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LARGE US HOME BUILDER

New options configuration tools help a home builder sell more and close deals faster

When a new home is sold to a buyer, it’s configured using the most basic arrangement available. As part of the negotiation process, sales representatives from the home builder work with the customer to determine what customizations and enhancements – called options – they would like to include as their home is constructed.

These options, which can include building materials, layouts, installed appliances, special internal wiring and more, are an important source of revenue for the home builder.

The Situation

A top fifteen home building company in the United States was stuck using a laborious paper and spreadsheet data entry system to sell and configure homes for prospective buyers. This made upselling and altering filed options difficult and time consuming, since pricing changes and approval requests had to be filed in addition to adding new options to the company’s database.

Since options are a key revenue generator for developers, the company began to feel that they were losing out on potential profits by failing to maximize options sales. The process of filing options amendments was also reducing deal momentum due to its time consuming nature.

The Solution

Due to a long standing relationship between the companies, the home builder reached out to Celedon consultants to come up with a new solution for options amendment and selection. After collaborating with the company to understand their specific needs, Celedon consultants determined that there were a number of tools that they could build to enhance the options amendment and configuration process.

As Celedon Partners had previously implemented the company’s Dynamics 2011 based CRM with an eye towards extensibility, the consultants were able to build the new options tools using the CRM as a database. The tools were designed using javascript and the knockout framework so sales representatives could access them from a browser and work on options amendments in the office, on site or with customers.

Tools

One of the home builder’s most powerful new tools automates the amendment creation process for sales representatives working with specific buyers. Working with the customer, sales representatives can choose and change every aspect of the home’s configuration – including quantity and price of specific amendments – then submit the changes for approval within the tool.

The interface only displays options available for the specific house chosen and executes pricing calculations in real time. Once a suitable configuration is determined, the tool can automatically generate a contract which can be printed or sent to concerned parties digitally to be authorized through an integration with DocuSign.

Using another tool, the home builder’s employees can determine exactly which options are available for a particular unit layout, filter the options by room and category, then create documents laying out specific configurations. Selected configurations can be exported or printed to make it easy for sales representatives to go over specific arrays of available configurations with potential buyers.

Results

Selling options is vital to the success of home builders, which means that anything with the potential to increase options sales is a victory. The home builder’s previous method required protracted data entry, approval and bookkeeping resources, which made it directly detrimental to their profitability.

The new platform gives their representatives the power and flexibility to make changes to options without navigating a significant paper trail, which means that they can capitalize on purchaser desire and capture revenue on the spot. It includes integrations with the company’s CRM, options database and tools like DocuSign which makes authorizing changes painless and means that more time can be spent building houses, rather than discussing what to build.

Celedon Partners and the client continue to collaborate on enhancements to their options tools and their general customer engagement platform.

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