We recently surveyed the top real estate executives across the nation about what we believe will be the hottest new technology for 2016: Marketing automation. With nearly one third of the brokerage industry already using some form of marketing automation to promote their listings, another third are planning to implement marketing automation next year.

One of the unexpected findings from the 2015 Thought Leader Survey we released (available here), is that 66% of the top real estate brokerage and franchise executives told us that marketing automation will improve their ability to recruit agents.

Here are three ways marketing automation can help you recruit new agents:

  1. Competitive differentiator: Right now, 70% of the real estate industry is not using marketing automation. For companies such as RE/MAX Michigan, their advanced automated marketing system gives them a competitive edge in their communities across the state. Right now, the RE/MAX Michigan automated marketing system creates a marketing package for every listing and then publishes and distributes everything, and the agent doesn’t have to lift a finger.

Imagine the conversation RE/MAX Michigan can have with agents they are looking to recruit by proposing, “What if we were to take care of the heavy-lifting in marketing your listings by creating a  complete “Just Listed” package of both print and digital marketing content — from flyers and postcards to ePostcards, a mobile-enabled, responsive Single Property Website, an IDX Virtual Tour, plus a YouTube video and publishing it all for every one of your listings?” It’s a powerful competitive differentiator.

  1. Speeds time to close: Saving time is great, but getting the transaction closed more quickly is what really gets the attention of agents because it directly impacts their income. The quicker that agents can close on one transaction, the faster they can get the next deal done or have more time to land another deal.

With marketing automation, all that the agent has to worry about is inputting the listing. Marketing automation takes care of creating and publishing everything an agent needs to market a listing. That means every listing is marketed immediately, not the day of the Broker’s Open or the morning before the first Open House. In a hot market like most of us are in today, getting a listing promoted quickly can be the key to getting an offer in faster and a deal closed earlier. When you are recruiting agents and tell them you are going to help speed up their deals, they are going to listen and they are going to like what they hear.

  1. Creating marketing materials is not something agents typically like to do. Face it, most agents hate wasting time creating flyers, working on websites, or posting home tours to YouTube. It’s not in their skillset and it’s not what they are trained to do. This is where marketing automation helps you recruit new agents: You take care of something that agents really don’t like to do and frankly, the vast majority are terrible at doing it.

The recent Thought Leader Survey told us that real estate executives see marketing automation as “extremely valuable” for agent recruiting. That means the window for offering a marketing automation solution as a competitive differentiator is likely going to disappear over the next few years, but that’s okay. What we have learned in the past is that great technology – like marketing automation – goes from being a “want to have” technology to a “need to have” technology. The firms that have entered this space early understand this.