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This Is What Real Estate Tech Actually Needs To Do

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At Inman Connect New York on Tuesday, Joe Skousen and Grier Allen discussed how technology leaders should look for ways to simplify agents’ lives, enhancing their productivity and eliminating mundane tasks.

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Joe Skousen, CEO of Inside Real Estate, has a tall order for his ideal customer relationship manager (CRM).

“If an agent never had to log into the CRM again,” Skousen said Tuesday with a chuckle, “that would be the perfect CRM.”

Skousen made the comments while on stage for an afternoon session of Inman Connect New York dubbed “How to leverage tech tools to convert sales and create larger pipelines.” He was ultimately joking about a CRM that an agent never logs into, but his point was that the perfect real estate technology tools demand less from users, not more.

“If they only had to log in to do these high [return on investment], high productivity actives that would be ideal,” Skousen explained.

Skousen appeared on stage with Grier Allen — CEO of BoomTown, which Inside Real Estate acquired this month — who ultimately agreed. He argued that real estate technology products need to reduce complexity for the user. The goal, he told the crowd, should be to “allow the agent to focus on the next most important thing,” while eliminating mundane tasks that agents don’t enjoy and which aren’t earning them money.

“Automation is something that’s absolutely critical,” he added.

Both panelists also discussed the need for technology to be adaptable. A massive team might need a product that scales well and has powerhouse features, Grier pointed out. But an individual agent using the same product might be overwhelmed. They need individualized solutions, not endless complexity, and the longest possible list of tools.

Pictured from left are moderator Jeff Lobb, Joe Skousen and Grier Allen at Inman Connect New York on Tuesday. | Photos by AJ Canaria & Mercedes Santiago of MoxiWorks

Skousen, meanwhile, said that technology companies hoping to work with agents ought to focus on experiences and how their users are engaging within and inside tools.

“Being able to tailor these experiences within the technology allows people to get to the results,” he said. “It’s about getting to the results.”

He also said that much of the new technology in real estate has focused on generating leads online, even though most agents still get half or more of their business from their personal spheres. Technology needs to acknowledge that reality and help agents lean into it.

Finally, the panelists talked about data and how technology firms can benefit by offering deep insights to their users. To that end, Skousen said that many industry leaders and agents have looked closely at part of their deals, such as commissions or what activity they’re doing day to day. Data from tech providers, then, can benefit those users by giving them a more comprehensive look at the entirety of their businesses.

“It’s really being able to see the end to end, top to bottom,” Skousen added, “that’s what gives you your deepest insights.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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