seem to be a bit cliché, it is still one that is especially relatable for developers (just ask anyone who has ever bought a property with foundational issues) and, furthermore, it is one that is almost universally applicable. So what, exactly, is the foundation of a long-term marketing campaign?
Naturally, there will be many things that a well-run campaign must have. But without a reliable customer relationship management (CRM) infrastructure in place, there will be very little for a campaign to built upon.
This has especially proven itself to be true in the age of COVID-19, where many interactions with prospective buyers that would have once taken place in person are now being shifted to the digital world.
CRM consists of many moving pieces, including keep track of your contacts, monitoring the actions your contacts are taking (such as engaging or clicking on specific pieces of content), and developing effective communication strategies. If a firm only has a small handful of current or potential customers, developing a successful CRM strategy will be relatively easy. But as the scale and the depth of their business grows over time, the need for a more complex approach to CRM will soon become apparent.
Watch as author Adam Gower discusses with Carlos Vigon of PaxCap Investors why building relationships are important in finding investors.
Relationships: the foundation of doing business
Perhaps the reason why CRM is so important is that it enables firms to transform their current list of customers—something that, without action, does not yet have any material value—into actual, measurable results.
Suppose that you are currently running a real estate syndicate that seeks to raise funds via crowdfunding or other related efforts. Within your current arsenal, you likely have a list of known investors, possible investors, and people that could be directed to become investors, with the proper guidance. Each of these relationships—and yes, they should all be considered relationships—could eventually be fruitful. But the fruit will only come to bear if the relationships are properly managed and cared for.
In the crowdfunding space and most other commercial spaces, it is always crucial to remember that these prospects do, in fact, have multiple readily available alternatives. It is not enough for someone to be interested in commercial real estate in general, or to even be interested in a specific project you have proposed. If your business fails to effectively communicate with these prospects and direct them to some sort of tangible action, their interest will inevitably begin to wane and, eventually, be directed elsewhere.
If you have a list of 10,000 possible investors—something that is not uncommon for larger syndicates—finding methods for effectively and efficiently communicating with these investors will certainly pose a daunting challenge.
Your communication process can begin with sending out a mass e-mail, perhaps, but when 1,000 of these investors indicate some sort of peripheral interest, where do you go from there? Is your firm prepared to engage in 1,000 potential interactions manually?
In some cases, person-to-person interactions will be needed, and this is especially true as the firm inches closer to finalizing a deal. But many of these interactions can be effectively automated. The advancement of artificial intelligence and continued refinement of automatic e-mailing have both made it much more possible for firms to engage with their prospective customers on a meaningful level. And again, this has proven itself to be especially vital in the increasingly digitized age of COVID-19.
Not all firms will be able to generate commitments from investors without any “real” communications, but in real estate crowdfunding, doing so has increasingly become a more viable possibility.
In many ways, CRM will not only lay forth the foundation upon which a project can build, but it will also be one of the most valuable resources available for expanding and building towards something greater.