The Best Real Estate CRM: How to Make a Decision Without Going Crazy

Are you unsure which real estate CRM to go with? We get it.

It is a monumental choice, and one that frequently necessitates reorganizing the lead management system that you have in place. If you are going to go to the trouble of resetting your entire sales foundation, you need to be certain that the effort will be worthwhile.

With this extensive (and for the most part objective) buyer’s guide to real estate CRMs, we are going to leave our preconceived notions at the door and assist you in making the decision that is right for you. We’ll go over all of the most important factors to think about when selecting the ideal real estate CRM for your company right now, as well as what to watch out for to ensure that your new platform can accommodate your ambitions for expansion in the future.

Let’s get started!

What Exactly Is Real Estate CRM? And Why It’s Important to Get It Right

“Customer Relationship Management” is the meaning behind the abbreviation CRM. You might also hear it referred to as real estate “contact management software,” although we feel that this term grossly undersells the possible advantages of using the software.

Because, in contrast to your marketing platform or website builder, your customer relationship management system (CRM) touches every aspect of your real estate business. This includes tracking and managing your leads, sending drip campaigns, uploading contracts, booking and managing appointments, and a great deal more.

Your customer relationship management system (CRM) is where all of your customer data should be stored if you are a growth-minded real estate agent, broker, or team leader. It is the location where you will manage all of your contacts and keep a record of your communications with each and every individual who is included in your database.

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You can think of your customer relationship management system (CRM) as the one source of the truth regarding the state of your customer relationships and the status of each individual customer.

And if you know how to use it properly, it can also be your golden ticket to achieving your best client relationships and your wildest business dreams for the future as well.

If you have a team, the tone and cadence for how they will collaborate to provide an unforgettable experience for your customers, which will lead to more closed deals and more referrals, is set by your customer relationship management system (CRM).

Your customer relationship management system (CRM) is the one component of your real estate technology stack that is solely responsible for assisting you and your team in converting leads into revenue. This is despite the fact that front-end websites and marketing systems are excellent at drawing in leads and channeling them into your database.

Because your company is so important, you should have access to the most advanced CRM available. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the most important advantages that a CRM can provide for its users so that you know exactly what to search for.

The Best 5 Reasons to Use a Real Estate CRM

Because you are here, we assume you are already familiar with the CRM that we consider to be the most effective.

In order to determine whether or not your investment in a customer relationship management (CRM) or lead management system will be worthwhile, there are a few essential features and prerequisites that you should look for before making a decision.

Benefit #1: Lead with lightning-fast speed

According to the collected data, responses that come in under five minutes have a 21 times greater likelihood of helping qualify leads than responses that come in longer.

If you have a sophisticated customer relationship management system for real estate, you will always be the first one to respond to a new prospect.

The majority of customer relationship management systems, including the one we use, send out automated text messages to leads as they come in. This ensures that each and every internet lead receives an almost instantaneous response to their initial inquiry.

For instance, if you search for a CRM that has flexible lead routing features, you will have the ability to customize what happens with leads that come from various sources. This will allow you to set up routing and follow-up activities that are specific to the various types of leads that you receive. Keep in Touch Boss collects leads from over 200 distinct sources, consolidates them into a single location, and then automatically distributes them to the appropriate agent based on criteria such as zip code, price point, seller vs. buyer lead, and more.

What to look for: A customer relationship management system that enables you to distribute leads to agents in a manner that is tailored to your particular workflows and goals. This will allow you to provide quicker responses to prospects while minimizing any internal drama that may arise within the team.

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Benefit #2: Automated lead nurturing helps you close more sales

Only 27% of leads that enter an organization’s marketing funnel can be considered “sales ready.”

If you want to convert lukewarm or cold leads into sales, you need to send the appropriate message to them at the appropriate time on a consistent basis. The most effective way to accomplish this is by using strategic and concentrated lead nurturing.

However, considering that 65% of a sales representative’s time is consumed by activities that do not directly lead to the generation of revenue, it is difficult to carve out time each day for the purpose of nurturing your database. The good news is that most CRMs come equipped with automation features that enable you to nurture leads on autopilot, saving you the time and effort of manually texting, emailing, and dialing each one.

What to look for: If you want the best results with automated lead nurturing, choose a CRM that makes it easy to segment your list. This will allow you to customize drip campaigns that build a real connection with leads and tailor your message to the stage of the buying process that your prospect is currently in.

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Benefit #3. Make the customer experience fantastic and get more referrals

It is essential that your customer relationship management system (CRM) provides you with sufficient personalization options in this day and age of chatbots, robocallers, and misspelled lattes from Starbucks. This will ensure that no lead is treated like a number.

For instance, with the help of custom automations, you can automatically call, text, or email leads who have taken a predetermined action on your website, such as saving or viewing a property. This allows you to nurture leads and convert them into customers more quickly. Some CRMs even give you the ability to go far beyond the traditional “Happy Birthday” email and carry out hyper-relevant time-based automations such as “30 days after close date.” This is something you can do with your follow-up.

What to look for: You should look for a CRM that enables you to set up customized drip campaigns that are triggered by specific actions that a lead takes, such as filling out a form on your website or even viewing a specific listing. These actions should be triggered automatically rather than requiring manual intervention.

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You can easily set up automated drip emails to trigger automatically for new leads with a modern real estate CRM. These emails can also be used to keep in touch with other people in your database, such as your circle of influence, referrals, or previous customers.

Benefit #4. Reduce back-and-forth with seamless team collaboration

When you are already knee deep in transactions, nothing is more frustrating than an endless email chain sent by the team.

A customer relationship management system (CRM) maintains order and consistency by storing all of your contacts and communications in a single, centralized location. This means that whenever you need something, you, your agents, your administrative assistant, or your transaction coordinator will know exactly where to find it without even having to ask.

Your customer relationship management system (CRM) provides you with a centralized point of reference for the conversational and transactional history that your team has had with each and every contact in your database, as opposed to the default of using Excel spreadsheets and email-based workflows.

What you should look for: Features such as simple team chat, @mentions, and shared calendars that make it easy for your team to easily share all the information they need in order to provide an exceptional experience for their customers.

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Benefit # 5. Use your CRM as a tool for lead tracking

There is no telling when a dormant lead will suddenly come back to life. However, if you have the right CRM, you won’t need to set aside an entire day in order to try to re-engage “dead” leads.

With a CRM that has features for tracking leads, you can do the following:

  • First, contact your most active leads.
  • Identify old leads who have resumed their search.
  • Check out who is currently online.

You will also be aware of the specific neighborhoods and price ranges that a lead is interested in, allowing you to go into every conversation prepared with a strategy. In addition, you have the ability to construct drip emails, text messages, and action plans that are specific to the properties that the customer has viewed. ‍

What you should be looking for: Is a tool that has a pixel or some other behavior-based lead tracking function to help ensure that you are appearing in front of your prospect at the precise right time in their journey toward purchasing real estate.

3 Questions to Ask to Determine Your Ideal System

Ok. We now know that a customer relationship management system can completely transform your company.

So, what’s the catch, if you will?

The fact that there are so many different real estate CRMs on the market is the industry’s most significant shortcoming.

We’re all for open markets, but there are so many customer relationship management systems out there that it can be difficult to choose the one that’s best for you. And nothing is more frustrating than squandering money on a system that you don’t even employ.

Should you go with something that is inexpensive and upbeat (even if it is a little difficult to navigate)? Or are you willing to shell out the big bucks for a system that has all the bells and whistles?

Please find below three straightforward inquiries that will assist you in determining the most appropriate response for yourself.

#1. What are my automation requirements based on my current business?

There are customer relationship management systems (CRMs) and other technological tools that can assist you in automating your entire real estate business, from A to Z. When things finally begin to pick up steam in their business, the majority of real estate agents make the mistake of overspending on technology. This is one of the reasons why.

For instance, if you are focusing most of your efforts on working with your SOI and previous clients, you may only require a straightforward all-in-one tool to assist you in sending drip campaigns and mailers. If, on the other hand, you are rapidly scaling your lead sources, team, and business, you may get a better return on investment (ROI) from an open system that offers features for both contact management and team collaboration.

#2. What are my requirements based on my business in six months?

If you are prepared to take things to the next level by investing in paid internet leads and growing a team, you may need a more sophisticated tool that provides advanced tracking and data reporting on your best lead sources and most productive team members. If you are ready to take things to the next level, you can read more about how to take things to the next level here.

The right CRM should immediately free up at least an hour of your time each day while simultaneously providing you with the tools you need to support the next step in your business. This could be anything from investing in Facebook ads to setting up your drip campaign or hiring your first buyer agent.

#3. How satisfied are my agents and I with our current lead management system?

If you and your agents aren’t updating your database as frequently as you should be, the problem probably lies with the usability of your CRM system. In addition, you shouldn’t waste your time running your company using a system that you despise because life is too short.

You won’t ever have to stop and wonder what information belongs in which section of the database if you have a CRM that is simple to use and has an excellent user experience (UX). In fact, you might even find it enjoyable.

When it comes to selecting a customer relationship management system, simplicity is key, according to Austin-based broker Ryan Rodenbeck, who offers the following advice.

I have tried out a wide variety of customer relationship management (CRM) systems, ranging from those that were overly complicated to those that were overpriced.

I’ve never worked with a customer relationship management system that was close to ideal. There is an industry competitor that I have a lot of respect for, and their representatives have told me, “We’re using Salesforce, and it’s intimidating.” If I were a tech nerd, I’d probably be all over it, but if I were leading a team, I’d want something that agents can plug into, but that still has a lot of great features. Keep in Touch All of that was taken care of for us by the boss.”

Ryan is able to onboard new team members more quickly and with fewer headaches by using a customer relationship management system (CRM) that his agents actually enjoy using. Making significant adjustments is also much less of a painful process.

For instance, when Ryan made the decision to alter his lead distribution strategy from Round Robin to First to Claim, he simply needed to click a button to implement the change.

How to Select the Most Effective Real Estate CRM for Your Company

As soon as you have a clear idea of what it is you truly want for your company, you will be able to begin evaluating the various CRM features that are available to help you achieve your goals.

As was mentioned earlier, there are various technological tools that can assist you with practically every facet of running a real estate business. We’ve broken it down into three primary categories of customer relationship management software, each of which can be classified as either an open system or an all-in-one solution.

Open Systems and All-in-One

No matter which CRM you end up choosing for your real estate company, it will almost certainly fall into one of two categories: either it will be an all-in-one system (meaning that it will handle everything from your lead generation to your marketing to your CRM and even your transaction management), or it will be an open system (one that integrates with the best tools for each independent business function).

It is perfectly acceptable to use a single system to generate leads, send drip campaigns, and manage contacts when you are first getting started. However, as your company expands, it will be important for you to maintain the same level of centralization without becoming dependent on any one particular tool or technology provider.

Find a tool that has an open application programming interface (API) to fulfill your company’s requirements for centralization as well as flexibility.

A customer relationship management system that has an open application programming interface (API) is able to easily integrate with your other systems. This allows it to automatically pull in all of your leads and ensure that each and every one of them is nurtured and measured using a robust set of features and functions, including the following:

  • Lead cycle stages.
  • Leads who are most likely to respond.
  • Email drip campaigns.
  • Dialer built-in.
  • Messaging via text.
  • Reminders to follow up.
  • Transaction reporting.
  • Reporting by the team.

Starting-Up CRMs

There are a number of customer relationship management systems (CRMs) that are available at a low cost that can assist you in keeping track of your leads. A good number of these cost less than one hundred dollars annually and typically include a generous free trial period of up to six months.

When you’re just starting out and need somewhere to put your nascent database, tools like these can be extremely helpful. You will eventually be able to afford a tool that has a fantastic user interface (UI). However, the aesthetic value of your instrument is largely irrelevant at this point in time. It merely needs to be straightforward and uncomplicated to employ.

The following customer relationship management systems are among the best in this category:

Or, if you prefer something even less complicated, you can make use of one of the many excellent project management tools that are also capable of functioning as a CRM, such as the following:

It is essential that you are aware that not all customer relationship management systems (CRMs) are geared toward the real estate industry if you make the decision to use a CRM rather than a project management tool.

A great number of salespeople begin their careers by employing a general tool or CRM because it is well-known, well-liked, and in many instances, very inexpensive or even free. In the beginning, that was not a problem at all. However, once people begin to refer others to your company, it will be very difficult for you to handle ALL of the responsibilities in your company as a one-person show.

Best suited for: More junior agents who are working with a limited budget and require a simplified lead management tool.

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Integrated Real Estate CRMs

It’s time to upgrade if any of the following apply:

  • you’re reaching your sending limit every month;
  • you’re considering hiring a virtual assistant;
  • you’re wondering if you’ll ever see your family again.

At this point in the game, you are going to want to replace your homegrown system with a real estate customer relationship management tool that is capable of taking important responsibilities off your plate.

An all-in-one real estate CRM is capable of handling a variety of tasks, including but not limited to lead generation and capture, real estate-specific drip campaigns, advanced SOI marketing, and mailers.

The following are some of the most successful CRMs in this category:

You should be aware that, by definition, all-in-ones are also lead gen tools. This means that, with this category of CRM, you can typically expect to spend more depending on your marketing goals.

Best for: Real estate agents who routinely close more than five deals a month and have a need to automate the generation of leads, marketing, and follow-up tasks from a centralized location.

Real estate-specific CRMs

The discomfort of maturing is very real. As your company continues to make progress and gain momentum, the requirements that you have will shift and develop over time.

When you get to a point in your company where you have way more work than you can handle, it will pay off tenfold to give the tools your team needs to get more done in a shorter amount of time so that they can keep up with the workload. At this point, juggling multiple backend logins and switching between different systems will not only reduce the productivity of your team but also put you at risk of losing leads.

Dedicated customer relationship management systems allow you to organize all of your leads in a single location (regardless of where the leads originated) and automatically distribute them to agents. You can get a comprehensive view of what and who on your team is making money by using additional features that are offered by some customer relationship management systems (CRMs), such as Follow Up Boss, such as agent tracking and deal reporting.

The following is a list of some of the top real estate CRMs for teams:

At this level, it is also important to give some thought to preserving the concentration of your team. Within your CRM, there should not be a thousand and one different ways to complete a single straightforward task.

Ideal for: Expanding teams and sole practitioners who think in terms of systems and desire greater command over the tools at their disposal.

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Business CRMs

Last but not least, there are the well-known CRMs that everyone is familiar with.

These systems are without a doubt some of the most powerful and advanced CRMs available; however, they also come packed with pricey enterprise features that the vast majority of real estate teams simply do not require.

The following are some of the most effective corporate CRMs:

You can think of a sales task, and there is probably a feature for it in a corporate customer relationship management system. However, because they were designed for companies with more than 1,000 employees, this functionality frequently appears to be unnecessarily complicated and may actually hinder agents’ ability to work consistently on their databases.

In most cases, it is going to be in your best interest to go with an open, dedicated real estate CRM that you can personalize and integrate with the other systems that your company relies on. This is true even if you do not have a large team that operates at an enterprise level.

Teams working at the enterprise level are ideal.

Checklist of Real Estate CRM Features

You are prepared to get to work and begin your search for a CRM now that you are aware of the different kinds of CRMs that are available and the things that can be made easier with the assistance of a truly remarkable platform.

When it comes to choosing a CRM, there are a lot of different features to think about, but here’s a quick rundown of some of the most crucial (and frequently ignored) ones.

User Friendliness

It is impossible to overstate the significance of user friendliness, particularly if you have a group of people working on the project.

Your sales representatives need to have a positive attitude toward using your CRM; otherwise, business won’t get done.

You can rest easy knowing that you made the right investment if you can identify tools that your agents will actually use in their day-to-day workflows, as broker Ryan Rodenback put it: “If you can identify tools that your agents will actually use in their day-to-day workflows.”

Check out the website for screenshots and demonstration videos before deciding on a customer relationship management system for your company. Is it simple to comprehend how the system works?

After you have narrowed down your top choices to between two and three, schedule a demonstration to get one-on-one answers to your questions and ensure that both you and your team will feel comfortable using the product.

It should go without saying that your customer relationship management system should be compatible with mobile apps designed for both the iPhone and Android platforms.

Customer Service

What kind of steep learning curves are you able to tackle?

Free trials are a fantastic opportunity to evaluate not only the CRM application itself, but also the customer support that is included with the software.

Learning how to use a new tool will inevitably take some time. Make use of the trial to ensure that you and your team can get the answers you need when you need them by ensuring that you can get them.

You and your team will be able to get the most out of your investment with the assistance of our on-demand workshops, step-by-step video guides, and help documents, which are all part of our extensive library of support resources.

Seamless Dialer

Your capacity to interact with customers over the phone will always be directly related to the amount of success you have in this line of work, no matter how you slice it.

Find a customer relationship management system that can automatically dial every lead on your priority list, one after the other, so that you can power through your prospecting with drive and consistency. Even something as seemingly insignificant as having to pause, hang up, and dial yet another set of seven digits can steal valuable time away from the most important activities of the day.

Personalization and Automation

Automation is wonderful, but there are some situations in which a personal touch is required, which can only be provided by a real, live person.

Does the CRM in question give you the option to automate and personalize processes as needed, as well as the flexibility to do so?

Check to see what kinds of integrations are offered. The majority of customer relationship management systems (CRMs) will be able to provide you with the desired level of automation once integration tools such as Zapier are added to the mix. Just make sure you don’t go too far with it. You should probably avoid sending out emails that appear to be copied and pasted from a template.

Data Analysis and Reporting

As your company expands, it will become progressively simpler for money and opportunities to slip through the cracks in your operations. Because of this, it is imperative that you have information that is accurate regarding your company. Metrics such as the amount of time it takes to close a sale, the number of leads generated by different sources, the cost of each lead, and many others can provide crucial insight that can help you make more strategic decisions.

You should look for a customer relationship management system that has advanced tracking and reporting capabilities so that you can build a foolproof lead management system and ensure that sales agents are accountable for the leads you give them. The use of a leaderboard, which can boost the level of competition within your team and help motivate its members to achieve even higher levels of success, is an especially effective way to put your data to work.

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Costs & Pricing

Where you are in your business has everything to do with how you can get the most bang for your buck out of your investments. Which of these options is the most suitable for your company now and over the next one to two years?

When you’re just getting started, you should look for a customer relationship management system that doesn’t cost you a lot of money or costs very little. Managing multiple escrows each month can be challenging, but if you invest in a Solo Agent or Team CRM, you can reclaim some of your time and increase your earnings at the same time.

And for teams that are calling a wide variety of leads coming in from MLS sites, internet lead sources, expireds, FSBOs, and other sources, you can save a ton of money by using one CRM as both your central lead management system and dialer.

If you want an accurate picture of value for money, you need to take an objective look at the time and cost pressures in your company and really think through how (and if) the CRM can alleviate these for you. Only then will you be able to get an accurate view of value for money. If you already have a sales platform set up but are thinking about upgrading to a newer version, we have some great advice for you on how to accurately calculate the return on investment (ROI) of your CRM and evaluate its worth to your company.

Techexplains Team

Techexplains Team

We are a team of digital marketing experts with years of experience in website builders. CRM tools, project management software helping businesses of all sizes achieve their marketing goals. We are writing about benefits of using SaaS for businesses, and sharing our top picks for the best tools currently available on the market. Whether you are a small business owner looking to streamline your marketing efforts or a larger enterprise seeking to improve your marketing efficiency, we hope that you will find this useful and informative.