Ray White Invest is the funds management arm of the Ray White group. Its primary function is financing property developments and providing opportunities for investors that wish to invest in property.
Since Ray White Invest was founded in 2001 it has funded 207 developments to the value of $2.6 billion and raised $500 million in investor funds. Ray White Invest has 35 employees with offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Existing Records Management Limits Capacity to Excel
Ray White Invest started in 2001 with a small team. At foundation, all its systems and records were in Microsoft Word or Excel. As the business grew, the record keeping functionality allowed by these systems became increasingly inadequate. Ray White Invest tried to use Microsoft Access as a solution, but also found that this did not meet the needs of the business.
In early 2007, Mark Halle, Operations Manager for Ray White Invest started to look for a more sophisticated database and customer relationship management solution. Halle started by briefing the Ray White Group IT department, a shared group resource, on Ray White Invest’s requirements and asked for a recommendation.
Following a review of potential solutions, Ray White Group IT recommended Microsoft Dynamics CRM as the best fit for the business needs. Microsoft demonstrated Dynamics CRM to Ray White Invest to confirm the recommendation.
Having selected Microsoft CRM as the preferred solution, Ray White Invest requested Microsoft to provide a list of partners that could complete the implementation, with four companies, including Professional Advantage, providing a response to Ray White Invest’s tender.
Ray White Invest selected Professional Advantage as its implementation partner. According to Halle, “Professional Advantage provided the best overall response and was best able to demonstrate that it had the industry experience we were looking for.”
A key element in selecting Professional Advantage was due to its experience in working with other major property development organisations to provide a solution based on Dynamics CRM.
This gave Ray White Invest the confidence that Professional Advantage would be familiar with the processes and information that needed to be captured and managed and would understand how to tailor the system to suit Ray White Invest’s business.
“I was very pleased with the customisation process. Professional Advantage made it easy and asked all the right questions to get at what we needed. The process took a couple of months, but went really smoothly and there’s nothing we would have done differently,” said Halle.
Ray White Invest started work with Professional Advantage in July 2007, with the implementation completed by December of that year.
Greater Visibility and Detailed Reporting
A key success metric for Ray White Invest was acceptance by the team. The existing database was only being used by a couple of team members as it was complex and didn’t truly meet the business requirements. Ray White Invest wanted all team members to use the new system.
“We now have all team members using Dynamics CRM. As it can be run out of Outlook, which most people have open all the time, it’s very easy to look up and enter information. The fact that it is a Microsoft product with a familiar look and feel also made it very easy to train people,” said Halle. Following a Train the Trainer session with Professional Advantage, Halle produced a training manual specific to Ray White Invest and rolled out training across the three offices.
Using Dynamics CRM, Ray White Invest now has each development established as a project, with investors connected to the projects they are associated with. Potential investors are set up as opportunities to enable tracking and optimise success.
Ray White Invest is able to generate a variety of reports by investor and by project and finds this has greatly helped its ability to effectively conduct investment marketing including direct mail campaigns. In addition, all staff are able to access a library of reports and generate specific reports on demand. Previously, reports had to be requested through Halle to be produced.
“We’re now able to generate more useful and useable information through a wider range of reports. For example, we need to have up to date insurance on all projects.
We can now run reports to show if insurance certificates have expired or are close to expiration and act upon this information before it becomes a potential issue,” explained Halle. “We are also able to encourage referrals and generate more business simply by tracking them in the system.”
The project was completed on time and under budget. “The whole implementation went really smoothly - we are really happy”, said Halle.
Expanding Across the Group
Ray White Invest is currently developing a new investor portal website that will allow investors to access and change their details online, view quarterly project reports and check status of projects online.
This is all being driven out of Dynamics CRM. “We are anticipating that this functionality will further increase customer satisfaction, and also allow us to cut down the number of hard copy reports posted to investors down to a bare minimum,” continued Halle.
Furthermore, following the success of Ray White Invest, other companies in the Ray White Group are now investigating how they could use Dynamics CRM to improve their business operations.