7 Best Kept Real Estate CRM Secrets
albhanji • June 24, 2015 • 1 Comment
There are many things which you need to consider when choosing a Real Estate CRM and many companies do not want to tell you the real truths behind their system and how it all works. Unfortunately, we don’t know what we don’t know, yet some how you are expected to make a business decision based on a real estate CRM when we know very little about what it does, how it works and most importantly what your requirements really are, not just for now but into the future.
When choosing a great real estate CRM you need to understand the buying habits and preferences of your customers and prospects so you can:
- Build and strengthen customer relationships to keep them coming back.
- Provide value-added services that are difficult for competitors to duplicate.
- Improve your product development and service delivery processes.
- Increase your staff’s awareness of customer needs.
- Reduce customer frustration by not asking the same questions over and over.
Here is a list of things we have compiled that you should consider when choosing your CRM:
1. Clearly define Business Objectives
Developing a clear-cut set of business goals is an integral component of any CRM software selection. You need to understand how you currently access and store data and based upon this you will be able to see your strengths and weaknesses of these approaches. For example, you may use multiple databases, one you collect leads from your website and other instances are your agents using Outlook to store their own contacts.
Once defined, it becomes easier to understand what the solution required needs to look like and what the CRM software will need to do in order to be successful for your company’s use. By failing to define these objectives upfront, companies will charge you for every update and change you want to make which is not documented.
Of course you have a budget and the more you understand what your needs and requirements are the more you will learn how realistic your budget is. Price when choosing a CRM is one requirement. You need to consider the upfront cost and the ongoing long term costs and benefits the CRM will deliver. Think about your businesses workflow and how easy it is to customise the CRM. Most CRM’s will require some level of customisation. Depending upon the CRM you choose, the cost to customise and change features can end up making one CRM a very costly decision compared to others. You need to spend the time to understand what you needs are and speak with a vendor who understands your industry intimately so that you can get the best advice before jumping in. A cheap upfront fee can be a very costly long term prospective.
3. Data Migration
Many organisations have information stored in older systems that they wish to move to the new CRM. This information is often times organised differently from the new CRM system, requiring some effort to relocate. Focusing on migration strategies early on can help ensure a smoother transfer of information down the road. Be prepared to spend some time migrating your data and testing to make sure it all goes smoothly. You know your data better than anyone. Spend the time to clean it and make sure it is in the correct format before you try and upload this to the new system. The planning and cleaning of the data upfront can save you thousands down the track in trying to clean and merge data after it is uploaded into the CRM.
4. On site vs On Demand
Many businesses now are choosing cloud-based or software as a service (SaaS) CRM solutions. The advantages of these solutions are that you can access your information from any computer in the office, on the go or at home. All of your emails and client files are stored in the CRM, so even if your computer hard drive crashes you will never lose your data. Ongoing maintenance and ease of deployment are also reasons why cloud based solutions are now so popular. On site solutions may fit your business needs. In these circumstances, you will need to manage your own server, updates and fixes. Unless you are IT proficient or have dedicated IT support person we find this a less attractive solution. Look for a cloud based solution. In the end the cost to maintain your own server and host this far outweighs the benefits and you can essentially forgo your exchange server for a smarter well structured CRM and cloud based server solution.
5. Scalability & Vendor strength
The fact that you are now thinking about using a CRM or upgrading to one to meet your expanding business needs illustrates the changing nature of your business and its ongoing demands. By choosing a CRM that is scalable is imperative. Once you purchase your CRM, spend the time to learn it and customise it to your businesses workflows, the last thing you want to do is have to change because the CRM you have chosen is not scalable and the vendor is not updating or improving the CRM features constantly. You need to partner with someone who has a proven track record.
Consolidation is a natural part of the business software industry, but your CRM partner should demonstrate a history of survival in both this competitive market and down economy. Sometimes acquisitions and mergers fail, putting you in the unenviable position of depending on orphan software to run your operations
6. Customisation options
With many CRM’s today there are a suite of addons, plugins and third party software providers that you can use to add extra functionality to your CRM. Some of these instances are free and some are paid. Depending on your software provider, you should consider how they integrate with other common software packages like Microsoft Outlook, Chrome, Gmail, Google Drive, Facebook, Linkedin etc. As businesses use many different software solutions for different users, by using these plugins and addons, you can ensure that you get the most from your CRM.
In some instances you may have a specific requirement which is for your business and in these instances you will need to make sure that the CRM you have chosen allows you to create custom functions and addons. Some providers offer open source platforms where you can completely get under the hood and customise the software to the nth degree and others limit your access and customisation capabilities. In those instances where you are limited, you may have to create external scripts and programs which make the CRM more clunky to use.
7. Training and Support
CRM software offers a wide range of tools for users to learn and master. Many users will require multiple exposures to documentation and training in order to gain the critical skills required to succeed with the new CRM. Some CRM systems provide written documentation, videos, and other self-paced training, while others offer single or ongoing in-person group and individual training.
Rather than hastily rushing to embrace a new CRM solution, carefully review your objectives, requirements and expectations, and then methodically plan the process to ensure your buying decision and implementation will deliver the savings and improvements you want and expect. Your early investment in time and research will be repaid many times over by a CRM system that truly lives up to its promise and benefit.
About our Company
AgentHUB™ is an innovator and provider of real estate CRM software solutions. An Australian company providing solutions for real estate agents, builders and property developers. Our specialty is providing an end to end solution for our clients that are Easy, Powerful & Mobile.
Feel free to contact us directly to discuss your real estate CRM requirements.
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Phone No. 02 8011 3091