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„The dashboard very quickly gives our customers and us an insight into the timing, type, channel and efficiency of marketing activities. This provides transparency about us as a sales partner and forms an essential cornerstone for successful real estate marketing.“
Thorsten Mertens, Director Strategic Marketing & Controlling, S Immobilienpartner GmbH
S Immobilienpartner GmbH has been ranked among the top real estate brokers in Germany for years and is a leading provider in the Rhineland. Every year, several thousand private and commercial customers rely on the 100 percent subsidiary of Sparkasse KölnBonn to find or market real estate in Cologne, Bonn and Düsseldorf. More than 60 real estate experts within S Immobilienpartners and well over 200 experts in the branches and corporate headquarters of Sparkasse KölnBonn support their customers in areas such as new and existing real estate and investment. More on: https://www.s-immobilienpartner.de/
Industry: Real estate
Departments: Sales, Marketing
Region: Cologne (head office), locations in Bonn, Düsseldorf
Sources: 21 internal & external data sources (e.g. CRM system and controlling solution based on MS SQL Server, Google Analytics, rapidmail, Survey Monkey, Neubaukompass, Immoscout, General Anzeiger, Rheinische Post, Facebook Pixel, etc.)
Implemented technology: Qlik Sense Enterprise SaaS
ROI & Time-to-value:
Visibility across the entire customer journey
4 hours less reporting weekly
Outsourcing operational sales activities has now become the standard for many property and project developers. They rely on the sales and marketing expertise of qualified partners in order to save on costs and effort. These marketing partners’ expectations have risen significantly in recent years, says Thorsten Mertens, Director Strategic Marketing & Controlling at S Immobilienpartner GmbH: “Above all, customers expect more transparency and speed. They want to know exactly what we are doing for them and our success in this, and they want quick responses to new requirements and developments.”
With more than 5,000 visits carried out, 8,000 consultations and a transaction volume of around 1.5 billion euros in the last five years, the S Immobilien group is one of the top real estate brokerage companies in Germany and is a leading provider in the Rhineland. The professional marketing firm optimises customer services in order to consolidate and expand this market position.
“We wanted to make the new-build buyer's entire customer journey visible to the new-build developer. Our goal was to provide our customers with a marketing dashboard which they can use themselves to visualise up-to-date information about how the marketing of their product is going,” reports Thorsten Mertens. The aim was to also make this dashboard available to marketing and sales managers in our organisation.
Data from different systems had to be connected in order to give customers insights into the marketing situation. “We identified 21 relevant external and internal sources,” recalls Thorsten Mertens. This includes a CRM system with master data for objects and a controlling solution, both based on MS SQL Server. Other sources include Google Analytics, the email software rapidmail and the real estate portals Neubaukompass and Immoscout. It also integrates data from Facebook pixels and from marketing service providers such as regional media – including the General Anzeiger and Rheinische Post.
The challenge was primarily to collate, analyse and visualise data in various forms from different sources on a daily basis.
“Traditional marketing tools are more channel-specific, so we very quickly realised that we needed business intelligence software to meet this requirement,” explains Thorsten Mertens.
Various solutions were evaluated. Three solutions made it to the short list. Qlik Sense prevailed, due to its data integration and visualisation strengths. .
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S Immobilienpartner chose the operating model of software as a service: Qlik Sense Enterprise SaaS is a complete SaaS deployment option for Qlik Sense Enterprise. The cloud infrastructure is hosted and managed by Qlik. “The SaaS variant is very attractive in terms of price and our data protection officer also had no objection to the GDPR compliance of the solution, as we do not process any of our customers’ or employees’ personal data.”
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Informatec supported the German real estate marketer during the BI project implementation: The S Immobilienpartner target image and an initial data model were outlined in the course of a digital workshop. “Informatec gave us very good advice on what was feasible and, above all, how to handle each kind of data source,” adds Thorsten Mertens. “Informatec proved to be data savvy and a BI expert. They gave us total support, competently and on a very personal level. Informatec involved our colleagues throughout the process of data model and dashboard development. This knowledge transfer enabled us to work with the solution as independently as possible, which was our goal from the outset.”
Qlik Data Transfer is used to automatically upload the data from the internal CRM system to Qlik SaaS as QVD files. The Qlik Standard Web Connectors are used to connect to Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.
The external marketing service providers send the required data in CSV format to an S Immobiliengruppe e-mail address on a daily basis. This is also new, as data was previously provided weekly, not daily. From there, an automatic upload to Qlik takes place every day at 8:00 p.m.
After about four months, the sales dashboard was ready to go into productive operation.
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How many customers are we reaching with our marketing, how many then look at the project more closely? How many enquiries do we have and what is the current marketing status? These are the four key concerns which can be visualised on the dashboard.
The dashboard gives property and project developers a high degree of transparency about the performance of S Immobilienpartner GmbH as a sales partner. “Key figures can be directly retrieved, such as the number of customers reached, the number of enquiries and the consultations resulting from these enquiries and the number of products sold – also displayed over time. A benchmark is also available so that the customer can see how his project is doing compared to our overall project average. With these deep insights, you can go straight into a really targeted discussion.”
In the past, customers were sent a conglomerate of reports from the various S Immobilienpartner marketing service providers on a weekly basis, as well as a report containing internal, manually compiled data. Today, they can get up-to-date information at the touch of a button whenever they want. Data access is controlled via an authorisation concept.
Thorsten Mertens estimates that four to five hours a week can be saved by automating data provision via the Qlik dashboard. The dashboard helps S Immobilienpartner to see where countermeasures need to be taken much more quickly, for example because not enough attention is generated for a real estate project or customers are not interested in taking a more detailed look at a project.
“With Qlik in Facebook, for example, we were able to identify a campaign where relatively few interested parties requested further information. We simply swapped out the image and saw that this measure had the desired effect, that interested parties wanted to find out more,” reports Thorsten Mertens.
Qlik Sense is a revolutionary application that enables anyone to create self-service data visualisation, personalised reports and dynamic dashboards.
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The use of Qlik is to be expanded in the future: Within the next six months, a dashboard is to be set up for the entire marketing channel management of all of the S Immobilienpartners divisions. Informatec will also be supporting this project. There are also plans to map sales and shareholder reporting in Qlik Sense.
„Qlik enables us to rapidly and easily gain insights into our marketing activities from a large amount of unstructured, confusing data and to optimise them using the information to hand.“
Thorsten Mertens, Director Strategic Marketing & Controlling, S Immobilienpartner
Sales dashboard based on Qlik Sense Enterprise Saas for evaluating data from 21 sources, making it available to external and internal employees in marketing and sales