Real estate CRMs are important. There are also a booming number of them to choose from. What are some of the key deciding factors to consider before you make your pick?
A good and effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is essential for all real estate ventures. It doesn’t matter whether you are just starting in real estate solo or have a small business you are trying to scale to a big one, you need a CRM. It’s what will enable you to build lead lists, automate and lower the cost of follow up marketing campaigns, convert more leads and provide the best service.
There may be a confusing and fast growing number of real estate CRM options out there today, but here are the guiding decision factors that will help you pick the best product for your venture.
Generic vs. Real Estate Specific CRM
One big decision to make is whether you need a real estate specific CRM or just a generic one. Some generic versions may be more robust. Some will advertise applications for real estate but not be designed just for real estate pros. Those that are may have more of the functionality you want, without having to sift through all the junk you don’t.
Cost vs. Value
There are affordable CRMs and very costly ones. Some of the priciest options have offer endless configurations and customizations and features. Though, will you use them? If you won’t, there may be more value in a solution which is easier to use. Make sure you also look at the cost per user, or for rising costs if you use more data or add more contacts. You don’t want to be hit with an avalanche of expenses that may not be at scale with your profits and business volume. Look at your volume goals and compare what that is likely to mean at the most expensive pricing of that CRM. The last thing you want is to have to switch after you’ve invested thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours to master and load up one system.
Ownership of Your Data
While it is not desirable, you may have to switch CRMs one day. If that happens you want to make sure you have full control of all the data you have invested in building up. You want to make sure your database is easily and quickly exported, and in a format you can easily and quickly import into another CRM solution. Make this a top priority in your choice of solutions.
Ease and Cost of Setup
Perhaps most important of all is how easy and affordable the CRM is to setup and start using. If you never actually get around to using it, then it is a complete waste of time and money. Some CRMs may be simply enough to setup yourself DIY style, or to have an assistant or office manager handle. Others may require specialists and accredited experts to handle setup and customization. There may be a significant amount of training you need on it as well. So, how broad is the availability of trainers and competition between them? Make sure you factor all of these costs into the overall number.
Adoption & Use by Staff
Sooner or later you are going to need a growing team to help you achieve your goals. Even if you choose to stay small, your CRM will be crucial to running a lean operation with great profit margins. However, like any tool, a CRM is only going to be as profitable as it is used. A hammer isn’t going to help at all if you choose to use your bare hand or forehead to bang in nails instead of using the hammer sitting in your toolbox. You can imagine the result of an entire team choosing to do things the hard, slow and expensive way. Even after you made the investment in the tools. So, invest the time in getting staff trained on how to use it. They should have no excuses. Show them the value in using it. Then decide how you will penalize them for not doing so, or reward them for using it very well.
How is the support? What types of support are available? Is it in your preferred medium? Is there email and phone support, or will you just be referred to the FAQ? How much does support cost, and do product reviews suggest the support is good or not?