Spark’s Customer Success All-Star Turned Product Prodigy
Next in our series introducing you to the people that build and power Spark is someone who might be familiar to many of you, Matt Harrison. Matt started his career with Spark nearly four years ago on our Customer Success team where he onboarded teams and assisted in the launch of dozens of projects.
Now, fully transitioned into his new role as Product Manager, Matt spoke with us about how he is taking his deep understanding of the industry’s needs, what clients can do to ensure a successful launch and how he is applying his unique knowledge of how sales and marketing teams actually use the product to grow and improve Spark.
What has been your most memorable experience at Spark today?
My most memorable experience thus far has been traveling to Miami over the course of a week to meet our clients in person. In the winter of 2021, I started working closely with clients in Miami and being able to actually connect with the various sales teams and clients that we work with allowed me to broaden my understanding of our clients needs and get a true feel for the processes of how their sales teams operate in-person — it was extremely valuable.
I would recommend anyone in a role like Customer Success to take this opportunity if it’s available, as it really sheds a light that allows you to understand your clients from a different perspective.
In my experience as a CSM, there is no better way to understand the clients that you work with when seeing their operational processes from the sales floor. I learned so many valuable lessons witnessing Sales teams and how they operate in person more than I could ever garner over a Zoom meeting. In particular, something that really resonated with me was getting exposure to the full operational process from a prospective buyer walking into the Sales center to them eventually signing a Purchase and Sale Agreement and all the nuanced steps that occur in between that sales cycle.
Since joining Spark in 2019, what has been the most interesting thing you’ve noticed about the Proptech Industry?
The main thing I’ve really noticed, which has been somewhat of a shocker to me, is how nascent the industry is. Given how large and profitable the real estate industry is, you’d think that there’d be more embracement of technology.
The most exciting thing that I’ve found working in the Proptech space is how much opportunity there is in influencing the Real Estate sector as a whole forward. I believe that we are in the infant stages of realizing the full potential that technology can spur industrywide, so I truly feel so lucky to be involved in such a critical juncture in the Proptech Revolution.
As someone who was part of the Customer Success team, what are some of the most common factors that you’ve seen that can either make or break a new development project launch?
The number one thing is proactive planning to account for the unexpected timelines. Timing, unfortunately, is not a factor that a lot of teams can control. A lot of the time, clients will have an expedited launch timeline that they have to accommodate for. This really doesn’t allow them to offer the opportunity to really hone in on the specific processes that they want to implement and flesh out in time for a successful launch.
Where I’ve seen clients really succeed is having the benefit of time at their disposal. Some of the most successful Project Launches that I’ve worked on have meticulously planned for the release of a project in advance by ensuring they have their Project Databases setup and their Sales teams using their CRM and Sales platforms well before Project Launch to hone in and solidify processes and potentially identify roadblocks well before the ramp up to sales.
This is where being proactive comes in. Getting all the key components in place as early as possible and knowing what those components are is so important.
Additionally, I’ve seen successful teams get their Legal council to provide draft documents as early possible for their Conveyancing and Sales Admins to review so they already well versed on their Contract documents and can identify potential revisions in order to make the conveyancing process much more streamlined in lead up to sales.
Follow up Question: Do you find that when a team is launching their first New Development project there’s a lot of surprises that kind of come to play relative to a team who has launched numerous projects?
Yes, I definitely see that during the first time, especially if the team hasn’t worked together before, there’s always going to be a learning curve with both the launch itself and the team understanding how everyone works together and interacts. A team that is a bit more seasoned will understand everyone’s role better, as well as the tools that they need in order to excel in selling this project.
Newer teams really struggle finding their identity, both as a team and in the processes they prioritize in selling their project. These factors are important regardless, but especially significant for a new team given their susceptibility to some of those first time surprises or roadblocks that they haven’t had to overcome in the past.
You joined Spark originally as a member of our Customer Success team and now have transitioned to our Product team. How do you see your role changing with this switch in departments and how do you envision the future of the platform?
It’s interesting, because starting on the Customer Success team, I really got a deep understanding of how the platform works as well as how our clients use it. So transitioning over to the Product team, I’m really excited because I can offer a breadth of perspective that I think a lot of people don’t traditionally have on a Product led team, such as how our clients actually use the system and what they think could be better.
I’m really excited for how I can provide this nuanced perspective and implement it to make our platform better.
As a product manager, where I see Spark headed is to continually build on the breadth of services that we offer in the New Development real estate space. Whether that be expanded reporting options, improving our digital contract process to accommodate broader markets or revamping the user experience to make it more intuitive for users, I’m excited for my role in the development and continued trajectory of where the platform is going.