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Inbound Marketing Manager Rob Wachter with Coldwell Banker Bain in Bellevue, Wash., talks with RISMedia about digital marketing, quality lead generation and agent retention in one of the country’s top tech epicenters.

Wachter_RobRob Wachter
Inbound Marketing Manager
Coldwell Banker Bain
Bellevue, Wash.

Rob, I understand that you come from outside of the real estate industry. Could you walk us through some of your experience that may give a fresh perspective to a traditional industry?

My previous experience includes owning a small creative services firm where we did all types of digital marketing, as well as web and social strategies for a variety of industries. This experience opened my eyes to the fact that what’s taking place in regard to consumer behavior—and how to effectively market to them—is a common thread across all industries. I also spent time working in the technology industry, which has given me a glimpse into how different organizations are not only operating, but marketing to today’s consumer.

Coldwell Banker Bain is affiliated with one of the biggest franchises in the country. What are your objectives for 2015, and how will the franchise affiliation help you reach these goals?

The biggest and most obvious benefit associated with the Coldwell Banker franchise is the brand recognition and global reach it has. We attract a lot of talent to the area since we’re located in one of the biggest technology epicenters/ecosystems in the world, so the Coldwell Banker name is very powerful for us. From my perspective, 2015 will be the year where we ramp up our online lead generation so that we can not only attract leads, but provide high quality and better leads to our brokers. We spent much of 2014 making sure we had the right infrastructure in place to ensure we see results this year.

The National Association of REALTORS® informs us that almost half of all homes are found by consumers online, even though they then work with a real estate agent. How have you made this work for you?

Our goal is to meet these prospective buyers at the inception of the shopping experience. In order to facilitate their online needs better, we’ve created a platform to engage with consumers when they’re at the point of dreaming about a new home. We’ve also rolled out a sophisticated lead incubation program so that we can more effectively connect with prospective buyers through inbound content marketing. If someone responds to a digital asset we provide, there’s a huge opportunity to stay top of mind and incubate that lead.

Describe your perceptions regarding online lead cultivation and distribution in real estate.

Because consumers are spending a lot of time searching online, there’s an upside potential and opportunity, and the real estate industry is beginning to catch on and adopt sophisticated strategies to take advantage of these opportunities. Our goal is to track, convert and close, with an emphasis on attracting the right consumers by creating content that appeals to them no matter where they are in the process. We then continue to incubate leads by creating content and databases depending on where they are in the journey, and who they are as a buyer or seller.

What were some of the solutions you looked at when discussing lead management?

Lead distribution/management is a huge piece of the funnel, and if you don’t get it right, all the work leading up to that point will fall through. We were looking for something that was very easy for brokers to use, in terms of both the technology involved and the process, and we found exactly that with FiveStreet, which allows brokers to quickly and easily accept leads via text or email. FiveStreet also eliminates the time gap that can exist in handing off a lead so that when the consumer is ready to speak with someone, it happens as quickly as possible. FiveStreet also provides visibility and accountability, making it easy to create transparency throughout the process.

How does the FiveStreet platform plug into the other technology being adopted by the firm?

FiveStreet is on top of the program in terms of making it easy to integrate various real estate tools such as HubSpot, Zillow and even the Coldwell Banker national brand itself. We’re also in the process of rolling out a CRM platform for our salespeople, and FiveStreet will integrate seamlessly with the platform.

What problems does the platform solve for you, and where do you see the greatest benefit as far as recruiting, retention and increased marketshare?

FiveStreet will help with retention because we can ultimately provide brokers with more business by producing more higher quality leads. It’s also important to understand that we’re talking about leads that aren’t only high quality, but those that are engaging with our brand already. If we can demonstrate our ability to produce more higher quality and better leads than our competition, that’s huge.

Where do you want to be in a year from now?

There’s a huge opportunity for real estate companies that have the means to put toward this type of marketing, and we’re trying to capture a larger percentage of the opportunity that exists. Because this is a relatively new piece of the puzzle for us, we’ll more than likely see a refining process as we work to increase our results. But I don’t see us going away from this model. In the end, it always comes back to the quality, expertise and knowledge of our brokers. If we can funnel more people into the hands of quality brokers, we’ve done our job.

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