Delivering quick and effective communications during a crisis
Real estate is what Melissa Phang, Marketing Executive at APM, would call a “more traditional type of industry.” Before the COVID-19 pandemic, certain aspects of building management still required and relied on the “offline” method of communication with the customers.
The occupiers of a building are the most important customer in the property management business. The communication with the customer has to be timely, well-received and easily understood. As the way of work changes and the interaction between people evolves, traditional methods become increasingly untenable.
With people made to work from home, paper memos become less relevant and manual processes slow down workflows and disallow remote collaboration. There is a growing need for businesses to find a centralized way to manage information.
“In terms of contact database management, it’s usually Excel sheets used across various teams,” Melissa says.
Melissa knew that digital transformation would help APM stay ahead of its competitors. So she began seeking out solutions… when the unthinkable happened.
“We were just getting into things as COVID hit. Our occupiers had questions: What should we do next? What’s the situation? We had to send out regular email updates to our list."
“We faced two other problems,” Melissa adds. “First, sometimes mail didn’t get sent because we had such a long list of clients to bcc. They might also get flagged as spam. Second, many occupiers started updating their contact lists and correcting previous errors created some customer frustration.”
The problem with recording everything manually is that information becomes siloed. In APM’s case, one team might update their spreadsheet, but another team holding a copy of the spreadsheet wasn’t informed of the change.
“There was a lot of human error going on due to copying the contact list from an Excel spreadsheet when another team is holding a document that looks slightly different.”
Fortunately, Melissa realized that despite the pandemic, APM had a chance to step into the future and define what excellence is in the property management space.
“I saw that we had an opportunity, and leadership realized that we need to be at the forefront of change,” she says.
“What better time to do that than during a pandemic, when people have a greater sense of urgency? So we made the decision to leverage more digital tools – specifically HubSpot.”
APM Chooses HubSpot CRM for Robust Capabilities + Ease-Of-Use
One of Melissa’s top priorities in choosing a CRM was the ease of use and implementation. Digital transformation can often be overwhelming, so she needed an intuitive solution with a gentle learning curve.
“Ultimately, what we liked about HubSpot was its full suite of CRM functions and its cost efficiencies, but what led us to choose HubSpot was that it was the easiest tool to start using. It has a lot of advanced functions, but it wasn’t as complicated as other ERPs,” Melissa says.
In researching CRM solutions, Melissa realized that many charge per user license. Larger organizations like APM would wind up paying extra for features they might never use. HubSpot’s cost is determined by contacts instead of users, which Melissa called a “winning factor.”
The final differentiator was scalability. APM needed a solution that would grow alongside it. HubSpot – designed to streamline sales, marketing, content management, and customer service – was the perfect fit.
“Scalability is important because you don’t want a system that only allows you to do one function,” Melissa says.
Seamless Adoption with HubSpot’s Partner Program
The Solutions Partner Program helped APM deploy and adopt HubSpot company-wide with minimal friction. APM’s partner, digitus, helped implement and guide strategy – and real estate is one of their specialties.
“As easy as HubSpot CRM is to implement and the free versions you can use immediately, we did find that some of our contact fields were more complicated to set up. Thankfully, we had digitus to help. We passed our Excel sheets to digitus and they consolidated the data into one centralized database for us,” Melissa says.
With digitus’ help, APM could plan for future scalability.
“The biggest upside of having a partner is that they understand the system so much better than us and helped us implement HubSpot in the most effective way.”
She adds, “They planned out our infrastructure in such a way that contacts belonging to the same company are linked together intuitively, which streamlines how we manage our sales pipeline, service tickets, and so on.”
Marketing Workflows Streamlined
With HubSpot Marketing Hub, the cumbersome process of bccing clients who may or may not see each memo has been replaced by an intuitive system.
Melissa says, “The thing my team loves most is the one-click email sending. We can reach all of our targeted tenants in one go. We also get to see who’s opened the email and who did not. If a tenant contacts us, we can see the entire window of activities and respond correctly. It’s easy to use and it was exactly what my team needed.”
The Marketing Hub has other features as well, including social media tools, analytics dashboards, SEO tools, and various marketing automations – all of which save time and make life easier for clients and marketing teams.
“It gives us a 360-degree view of what’s happening. No more scouring through emails to try and understand what’s going on with a client,” Melissa says.
One Unified Platform Across All Locations
Perhaps the best thing about HubSpot is how easily it can be adapted to suit APM’s needs. Having one centralized database has already come with a host of benefits:
“HubSpot is always up to date. It’s linked to all of our contacts, so we don’t have to inform everyone when a change is made. We don’t have to go through a long manual process of receiving information from the tenant, scripting it, and sending it to the team. All we have to do is update HubSpot,” Melissa explains.
As APM continues to grow, HubSpot supports its evolving customer success strategies. Flexible content management and user-friendly customer service software streamline workflows and keep clients happy.
“Right now, we’re using it for customer communication purposes: notifications, emails, getting contracts signed, etc. But in the future, we want to expand to do more sales, service, integrations with financials, and that sort of thing.”
Critical workflows in 50% less time
When it comes to property management, APM is pushing the envelope and setting new trends in the space. HubSpot is helping them blaze that trail by making it possible to automate RPAs, work collaboratively across different countries, and make a push to go paperless.
Dealing with COVID is still a challenge, of course, but at least with HubSpot keeping everyone informed has never been easier. Melissa explains:
“As a building manager, we put out a lot of notices: welcome emails, onboarding emails, memos and updates. Being able to send those out with one click or see the whole history of our interaction with a customer have had a huge impact on our work and our team as well.”
Melissa says that HubSpot has helped decrease the time required for essential work processes by more than half.
“Cutting out the manual work has led to increased efficiency and easily saved us 50% of the time on key workflows,” she says.
In a sector that’s often shackled by antiquated systems, APM now has a distinct competitive advantage.
“It’s easy for things to get tied down as corporations get bigger, but HubSpot keeps us agile. And something we really appreciate is that the updates are constantly being rolled out. Six months or one year from now, the system will have improved in ways we didn’t even know we needed. That’s a huge upside – and one of the reasons I highly recommend others use HubSpot."