Data-driven technologies have already redefined — and will continue to redefine — the way commercial real estate brokers and investors approach their businesses. The democratization of traditionally inaccessible market information has empowered even the most experienced commercial real estate professionals to increase the precision of their efforts and to find and close deals that would have remained hidden in a pre-big data world.
But while brokers and investors may be the primary user groups for many emerging PropTech platforms and tools, they are by no means the only ones who can reap their benefits. Companies whose business models revolve around servicing commercial real estate properties, for instance, can use a data platform to streamline and improve their approach to acquiring new clients.
The “Referral Factor:” Data Helps Vendors Gain a Competitive Edge
For a company whose business is closely tied to the fluctuations of a particular commercial real estate market — whether it services commercial properties directly (a cleaning service, for example) or provides secondary services to larger corporate entities’ clientele (a restaurant in a business park, for example) — securing new business typically demands time-consuming outbound prospecting.
But some 84 percent of B2B decisions begin with a referral, meaning B2B “cold calling” must overcome the “unfamiliarity barrier” in addition to all of the other obstacles already stacked against an unsolicited business proposition. It makes sense, then, for service businesses to only dedicate their energies to the most high-percentage leads. After all, making an already low-percentage cold call to a low-percentage prospect is a waste of everyone’s time.
Making an already low-percentage cold call to a low-percentage prospect is a waste of everyone’s time.
That’s where commercial real estate data comes into play. With access to extensive data on each and every property in a particular market — from sales history and tax records to lot size and debt history — commercial real estate professionals and the vendors they work with can craft deliberately tailored lead lists. For examples, depending on the data platform they use, vendors can identify precisely which buildings have recently been sold, find out who owns them, and reach out accordingly. They can also take into consideration how that particular sale will impact the surrounding properties.
With access to this kind of information, a company can perform an owner portfolio search in order to better understand the specific needs a target might have. Say, for instance, that a data platform reveals that a dozen medical facilities strewn across a particular city are registered to the same billing address. To a company specializing in sterile medical cleaning, this single owner represents a greater value than ten single-property medical owners combined, and thus deserves a substantial share of the company’s sales and marketing attention.
Industry Insiders Stay One Step Ahead
It’s not just service-oriented businesses that benefit from better, deeper commercial real estate market knowledge. By using data-driven commercial real estate platforms to keep tabs on sales and purchases, development, and zoning within a particular district, companies of all kinds can make well-informed, “early game” decisions about scooping up property in emerging neighborhoods.
If a large industrially-zoned parcel suddenly comes off the market, an observant company can do a little digging and determine who the new tenant will be. If the company provides a complementary offering — again, even something as tangentially related as a restaurant for the incoming droves of new employees — it can then work to identify the best possible parcel for a new location.
This, ultimately, is the true value of comprehensive commercial real estate marketplace data: detailed, high-quality information that’s updated in real-time and accessible 24/7. For commercial real estate brokers and investors, this means better deals, but for those businesses that live and die by their relationships with the proprietors of commercial enterprises, it means all the information they need to forge more profitable partnerships.
Accessing Quality Data
Historically, this kind of industry data has been challenging to access and unwieldy to organize, often stored on microfiche in dusty state capitol building basements and all but inaccessible to the average commercial real estate professional. Even as the digital revolution continues to advance, many states have been slow to streamline and digitize corporate records.
But the past several years have brought with them an industry-wide transformation, in which the democratization of commercial real estate data has played an essential role. Emerging PropTech tools have the power to gather, organize, and supplement government data, ultimately streamlining the way in which industry vendors and veterans conduct market research. These comprehensive and intuitive data platforms give brokers and investors the unprecedented opportunity to scrutinize any property or market and unearth details like property zoning information, sales history, and debt maturity from anywhere in the country.
Those who embrace these tools will not only be well-positioned to drive the industry forward — they’ll be better equipped to strategically grow their business.