In 2014, REAL Trends did a survey on transaction systems that produced several interesting and productive metrics for our industry. We found that 61 percent of brokerages used a transaction system and, contrary to our hypothesis, brokerages with larger numbers of agents were less likely to use transaction systems. In the study, less than 50 percent of those brokerages with over 700 agents used these systems.

 

In 2016, the Online Performance Study shows that this trend reversed. Through our technology consulting, valuation and other research, REAL Trends found that this number has indeed approached 81 percent overall, with the larger firms making up most of those implementing transaction systems.

 

Adoption

Adoption numbers are also climbing and have outpaced CRM adoption in our industry. Some 69.4 percent of brokerages adopted a CRM in 2015, compared to 81 percent of those adopting a transaction management system. Through our calculations, there are approximately 10,000 brokerages in the United States that do not use a transaction management platform.

On the agent side, the numbers are climbing, as well. Brokerage’s self-reported agent adoption of CRM systems was 72.5 percent in 2015 and transaction management systems was 76 percent in 2016.

When asked in 2014 why the firms did not use transaction management, many said, “No system does it all.” This has changed as features from the major players, including Dotloop, are closing that gap.

 

Productivity

In 2014, we studied the correlation between productivity and using a system and found that the average agent using a system had 2.3 more transactions than those agents not using a system. Do agents who close more transactions need a transaction system as a result of increased business? Or, does the system help them do more business?

One thing that’s new in 2016 is the fact that firms that use transaction management systems close deals faster and have a higher client satisfaction on average than those who don’t use these systems.

 

Integration

As our industry progresses from an integration perspective (albeit slowly), we are encouraged by companies like Dotloop. They are opening their API for integrations with brokerage CRMs. Closing the loop and data transparency has been missing in our industry for quite some time. These advancements are a great sign of things to come as the brokers and sales associates who gain an advantage will be the ones to leverage data the best end to end in the technology and marketing ecosystem. This was one of the key reasons Realogy acquired Zip Realty, and we think the data play is the most positive, long-term outcome of that acquisition.