BestAgent has solved the CRM-supplier integration problem. Now all suppliers can connect to each other.
by Charlie Wright, BestAgent Founder
We’ve done it.
We’ve built the most important new platform the residential property industry has seen since the dawn of the internet.
It’s an open marketplace platform that allows any supplier to offer their product in an integrated way, to any agent using any CRM system. It even works for any agent not using software.
It’s important because it’s the first time in this industry anything has been designed specifically to solve the most pervasive problem faced by all agent and all suppliers: integration, or lack of it.
Every agent, with no exceptions that we know of, suffers from some duplication of data entry, multiple logins to multiple dashboards for multiple staff at multiple stages of the moving process. It’s a daily, grinding nightmare.
Zero data entry, at last.
The dreary days of double-digit duplicating of data are numbered.
All that remains is for suppliers to connect their products to the marketplace. We’ve made this easier for suppliers than it is setting up a single integration for anyone CRM system.
And it’s the last integration they’ll ever need to make. Once you’re a supplier connected to BestAgent Marketplace, you’re effectively connected to every other product or system your clients need you to be.
When suppliers are connected, it will mean near-zero data entry for agents, once and for all. BestAgent already imports all buyer and tenant enquiries automatically. It will do the same for valuation enquiries, whatever lead-generating supplier they may come from, as soon as those suppliers have connected.
Agents will be freely able to try whatever products they want, no restrictions.
Technology has long had the potential to bring great improvements to our industry, but agents have been warning us all along that unless supplier products can “talk to each other” they are often left unusable.
No matter how great a product may be on its own, if using it means agents have to type data into yet another interface or dashboard, it’s only making their “interface fatigue” worse.
On-boarding new customers will be the easiest it has ever been for suppliers.
Many supplier products need agents data imported, input, or constantly streamed in for the product to work. Most agents suffer from work overload. This means that even when they have paid their set-up fees and signed the supplier contract, it can still take months before they eventually get the product up and running. This leads to lots of agents pulling out of their decision. “We’re sorry, we really wanted to use you, but we just can’t find the time to get it set up.”
Data sets include: Clients, properties, images, applicants, viewings and offers
When suppliers have connected to the Marketplace and a new agent customer signs up, whatever data is needed is instantly and automatically provided from the agent’s BestAgent account. For suppliers whose products can be activated automatically, this means that agents will be able to instantly sign-up online and start using new suppliers.
Every time a supplier needs to know about a new event, contact or change, BestAgent Marketplace communicates this instantly and automatically, as well as securely.
But agents always have complete control.
A technical monster and masterpiece.
Conceiving, designing, speccing and building a platform to allow an unlimited number of suppliers to connect to an unlimited number of agents has been a world-class challenge. BestAgent is one of the first, if not the first, live enterprise application in the UK or Europe using a 100% serverless architecture. Without this, it simply would not have been possible. Other companies using this technology include Netflix, Coca Cola, the BBC and Expedia. Its use requires a complete departure from conventional application architecture.
It’s enormous. It already has greater capacity and scalability than any other application in our industry, as you would imagine, given the volume and scale of information it will be handling. It’s taken 3 years to build thus far. As Duncan Watts from Google said at our Supplier event last year, what BestAgent has achieved in terms of the speed, response times and user-interface is a “non-trivial accomplishment”.
But it’s only the beginning.
Agents must be able to run their unique business in their own unique way.
Estate and Lettings Agency is a relationship business, it’s the business of moving people. Every relationship is unique, every move is unique, and every agent has their own unique way of running their business.
No one is better placed to decide what’s best for their businesses than the agency owners themselves. It’s time to stop telling agents what they’re doing wrong, how to run their business and what products are right for them.
Instead, as suppliers, we need to start making it easier for agents to choose whatever products they feel might work for them. We need to give them easier access to tests and trials. We need to end restrictive practices. Most of all we must remove any requirement to ever have to key in data more than once, at most, if at all.
The long tail of small agents is the most fertile new business ground for suppliers.
Our goal with BestAgent Marketplace is this: make it easier than ever for more agents to access great products, and get as close as possible to a zero data entry scenario.
Corporate, multi-branch and online agents are in retreat. They are a shrinking market for suppliers.
There are around 15,000 single branch agents who make up the largest segment of our industry. Let’s work together to focus on delivering them the best products they’ve ever had. Let’s help them in the incredible, thankless and undervalued task they have of moving people.
Register for the first Supplier Workshop on 29 June
BestAgent is holding a workshop for its existing supplier partners on 26th June at the Bicester Hotel, Golf Club and Spa near Oxford. It’s a free all-day event beginning at 9,30am open to any suppliers to residential estate or lettings agency.
If you have not received an invitation and would like to join the 100+ suppliers attending to find out exactly how Marketplace works and how to connect their products, register your free Supplier Account at https://login.bestagent.partners/. You will then automatically receive an invitation.
A maximum of three people per supplier company may attend, we recommend one senior, one technical, and one marketing person to attend.
The day is an open discussion day, with a demo of how BestAgent is working for existing users, some of the future plans for developing deeper supplier product integration.
Thank you to the BestAgent team
As is usually the way with great innovation, there is an extraordinary team behind it. I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank every last member of the team who has helped us get this far. Their passion, commitment and professionalism is a credit to them and an asset to the company. It’s been a huge challenge so far, and we’re only just getting started. I’m privileged to work with them.