Adopting new technology for your property management company only works when there is buy-in from the people in your organization who it affects the most.
If you’ve attended a trade show at all this year, then you know there’s tons of great tech available to multifamily owners and managers today that can actually improve portfolio performance. So how can you be at the forefront of change while properly vetting vendors so that you can get your teams to believe in their products or services?
In this blog:
- The rise of new multifamily tech
- How tech adoption fails
- 3 tips to get your teams to believe in tech
The rise of new multifamily tech
One of the better stories within the multifamily industry is the increasing amount of property, marketing, and revenue technology vendors coming to market.
It's a sign that the industry, which was once known to adapt a decade later than everyone else, is more willing and excited about being at the forefront of change.
Part of it results from the rapid acceleration of innovation that had to occur during the pandemic. Property management companies had to stop and change everything they were doing overnight, and a new set of challenges came with it.
More and more vendors answered the call. Now, with centralization, staffing woes, high operating expenses, shifting demand/supply trends, and changes to renter behavior shifting how property management companies work, the need for assistance from a vendor's technology is more significant than ever.
How tech adoption fails
You get excited about how 'x' vendor solves 'y' problem, so you go forward with a contract and eventually onboarding before you involve the people who will use that product daily.
(That may or may not be a true story. We're a marketing tech vendor, after all 😉.)
Tech adoption fails when you don't have these three essential elements:
- Your organization is aligned with the tech’s purpose
- Everyone in your organization believes the solution will solve a problem for them, and
- Everyone is trained to use it.
It's already hard to implement new tech at scale across your portfolio; getting everyone on board with it is even more challenging.
Organizational alignment with a new tech solution is key. An example of organizational misalignment is adding a revenue management product that lowers occupancy a percent or two in search of higher NOI when your site staff is incentivized based on signing leases. Site staff will tank the new technology because it makes their job harder, and they get fewer incentives, even though it’s best for the property and the organization.
So, the tech needs to solve a problem for everyone in your organization, and everyone needs to believe it will benefit them.
Finally, it's not just getting your teams to see the tech as a benefit; it's also getting them to understand how to use it.
You will almost always lose buy-in from your teams if you don't give them a chance to properly train (which, as we'll go into later, is something you need to be aware of when researching tech vendors)—whether they believe in it or not.
3 tips to get your multifamily teams to believe in new tech
Here are three things we've learned as a multifamily tech vendor to help you vet future partners and get your teams on board with them:
1. Seek assistance from the vendor's sales rep.
When researching and demoing various tech vendors and their products, you have a great advocate in that vendor's sales representative. You can ask the rep to assist you in getting all the right parties on board (like those on your team who will use that tech daily) before you get to the contract phase.
Start by making a list of those you need to get buy-in from and ask the rep if he or she is willing to demo with them. Some key individuals to think about are on-site staff, regionals, IT teams, and owners.
The vendor's sales rep should help deliver multiple product demos (if necessary) or leave-behinds for you to share to give everyone on your team a chance to believe in the new tech and get excited about adding it.
And be sure to ask your sales rep about what adoption challenges they’ve seen in other companies and how this solution works for every level of the organization—this can help you get organizational alignment.
Essentially, don't do the research and vetting in the dark. Even if you're the decision-maker, getting more people in your organization on board in the early phase is always best, as that gives the new tech the best chance to be accepted and implemented.
2. Get prepared for the post-sale process.
Great tech implementation cannot occur if there are unforeseen challenges in the onboarding process. In this short phase, after a contract is signed, the most is at stake.
So when vetting vendors, be sure to ask what will take place post-sale and if the vendor has the tools to make it easy to train your teams on the tech. With the staff turnover we’ve seen in recent years, it’s also important to ask about ongoing training options. How will the vendor help get new employees up to speed?
The more you're prepared for what happens after the contract is signed, the more likely you'll get your teams to buy into the new tech.
3. Properly vet the company by reaching out to your multi “Family.”
No matter how good the tech or vendor is, the rollout process isn't always perfect—especially when implementing it across multiple apartment communities.
You should expect challenges. If you don’t foresee any, you’re probably missing something. The best thing about the multifamily industry is that you can really find your family, and family takes care of each other.
So reach out to your extended multi "Family" using the same tech and ask them about their experience. Challenges will occur within software integrations and setups that others may have dealt with, too, so you can learn how others handled the tech rollout process.