There are a lot of contact management systems for REALTORS® to choose from. The options can be overwhelming. While each system has its own set of strengths, the important thing to remember is that the best real estate CRM is the one that you’re truly going to use!
Every real estate agent is different and so are the features you need for managing your contacts. Put some time into researching the options available on the market to find the CRM that fits your needs, sophistication and budget. The good news is that many contact management systems offer a free trial, giving you the opportunity to experience the CRM for a while before you pay for it.
Some features are more popular than others, so I’ve identified some of the most-desired real estate CRM features:
1. Listing and Closing Activity Plans
Listing and closing Activity Plans help you ensure nothing falls through the cracks in the process of listing or closing a home. Look for a CRM where you can simply assign a listing or closing Activity Plan to a property and you’ll be reminded via email on the appropriate dates to do those all-important activities.
A good CRM will come with a variety of excellent listing and closing Activity Plans and will give you the option to use them as they are, customize them or build your own plans from scratch.
2. Marketing Activity Plans
Marketing Activity Plans are essential and powerful tools for keeping in contact with hot real estate leads and past clients. A marketing Activity Plan can be composed of emails that get sent out automatically at set time intervals (drip marketing) or letters that you mail out at set time intervals. Good marketing Activity Plans will also remind you of when it’s time to make a phone call to your prospects.
A great CRM will have these plans designed for you for different contact types, such as seller leads, buyer leads, FSBOs, Expireds, and past clients. You can use the plans as they are, customize them to suit your needs, or even create your own from scratch. You no longer have to be a marketing expert to be an effective marketer and increase your referrals and repeat business!
3. A Monthly Real Estate Newsletter
A monthly real estate newsletter or e-Newsletter helps you stay in contact with your real estate sphere of influence (SOI), position yourself as a home expert, get people to pick up the phone and call you, and build stronger, deeper relationships.
Many Realtors across the country pay separately a monthly newsletter service and a real estate CRM. Wouldn’t it be amazing to use a CRM that includes these in one easy to use system? Check out IXACT Contact and you can have a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter sent out to your database automatically each month, saving you a lot of time and money.
4. A Transaction Management/ Active Business Module
When you're effectively managing your buyers and sellers, you're more proactive, organized, and in control. That’s why it’s important for your real estate CRM to have robust transaction management features, such as the ability to run service reports, track commissions and key dates, manage showings and third-parties, and store documents.
Your CRM should make it easy for you to generate service reports, schedule appointment and task reminders, list property details and related parties, record closing and other key dates, upload and store documents, record showings information, manage offers, track commissions, and much more. Managing your transactions all in one place will keep you more organized and save you time.
5. Automated Website Lead Capture
Potential new leads find Realtors on a variety of online platforms including your website. With a good real estate CRM you can streamline the process by capturing these online leads and even automatically assigning them to a drip email program.
Automated Lead Capture from your CRM sends you instant email alerts each time you get a new lead. All your leads are transferred automatically into your database where you can further qualify and categorize them. Capturing leads from the web will help you ensure no lead falls through the cracks. Your CRM should generate email alerts for immediate follow-up, assign a drip email campaign for automated lead nurturing, and auto-assign new leads to your monthly e-Newsletter. You’ll be nurturing your new leads from the very moment they send you their information.
6. Email Campaign Reporting
Email marketing is a powerful way to keep your business top of mind for your contacts. But imagine the insight of actually knowing who is reading your messages? Email Campaign Reporting from your CRM shows you the hot leads within your database.
Mass Email Campaign Reporting takes the guesswork out of email marketing by showing you statistics on your email campaigns including open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, and more. It also shows you who’s opening your emails and who isn’t, who’s clicking on hyperlinks, and who’s forwarding your emails on to others. Email Campaign Reporting identifies the hot leads in your database that are responding to your email marketing. Armed with this information, you can reach out to these leads.
Since one of the benefits of using a CRM is being more organized, it’s best to avoid an overly complicated system laden with unnecessary features. No matter how technologically savvy you are, seek out a CRM that’s easy to learn and use. You’ll hit the ground running and save precious time!