Real Estate Businesses Migrate to the Cloud Via CRM Implementation
September 02, 2022
By Philip Yellen and Aaron Jackson
Long gone are the days of real estate brokers and leasing offices manually keeping track of their potential clients and deals. New technologies in the industry and updated marketing practices have upended many of the structural components of the real estate business. Be honest – when was the last time your team canvassed a neighborhood and knocked on doors to lease or sell units? And, even if your teams still participate in good old-fashioned networking – chances are you’re also attracting clients via social media, lead generation and listing aggregators.
With so many moving parts, things can get messy – quickly. Considering the variability of today’s real estate landscape, there’s no question that any brokerage, sales, or leasing team requires a streamlined and efficient means of nurturing strong client relationships. And, while a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet may have served you well in the past, there’s a much better client management alternative: enter CRMs.
What is a CRM?
CRM is an acronym for customer relationship management software. And, if the name isn’t self-explanatory enough, CRMs represent a category of software tailored toward managing, attracting, and retaining clients; overseeing their transactions and allowing you to have full control over deals.
Essentially, CRMs allow you to centralize all of your real estate business into one neat cloud-hosted platform – allowing you ease of access and management whether you’re at your office desk or entertaining clients at a sales gallery. And, while most CRMs, at their core, promise an efficient means of managing real estate leads, they tend to also offer a larger variety of features that can streamline many aspects of your business. For example, a CRM can help to reengage clients with e-mail, text, and social media campaigns. It might also allow you to keep track of sales metrics, lease performance and revenue forecasting.
Truth be told, you might already be using a CRM in your day-to-day work in the real estate business. Are you positive, however, that you’re using this robust piece of software to its fullest potential? If you’re not too sure about that, or if you’re still entirely new to the world of CRMs – we’ve got you covered with some of the best implementation practices.
Centralized Client Information
One of the most important aspects of a CRM implementation is properly taking advantage of the software's ability to aggregate client data. Any good CRM will allow you to track all relevant client specifics – anything ranging from how they heard about your business, to where they are in the sales process. This information is a powerful management tool in determining marketing budgets, communication with investors, engagement of potential customers, and developing strategies to increase sales and leasing. When client data is properly organized, less deals fall through the cracks, clients are happier and sales increase.
When implementing a CRM system, it’s important to make sure that all relevant team members and staff are utilizing it daily. One of the major selling points of CRMs is access to aggregated sales, deal, and client data. To fully benefit from these capabilities, it’s integral to develop a plan that works toward adoption firmwide. And it’s important that executives at the firm set the “tone at the top” to champion the benefits of utilizing CRMs so the employees firmwide can follow suit.
Lack of widescale adoption is one of the major reasons that implementations fail. When your team isn’t properly using the software, it results in disorganization of client data and inaccessible insights. A CRM is only valuable as a tracking, planning, and reporting tool if your team members are trained and held accountable for utilizing the software in their day-to-day workflow.
Integration with Existing Tools
While CRMs are extremely productive in and of themselves, they are definitely not the be-all-end-all of real estate business software. In fact, you most likely already use other software that is adequately meeting many of your business’s needs. The beauty of many CRMs is that they allow you to integrate with the third-party systems that your team already relies on for leasing and sales. CRM integrates with email, calendar systems, marketing applications, and accounting and listing platforms as a centralized software hub for your business.
Without proper third-party integration, your team runs the risk of double entry, poor data integrity, and lost business efficiency. It’s important to understand how existing software impacts CRM integrations and how companies can properly connect their systems to maximize production across the organization.
As simple as this may sound, we believe that starting small is a crucial component of proper CRM adoption and implementation. When adopting any new piece of software, it’s best to start slowly with basic features that provide instant value – layering on more complex automations as the team becomes more comfortable with the new system.
Companies often try to take on too much, too quickly, which overwhelms the sales team and results in poor adoption and low data value. Instead of wasting time and energy adopting certain features that don’t particularly meet your immediate business needs, focus on the lowest hanging fruit and develop a pathway for your company to start benefiting from the insights and efficiencies inherent in a real estate CRM system.