With 2021 upon us, we thought it would be worth taking a few minutes to look back at the last year. It was a tough one for obvious reasons, and for those of us lucky enough to benefit from a mostly-hot real real estate sector, it seemed like the only thing to do was keep working, keep delivering for our clients, and showing our gratitude by making the most of the opportunities we had.
Thanks to everyone in the Follow Up Boss community for letting us continue to help you do what you best: Convert leads and create an amazing experience for your clients.
Here’s how we tried to make the most of the opportunity you gave us this year:
📈 By the numbers
Let’s start with a few stats to set the context. Here’s just a few numbers that stood out:
- 1250 total product releases. That’s a few big features you saw (more on that below), plus hundreds of performance improvements, bug fixes and other things that are individually small, but together contributed to the experience you enjoy every day.
- 17 new team members added (9 in success & support, 4 in product & engineering, plus 4 others!)
- 9 animals adopted by Follow Up Boss staff
🤯 The big ones
You asked for it, and you got it. 2020 saw some of our biggest CRM innovations ever.
Most of these features were developed directly in response to customer requests, many of which emerged from the spirited discussions in our owner's Facebook group. Thanks to every Follow Up Boss account owner who shared feedback or ideas with the community, and an extra special thanks to our moderators who worked tirelessly all year to shape the discussion and compile everyone's feedback for us:
Brian Curtis, Barry Jenkins, Dale Archdekin, Emily Tompkins Smith, Jeff Moore, Lee Adkins, Renee Funk, Sandra Alejandrino and Tristan Ahumada, you are all rock stars 🙏
The Follow Up Boss Pixel helps you convert more leads by showing you where your leads came from and what properties they viewed on your site. From there, you can use that data to personalize your follow up, trigger action plans, and so much more.
The Pixel even includes a call-to-action widget that you can activate to drive more calls and texts from your website visitors.
Pixel also gives you automatic tracking for Facebook and Google advertising campaigns. If you’re spending money on those channels, Pixel will connect leads to closed deals so you can tell if your marketing is delivering what matters: sales.
Some CRMs make you use their website platform to track your leads’ website activity. With the Follow Up Boss Pixel, you can see lead activity on almost any IDX website, even multiple websites, and keep that data even if you switch website providers.
Haven’t installed it yet? What are you waiting for? It takes just a few minutes. Learn how →
Need an easy way to track your team’s progress on key metrics, and then share that information widely so everyone knows where they stand? Leaderboard is for you.
Use Leaderboard to track your progress toward monthly goals, host a high-intensity call night, or boost morale with a friendly competition.
Leaderboard can rank your team members by activity (calls, appointments, etc) or closed deals and then display your stats on the web (perfect for 2020!) or that big TV screen in your office. The best part? Stats update in real time, so agents can watch themselves climb the rankings as they knock out calls or close that big deal.
Pro & Platform Packages (March)
The new Pro and Platform packages are designed to make it easy and cost effective for fast-growing teams to add users and access some of the most powerful Follow Up Boss features, like dialers, Leaderboard and enhanced support.
If your team is larger than 4 people and/or you want access to our industry-leading business phone system, you should definitely check these packages out.
Inbox Mass Actions (April)
By popular request, we added the ability to apply actions to multiple inbox messages at once. The available actions include mark read/unread, assign to a person or team, and close/reopen conversations.
Team Inbox (May)
Are you part of a team that collaborates on inbound calls and texts? Now, you can set up a Team Inbox that routes all your marketing calls and texts into one team workflow.
Unlike the Company Inbox, which routes leads to specific agents, Team Inbox lets your whole team see what needs to be addressed and easily handle it themselves or assign someone else to complete the task. It’s another way to help you make sure every inbound call or text gets taken care of and nothing slips through the cracks.
Embedded Apps (June)
One of the most unique things about Follow Up Boss is our open API, which lets you easily connect to other software providers to expand the functionality of Follow Up Boss and automate more of your workflow. This year, we made our open API even better by adding support for embedded apps.
What’s an embedded app? Glad you asked! Embedded apps are apps built by third parties inside of Follow Up Boss. They let you access data from an integration, or even tell that integrated software to do something, without having to leave Follow Up Boss.
Here’s an example from CallAction. If you’re using CallAction, you can quickly add a person to a text campaign right from the person screen using CallAction’s embedded app:
Lead Ponds (July)
Have an agent with too many leads? A pile of old leads that no one owns? Lead ponds are here to help you make the most of those opportunities.
Now, you can create lead ponds in Follow Up Boss, add leads to them, and give specific agents or groups of agents access to claim those leads whenever they want. It's another way to spread leads around to make sure they get worked thoroughly and followed up with regularly.
Real Time Presence Indicator (August)
Who's working this lead? Now you'll know, in real time! The real time presence indicator lets you know if another member of your team is currently viewing a lead record. Among other things, it's great for teams that collaborate on deals and for situations where you have multiple people calling the same list.
Advanced Lead Flow Rules (September)
Lead flow rules have been expanded so you can route leads or apply Action Plans based on city, state or ZIP code.
It's now also possible to quickly pause lead flow to specific agents if they're temporarily unavailable (on vacation, have too many leads, etc.) without updating all of the different lead flow and group configurations that might be sending leads to that agent.
You’ve long been able to trigger an Action Plan for new leads. But what about all the old leads sitting in your database? There are deals waiting there for you, if you can reach out at the right time. Enter: Automations.
With Automations, you can trigger an action plan based on lead activity (ahem, like website activity tracked by the Pixel!), so your leads get worked automatically at key moments.
Best of all, we pre-loaded 12 Automations for common scenarios into everyone’s account so you could start closing more deals from your database right away. Then, our friends Barry Jenkins (Ylopo / Friends in Realty) and Tristan Ahumada (Lab Coat Agents) added some of their own Automations to the library, too--there’s tons to choose from, and that’s before you start building your own 🤯
Group texting (November)
This one’s pretty easy: You’re already probably group texting with your clients and/or team, so we added it to Follow Up Boss. It’s just like the group texting you're used to: Easy, intuitive and super useful. Now it’s just automatically logged on each lead’s timeline so you can always see the full conversation history in one place.
Customers have been using it to keep deals on track by:
- Coordinating with both members of a couple
- Passing leads off to another agent
- Looping in a lender or transaction coordinator
You'll find plenty of other ways to use group texting, too.
As straightforward as group texting is to use, building it was the opposite. It took engineering MONTHS, and as far we know, Follow Up Boss is the only real estate CRM with full support for group texting.
New Help Desk (December)
A great technology experience is more than just the technology itself. It needs to be easy to get help and support when you need it.
To make it faster to find the right support articles for whatever you might need, we moved our entire help desk to a new platform in December. The search function is better, it surfaces more related articles, and is just an overall smoother experience for you.
Your (New) Follow Up Boss Team
Follow Up Boss has been adding customers fast. To deliver on our commitment of first-class support and nonstop innovation, adding new customers means we need to keep growing our team, too. Here are the 17 new faces that will be there for you in 2021 and beyond.
"Wait a sec!" you say. "You said there were 17 new faces, but there's 18 pictures here. What gives?!" Good eye! In addition to adding 17 new people this year, Caroline moved from Support to our Product team, where she's now a Product Manager. It was a great opportunity for her, and important for you as a customer: More product managers means more new CRM features.
2021 Sneak Preview
The real estate industry is on a hot streak heading into the new year, and Follow Up Boss is lining up lots of innovation to position our customers to maximize their opportunity. Here’s just a few of the things we’ve got on deck for you (and there’s plenty more I’m not allowed to talk about yet!).
Most real estate decisions don’t get made unilaterally. Sure the kids or the dog may think they get a say, but if you’re working with a family, there’s one other person who really matters: the spouse. In 2021, we’re working on a plan to add a spouse to a lead record so you can keep the two most important people on the transaction the same way they are in real life--together.
Agents spend lots of time managing appointments. We’re going to release a series of features designed to make that part of your day easier.
Next up: An appointment reminder system that will make it easy to increase appointment show rates by allowing you to set up automatic text reminders for your leads.
After that, look for an appointment report that shows you the type and outcome of each appointment as well as all the important details like which agent, which lead source it came from, etc.
Office 365 calendar sync
Those of you who use Office 365 have been pounding the table for a Follow Up Boss calendar that syncs to your Office 365 calendar. Well, pound no further, because it’s coming in early 2021.
And so much more
That’s just the first part of our 2021 road map. There’s lots more to come that we’re not ready to talk about just yet, but here’s the punch line: Just like we did in 2020, in 2021 we’re going to deliver on our commitment of constant innovation, so you always have the latest real estate CRM technology at your fingertips. It’s one of the most important promises we make to you, and we’re excited to keep it.
Here’s to a very happy new year
Thank you again for using Follow Up Boss. Whether you joined in 2020 or way back when we first started in 2011, we’re honored to have you and excited to grow with you in 2021.
Here’s to another year of high conversion rates, smoothly-running real estate businesses and bigger commission checks. Happy New Year!