Collaborating with service providers has helped Consorcio ARA – a business specializing in designing, building, promoting and commercializing housing developments in some of Mexico’s largest cities – gain a competitive edge.
According to Martin Guevara Hernandez, Business Development Manager at Consorcio ARA, subcontracting to outsourcing services has enabled the unit he leads to make a greater impact within the business. “We are able to implement more strategies and initiatives and generate a critical mass of knowledge,” he states.
A couple of years ago, Guevara took control of the company’s eMarketing strategy responsibilities with the aim of increasing and following up on online leads, from initial contact with potential buyers to signing the deeds to the house.
Every month Consorcio ARA’s official webpage (ara.com.mx) gets around 12,000 visits from people interested in buying a house, which is why reinforcing the eMarketing strategy is vitally important. Rather than just encouraging traffic, the aim was to achieve a higher conversion rate – in other words, to make sure visits lead to purchases.
According to Guevara, in order to succeed and improve their conversion rate it was clear that they had to start working with outsourcers with the relevant experience. With help from the web design and Internet publicity agency, Masclicks, they focused on designing their web page and defining their online positioning strategies. Although progress was significant, Hernandez’ department decided to change providers and start working with Mexico Showroom (now known as Xinertia), a business specializing in real estate development promotion. This helped add value to their online marketing initiatives. Guevara was quick to see the potential advantages from working with this business. “I knew they were negotiating with some of our competitors, so we suggested they work exclusively with us. They then grew together with us.”
The 40 tools developed by Mexico Showroom allowed ARA to follow up on interest by helping them obtain information as to their visitors’ behavior, places of origin and contact information. They also help design and carry out highly focused campaigns and even enabled the firm to see if potential clients have any outstanding debts. “It’s a type of CRM that provides you with detailed reports and calculates the likelihood of the person becoming a client,” Guevara says.
Once the potential buyers provide Consorcio ARA with their details, these are immediately sent to the call center. There, agents look to contact them within 24 hours to confirm their interest in buying a new home, to carry out the loan prequalification and presale paperwork and to schedule an appointment for the prospective buyer to visit the housing development, he explains.
According to Guevara, sales generated by the website represent 12% of the company’s total revenue; a figure that is expected to rise. “We don’t sign deeds over the internet but it does help us reach clients in order to show them what we have on offer; allowing them to weigh up their options. This puts us ahead of the competitors.”
Integration with the Call Center
Thanks to the success of the eMarketing strategies when it came to generating more leads and increasing the number of house sales, Guevara decided to replicate the strategy at the call center run by Atento, the BPO provider Consorcio ARA worked with in the beginning. Today CSSolutions is its main BPO provider.
As previously mentioned, potential clients providing their details on the website are contacted within 24 hours in order to confirm their interest in buying a house, carry out the loan prequalification and arrange appointments for them to visit a development. However, potential clients who phoned into the call center on the 800 free phone number were not receiving this same attention.
“Previously, clients calling the call center were merely given an appointment to visit the development they were interested in”, explained Guevara. “However, as they had not provided us with a complete profile there was certain information we weren’t aware of.”
Because of this, Consorcio ARA decided to automate the call center; using tools developed by Mexico Showroom, enabling them to follow up on leads generated by the website. “Today, the profiling process is standard procedure,” and reports are compiled on a daily basis, giving the companies’ regional managers access to the recording of the initial contact with the client and helping them to gauge their interest in buying.
In fact, Guevara instigated an innovative collaboration with the call center: as well as maintaining 15 permanent telephone operator positions, working over two shifts, they added another six sales advisor positions to attend to the more special cases.
Hernandez adds that working from the call center provides the company advisors with greater incentives, as sales commissions can increase dramatically. “Before, we had, on average 60 appointments a day. Now, this number has increased to 110. And we are working much more closely with marketing,” he explains.
“I believe that outsourcing is intrinsic to operating a business and we should try to get the most we can out of it,” Guevara says. “You have to have a good selection process and know how to make good long-term negotiations – making it clear that the relationship will greatly benefit both parties.”
Guevara works closely with the external technology service providers, getting to know exactly which area each one is working on. He seeks to manage them closely; monitoring their results and evaluating their performance while trying hard not to invade their personal space or undermine their authority.
“Secondly, you should clearly define which responsibilities fall to the outsourcer and which fall to the business contracting him. There shouldn’t be any grey areas, as this results in nobody taking responsibility for anything and generates a lot of unnecessary conflict,” he adds.
Guevara also feels that an outsourcing service provider should be someone who gets involved in the operation, someone able and willing to take on a proactive role going above and beyond. “I believe that the key lies in the outsourcer being proactive, always looking for ways to improve, while being attentive to our individual needs,” he concludes.