Apartment Leasing

The Poor State of Lead Sourcing in Multifamily

by Todd Katler

In many ways, the multifamily industry is growing more sophisticated every day.

In recent years – and especially since the pandemic – operators have implemented a range of new technologies that have optimized the prospect experience. These optimizations have allowed prospective renters to trade in their own currency i.e., shop for an apartment home in exactly the way they want to. Examples of these solutions include self-guided tours, video tours, chatbots and online tour-scheduling tools.

But one area where property managers need to up their game is sourcing their leads. An Anyone Home analysis of one large operator found the company’s lead source accuracy was only 56%. In my experience, this stat is far from uncommon across the industry.

Before we dive into the reasons for the inaccurate sourcing, it’s important to discuss the dire consequences.

Stated simply, when you don’t know where your leads are coming from, you don’t know which components of your marketing efforts are working. You’re not going to make correct ad-buying and marketing decisions. This can lead to spending lots of money in the wrong places and seriously undermining the performance of your community.

Now, let’s examine the factors that lead to inaccurate sourcing, which is basically rooted in three issues:

• One issue stems from the fact that somewhere between 18% and 40% of prospects do not lease at the first property in an operator’s portfolio that they contact. The problem with this is that in the standard property management system, the original source of the lead is not carried over to the other communities in the portfolio that the prospect contacts.

• Second, most apartment operators aren’t consistently and accurately resolving duplicate leads in their property management systems. Sometimes, the same person will appear in the system as two or more different leads because of human error.

For example, one leasing associate may record a contact with a prospect by slightly misspelling a last name as “Gonzales.” When another leasing associate enters her name, they spell it “Gonzalez.” Now it looks like there are two different leads, only one of which can be converted into a lease. And if the prospect does convert, you will have an incomplete record of the prospect’s journey because her history is spread across two different “leads.” In effect, you have erased the footprints in the snow that the prospect’s journey took, including possibly the original source of the lead.

• Finally, online leasing, while great, more often than not creates a brand-new guest card with a brand-new source through the creation of the new lease. In your typical property management system, it won’t convert the original lead. The outcome of this is that a property’s website can be overattributed as a source of lead-to-lease conversions and other sources – such as internet listing services – can be severely under attributed.

All three of these factors contribute to poor lead source accuracy in property management software.

By contrast, cutting-edge customer relationship management software can greatly increase source accuracy. Through a sophisticated algorithm, it can deal with human errors like misspellings of last names, get rid of duplicate leads and assemble a complete, accurate picture of a prospect’s journey.

In data collection, there’s a concept known as the MECE principle. MECE stands for “mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive.” When it comes to storing and tracking prospect data, MECE should be your guiding principle. In other words, you want a complete record of your prospects and their journey without any lead duplication to muddy the picture. The right CRM can ensure this is the case.

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