Royal LePage’s Future-Focused Digital Transformation With rlpSPHERE, Powered by kvCORE
Royal LePage is once again shaking the industry’s foundations as a technology innovator with the launch of its groundbreaking digital ecosystem, rlpSPHERE. Powered by kvCORE from Inside Real Estate, the platform features a suite of fully integrated proprietary and industry technologies.
By Maria Patterson, RIS Media
From its founding in 1913 to its status as its nation’s largest real estate company with more than 600 locations and 18,000 agents, Royal LePage is synonymous with real estate in the Great White North. As President & CEO Phil Soper says, “Royal LePage is Canada’s Real Estate Company; a contemporary, innovative business built on more than 100 years of industry leadership. We have no intention of slowing down.”
The catalog of Royal LePage firsts stretches back decades, from introducing for-sale lawn signs to the country early in the last century, to the launch of Canada’s first national real estate website in 1995. Royallepage.ca is Canada’s second most visited home-search portal.
Today, Royal LePage is once again shaking the industry’s foundations as a technology innovator with the launch of its ground-breaking digital ecosystem, rlpSPHERE. Powered by kvCORE from Inside Real Estate, the platform features a suite of fully integrated proprietary and industry technologies. Automating the full spectrum of a real estate professional’s needs—from lead generation and CRM, to marketing automation and EDM — rlpSPHERE is a solution uniquely customized for the Canadian market, and designed to empower Royal LePage’s management, teams and agents.
The timing of the platform’s launch was fortuitous.
“The rlpSPHERE concept and high-level architecture was born 18 months ago,” explains Soper. “We envisioned a cloud-based, AI-enabled operating environment where our people could access what they needed to work anywhere, any time, on any device. Thanks to Inside Real Estate and our brilliant design team, we had created a system optimized for a pandemic well before the world had heard of COVID-19.”
Royal LePage COO Carolyn Cheng describes rlpSPHERE as “a fully integrated, future-focused” solution. “It allows brokerages and agents to move away from multiple, disjointed technologies,” she explains. “Right now, especially with the pandemic, this integrated ecosystem is a huge component of a brokerage’s value proposition.”
An Idea Whose Time Had Come
According to Cheng, emerging shifts in the market made the timing right to embark on the rlpSPHERE project. Responsible for Royal LePage’s strategic vision and the delivery of its products and services, Cheng closely monitors real estate technology, and noticed the material infusion of venture capital flowing into the space, along with an increasing level of tech sophistication.
“For the first time, we felt there were companies that could effectively digitize the brokerage, agent and team processes, allowing each party to automate many of their administrative and routine tasks in order to focus more on elevating the level of service and professionalism being offered,” she explains.
Also emerging in the market, for brokerage, team and agent websites, were advanced capabilities for leveraging AI and behavioral automation, such as lead generation websites that monitor repeat visits and proactively reach out to consumers, or push out search alerts and market reports based on a consumer’s search criteria. Royal LePage wanted to tap into the positive implications this could have for lead conversion.
“There’s been a lot of progress in AI, and we’re able to do a lot of interesting things that we haven’t been able to before,” explains Cheng. “All of a sudden, agents have a new assistant that is effectively nurturing all of their leads but only surfacing the warm ones as they become ready.”
Setting Bold Goals
Royal LePage’s goals for rlpSPHERE were ambitious, but in keeping with the company’s long history of innovations and firsts.
“We wanted to make sure we were building a future-focused system that leveraged advanced sales-automation technology to give our network an advantage and to make sure everyone had the tools to be successful as transformation in the digital age progresses at an accelerated pace,” says Cheng. This included a solution that would allow a broker to generate leads, then track and service those leads throughout their entire lifecycle, from inception to close.
Differentiation was also a major goal when it came to the development of rlpSPHERE. “We wanted to create a completely Canadianized solution uniquely tailored to Royal LePage with the data, customizations and integrations needed to make it work for our users while enhancing brand value,” explains Cheng.
The company’s digital solution also needed the flexibility and depth to serve both new and experienced agents alike—one solution for all.
According to Soper, there is a broader, bolder vision for the new ecosystem that goes beyond having best-in-class features and functions. “To rapidly drive adoption across thousands of independent contractor agents, we needed the wow-factor provided by amazing new discrete functionality, like autopilot lead management,” he says. “Yet the true superpower to increase enterprise productivity and revenue, and to reduce cycle time and costs, comes from integration. Gone are the typical real estate company’s islands of technology that devour hours of human labor to allow them to talk to each other. rlpSPHERE represents a triumph in end-to-end design and data integration."
The Right Partner for the Job
Always on top of technology trends and actively involved in industry conferences and mastermind groups, Royal LePage was well informed when searching for a partner to make its technology goals a reality.
“We interviewed 25 different vendors to make sure we had a common vision and that their interface was intuitive and very usable in order to get the adoption we needed,” recalls Cheng. “We also had to make sure there was a good cultural fit with their teams.”
Eventually, Cheng issued an RFP to three finalists who were then subject to an evaluation matrix from Royal LePage’s internal project team, and a meeting with the company’s Services Advisory Council, composed of 18 brokers from across the country. This multifaceted vetting process resulted in the selection of Inside Real Estate, known for their innovative tech leadership in the industry, who Royal LePage views as an independent, well-funded, long-term partner. Inside Real Estate brought to the table:
- A proven ability to support large enterprise organizations and complex rollouts
- Modern tools (AI driven CRM, behavioral automation, lead generation, etc.) that catered to all of Royal LePage’s key stakeholders and user personas
- A highly sought-after platform (kvCORE) that was well-established in the market, yet flexible and customizable to Royal LePage in order to create a unique ecosystem
- An open API platform, allowing for existing integrations with proprietary systems, key Royal LePage partners and other ancillary service providers
“This is a robust system, but one that was designed to be intuitive for agents,” says Cheng. “We needed a proven platform that has a track record of driving results for agents and teams, and we found that with the kvCORE Platform.”
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