Today, Ketan is instrumental in the continual development of Sell.Do's growing list of innovative features and product architecture. Since its launch in 2016, more than 600 real estate companies have grown their business with Sell.Do. Ketan talks about the innovation & business value that Sell.Do Integrated Solution brings to the table for real estate developers.
In an interaction with Mamta Maity, indiainfoline.com, Ketan Sabnis, CEO and Co-founder of Sell.Do say, “From overall real estate sales angle, in the short term, we will see a drop in new project launches. Impact on the luxury & premium segment will be higher.”
Can you provide a brief overview of your company?
We realized in 2011 that there were huge gaps between developers and their audiences, which prompted the idea of a real estate specific solution. With years of experience working on marketing & sales for real estate, we had a good understanding of the industry’s pain points and could envision a technology solution to solve them. It took us about three years to go from ideation and conceptualization to design and development.
Over years, we have kept improving the product and continue to do so today, adding new features and optimizing in-use technology to help solve realty challenges efficiently. The technology suite that you see today provides for complete end to end collaboration between all stakeholders & for a complete online buying experience for customers. Since 2014, we have had the pleasure of serving more than 600 real estate developers in India, making Sell.Do the preferred technology partner for real estate sales and marketing.
What are your key differentiators?
The team understands real estate, technology, sales & marketing and has over 2 Million hours of combined domain experience in Real Estate.
The focus has always been to keep the overall cost of ownership low and provide both software & necessary business support together which is rare in most SaaS products. We are a deep industry-focused & managed SaaS product - which means customers don't have to buy multiple tools, spend time in integrations nor need to build internal teams to manage it.
How is Sell.Do’s integrated solution adding value to developers and customers?
When we say, ‘integrated solution,’ we mean the solution breaks individual silos and helps all functions & stakeholders work on a single platform. The value add for developers is process transparency and accountability as all data and analytics, including marketing, sales, people performance, is readily available on the platform. Similarly, customers have all necessary information on-demand which encourages decision-making.
How online selling of properties is helping developers streamline their sales productivity?
Streamlining sales means that all bottlenecks and rudimentary tasks are eliminated by enhancing the process with curated technology for real estate. For sales teams, what this means is they can identify and act on customer needs quickly with access to critical information which helps them answer customer queries in near real-time. Having omni-channel communication built into Sell.Do; helps sales teams interact online, set up video calls, do virtual demos or even negotiate & close a deal – all online! Information on leads, projects and inventory, all previous communication with the client, documentation, loan & banking integrations is all available to the sales members. Moreover, decision-makers have full access into business performance at a reporting or granular level.
How are you addressing the current situation and unseen opportunities in the RE sector?
We have undertaken a few key initiatives and built some important features.
1. We now have a true end-to-end integrated platform that provides for remote working & collaborative capabilities for all real estate stakeholders from marketing, call-center, sales, channel partners, customers & CXOs.
2. Despite the lockdown & remote working, call-centers on Sell.Do are able to run remotely with Cloud Telephony.
3. With customers at homes & a drop in site-visits, Sell.Do offers complete online selling portal, virtual site visits, online payment options and video conferencing & calendar scheduling tools.
4. With integrated KYC, Online documentation & digital signature support, we have also reduced the requirement for documentation & related travel for end consumers.
5. The software also integrates with Banking Loan Origination systems to hand-off all KYC data & documents and initiate loan processing online.
Apart from this, we are also running remote working trainings & webinars for our clients’ sales teams, helping them make maximum use of what technology has to offer.
What are your views on the customer experience of online selling/buying vs traditional methods?
With traditional processes, data collection and analysis are done manually. And it is common knowledge that manual data collation and analysis are prone to human error. The processes are tedious to say the least and are costly to manage as it requires a dedicated workforce.
Moreover, every touchpoint is face-to-face, i.e., from site visits to bookings, negotiations and payments and sharing of sales documents which can stretch sales cycles to six months or more.
In contrast, online real estate selling is a much better option. Sell.Do offers automated data collation and analytics which ensures zero leads leakage and showcases insights in real-time. Plus, with automation, there is no need to invest in a dedicated workforce. Now all conversations, that is, from site visits to negotiations and booking are done virtually.
Homebuyers can experience online walkthroughs, make booking, payments and access all documentation in from one single solution.
Simply put, the advantages of online real estate selling far outplay traditional selling in so many ways that a transition to online sales for India’s real estate industry is inevitable. It is only a matter of time before we see the transformation.
How has COVID19 impacted real estate transactions? What is the way forward?
The Covid19 pandemic has affected the real estate sector badly. Site visits have halted which has reduced property bookings, which in turn has lowered transactions and has created inventory pileups and cashflow problems for developers. Further, existing supply chains have broken, coercing developers to resort to alternate sourcing, keeping the cost of construction high. To add to this, labour shortages and costs have further amplified the total cost of construction. In such times, the way forward is to reduce the cost of sales and marketing to offset construction costs.
Transitioning to digital campaigns & online sales and marketing will help keep these costs under check. Moreover, digital advertising or sales can leverage more technology & will be easier to control and improvise than traditional ones. For example, real estate businesses in a post- COVID era can either implement a full digital sales cycle or a hybrid one where traditional elements like actual site visits are added to the mostly digital sales cycle.
From overall real estate sales angle, in the short term, we will see a drop in new project launches. Impact on the luxury & premium segment will be higher. But we will also see more millennials opting to buy homes than renting them. With repeat lockdowns, need for a house in metros or places of work and Real Estate looking like a safe investment; we will see the lower & budget homes sales come back to normal soon.
How has Sell.Do assisted reputed developers in achieving their sales targets?
These developers are a revelation in such complex times. Reputed developers, across India, understand the need to adapt to changing market scenarios quickly. The need of the hour is to keep the sales engine running and the best (and only) integrated solution available today is Sell.Do.
It is a testament to the way these businesses have transitioned to online sales. Sell.Do is extremely proud to be a part of their success. One common feedback is that customer engagement is great as the sales process helped the business improve process agility and be aware of customer requirements.
How does automation of sales & marketing in RE yield better price realisation and inventory management?
Real Estate sales has always been a Research Online & Purchase Offline (ROPO) model; it generally takes a few weeks to months with multiple touchpoints with the customer and is a very involved purchase journey. Conversations are made at multiple touchpoints, across multiple channels like Ads, Emails, SMS, Tele calls, WhatsApp and digital re-marketing.
Automation helps throughout this journey to either move the inventory fast or get a better price realisation. For example, with better data enrichment & lead-scoring; sales teams can focus on the leads with higher probability to close thus moving sales faster. With dynamic pricing based on demand-supply economics, systems can help drive a better price per unit. With banking & credit bureau integrations; sales staff can ensure faster agreements.
Understanding which campaigns are working, what audience set is working better for sales; can all help improve velocity. With online payments, automated payment follow-ups; developers can also collect revenue faster improving cash-flow.
Along with this, sales & marketing automation helps drive higher ROI on marketing spends. Automated lead capture ensures zero leads leakage. Ad-Data also helps improve campaign efficiency, and drip marketing ensure warm/hot are always being touch-based with. The bottom line is that sales and marketing automation brings convenience and time/costs savings to the table.
What role will technology play in the future for the realty sector?
1. Like every industry, the Real Estate sector will also undergo rapid Digital Transformation & we will technology being deployed throughout the entire funnel.
2. Shift to digital marketing will be accelerated, with small & medium players betting heavily on it. Outdoor marketing will go down & budgets will be freed up for enterprise customers to go heavy with digital. Companies will need automation to run digital ads, optimise their spends with ML/AI and reduce human dependency.
3. Having Collaboration tools for all stakeholders & a single platform to manage entire marketing & sales funnel will become important. Tools like sell.do that can replicate the entire offline journey in the online world will play a major role in future of real estate sales.
4. Chat, Bots, WhatsApp, SMS/Email, FB Messenger and similar communication tools combined with a CRM like Sell.Do will be used heavily.
5. Documentation, Agreements, Collections everything will move online & governments will also have to provide technology tools for customers to do it from their homes.
6. VR/AR will be heavily used to create the same sample apartment experience for customers. It will also open up new possibilities on how we showcase or design homes.
7. CEOs will focus on owning a solution that runs analytics & BI with data combined from Advertising, Sales, ERP & finance and all functions.