Chris Kiely is sales director at Prospect Generator, a proptech firm working with a number of leading housebuilders to deliver high-quality, opted-in sales leads. He tells about his career and experience in the property industry.
Please tell us a little about yourself and the business.
I have been in the property industry for over 23 years, primarily in the media space and back when print media was the be all and end all! I spent 13 years at Rightmove before moving to Prospect Generator and have transferred a lot of my knowledge developed during that time to my role here.
We use various techniques and methods to do this but ultimately we’re all about reducing time and marketing spend for sales teams while supplying good-quality, content-rich leads – and we do it well.
How did you start your career in property?
I was working on the property desk at Birmingham’s Trinity Mirror some 23 years ago, starting off as an account manager and working my way up to its regional property portfolio sales manager. I look back on that time with pleasure as it equipped me with an invaluable insight into all the elements of estate agency, new homes and commercial property.
I spent eight years there before moving on to this small start-up called Rightmove, which you may have heard of! It was great to be involved in the early stages of a company which would completely redefine the way in which people looked for new homes and it enabled a significant cultural shift in that sense. It also heavily impacted the way in which developers market new homes, so that was really interesting and something I became quite attached to.
How has the role of those within new homes marketing evolved over the last decade?
Property marketing moves so quickly in terms of the media channels most developers are able to utilise, and the housebuilding industry has generally been pretty good at adapting to that. The biggest change has of course been the rise of the portals which, over the last 10 years or so have symbolised the move to online and digital marketing, with the public becoming extremely fond of the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla.
Innovation in the tech space has allowed new homes providers to become far more clued up around the kinds of buyers they should be targeting and ultimately, the types of people that do buy and are going to buy their homes. This trackable, data driven insight allows them to adjust their marketing messages accordingly and they can quickly adapt to any market driven situation.
The people and roles within the industry has moved from looking solely at distribution and message to targeting and message with quantifying and specific measures.
You have had a number of different roles within the new homes industry. How have you transferred these skills into a proptech role?
My knowledge of the intricacies in the new homes market puts me in really good stead for any role that I take on. You need to be fully aware of how your industry’s major stakeholders behave and operate; I have spent the last 23 years with developers almost every day and that has helped me to understand the industry, the people within it and what each one of them needs in order to sell homes in their area from a media perspective. It’s important to remember that every client has different requirements as their local marketplaces are very different, so all my experience of different media channels informs how we can help with lead generation from our tech. I can offer my honest opinion on ideas that clients have and they often really value that.
Moving from print into a digital role only 15 years ago was probably the biggest shift, but getting ahead in terms of understanding the tech at my disposal was crucially important. Technology is going to be the battleground for many years to come and those who fail to fully grasp the opportunities it presents may come regret it!
What make the proptech industry an interesting one to work in?
The proptech space is, in general home to innovators and disruptors. The sector is looking to use the latest technology to make processes and delivery to developers easier or more cost effective and on most occasions, both.
Technology and innovation changes by the day and we are able to pivot quickly with the needs of the market and our clients. It’s an amazingly satisfying sector and it really helps to transform the way in which the industry operates as a whole. Just look at virtual viewings, appointment bookings and sales progression developments since lockdown – these have been developed and adopted through both need and opportunity and these kinds of advancements are here to stay.
What career advice would you give to someone who wants to qualify for a job like yours?
My advice would be to really get know your industry, make lots of contacts, build trust and always be honest. Try and get a true understanding of what the issues are with your clients and how your business can help.
Too many people in the new homes industry try and fix an issue without knowing the sector at all and just lose all authenticity. The property industry is so complex and knowing people and being able to ask for help is vital.
Article courtesy of Show House ©