One vendor is standing out in performance expectations

If you’ve been in this industry for more than a couple weeks, you know that MLS applications designed for MLS subscribers are abundant and they seem to be multiplying.  Aside from core MLS systems, many other types of MLS vendors are bringing new technologies to the table. These technologies cover everything from showing software and CRMs, to CMAs and IDX software. It can be a daunting challenge to effectively source and manage these offerings and relationships.

It is possible to make sense of it all, but it requires MLS executives and staff leaders to be proactive about what they need from a vendor. One way is through RETechnology which is uniquely designed to support vendor relationships. RETechnology is the only real estate publication that understands the relationship between technology products and the needs of an MLS.

Additionally, MLS execs should consider requiring vendors to help in the process. Time and time again I hear a similar pattern of complaints about vendor relationships from WAV Group MLS customers. There are vendors who seem to take a “set-in-and-forget-it” approach in which there is little to no initiative taken post-press release.  This lack of participation and responsiveness sets the groundwork for stagnant performance, limited adoption and complaints. In other, less-favorable circumstances, poor product support leads to irate subscribers and an extra burden on busy MLS staffers as they eagerly try to prop up a product without the support from the product expert, an absentee vendor.

We’ve put together an extensive list of what your MLS should expect…no, demand from the vendors you work with. These concepts cover insights we’ve gained at WAV Group as consultants to many real estate organizations.

4 Key Performance Expectations from your Vendor Relationships

Recently, we reviewed RentSpree’s process as an MLS vendor and here’s what we found:

1. Goal/KPI Setting

As the Zig Ziglar saying goes, “if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time”.  Failing to set goals at the beginning of a vendor relationship drastically increases the likelihood of an unsuccessful relationship.  The best vendors will approach you with targets and KPIs to aim for based upon past performance of the product from other relationships.  While vendors should guide the goal setting process, it should ultimately involve input from multiple parties, so everyone is on board with reasonable targets to hit. If your board is authorizing the effort, they should set the targets and consider making changes if they are missed.

Once a set of goals is scoped, it becomes easier to plan a roll-out that has a greater chance of achieving those goals for each and every vendor. Goals should be evaluated regularly and no less frequently than annually. This brings us to the next expectation: performance reviews.

2. Quarterly and Annual Performance Reviews

Transparency and teamwork are common through lines for any successful deployment.  The best way to ensure these two elements are with quarterly and annual reviews.  A good vendor should be willing to recap performance and to adjust planning on a quarterly basis, in concert with a more in-depth annual review.

RentSpree’s reviews typically include the following topics:

  • Company & product updates – new features and improvements made
  • Special project recap – webinars and marketing campaigns
  • Overview of main KPIs
  • Planning and goal setting for upcoming period
  • Open discussion on areas for improvement – upcoming features and tweaking strategy
  • Review of user satisfaction study
  • Review of customer helpline activity

By staying on the same page in terms of performance and expectations, you will be able to more easily benefit from the vendor relationship and achieve mutual success.

3. Marketing & Content Support

Marketing is a key component of every single relationship. Unfortunately, many vendors do not facilitate a successful marketing campaign. While it’s true that the brunt of the marketing effort lies with the MLS, vendors are key stakeholders in the promotion, understanding and adoption of their product or service. Their practices determine whether the process is smooth and easy or painstaking. By providing robust content and resources, a vendor can make the marketing process much simpler and more successful for the MLS.

RentSpree is a standout in their offerings and understanding of MLS needs. Their work includes:

rentspree creative center

  • Detailed brand guideline– Your team can see the vendor’s brand colors, logos, fonts, and general design elements in case you need to create assets.
  • Custom promotional artwork – Vendors should provide banner ads, email graphics, and more. The MLS should -provide them a specification sheet.
  • Copy-writing – Whether for a product page, description, call-to-action button, or otherwise, copy-writing resources from a vendor are invaluable. Your vendor will know the proper messaging that will lead to the best conversions.  Be sure to tap the vendor for this information and look to see if they keep the copy fresh over the course of the relationship.
  • Value-add content – There’s only so much “hard marketing” that can be done with a certain product. At a certain point, most users eventually experience “product fatigue” from being constantly blasted with promotional messaging. That’s why it’s critical to mix truly valuable information in with the promotional content. This is one of the biggest benefits that your vendor can provide.

4. Data Dashboard and Performance Tracking

Whether you have to answer to a board, committee, or executive team, having transparency into vendor performance figures is required during this “age of information”. And let’s face it: goals that can’t be tracked can’t be achieved. Do you currently have visibility into your vendor performance figures?  Instead of having to hound vendors to get information on how things are going, why can’t there be an easy way for you to access key information?

Here is what the RentSpree performance dashboard looks like:rentspree user dashboard

Final Note

In an industry that’s at its best when it stays ahead of the curve, it’s imperative that vendors have that same mindset. When we’re not getting better, we’re getting worse, and we all need to get better in order to move the industry forward. #makethemarketwork