In the world of commercial real estate, professionals have long turned to spreadsheets for their data needs. While spreadsheets are great for storing lots of data, they are not so great when it comes to identifying strategic trends. They’re also about as interactive as a brick wall.
Modern data integration and visualization systems are filling the void, giving CRE professionals the ability to make sense of their data quickly while using it in new and exciting ways. From unlocking your data’s true potential to boosting prospecting efforts, here are four reasons you should go beyond spreadsheets and use data visualization tools to amplify your business.
1. Prospect with accuracyProspecting forms the foundation of every broker’s success, yet there’s a good chance you’re not doing it enough. The good news? Data visualization can turbocharge your efforts.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is an interactive map worth? Use data visualization software to turn your spreadsheets, call lists, and deal archives into a map of your market that lets you see exactly what’s going on around you. From property listings to recent sales and leasing metrics, interactive maps revolutionize your ability to analyze trends in your market. And understanding market trends, especially on the street level, makes it easier to know who to talk to.
Some data visualization tools can also perform advanced searches across your market, letting you specify anything from sales history to mortgage maturity dates to find the properties you’re looking for. These tools can help you pinpoint promising prospects, reducing wasted time spent talking to the wrong people. Find a system that lets you sync your call list to specific searches and you’ll win more business connecting with the right people at the right time.
2. Highlight trends
Single spreadsheets are often hard enough to understand. Beyond that, they do a terrible job showing relationships between different data sets. It’s not easy identifying market trends combing through sheets of occupancy reports and property listings, but an accurate visualization built from the same data can make those patterns obvious.
That’s because effective visualizations are all about making data easier to understand and interact with. In addition to simplifying complex data sets, visualizations make it easier to see and interpret relationships between different data sets. Everyone in the industry knows the importance of data, and understanding the relationship between your data and market trends is a major competitive advantage. Use data visualization tools to gain that advantage.
3. Simplify portfolio management
Want to know how a particular property is performing compared to its past performance? Without an integrated visualization system, you need to dig through spreadsheets to find the answer. But with an interactive visualization tool the answer is just a click away. This type of data integration helps simplify portfolio management, and while it’s useful for everyone, it’s particularly helpful for investors who aren’t CRE veterans.
Interactive tools let you search and compare your properties according to many factors, such as property type, region and tenant type, making it easy to see how properties across an entire portfolio are performing. Visualizing your data also makes it easier to see where and how you can create synergies across your portfolio.
4. Uncover actionable dataThere is an enormous amount of data out there. Most is necessary in some way or another, but not much of it is immediately actionable. For example, it’s essential to know how much space each tenant occupies, but you can’t directly act on that information to cut costs or boost efficiencies. While there are certainly pieces of actionable information, they’re typically buried deep in a spreadsheet.
Data visualization tools give you easy access to lots of information, and some of it is actionable. Depending on the search functions, you may be able to pinpoint business units with the highest amount of underutilized space. You could also check the interactive map to see which properties were purchased during the last downturn, giving you a lead on owners who may be interested in selling to capitalize on their asset’s appreciation.
Whether it’s finding actionable data or enhancing prospecting efforts, data visualization tools open more avenues for CRE professionals to profit and grow their business.