Douglas Elliman is hoping it’s found a divine trinity in a new tool that combines marketing, business management and a customer relationship management system.
The platform, which launches next week, was beta-tested by the firm’s top-selling Eklund-Gomes team and partly developed using the team’s “book of business,” according to team CEO Julia Spillman.
It’s called Elliman Studio and was developed by Gabriels Technology Solutions.
“It wasn’t something that was off-the-shelf,” said Scott Durkin, Elliman’s president and COO, noting that it took more than a year to develop. “We changed it in many, many ways to accommodate the luxury agent.”
He declined to say how much Elliman spent on the product or how much the firm will be shelling out for agents’ ongoing subscription costs to Gabriels, the real estate website creator of the CRM of Sotheby’s International Realty and other brokerages and of a retail CRM for individual agents.
Elliman Studio provides agents with templated property websites that can be customized and come with a unique URL for any listing, as well as templates and easy distribution for internal and external marketing campaigns. Finally, it serves as a repository for client contact information, with a system of financial reports allowing agents to forecast their income and deal volume.
Many of Studio’s features were informed by the “wishlist” of agents on the Eklund-Gomes team and Spillman herself, who worked closely with Elliman’s technology team and Gabriels engineers. The California office also participated in the testing.
Spillman acknowledged she wasn’t solely motivated by altruism; the team had been looking to upgrade its previous CRM, built off Salesforce, and was facing a $100,000 bill to do it. She approached Elliman’s technology team in search of an alternative. She and Durkin both claim the brokerage was already beginning to develop Studio with Gabriels, so the Eklund-Gomes jumped into participating in developing and testing the platform.
“This is a great investment that Douglas Elliman has done for us,” she said, but added, “I will be shocked if every agent in the company doesn’t find one additional deal [as a result of using Studio].”
Durkin admitted that while none of the tools in Studio is itself new, putting them in one place accessible to the entire company at no cost is a significant step and is key for recruitment and retention.
“It’s really an accountability program,” he said, noting the goal is to help agents close more deals. “If this is a successful venture for them, we reap the benefits as well.”
Durkin also emphasized that the tool is owned by a third party and the company would not have access to agents’ data. Privacy and security was a point of concern earlier this year after Compass acquired Contactually, a cloud-based CRM system whose users include agents at other firms such as Sotheby’s and Berkshire Hathaway. Before the acquisition, Compass had been developing its own CRM in-house.
Agents who leave Elliman could even take over payment of the subscription fee to Gabriels Technology Solutions to continue using a pared-down version of the system, Durkin confirmed.
Studio will launch across most of the brokerage’s offices Nov. 18, along with training sessions and materials, according to the company. It will reach Colorado and California locations next year, when a mobile app is also slated to debut.
Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]