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A Progress Report on Industry Success Story Market Leader

By Phil Butler | September 1, 2022

Market Leader is a real estate lead generating and CRM platform that became super popular for providing real estate agents with a suite of tools/features no competitor can boast of. Beautiful websites (as below), a popular marketing platform, and what’s been dubbed a “ cutting-edge CRM,” have powered the platform to notoriety. So, I thought I would take a look because the industry has long needed a holistic marketing suite. Market Leader says it’s addressing this void. Let’s find out. 

Indicated Value Proposition

There is a horde of companies offering real estate leads, but “quality” leads that convert to sales are never the guarantee. Even lead volumes are never a certifiable promise. That is, with the exception of Market Leader’s volume money-back guarantee. And now, the company has rolled out a new customer relationship manager (CRM) that’s supposed to be a Cadillac smooth ride accordion to some experts. In many ways, it seems like ML is out ahead of Salesforce and other marque CRM providers. I'll have to make a comparison soon. Also in the positive column is ML's recently being named one of the industry's most innovative tech companies in HousingWire’s 2022 Tech100.

Market Leader website
Market Leader's websites are among the best I've seen in enterprise-class. I took this primitive screenshot to reveal this. Unfortunately, it seems like agents have failed to optimize these sites to get the best results. I even had a hard time finding agents using them.

When I was unable to direct download ML’s app, I turned to other scrutiny and resources. Chris Linsell, at The Close, breaks down Market Leader’s value proposition nicely. But somehow, the review of the offering seems to be missing something. What’s missing will become apparent later in this report, but here I spotlight the positives the agent medium suggests below:

  • Market Leader’s lead-generation product provides guaranteed monthly volumes, and
  • A stunning website with direct integration with existing agent CRM - plus lead generation tracking.
  • A marketing suite with direct e-mail marketing tools easily integrated into agents’ existing automated marketing efforts. 

A Walled Garden Approach?

Linsell goes on to criticize Market Leader for lacking much-needed facets like SMS texting capability, limited tracking aspects, and no social media integration. But he doesn’t dig deep enough into the company’s real value and marketing prowess. At least not in my opinion.

And, looking at the Google Play reviews of the CRM mobile app, 2.5/5.0 stars (10k downloads) is not industry-changing. The reviews range from calling the mobile version “useless,” to rave applause about how “intuitive” the tool is. 

Apple Store reviews are a little bit better at 3.4/5.0, but there are only 28 ratings to date. At G2, Market Leader gleaned similar reviews rating at 3.5/5.0 (200 reviews) as well. Unfortunately, when I tried to download the app to make my own screenshots, after filling in all my info, I received the message a qualified marketing rep would contact me shortly. The image at left is from Apple, showing an agent view on an iPad.  

This was annoying, and I am sure you identify. We can create the most advanced lead generation tools, but we cannot create a user-friendly live demo as a sales hook? So, I decided to scour Market Leader’s blog and as many other sources as possible to better understand their company. And what do you know? A post entitled “How to Convert Facebook Leads into Clients” led me straight to Market Leader’s Facebook. The jargon below from the blog post under the subtitle “Nurture,” nearly knocked me out of my chair. 

“Consumers want to connect with businesses before they work with them. The key to building a connection is making your interactions about them and avoiding trying to sell them too soon. Offer value, information, and any resources you can to start earning trust right off the bat.”

As a first adopter of Facebook and just about every other social media platform in existence, I do not consider “nurturing” Market Leader’s 43,488 followers posting every 5 months. No, I am not kidding. Next, I scrolled down to find comments from clients who had problems. Many got an autoresponse, while some others got willing and useful help from ML’s page admins. I won’t go into the specifics. Social media for agents and other businesses is a hit-and-miss anyhow. I just thought it significant that ML seems to have abandoned their pages altogether. And, “ditto” for Twitter? 

Digital Hard Sell

To Market Leader’s credit, the Facebook admin who came back this client was very helpful, giving the agent a “no hold” tech number to help her out. But the point is, this was 25 weeks ago. Curious about this strange lack of social media engagement, I checked their Twitter feed. Sure enough, the company’s last Tweet there was back in March too. This set me to wondering what it was that happened in March. I researched several angles but could not come to any solid conclusion as to why ML stopped social. The fact that they did is enough to make me question their savvy and viability. I did take note that their last share on FB (below) looked like a banner for a successful PR campaign (Shoot me, it used to be my job). 

It's not something that "hits" an agent or client, but banners and mentions like this are what PR and marketing professionals suggest/create to accentuate the brands they represent. The question I have is, "How much is Market Leader resting on its laurels?

Finally, after some digging, I came across this Forbes report from this week which explained why I could not get a live demo preview of Market Leader. Neither BoldLeads nor ML allow potential clients to test drive without a consulting/sales pitch. Interestingly, competitor CINC does allow potential users to view a demo before purchasing. Digging, digging, digging. After trying to figure out if Market Leader is worth the trouble, I can only imagine what the busy agent in Omaha must think. Frustrated. I took a look at how competitors handle things. More surprises! 

First, I could not even reach the BoldLeads website. Maybe they are not available outside the U.S. (I am in Greece right now). Undaunted, I Googled CINC and Voila! Somebody in the real estate marketing tech business is alive and kicking. And yes, this ML competitor posts a lot more frequently. Plus, the overall feel of their website seems more professional, but since I have not (Yet) been able to test Market Leader’s interface. There must be some grand strategy that says you can create a library of customer help files, but you cannot let potential clients push some buttons and ring some bells?

Finally, Market Leader has moved mountains to achieve its current position. To lose a ton of credibility because of the lack of transparency in the middle of their marketing funnel? How does this look to experienced agents who know their digital marketing palette? The only saving grace here is the fact that not too many ML competitors do any better. In this line, it all starts to look like the old “hard sell” we used to get from encyclopedia salesman with their foot in our doors. The bottom line is that ML has been around for a while, so this should not even be an issue. 

I’ll reach out to Market Leader and these three mentioned competitors for some answers and possible demos. The mission here is to evaluate, review, and report to you what we find. So far, I ran into a brick wall where adopting Market Leader as a solution is concerned. My advice for now is for the team to figure out how to let agents preview before the sales demo. This would be a HUGE step forward.  

To be continued...

Phil Butler is a former engineer, contractor, and telecommunications professional who is editor of several influential online media outlets including part owner of Pamil Visions with wife Mihaela. Phil began his digital ramblings via several of the world’s most noted tech blogs, at the advent of blogging as a form of journalistic license. Phil is currently top interviewer, and journalist at Realty Biz News.
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