You’ve worked hard to build a brand that looks strong on the outside but what is supporting it on the inside? Every super brand is driven by a powerful engine. James Shelton Agar gives his opinion.
It may not be as glamorous as marketing, but a solid back office management system is just as essential for a brand to maintain its success.
So you have a great real estate brand. You’ve developed a selling system that can be reproduced. And you may have already opened your second and perhaps third office. But how are you measuring your business?
Over 15 years I’ve seen many great real estate brands developed, but I’ve also seen a lot of them fail because they do not build equally strong “back office” systems. It may not be as glamorous as marketing, but a solid back office management system is just as essential for a brand to maintain its success.
How do you know if your back office systems are less than what they should be? Poor back office systems typically have outdated technology and fragmented manual systems. You don’t need to be a technological wiz to identify whether your system is not up to scratch. Ask yourself if you can:
- View all your company listings in a single place?
- Update listings so they immediately display on your company or group website?
- Provide a straightforward “turn key” solution to new offices joining your company or group?
- Measure KPIs across your company or group performance in real time?
If you’ve answered “no” to at least two of these questions, then your back office systems are probably holding back the growth of your business.
Consider how major brands in other industries, such as McDonalds, Levi’s or David Jones, maintain their ongoing success. It can largely be put down to strong management reporting systems. Good back office systems provide uniform information to management that can be used to measure the effectiveness of marketing plans and strategies.
They can also be used to compare the performance of offices or salespeople in your company, and create tailored support, targeted marketing and enhanced training programmes. All of this adds to the strength of your brand. The advantages of a strong back office system don’t stop there. Some less obvious benefits are:
- It creates a unified culture within your company, as all members “talk” the same talk.
- It reduces compliance time for your offices, as they no longer need to fax manual activity reports to Head Office.
- It makes opening a new office or adding a new salesperson a simple turn key process, since the new member already has a platform to use.
- Your customers benefit from enhanced service, creating customer loyalty and word-of-mouth
- The professional structure adds overall value to your business.
Despite all these benefits, I find there are typically a couple of reasons businesses fail to create strong systems.
- Resistance to change. In other words.We haven’t had one before so we don’t need one now.This may have been true in the past, but our industry is now more fast-moving and competitive than ever before. In this environment, companies without good back office systems run the risk of their brand falling behind.
- The perception of lack of choice. Historically, such systems were the domain of major corporate businesses. These days, technological advances now mean these systems are available to, and affordable for, even the smallest company.
Either way, without a good back office management system, it’s difficult to support ambitious marketing strategies. So if you’ve already gone to the trouble of developing a successful real estate brand and attracting great people to your business, consider – do you have the systems in place to sustain and build on that success?