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Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast Digital Marketing Podcast Hosted by Greg Bray and Kevin Weitzel

207 The Power a CRM Can Offer Home Builders - Tyler Stouder

This week on The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast, Tyler Stouder of Homebuilder Ops joins Greg and Kevin to discuss the power a CRM can offer home builders through tracking, managing, and analyzing customer interactions and data.

A CRM consolidates data all in one place, so it can be organized and examined. Tyler explains, “It's your one-stop shop for data. So, rather than having an Excel document that seven people can edit or might make a change that you have no idea, CRMs actually track changes. So, if I were to hand off to someone out in the field on a project I'm working on and they start interacting via CRM, we're able to see notes all on the same level or see activities that happen. There's less chance for things to get lost as well with those Post-it notes on the dashboard. It's just a good place for consolidation.”

One of the most beneficial aspects of a CRM is the automation it can offer home builder marketing and sales teams. Tyler says, “And that's what's great about CRMs in general is the ability to create tasks or next actions to remind yourself what you need to do. Use the system to work for you. Let the system tell you who to reach out to. Let the system send those follow-up emails. Let the system tell you who's opened them. Rely on technology.”

It is vital in this day and age for home builders to have a CRM to track relationships with potential customers. Tyler says,  “…use a CRM, any CRM. Just get your data living in some place because then we can work from there. We can see where we're missing leads, we can see where we're missing sales by the data that lives in the system.”

Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about how fundamental having a CRM is to home builders.

About the Guest:

Tyler Stouder is an accomplished and award-winning sales and marketing technology expert who has positioned himself as a leading authority on Customer Relationship Management (CRM), customer engagement, and marketing technology within the realm of new home construction.

With a strong background in marketing agency operations, Tyler's professional journey started in graphic design before evolving to larger RevOps roles with companies such as Home Depot, Best Buy, Disney, and John Deere.  Today, his primary focus and passion lie within the new home construction world. Here, Tyler develops sales and marketing strategies through CRM optimization geared towards empowering individuals and families to own homes.

Currently, Tyler serves as the HubSpot lead at Heibar, the technology division for Clayton Properties Group as well as an Advisor to Homebuilder Ops.  In this role, he spearheads initiatives that drive excellence in HubSpot and problem-solving through automation as well as elevating customer experiences within the organization.


Greg Bray: [00:00:00] Hello, everybody, and welcome to today's episode of The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine.

Kevin Weitzel: And I'm Kevin Weitzel with OutHouse.

Greg Bray: And we are excited today to have joining us on the show, Tyler Stouder. Tyler is the head of the HubSpot product at Clayton Homes, and he's also a HubSpot advisor at Homebuilder Ops. And we'll just call him the HubSpot guy. Welcome, Tyler. Thanks for being with us.

Tyler Stouder: I appreciate it, gentlemen. That's a good title right there.

Greg Bray: Well, Tyler, for those who aren't familiar with you, haven't gotten to know you yet, give us kind of that brief background and [00:01:00] introduction to yourself.

Tyler Stouder: Yeah, absolutely. So, I have been in the marketing agency world, since like I stepped into my professional career. Doing that, it allowed me to work with some really cool companies across the board. I worked for a small company called Salesforce. From there, took kind of a more of a creative route at first and ended kind of the design work. Went the creative director route and then discovered inbound marketing. Inbound marketing kind of pushed out there by HubSpot, led me down the HubSpot route. From that moment on, it was like love at first sight.

So, I've been really a HubSpot guy there, like you said, since the very start. My previous agency world had some connections in the home building industry, so then got my feet back wet with that and the rest is magic. So, I've been in this world for the past five years now and I love it. I really enjoy the direction and with technology and an innovation that's coming where new home construction can go.

Kevin Weitzel: Before we jump into all that, I want you to take off your work hat and I want you to expose something about yourself personally that has nothing to do with [00:02:00] work or tech, something that our listeners can learn about on our podcast about you.

Tyler Stouder: Oh, guys, this is really weird. I have two extra bones in my mouth.

Kevin Weitzel: What?

Tyler Stouder: It's so random. It's so weird. I thought everybody had them until I was 20, 25 going out on my own insurance, and had my first dentist appointment. He's like, Hey, you've got two extra bones in your mouth. It's underneath my jawline and they kind of just protrude out a little bit. I'm just kind of weird I guess, but not a lot of people know that.

Kevin Weitzel: So, if we were going to get into a chomping contest, you're not the guy to go up against.

Tyler Stouder: No. I can't fit a lot in there. So, yeah.

Kevin Weitzel: That's funny.

Greg Bray: I'm going to say, Kevin, we have not had that one yet.

Kevin Weitzel: we've had a bunch into cycling, we've had a few into like, equestrian, you know, equine, we've had a few, uh, oh, hikers, but no extra bones.

Tyler Stouder: No extra bones. Yeah, it's a weird thing and my wife loves it because, like, I can't stick out my tongue very far. So, she likes to make fun of me for my [00:03:00] like small tongue.

Greg Bray: All right. Well, someday you'll get to use that for some good purpose, I'm sure.

Tyler Stouder: I don't know that. I mean, that's my X-Man superpower right there.

Kevin Weitzel: With great power comes great responsibility. Use it well, Tyler.

Tyler Stouder: That's right. Somebody's got to do it. I'll gladly wear it.

Greg Bray: Well, Tyler, we mentioned a couple of different company names in our little welcome to you. Give us a little better clarity on Clayton and they've got a lot going on, and then also a little bit more about HomeBuilder Ops.

Tyler Stouder: Yeah, absolutely. The Clayton Home Builder Group is a fantastic organization. They own a couple of home builders across the U.S. and I have the privileges of working with them on a day-to-day basis. I actually started with Arbor Homes at one point, kind of serving as their marketing director and then kind of moved on to more of the larger picture, Clayton. But implementing HubSpot there was the main thing that I did.

From there, the trickle-down effect to Clayton. So, their home builders do anywhere from smaller size, a couple hundred [00:04:00] to larger, a couple thousand homes a year. Products range all across the board. We've got rentals in some of our builders. Then also your larger 600,000, 700,000, 800,00 homes. So, it's got across the board. So, it's nice to be able to work with each one of those products and their different audiences, right? They need different pieces of content and different encouraging pieces to move through the sale. It's a large bucket.

The Homebuilder Ops side, a good friend of mine, Josh Paul, he owns the company Pipeline Ops, which is a dedicated HubSpot marketing firm. So, they are a HubSpot partner. They work with many different verticals. But we found really a niche in the home building space. There are a lot of homebuilders that have HubSpot or people in new home construction, real estate that may have purchased HubSpot but don't really know what to do with it or are just using the out-of-the-box functions that come with it. So, Homebuilder Ops really comes along and they help those builders, they help those realtors, they help whoever else is using it best optimize their HubSpot [00:05:00] accounts.

Greg Bray: All right. And just going on record here for somebody listening who doesn't know what HubSpot is, they're pretty well known, but just tell us a little bit about that product.

Tyler Stouder: Yeah, absolutely. They're a CRM. They started out as a more marketing function. So, email automations, campaign management, and have really since evolved to a true CRM with a sales and operation hub. So, you put your data in, you can market to your buyers, you can track their sales processes, and even down the line of post-sale into a warranty or customer care. It's your one-stop shop for customer information.

Greg Bray: So, Tyler, lots of times in the CRM world there's this idea that I need a CRM that is specific for my industry. We have several of those out there that are tailored directly for builders and they market themselves to builders. HubSpot, I feel like is a little more general, aimed at a broader audience than just builders. Is that an issue? Do [00:06:00] I really need a builder-specific CRM or not? And why?

Tyler Stouder: That's a really good question. We were kind of talking pre-call here just how this industry knows everybody, and so they know specifically of dedicated niche CRMs or dedicated products. And that's actually why I like HubSpot is because it's not niche. It's been around for a while. It works in all different verticals. So, what you're able to do in one vertical, you can absolutely do in the next vertical.

I've had this conversation before with the OSC role. The OSC role is fairly newer to our industry. I'm not going to say it's like brand new, but the idea has been around in other industries for a very long time. They just call it an SDR or a BDR role. And it's those people that are really, you know, looking at those leads, qualifying them, and making sure they're fit for sales. And so, I think with HubSpot being open and fitting through many different industries, it really allows certain industries to thrive because there's a bit of overlap that can [00:07:00] happen with some of those industries.

Greg Bray: So, HubSpot has grown and I think HubSpot really, I don't know if invented is too strong of a word, coined that inbound marketing term, right? What is inbound marketing? Why does that connect with HubSpot in the world of marketing lingo?

Tyler Stouder: Yeah, They're definitely the ones to help coin it. I think that whole ideology has kind of been around, but they're definitely the ones to capitalize it. Inbound is really, it all comes down to content and creating content that brings clients or brings buyers into you. So, we think of all the old methods, and not saying these don't work, but the old methods kind of marketing are loud, obtrusive, they're not meeting the buyers where they're at in the buying process.

So, you might just be serving up a newspaper ad to someone who's out in the middle of the funnel, and it doesn't really fit them. The whole inbound ideology is actually getting that person who's in the middle of the funnel the right piece of content so that then they are aware and can help them move through your sales funnel.

Greg Bray: You [00:08:00] may not believe me, Tyler, when I say this, okay? But there are at least a few builders still out there that do not have a CRM. I don't know, Kevin, if you can back me up there.

Kevin Weitzel: I run into it all the time. It actually blows my mind. And now I understand when you're only building, you know, three houses a year, sure. But when I run into builders that are selling 50, 80, a hundred homes a year, and they don't have a CRM, I just don't understand it. It's completely foreign to me.

Tyler Stouder: I agree. Excel is not a CRM either.

Greg Bray: Okay. We're going to say that out loud again for everybody else. I mean, technically, I guess you could call it one, but it's not a very good one. Right? The Post-it note CRM, you know, that you put on the dashboard of your truck, you know, or whatever that's not really a good CRM tool either. Why should these builders be thinking about a CRM? Regardless of which one they choose, why does that matter so much, Tyler?

Tyler Stouder: Yeah. It's your one-stop shop for data. So, rather than having an Excel document that seven people can edit or might make a change that you have no idea, CRMs actually track changes.[00:09:00] So, if I were to hand off to someone out in the field on a project I'm working on and they start interacting via CRM, we're able to see notes all on the same level or see activities that happen.

There's less chance for things to get lost as well with those Post-it notes on the dashboard. It's just a good place for consolidation. Really, it is. We were joking around earlier that, hey, you know, you've got a CRM and you're just putting people in right now and tracking notes. That's a win. That's still a really good sign.

Because the whole ideology in the past before technology was everything's in my notebook. So, if I went to a sales manager and said, Hey, tell me your top five leads right now, you're hot people. Let me get my notebook out. Let me check through my email. Let me, you know, check through my text messages. With a CRM, now you as a manager or you as in operations know who your company's top five people are because everything is documented. So, documentation is huge and a good plus for a CRM.

Greg Bray: And when you are talking to builders about a CRM and the [00:10:00] choice that they're trying to make, what are some of the things that matter as you're trying to choose which one's the right fit? What are some of those features or characteristics or things that help you evaluate?

Tyler Stouder: Yeah, I think connectivity is a really big one, and what you can see from a data side. So, the integrations go a long way. And that is one of the reasons why I do like HubSpot because they aren't niche, there's a lot more room for integrations. So, I want to know from the marketing side, Hey, where are my leads at? If they've interacted on certain pieces on my website, or if they've clicked through a paid ad, left, came back to my website, I want to know all that in one place.

That is a huge selling point for me is just the connectivity and the integration pieces of what all can we get connected to this thing so I don't have to log into seven different softwares. Because when you do that, and then you start to lose interest in one, you start to focus on another, data is incomplete in two separate places. Easy to use is another good one, too. Do I need to hire the technician to make every change in the system? [00:11:00] Or can I just use a good out-of-the-box product with a little bit of customization? So, those really go into it for me.

Greg Bray: When you see builders trying to implement or working to implement a CRM tool, what are some of the things that get in their way, that make it harder for them to kind of get up and running and feel comfortable with what they're doing?

Tyler Stouder: That's a good question. Technology just in general. A lot of times builders that go from no CRM to a CRM, there's a lot of frustrations that take place because they're not used to a certain process where I've got to do this click where before I didn't have to do this click. So, it's really process change.

And that's where leadership at companies make or break implementations. If they're bought into it and they can follow along, it makes implementations much easier. And you get there by showing kind of the big picture. Like, this is what could happen if everybody played nicely in the system. But there's the technology curve. It's there. We see it a lot.

Kevin Weitzel: So, coming from the automobile industry in motorcycles, when I was on the motorcycle [00:12:00] side, they referred to me as the TLP Nazi, just to put that out there. And it was Traffic Log Pro. That was the CRM that most auto dealers were using at the time. I used to go through there and just, if you don't use the CRM, you're fired.

We had one gentleman that was just one of those guys that always carried around that small little notebook in his pocket, as far as all of his notes and who he's working with. And I asked him, I said, show me your top five prospects in your little notebook and out of the top five. I showed him that three of the five, I had already sold him via the sales team, motorcycles too. They weren't even prospects anymore.

What do you do differently at Clayton that keeps your, I'm not going to use the term dinosaurs, it keeps the old crotchety, I've been doing it this way forever kind of people. Is that better than dinosaurs? Yes. What do you guys do to enforce that? Outside of just saying, hey, you don't want to use the CRM, you're out of here.

Tyler Stouder: Yeah. So, it differs by a builder that we work with. It really does. We have great leadership across all of our builders. And of course there are the generations of sales teams, right? But I think the point is, [00:13:00] it's data. The data doesn't lie. So, when you go to a pipeline review meeting and you go through and you say, Hey, Kevin, you know, out of those five people on your notebook, three have already purchased. That's a little bit of a wake-up fact. Like, Oh, wow. Maybe if I would have put those people in there, maybe then they could have been my sales.

The other thing that we run into a lot is too, is like the big brother approach. So, we hear it a lot that, you know, sales teams, like, I don't want to put this information in because I don't want my sales manager to think I'm not working or I'm not tracking my leads. The kind of comeback to that is, that's not the reason why you're doing it. We want you to do that, so then the marketing team can help you push these sales through.

So, if you register, you know, your people, they come in through your system, you mark them as whatever your lead status is, a contacting or even a nurture, now your marketing team can pick up on that and help you sell to your lead without having to do anything.

Kevin Weitzel: Can you say something even more on that? Because one of the other complaints that I hear quite often in the home building industry is the salespeople are worried that OSCs are going to [00:14:00] steal their thunder. They said the same thing on the motorcycle, automobile side. They said, Oh, the BDC is going to call people and they're not going to know who to talk to. I'm like, no, they're going to know who to talk to. Matter of fact, of getting spoken to and with.

Tyler Stouder: Yeah. I have a hard time with that one because I'm a pro-OSC all the time, and every time I tell the sales team, I'm like, these guys are helping you. They're taking those initial orders. They're taking like those hard steps of following up and contacting, and serving you a nice lead who is an A lead, it's a B lead, but they're chomping at the bits. We're allowing you to do less work essentially by having the system do more.

When you phrase it that way, then you see the eyes kind of light up like, Oh, I only have to click a button once, and then this person is going to enroll in five different emails for me. That's cool. And so, when you start explaining things on the work, it's going to be easier for you. That's where your eyes kind of light up and you get more buy-in.

Greg Bray: So, Tyler, we often think of CRM from the sales standpoint, you know, logging notes and meetings and calls and emails and things like that, but you just mentioned [00:15:00] part of the whole like marketing automation piece of all of it, you know, as far as, Oh, you put them in here and now they're going to get these automated emails. Talk us through a little bit more about some of the power of that automation and how that can help a sales team.

Tyler Stouder: Absolutely. A good example of that is we can start doing those VIP communities much sooner now. In the past, it was kind of hard to put up a VIP community because you've got to keep track of it somewhere, somehow. But with automation, marketing automation, we can start reaching out to those people way earlier than ever before on this interest list, and allow them to be nurtured. So, then when that community opens up or it's ready for sales, those people who have interacted and engaged over that long play of time are kind of those first to know.

Same thing with OSCs, right? We all I think are all familiar being in digital that someone's gonna fill out a form, and they're probably not gonna respond back to you right away. Like, they just want whatever information is out there. So, allowing the OSC team to enroll that person an initial [00:16:00] sequence where it's giving them an email. It's gonna wait a couple of days. It's gonna then prompt them to shoot them that text or a call. It kind of helps set their day, as well. It's really a sales tool when you think about marketing automation is it helps the sales process from OSC to a sales agent.

Kevin Weitzel: Don't you think that people would be more efficient if they retyped every single email, every single time to each occurrence? Or am I just crazy in that thought?

Tyler Stouder: So, the whole copy-and-paste aspect still happens. Like, Hey, this is my email I've sent. And actually we've run into that a couple of different times and it's more of the dinosaurs, if you will. Or, Hey, I know this template works. Great. I'm glad that template works. Let's recreate that for you, so then you don't have to click any buttons. The lead comes to you or is assigned to you. We can auto-fire off that email that you wrote. It's your same template that you've used for years. And then what's really great is we can get some data on that too.

Then go back to the sales manager and say, Hey, this template that you tried and true, we're only converting 10 [00:17:00] percent or it's led to X, Y, Z sales. Because the data all lives in the CRM going back to why use a CRM, that you asked Greg, like the data's in there. It's connected. We can see who's opening emails, who's interacting with our pieces. Hey, we sent you that floor plan brochure. We could see you've never opened it. So, the data is in there.

Greg Bray: Tyler, one of the things that I've always kind of wondered if people get in trouble with some of the automation is you set up some of these sequences that are multiple touch points, and then somehow you get a response back from the prospect, the buyer, and then all of a sudden, the next automated message goes out, and it sounds like you never had that conversation in between. How do you guys try to address that type of concern or flow issue in the things that you set up?

Tyler Stouder: Yeah. The really great thing about HubSpot is if anyone replies to a sequence, calls in a sequence, it's going to instantly remove them from that sequence. So, you don't have the fear of, Hey, [00:18:00] I'm going to send that email two days later, even though they just replied. The other thing is it's back to coaching and teaching and really showing how you can use the data.

A prime example of that is someone submits a form on a website interested in a community. They get that automated response that says, Hey, thank you, Greg, for reaching out about our ABC community, one of our online sales team is going to be reaching out. And then, the OSC sends the exact same email. And the beauty is it's in the system.

So, then we can reuse that and be like, okay, great. They've already told us what community they're interested in, what floor plan they're interested in. They've done a lot of that qualifying for you. So, let's use these data points to kind of restructure that email or your phone call, those talking points when you reach back out. So, it's review, review, and that's why I mentioned leadership is key in that. Having someone invested into the CRM, into the success of the agents is huge.

Greg Bray: From that standpoint, where does the marketing team fit in building out part of this versus CRM [00:19:00] tends to be owned by the sales. So, how do we allow marketing to be part of this process?

Tyler Stouder: Yeah. We rely heavily on lead statuses. Lead statuses can say a lot about a buyer. So, once we kind of have those lead statuses defined, when we've got set ones that we like to work with, we know like, X, Y, Z are really marketing leads. They're leads that the marketing team is emailing, targeting in they're paid ads. Segmentation is really what it comes down to and it is.

And it's a coaching process as well. I keep going back to that. But like sales knows that, hey, if it's in this lead status, it's my responsibility. If I don't do anything in the next X, Y, Z days, we can kick that back into marketing via automation, put it in their bucket, and say, Hey, this person is now a marketing lead again. So you kind of flirt the lines of the MQLs and SQLs, and we use that more on the back end because that kind of lingo of life cycle can be intimidating.

And let's just focus on the lead status name that makes more sense. Hey, this is an active lead. This is a lead that we're converting on. [00:20:00] This is an, A lead that is a no connection. And using those statuses can really let the marketing team then work and do their magic.

Greg Bray: What's the biggest mistake you've ever seen a builder make with their CRM setup? You've come in, you reviewed their setup and you're like, Oh my goodness, I can't believe you guys did this. Anything come to mind?

Tyler Stouder: Too many. Lead statuses, because it can get overwhelming. You log into a system and you have 13 different lead statuses and some of those lead statuses could be actions that you're trying to do. It just gets confusing. Not having clear definitions of what those are. Is it add an SQL? Is it an MQL? No definitions of it. Whoever set it up was like, this makes sense because we want the agents to convert. What are they converting? What are they doing?

Kevin Weitzel: Well, let me rephrase that question just a hair. Since all of us are friends with Jennifer Cooper, tell us how Jennifer Cooper has messed up when she has helped out builders with these.

Tyler Stouder: Oh, man, Jennifer has never [00:21:00] messed up. How about that one?

Kevin Weitzel: Never! Oh my, you just got so many brownie points! So many! Greg, he just earned so many brownie points right there. You won. You won that contest.

Greg Bray: Well, Tyler, we appreciate the time and insight you've given us today. Any last thoughts of advice that you'd like to leave with our listeners before we finish up?

Tyler Stouder: Yeah. Of course, I'm partial to HubSpot. I think it's the best CRM that's out there. I think you could run with it out of the box and do very well with it. What makes it great is the fact that it can be very customizable. But the last piece of wisdom I guess I could leave with you is to use a CRM, any CRM. Just get your data living in some place because then we can work from there. We can see where we're missing leads, we can see where we're missing sales by the data that lives in the system. So, the one last kind of piece there is use a CRM. Mic drop on that. Just use it. If it is Excel, at least something, but I also go and say, Excel is not a CRM.

Greg Bray: And remembering to follow up with [00:22:00] somebody next week, just in your own head is just a recipe for lost sales.

Tyler Stouder: That's exactly right. And that's what's great about CRMs in general is the ability to create tasks or next actions to remind yourself what you need to do. Use the system to work for you. Let the system tell you who to reach out to. Let the system send those follow-up emails. Let the system tell you who's opened them. Rely on technology.

Greg Bray: Awesome. Well, Tyler, thanks again for being with us. If somebody wants to connect with you, what's the best way for them to get in touch?

Tyler Stouder: Yeah, absolutely. LinkedIn is a good place to reach out to me. I'm on LinkedIn, and then email is great too. So it's tstouder, S-T-O-U-D-E-R, at bim, B-I-M, aire, A-I-R-E.com.

Greg Bray: Thank you everybody for listening today to The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine.

Kevin Weitzel: And I'm Kevin Weitzel with OutHouse. Thank you. [00:23:00]

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