5 Things You Should Care About in Real Estate CRM

July 8th, 2013 – in crm tips

It’s a great time to be in the real estate business. The recovering real estate market means a chance to step back from crisis mode, and turn to more strategic business decisions. We’ve never been so information and data rich, but making sense of all this data matters. Read on to learn more about what to look for in systems where you store your data.

In a recent article we featured from REAL Trends, what most real estate professionals struggle with is what to look for in their systems when you don’t just need data storage, but data intelligence. So we’ve researched five top things we think you should care about having in your real estate CRM. These tips are intended to give you a base checklist of industry standards you should be looking for.

1. Cloud-based

A recent article on Firmology outlined that utilising your hard-earned data is the trickiest part of any CRM strategy. The article expounded that, Cloud-based computing solutions have low overheads, allowing you to dedicate more time and financial resources to actioning your data insights, instead of to the data collection itself.

If you don’t yet know what a cloud-based system is, you’re missing out on a huge amount of capability that is cheaper, and faster than traditional software. Cloud computing is a shared infrastructure, where your data is stored remotely, on a platform which can be accessed on-demand, by multiple users. Companies that have no in-house IT department, span multiple offices, and have agents constantly on-the-go, are especially benefited by cloud computing as it avoids the necessary investment, and maintenance, of storing software on your own servers. Salesforce gives a great visual low-down on how the cloud works, for those who need more information.

Always understand where your data will be stored, what sort of database reliability you have, and how much storage capacity you are getting. False “cloud” claims are abundant, so if in doubt always ask.

If you can’t access the data that you need, when you need, it in 2013 then you are probably getting a bad deal.

2. Mobile

One of the most viral Slideshare presentations of recent weeks, was the 2013 Internet Trends Report by Mary Meeker, which illustrated the amazingly fast and continued growth that mobile usage is expected to have in the coming years. By now, you would have become aware that having a mobile enabled website is extremely important for your customers’ browsing experience, but what about your mobility? Holding your customers preferences, requests, and contact history in the palm of your hand, is truly what CRM is all about, and is nothing less than essential.

Real Estate is still an extremely high-touch industry, so if your CRM data is in the cloud, you should be able to access it on any device while out of the office and with customers. If you’re like most real estate professionals, your mobile is your entire business. Whipping out a laptop in front of customers is definitely less expedient than ringing up all your listings on your tablet, and altering data on-the-fly.

Possibilities for mobile use in Real Estate are endless, so any CRM you’re looking at should be giving you this capability.

3. Obligation Free Trials

Knowing the product you’re buying into, empowers you to make an informed decision. Taking up the offer of a free trial is tantamount to that golden rule of ‘try before you buy’. If you’re being asked to pony up, sight unseen, you’re probably heading for a bumpy ride along the road of discovery during implementation.

Free trials give you a chance to sit down with an implementation partner, or confer with other members on your team about how the solution meets your needs. Most of all, there is zero risk to using a free trial. It may just be the best investment in CRM you’ll ever make.

Sure, you may not try out every single feature before your trial is up, but a free-trial is a show of good faith by the vendor that their product will speak for itself when put through its paces. We’d never make an investment in something we hadn’t tried first, so that’s why we encourage everyone to use our free trial first.

4. Pricing

Pricing models in the CRM arena are more competitive than ever. With the fantastic power of cloud-based platforms to develop products at a competitive price, it is probably about time you took a look at how much you’re paying for your CRM, and how it compares. Chances are you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Have clear business objectives for a CRM system, not just budgetary ones. With cloud-based platforms creating extremely competitive products in the CRM space, low pricing is just as little an indicator of value, as high price is of quality, so understand what your CRM strategy is first.

Do the research, and consult with an implementation partner about any unique challenges you may be facing. It may seem counterintuitive, but talk to a salesperson. Yes, they want to sell you the product, but they can also find the right fit for your needs. This will make sure you are aware of what you’re getting into, with no nasty surprises later on. As a bonus, you’ll understand your CRM objectives better than you did before.

Talk to a Propertybase Customer Success team member about your CRM needs!

5. Customizability

Now let’s not confuse customizable with customized; they are two very different solutions in the CRM world. The former describes a solution that can be changed with your needs over time, whereas the latter is a one-time custom build, that’s designed to fit you there and then. A myth about real estate CRM is that if you want the perfect fit, you have to build it yourself. Not true. Custom builds are expensive, often crumble unless constantly maintained, and - worst of all - can trap you for decades.

We’re of the opinion that you shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel if you want a great CRM. Customizable solutions can be scaled, tailored, and personalized on a per company and user basis by… Well, you! Your technology decision should support the path of your organisation instead of shaping it, so being able to customize ensures your tech solution fits you down to the very last stitch!

In a world filled with information, and filled with choice, we believe you have the power to demand your perfect solution. Hopefully, this list of key considerations has helped give you a little clarity and a lot of things to think about, in the search for a better CRM.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on CRM solution in real estate, and what other considerations you think belong on this list, so leave us a comment!

Author: Sara Regan