Real Estate CRM Reviews: The Real Estate Software Checklist
Did you know? 46 percent of all firms cited keeping up with technology as one of the biggest fears facing their firm in the next two years (2015 Profile of Real Estate Firms). As we grow our businesses, the demands of balancing lead generation, nurturing, communication, facilitation, reporting, and team management grow exponentially. Today, real estate CRM software is a critical business tool for any team and even single agent.
Give Me the Dirty Rundown: What is a CRM?
CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management (CRM). CRM is also a common moniker to describe a wide variety of customer relationship management tools. CRMs automate customer engagement and help you keep track of your pipeline, buckets, and communication. In practice, CRMs keep you focused on what matters: Saving costs and making money.
Although CRMs are built with specific industries in mind, at their core, CRMs work on the back- and front-ends to help manage databases of clients plus their unique corresponding information.
Who Offers Real Estate CRM Software?
Chime was built mobile-first, so your CRM is available on any device, anywhere you happen to be. Chime is an “all in one” real estate business solution, which means, in addition to the CRM, you have access to automated lead generation campaigns from multiple sources (including Facebook Ads), and a personalized IDX website. The Chime CRM syncs all your activity and leads on the backend in the cloud, which means leads captured from your IDX website, Facebook campaigns, or open house feature are all automatically delivered into your CRM, scored, and routed to your team based on the rules you set. Chime allows you to add popular integrations like Zapier, Zillow, Mailchimp, and Gmail, too! Lastly, your data is proprietary, which means it’s yours to take with you!
Follow Up Boss
One of the older and most popular CRMs, Follow Up Boss offers modern CRM features like cloud syncing between iOS and Android devices and popular integrations like Gmail and Outlook. In addition, leads are also automatically imported from online marketing campaigns, including leads captured from your IDX website. Follow Up Boss also offers a “Smart List” feature, which will score and separate your hottest leads from leads which require more nurturing.
Top Producer is another long-standing CRM for agents. Top Producer champions their integrations with lead providers like Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com. Like Chime, Top Producer also heavily leverages team management and coaching through dashboard analytics. Lastly, Top Producer also offers a special “social media” stream, which let’s you view lead activity on social platforms for additional lead insight.
Much like Follow Up Boss’ real estate CRM solution, IXACT is another iconic business solution for real estate agents. IXACT offers a special “quick view” feature on their dashboard, allowing you to track your campaigns, pipelines, and interactions. Like Chime, IXACT also offers automated email marketing drip campaigns and tasks for team members. And like Chime, IXACT also automatically captures and distributes leads into your CRM.
Can I Use Salesforce?
Salesforce is one of the most popular B2B and B2C small business-to-enterprise level CRMs. Salesforce is a great CRM, but considering it’s size and relative complexity (think Ikea furniture versus buying a chair pre-assembled), Salesforce isn’t an appropriate CRM for real estate.
Why Can’t I Just Use Excel?
You could. It’s been done before much in the same way Napoleonian marched on Moscow in the Winter of 1812 and found it set ablaze stranding his army. Even before Excel and even way before personal computers, businesses were able to crush sales without software, but it was incredibly painstakingly slow and required significantly more staff.
Unfortunately Excel is not a real estate sales solution. It’s an excellent finance tool, however, it doesn’t offer and customer relationship management features. Column B, Row 32 has a buyer lead with an number and address, but where is Column B’s recent search history, lead score, lender notes, or even birthday?
Today, the benefits of using real estate CRM tools heavily outweigh all other options. CRMs are optimized to save you time!
What Features of Real Estate CRMs Save Me Money and Time?
Today, modern real estate CRMs have a few distinct advantages over traditional databases and database management tools:
- Modern CRMs exist in “the cloud:” Your CRM will be synced over the Internet from your device to a secure remote server. This is ideal for two main reasons. First, remote servers are more secure and safe from hackers and thieves. Servers also have incredible cyber security features which protect your data. Second, remote servers allow your CRM to take up less space on your device’s hard drive. There’s absolutely nothing to install and nothing to crash your device.
- Modern CRMs offer 3rd party integrations: Application Program Interfaces (APIs) like Gmail, Mailchimp, Zapier, and Zillow are some of the millions of integrations widely available to add to your CRM. Integrations allow you to continue to work within the platform without having to juggle multiple applications or switch devices.
- Modern CRMs are easy to use: Before CRMs and APIs, we used to access databases by running queries using a database language called SQL. Managing databases using a language was incredibly time consuming and required special education. Modern CRMs function like any other computer or browser based program, which are easy to navigate and use clicks, drags, and drops to make changes instead commands. There’s little to no learning curve with a modern CRM.
- Modern CRMs are customizable: Every business is different and a modern CRM will allow you to customize the platform and tailor it to your unique needs. The beauty of modern CRMs is they aren’t offering just a solution for your sales pipeline, they are offering a way to meet your specific needs.
Before You Shop, It’s Time for a Questionnaire!
- Have you used a CRM before?
- Do you have a team or is it just you?
- Are you looking to advertise and find leads?
Next, let’s define some goals and see how your next CRM will help:
- What do you want to achieve in 2017?
- Do you have enough referrals to meet a milestone for next month?
- Do you want to invest in more online advertising?
- How are you currently managing your leads?
The CRM Shopping Checklist.
With your answers in mind, here is a list of important features and benefits to look for when shopping around for a CRM. The features highlighted below are designed to help automate your business, so even though some features might seem complex, they are easy to run and manage.
Does the CRM:
- Track and record conversations between yourself and your leads?
- Allow you to send texts or even make calls from the platform?
- Offer multiple ways to stay in touch and nurture your leads?
- Have alerts for new leads, hot leads, and property alerts
- Allow you to use it on multiple devices and/or is it mobile responsive?
- Offer integrations with productivity tools you are already using?
- Have team management tools?
- Allow you to see team performance and analytics for coaching?
- Offer a lender’s portal?
- Import your leads automatically, and lastly
- Offer a lead tracking to see the source, search history, saved properties from your website, or even preferred property type?
The Double Edged Sword of Software.
Balancing multiple tools was unfortunately incredibly common. The problem came from software developing companies over-promising their solutions and severely under-delivering with their products. It’s one of the most common necessities I hear from agents in the field, on the phone, and even at trade shows: I wasted money on a tool which didn’t provide the expected results!
Ready to know more about real estate crm software? Grab the whole list with Chime. I can get you up and running with lead generation, team management, lead nurturing, and even IDX websites!