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"I think a big question is how do you make marketing and leasing processes easier, but still allow for enough flexibility and personalization so that you can still make each property more compelling to prospective renters? That's the problem we're trying to solve here." — Suhasini Gadam
In April of this year, Rentsync replatformed and launched some incredible new tools for the property industry. As we start to fully leverage the power of the new Rentsync platform, today we discuss some of the biggest challenges property managers, marketers, and leasing agents face when it comes to automating tasks and getting things done in an effective and timely manner.
In this episode, we are joined by Rentsync's Senior Product Manager, Suhasini Gadam. As a product manager, it is her job to understand what Rentsync's customers need, develop new features, enhance the user experience, and make everyday tasks easier. Tuning in, you'll hear about the most common requests from multifamily marketers looking for tools to help them work more efficiently, some of the most popular tools users are taking advantage of, and the most significant improvements made to the new Rentsync platform since its launch.
Listen in to find out why autoresponders are so important to the leasing process, why resisting the adoption of more digital processes is counterproductive, and what Rentsync has in the pipeline for the coming weeks and months. With the constant rapid evolution of technology, you don't want to get left behind, so tune in today!
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[00:00:36] NS: Welcome back to Sync or Swim. I'm your host Nicolina Savelli and on this podcast, I take a tactical approach to helping those in multi-family reach more renters through their marketing and advertising efforts. Today, I have Rentsync's senior product manager, Suhasini Gadam here with me to give our listeners an opportunity to learn how they can better leverage marketing and leasing technology in their daily lives. Welcome to the show, Su.
[00:01:01] SG: Hi, Nic. Thanks for having me on the podcast.
[00:01:04] NS: No problem. Now, before we get in today's conversation, can you please share with our listeners a little bit about your professional background, what lead you to Rentsync and basically, what you do here everyday for the product team.
[00:01:17] SG: Yeah. I work across different industries with the focus on emerging technologies, particularly SaaS platforms and intelligent process automation. Let me just put it this way. I'm really passionate about digital transformation. The rapid technology changes are seen over the last couple of decades have completely reshaped the world. You remember the time when we had those rotary dial phones with the receiver and these big, heavy computers and the internet was not even a thing. Today, we have powerful, sleek mobile phones and laptops. If you're not digital, you're pretty much a dinosaur. While it's easy to say, I think keeping up with technology is actually a huge challenge and allow how Rentsync is standing up to this challenge in the rental industry and empowering its users to do more with less effort and time.
Rentsync is exactly what I've been looking for. I'm proud to be a part of this company that is making a real difference also without compromising on its values and the culture it fosters for its employees, so I'm just glad to be here. As a product manager, my role in a nutshell here is to understand what our customers need, double-up new features, enhance the user experience and just make every-day task more easier for them.
[00:02:45] NS: Right. Which I know you have your work cut out for you, because as of April this year, we re-platformed and launched some incredible new tools for property marketers and leasing agents and property managers to take advantage of. But obviously, with every new solution, things can always be improved. Next month, as we finally start the sunset, the legacy dashboard and fully leverage the power of the Rentsync platform, I want to talk about some of the biggest challenges property managers, marketers and leasing agents are facing when it comes to automating task getting things done in an effective and timely manner. Luckily, you are well versed in these pain points. We'll start our conversation there.
A big part of your job is a listening, like you said, to those in the multi-family industry and understanding what tools they need to advertise their properties, reach the right renters and speed up the leasing process. In your opinion, what is the most common request for multi-family marketers looking for tools to help them do their work better and faster.
[00:03:48] SG: Yeah. I would say, ad syndication tools and the corresponding performance reporting is really important to multi-family marketers. We're always trying to find ways to automate marketing processes, but also enable users to have the ability to customize their advertising and increase their performance. I think apart from targeted advertising and making the leasing process faster for prospector renters, user experience is the biggest pain point. Technology is helpful, but it sure is tricky to navigate around, just get used to.
On one hand, you might have a popular property were dealing with this unmanageable tangle of online leads coming in from like all digital directions and you just try to make sure every lead is being responded to within that golden one-hour window. On the other hand, you might have less popular property and you are trying to find additional lead sources in trying to push the conversion rate higher. Through different use cases and what we're trying to do at Rentsync is to listen to what our customers need and then provide them the right set of tools to deal with these everyday problems, but absolutely make sure they have the most simple and intuitive user experience.
[00:05:08] NS: Right. Yeah. Obviously, there are a lot of gaps in multifamily marketing and in basically making that leasing experience in that process effective, and timely and speeding things along. Can you speak to some of the most popular tools users are taking advantage of and why they're so important to improving the leasing process? I know you mentioned ad syndication. Can we dig a little bit deeper into that and how people are leveraging that?
[00:05:34] SG: Yeah, absolutely. Some of the reason features are released on the new Rentsync platform, like the customized ad layout, the ad previous and the autoresponders in particular, they've received some great response from our customers. Just having that ability to make your ads more customized so that they stand out to renters, making sure you're able to test them before you get them live. Then responding again within that golden one-hour window has added so much flexibility to the marketing process. As we start getting more and more feedback from our customers, we will continue to iterate and keep making improvements to the platform.
[00:06:16] NS: This isn't a question that I originally have, but I'm just curious, do most of the users that are using autoresponders understand the full scope of why responding quickly is important. Do they know why autoresponders are so crucial to speeding up that process or are there still a lot of people who need education around this, do you find?
[00:06:40] SG: There definitely needs a little more education around autoresponders. I also think that the set of tools we have right now are already nascent and we intent on upgrading these tools. The crux of it is that, because today, there is a lot of competition. There are so many different options for prospective renters that you have to be quick in your response. Also, I just think that the generation that we live in right now expect instant responses. To kind of cater to some of those needs, it's important to respond quickly, even if it's just message saying, we've received a response and we will get back to you within a certain timeframe, but it is important to reach out to them as soon as possible.
[00:07:33] NS: Absolutely, yeah. It's becoming more and more important. I think over the last two years, with everything going so virtual, so remote that it just become not a nice to have, but a must have, right? It's transition from being this thing that people did because they had the resources in order to do so. Whereas now, it's kind of something that everyone needs to do regardless of what they are leasing. It doesn't matter if you're Class A, Class B, Class C, the people still want that remote digital touch and that quick communication.
[00:08:03] SG: Absolutely. I mean, I just want to say that it's become so essential. It's more of survival now, than a nice to have, so absolutely.
[00:08:14] NS: Yeah. There are some major improvements to the Rentsync platform that have been rolled out since its initial launch in April. Can you speak to some of the most signification improvements and why you feel were ready to kind of sunset the old platform?
[00:08:27] SG: Yeah. We've upgraded the user interface and made a ton of usability enhancements including navigation and page layouts. We made it so much more easier to customize and syndicate ads with various different rental listing sites. We're also working on other features that will help automate more marketing processes. We will be sunsetting the legacy dashboard by the end of this year. That helps us to completely shift our focus to the new renting platform so that we can continue building these new features and improve existing ones. We're really, really excited about what the future will bring because we are planning to provide a lot more tools than we have today to help our customers accelerate growth.
[00:09:17] NS: Right. We kind of need to move on from the old platform in order to achieve and speed up the launch of those tools. Am I correct in saying that?
[00:09:27] SG: That is absolutely right. There's only so much that we can -- technically, it's feasible to work on the old platform, so we can only accommodate so much within the legacy dashboard. So there is that motivation to migrate to the new platform so that then, we are able to open up and build out this whole new set of features and tools that will help our customers.
[00:09:53] NS: Perfect. Yeah. What is motivating these new features? Why do we feel that they are so important to our users and our customers? Obviously, you've heard feedback, but why do we need them, why can't we just stick to the old way of doing it or remain where we are? If it's not broken, don't fix it kind of thing. But maybe, that's not the mentality that we need here.
[00:10:15] SG: Yeah. That's just technology. I think technology is just making such rapid strides that it's very difficult to not be on a scalable platform and you have to think about it from a long-term perspective versus a short-term perspective.
[00:10:33] NS: Are you looking to connect with more renters in Quebec and fill units fast? When you syndicate your properties with Rentsync, you'll have free access to some of the most popular rental listing sites in the province, including Louer.ca and Logis Quebec. Plus, we've upgraded our autoresponder tool so you can instantly translate your emails in French to better engage with all your prospects. If you're currently a Rentsync client. Your account manager can help you get set up, or if you're looking for more information, visit rentsync.com/quebec-rental-listings. Now, let's get back to the show.
[00:11:15] SG: Eventually, these systems will become obsolete. It's better to embrace new technology now instead of going instinct and then trying to figure it out later. But everything that we build and prioritize is based on customer input. Our goal is to reduce friction in everyday marketing and leasing processes so that we can save our customers time and effort. Everybody wants to improve performance, but they also want to be cost-effective and they want to be able to balance multiple processes at the same time. It's just impossible to do that today, without having the right set of marketing and technology tools in place.
Just with a sheer number of digital channels that we have to keep track of these days. Think for example one of our customers, they manage to complete a full list up within just five months. I think that's extraordinary. They invested in the right technology. They had a really good branding and they had a great team that was able to pull everything together, so I think that was fantastic. There are customers, they are managing a list up or a more stabilized community. We are striving to enable them to have that right set of tools so that they can keep the vacancy rate all the time.
[00:12:34] NS: Right. I feel often times, maybe people lean on certain areas, maybe branding alone and think that that's going to be enough for them to achieve their goals, or reach their goals or outperform their last list up. But it's really just making sure that everything is working together, branding, technology, your leasing team. Everyone is on the same page, and that you're utilizing things to their best kind of capacity, and not just relying on really good branding per se, which is huge. It's obviously very important, but you need more than just that in order to convert renters today.
[00:13:13] SG: Yeah. It's just not enough anymore. You just need to have the complete package and we're trying to make that one pocket available within RentSync, so it would be that one-stop shop for everything that you need.
[00:13:13] NS: Yeah. I feel like we talk about this often at Rentsync, but we don't really dive too deep into it and I feel like it's been touched on in this podcast. But I kind of want to know why this specific industry has taken so long to develop the right tools and applications for marketers and leasing agents? Because I know as a marketer, I had access to lead automation and all these different ways of communicating with customers like 10 years ago. Why is it taking so long for this industry to catch up?
[00:13:56] SG: Yeah, that's really interesting. Like most traditional industries, the rental industry also has faced so much resistance to technology for so long. Like even now, a lot of processes are manual and paper-based. It does take time to get used to additional processes, but when the pandemic happens and you are forced to then go onto like online platforms or use online tools, you pretty much don't have any option. So you start getting used to how those processes work. The majority of the student in working population today is made up of millennials and Gen Zs, and they're extremely digital savvy. Like I said, they're used to this instant gratification and beneath these instant quick responses or they will move on.
It's becoming increasingly difficult to survive without having those digital processes in place. A good example is virtual tours, right? Virtual tours has now become a thing with any rental property that you want to book at our for. But even after the pandemic, these processes are here to stay. I don't believe virtual tours are going away any time soon. Yeah, it's just about getting used to technology and knowing that it's here to stay and embracing it in self-resisting technology.
[00:15:27] NS: What you're basically saying is that, the industry didn't need to do anything, so it didn't. Until recently where this transition of renters and the need to satisfy this target audience, which is predominantly millennials, and Gen Zs and they're the ones that they need to now accommodate. There's no delay anymore. Those are the people renting. That's basically been the push toward adoption, and obviously remote and digital and all of that. But I guess, throughout the pandemic, that has really become an eye-opening thing I think for the industry, and it's, I think, done a really good job actually in noticing those gaps over a very short period of time. I will say that a lot of our clients have really seen the change and understood why they need to make those changes.
[00:16:20] SG: Exactly.
[00:16:21] NG: Let's talk a little bit about tech adoption and resistance. Obviously, everyone has reasons why they resist adopting a new product or service. There's hesitation based on just familiarity and routine. What would you say is the most common reason people in this industry resist adopting new technologies or new solutions?
[00:16:42] SG: Yeah. In my opinion, I think the rental industry is so much more complex. There are so many different nuances to each workflow that need to be accounted for, that it makes them really difficult to have fully automated processes. I think the big question is, how do you make marketing and leasing processes easier, but still allow for enough flexibility and personalization so that you can still make each property more compelling to prospect or ventures. I think that's the problem we're trying to solve here.
[00:17:19] NS: Right. It's really just this need to customize things so people just have been doing a lot of manual work in order to be able to do that, so technology kind of has to provide that ability to be really highly customizable, which is obviously not always easy to do and I know as a marketer, it's not easy even to customize email sometimes and get that information across to the right person and make it feel really authentic. I think that that makes sense that that would be a resistance and why people have kind of stuck to their old ways and manual ways of doing things, because they're dealing with people's lives and where they live, so that's a good point.
Now, I asked our VP of product six months ago what his short-term vision was for the Rentsync platform. His major response was getting user feedback, being able to implement changes faster than ever. Can you give listeners a sense of what's in the pipeline in the coming weeks and months and basically how they can take advantage of these improvements?
[00:18:18] SG: Absolutely. We're bringing back the quick update feature that allows users to quickly edit property unit information, but we're also upgrading the feature so that users can now enable bulk updates. That's something we're excited about. We're also enhancing our media management capabilities and also in choosing autoresponder templates so that, again, like we talked about, we want to enable more customizability so we're bringing that in. We're also working very hard to build a partner ecosystem, which is something new for Rentsync, which will help us to provide additional tools within the Rentsync platform to help them do additional task. Yeah, lots of exciting things to look forward to.
[00:19:04] NS: Now, when you speak on media management, for those who are not Rentsync users, can you touch on what that involves and what that means?
[00:19:11] SG: Our media management includes the ability to organize and manage any kind of media. It could be photos that you upload to your website or you use for advertising. It also includes floor plans. It also includes videos and the popular virtual tours that we have today. So you could upload any of these media files either to your advertising or to your websites. We're trying to make it very easy to manage these within the renting platform.
[00:19:45] NS: Great. Now, my final question about all of this is, in your opinion, how far away are we from fully removing these fragmented workflows for the rental housing industry. I know you're not a psychic, you can't predict the future. But as you have been working so closely with product, you kind of have a sense of where we're headed as an industry and the technology side of things, how far away are from really just like giving property marketers, managers, listing agents a really great product that they can depend on to speed up all of those processes and remove those fragmented kind of manual things that they're currently still doing?
[00:20:28] SG: Honestly, that's a tough question. I feel like there always will be opportunities to make improvements no matter how close we get to fully removing those fragmented workload. But I'd say that we're closer than we think we are and I believe that over the next year, customers will be able to start using more tools within the renting platform. Some that we build in-house, some that we provide through our partner ecosystem. But using all these tools, it should help automate more processes for both marketing and leasing processes and workflows. And we believe that this will help customers accelerate their growth, their overall performance and growth.
[00:21:12] NS: Awesome. Thank you. Well Su, thank you for sharing all you great insight with us today. I will probably bring you back on in six months from now and see where we're at so that people can know and learn more about what we're doing on the product side of things, which is a very complex and no-time consuming part of what we do. I thank you for all the work that you put towards helping our customers and clients get their work done faster. But one last question for those looking, where can people connect with you online if they're looking for -- maybe they've got their own little ideas about what we can do to improve.
[00:21:53] SG: Absolutely. You can send me an email, email@example.com or LinkedIn is also a great channel to just connect with me. Just type in my name Suhasini Gadam and Rentsync, you should be able to find me pretty easily. But yeah, always open to feedback, and input, and ideas. We love to hear them and incorporate them within our platform.
[00:22:16] NS: Awesome. Thank you so much, Su. Thanks for joining me.
[00:22:19] SG: I had a great time, Nic. It was a pleasure to be here. Thank you. You are such a wonderful host.
[00:22:25] NS: Thank you so much, Su. Until next time, keep swimming.
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