Creating Process Efficiency in the Real Estate Industry

"A CRM tool only becomes valuable when it's totally embedded in an organisation. We're trying to extract the most value from the stuff we've already implemented before we start adding to the toolset."

Hannes Buhrmann Chief Product Officer, Strike

The challenges

Strike is the UK's 2nd largest estate agency brand, listing over 2,000 properties for sale per month. Its business model is different to its competitors. It makes no charge for listing properties. Instead, it makes its money from add-on services like marketing packages, mortgages, conveyancing and other moving services.

Efficient, reliable processes are essential to its profitability. Its key challenges included:

  • Building in-house technology that would automate as many parts of the property listing process as possible.
  • Maintaining a smooth and consistent customer experience (CX) across all of its customer propositions through its app, website, messengers and over the phone.
  • Maintaining compliance with the numerous regulations that govern conveyancing and financial services.
  • Promoting Strike's add-on services to people listing properties.
  • Improving sales performance and granular visibility of its commercial funnels.

The Zoho solution

Strike uses Zoho CRM to:

  • Automatically generate outbound call tasks for new leads and then generate further tasks that move customers through the Financial Services and Moving Services funnels.
  • Send outbound emails to leads and customers, reminding them of the next step in their process and promoting Strike's add-on services.
  • Integration with in-house and 3rd-party systems to avoid slow and unreliable rekeying.
  • Give operations team members and their managers granular insight into the current state of each lead.
  • Pass data to 3rd-party service providers to automatically generate quotations and provide progress updates.

The Company

Strike introduced its current business model in 2019, starting in the north of England. Rapid growth over the last two years has extended its reach to the Midlands and since the start of 2022, the whole of England.

The company has adopted a unique business model. Sellers are not charged anything to list their properties on Strike. With most of its competitors charging 1.5% to 2.0%, this can save home owners many thousands of pounds. That is an attractive proposition to thousands of movers.

Strike makes its money from add-on services. These include marketing packages, mortgages, conveyancing and 'concierge services' such as removals, inspections and utilities switching.

"We started with 35 licences in May 2021. Just over a year later, we have over 150."

Hannes Buhrmann, Chief Product Officer, Strike

The Challenge

Strike's profitability depends on two things:

  • Empowering buyers and sellers by automating much of the free service it offers, thereby not only saving cost, but also improving the customer experience.
  • Successfully promoting the add-on services that generate revenue.

Hannes Buhrmann, Strike's Chief Product Officer, knew that customisable technology was the only way to help the business scale to the size it wants to be. Technology had to handle as many of its business processes as possible, so that the operations team could focus on establishing rapport with buyers and sellers instead of doing repetitive administrative work.

Strike's challenge extended beyond technical requirements. Selling houses and moving is usually an extended process. It can take months. To handle the process efficiently and promote its add-on services effectively, Buhrmann knew it had to keep a strong connection with its customers. Strike needed systems that regularly provided relevant and useful information to keep customers engaged. This is where automated processes would play their part.

Strike's customers communicate with the business using a variety of tools: the website, the app and the phone. It was essential that the customer experience was smooth and consistent whichever channel they used. The same information had to be available. The same level of customer service had to be provided. The customer experience had to be superb. This required a truly integrated CRM platform.

The Strategy

Several leaders in the CRM field were eliminated on cost criteria early in Strike's selection process. The company was left with a shortlist of Freshsales, SugarCRM and Zoho.

Strike ran an in-depth evaluation of all three. Zoho was chosen because it successfully combined an impressive feature-set with competitive pricing. It delivered the functionality and expandability Strike needed at the right price point.

The value of blueprints

Strike has used Zoho CRM's Blueprint function from the outset. It uses a series of Blueprints that generate the outbound calls and ensure that leads are consistently transitioned through a series of bespoke statuses. As soon as a new lead is received, a Blueprint defines the process that generates follow-up activities. These help to make sure that the customer receives a rapid response and the business qualifies its leads efficiently.

When a member of the team updates the status of a lead, the Blueprint ensures that all mandatory data elements on the lead have been captured, and it automatically generates more tasks depending on the updated status.

The benefit of customisation

The customisation available in Zoho CRM has been one of the main enablers that has allowed Strike to grow so dramatically. Its workflows rely heavily on customised functions built in Deluge to update data on modules, create and update related data in custom modules, and triggering tasks and outbound emails.

The necessity for integration

Even though Strike's deployment of Zoho CRM automates a large part of the funnel, it will always rely on obtaining lead progression from complimentary systems. APIs are used to connect Zoho to two other systems:

  • Strike’s bespoke estate-agency CRM, from which the majority of the financial services referrals originate, and
  • FCA-regulated Financial Services fulfilment systems that provide downstream information on mortgage application status and mortgage application detail. Data is passed from these services into Zoho and drives certain steps in the Blueprint.
  • Industry type Real Estate
  • Employees 400 - 500 employees
  • Type of business Privately held

Features that helped us

Integration Automation

The future

Part of the process involves testing the way it communicates with its customers. CRM is useful for setting benchmarks. With the system in place, Strike can A/B test a variety of approaches and measure what works and what does not. It can, for example, channel a particular type of referral through a very specific helpline or specific managed service provider. Or it can bypass a part of the process for one reason or another.

"The CRM toolset now forms the backbone of our Financial Services and Concierge operations. It is difficult to picture our world now without this toolset."

Hannes Buhrmann, Chief Product Officer, Strike

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