On January 9, 2024, Kimberly Mackey hosted the first Head-to-Head of 2024. Wow, did we come in hot with this discussion about how home builders can get their teams fully on board with new tech investments? She was joined by Keith McKinney, Vice President of New Home Star, and John Lee, CEO of Anewgo, subbing last-minute for colleague Anya Chisanthon.
Kimberly opened by asking how leaders can encourage salespeople to use new CRM and other systems purchased consistently. Keith emphasized that simply ordering people to adopt tech never works – they need context on the “why” behind it. When sales teams understand how a CRM boosts efficiency, accelerates deals, and increases commissions, they’re intrinsically motivated to leverage it. Given sales is highly social, you can’t just impose technology without proper training and communicating benefits.
Keith drew a parallel to college football – powerhouse programs like Michigan invest heavily in recruiting and developing players over the years rather than integrating experienced transfers right before championships. Similarly, builders should hire for aptitude and attitude first, then thoroughly train new hires on systems and processes. This motivates veterans to up their game or depart.
Kimberly advocated stopping the practice of hiring salespeople for “experience,” which often means those unsuccessful elsewhere. Strong salespeople rarely leave positions with healthy pipelines. Instead, hire for coachability and pay trainees adequately while investing 3-6 months onboarding them. Don’t just hand over keys expecting instant success.
John emphasized sales needs to meet homebuyers where they are increasingly shopping – online. This means embracing e-commerce technology and AI to digitally engage and guide customers through the funnel versus waiting offline for marketing leads. AI’s predictive strengths identify qualified buyers and automation nurtures them through sales stages.
The group explored how AI and CRM analytics provide helpful visibility into prospect behavior and pipelines to optimize outreach. John proposed using AI to create “secret weapon” playbooks documenting internal best practices. Sharing this perpetual training also improves AI systems while helping teams excel.
Rather than fearing replacement by AI, salespeople should view it as a “superpower” enhancing productivity. AI can act as a digital assistant to handle manual tasks, empowering humans to focus on high-value activities like relationship building. This allows sales to be more organized and efficient than ever, crucial as buyer distraction increases.
The experts emphasized that new tech success requires tight integration with existing systems to prevent fragmented data silos. Sales should help shape desired functionality and workflows must be mapped before deploying new tools meant to enhance them. Ongoing training and support is critical for adoption, along with contests and incentives to make change exciting vs. threatening.
While emerging technology is promising, Kimberly concluded that people remain at the heart of the sales process. Team members need help bridging the gap between proven approaches and leading-edge tools. Builders can fully capitalize on their tech investments with the right foundation, aligned processes, and engaged employees.
The lively Head-to-Head discussion delivered actionable advice for sales leaders working to smooth the transition to new systems. Reach out to Kimberly, Keith, and John for more insights on deriving maximum value from organizational technology expenditures. Catch up on any Head-to-Head programs that you might have missed or register for upcoming episodes by visiting NewHomesSolutions.com/head-to-head.
As a reminder, Anya, Keith, and I will present this topic in-depth at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas. CLICK HERE to find out more.
Here is the link to the Jamb Session that John Lee and I are doing. “How AI is Revolutionizing New Home Sales and Marketing.” CLICK HERE