Creating the Marketing and Sales Team

Marketing and Sales Team Composition and Responsibilities

The Marketing and Sales Team has three main responsibilities:

  1. Create a marketing and sales plan.
  2. Assist in the plan’s implementation
  3. Monitor its implementation and help make midcourse adjustments where needed.

Keeping these responsibilities in mind will help you structure and use the team effectively.

When Should You Create the Team?

You will have the greatest success if you establish your marketing and sales team early in the real estate development process. The marketing and sales focus that the team will bring to the process can help ensure that the design of the homes, the financing system for buyers, and the choice of block or neighborhood where the homes are developed all work together to closely match potential buyers’ preferences.

If you start the team before the real estate development market study1 is done, you can incorporate the market research suggestions in this Guide into that effort.

If you are already further down the road with your real estate development, it’s not too late to convene a team to help assess where you are and develop a new or revised marketing and sales plan that addresses problems you are currently facing.

Whenever you start, it will be useful to hold regular team meetings during implementation of your marketing and sales plan to monitor your pipeline of homes and buyers and to make adjustments along the way.

Who Should Be On the Team?

As you think about your sales and marketing team, consider including people with the skills to take on the following roles and responsibilities – they could be staff, volunteers or consultants: (One person may fill more than one role.)

  • Program or Project Management: The person managing the overall housing development project, who keeps the big picture in mind and is able to coordinate the decisions about funder commitments, housing development, homebuyer preparation and marketing into a smooth system.
  • Program Marketing: The person who will develop the marketing plan and coordinate its execution. He or she is also the person who actually writes or approves the marketing content (collateral materials such as postcards, flyers and ads; website copy; social media messages, etc.) and will make sure it gets placed to reach target markets.
  • Real Estate Development: The people who acquire homes to be rehabbed or lots on which to build, and plan and oversee the rehab or construction. They strongly influence the home’s location and rehab or constructions details, including cost structure and amenities. They also plan the development and sales schedule based on a pro forma with cash flow analysis. Because they control so much about the product, it’s very important to have them engaged early in the marketing and sales planning process.
  • Market Research: To help you understand the buyer market and competition in your community, a market researcher can be very helpful. The insights this person(s) brings to the team can help you identify target markets, design or refine your product to best match buyer demand, and craft effective marketing messages. See Chapter 4: Researching the Market for more detail on the kinds of information you’ll be seeking.
  • Real Estate Sales: This will likely be a licensed REALTOR® that your organization engages to list and sell homes, unless you have an in-house brokerage with an agent(s) who has time to devote to this effort. They will be marketing and showing the homes to homebuyers, and therefore need a lot of experience doing that with similar homes and buyers. They can help with market research, pricing, and even determining the features of a home that will most appeal to buyers.
  • Customer Service: This is the person who answers your phone and schedules appointments. Keep in mind that the customer service representative might be the first point of contact a potential homebuyer has with your organization, which makes him or her an important part of the marketing and sales process.
  • Homebuyer Preparation: Person(s) directly engaged with potential homebuyers through homebuyer education and counseling. They will have valuable insight into what prospective buyers want, how close they are to being ready to buy a home and how best to market to them.
  • Financing: The availability of first mortgage financing is critical to a successful sales program. You may benefit from having lending partners involved in marketing planning so you understand clearly what qualifications buyers need to get a mortgage. Lenders can also be a great source of referrals because so many first-time homebuyers get prequalified as one of the first steps toward buying a home.
  • Community Building and Organizing: When people buy a house, they buy a neighborhood, too. Community building and organizing staff can be very useful in working with neighborhood residents to present the block or neighborhood in its best light through beautification activities and neighborhood marketing. Neighborhood residents can also play important roles in marketing properties for sale to friends, family and coworkers. Particularly if your housing development is clustered in one neighborhood, you may want to engage with neighborhood leadership on a marketing strategy.
  • Other Marketing Partners: Depending on your plan, you may find it beneficial at some point to engage a few key marketing partners in your team meetings. Marketing partners are organizations that agree to help market your homes to their own constituencies, such as their employees, customers or members. Examples include major employers, unions, social service agencies, local government and your local housing authority.

1  Market studies for real estate development are always advised as part of the development planning process, and usually a requirement of any grants or financing. They will generally start with some basic assumptions about the economy and the housing market and then look at general economic and demographic information in your region and target area. Next they will offer an inventory and analysis of the homeownership housing market and submarkets, providing information about comparable properties, competitive prices and features, vacancy rates, days-on-market and new developments underway.