Are you among the many Agents and Brokers who are considering implementing a Real Estate CRM solution in the New Year? If you are, this list is for you as you consider what functionality is important in a Real Estate CRM.
Evaluating CRM solutions is a process that should be taken seriously. The investment you make will cost you more than just cash. You must also make a serious investment in time to establish the processes and procedures that you will use to will make the financial investment worthwhile. Your CRM coupled with your process is what will allow you to close more business efficiently. You will need to consider how many people are on your team - or do you work independently, what kinds of reporting do you need, do you need a solution that is scalable and so on. So where do you start?
Here are the top six things you should look for in a Real Estate CRM System:
1. Integration between your Website IDX and Lead capture
Unlike other industries, Real Estate presents a unique opportunity for Realtors® to engage prospects very early (perhaps even years) in the buying process as consumers use the internet as a jumping off point to research homes, neighborhoods and Real Estate professionals.
By tracking the research and home-search activity of a prospect on your website, you are able to gain invaluable insight into each individual's needs and wants. Top tier CRM systems designed specifically for Real Estate, like the Buying Buddy® IDX CRM Suite (MBB) intimately connect your website with your CRM system. The collection and profiling of a prospect’s search activity are the pieces that will take your CRM from a simple contact database and transform it into an intelligent system with meaningful and contextual data. Lead nurture can now be done automatically and in the context of the Lead’s actual Real Estate needs. New relevant and updated information can be sent to Leads through automated communications like email, which will continuously bring them back to your website and develop their loyalty to you and your website.
This mean your CRM is not only building a relationship with leads for you but additionally it is fostering a sense loyalty to your website, which means you also block your competitors!
2. Lead Generation: Be sure your Lead capture and incubation tools are fully utilized.
A CRM system is much more useful and far more important than just a fancy filing system. However, many times it is viewed as a place to put “stuff” like a database or spreadsheet, and its true potential is never utilized.
Once a visitor has interacted with your Real Estate website they are added as a Lead to your CRM system and your automated conversion process begins. The first step in the conversion process is an automated alert that is sent to you letting you know there is a new Prospect in your system. Be sure to verify that the solution you choose has Automated Alerts and Auto-Search-Alerts built into it. Tools like this will incrementally increase your lead qualifications and conversions.
3. Lead Distribution: Your Leads are only as good as your follow-up.
This is the first step that sets the tone for how you will engage with your Leads. You want to get the Leads to the right Agents and get them there fast. Many struggle with determining who should be the first point of contact and general best-practices around connecting with Prospects and Leads. If this sounds like you a Lead Distribution tool within your CRM solution will help you set-up a predetermined process that ensures Leads are distributed correctly and quickly.
The CRM solution you choose should allow you to break-out leads by location, property type, property cost and give you the ability to distribute them through a configurable Round Robin method (direct or first-come-first-served) or by manual assignment. However, if your company uses an Inside Sales Agent (ISA) or a virtual assistant who takes calls directly there will be some adjustment to how you choose to use the system and distribute Leads.
4. Marketing Automation: You connected with your Lead; next, monitor and nurture them.
The best Real Estate CRM systems have tools built into them that promote best-practices. Don’t overlook them. In order to set yourself up for success and make the most out of your CRM investment, it is important that you take the time to implementing these tools. Take advantage of the tight integration between your website and CRM that is found in top tier systems like the MBB CRM Suite, and use it to glean every bit of information available.
Your system should:
- Give you tools that allow you to manage and nurture leads in the context of their individual home search needs.
- Provide detailed profiles that contain an analysis of logins, search activity, opened emails, viewed properties and more. With this information you will be able to quickly assess their needs and intentions as well as adjust their searches and alerts and even recommend properties for them to view.
- Constantly bring your leads back to your website through high-value automated keep-in-touch programs like email drip campaigns and property alerts.
The longer the system is in place the more clearly you will see the lead nurture process, and you will find places here and there to tweak that will improve efficiency and accelerate growth.
5. Lead Alert Tools: Be sure you have an action plan in place when a Prospect interacts with your website.
We live in the age of technology so use it to your advantage. Let your Real Estate CRM do some of the heavy lifting for you through built-in automated proactive alerts. Using these tools, never lose a client again to another Realtor just because they contacted them first. Lead Alert systems not only alert you immediately but also send your Prospect an instantaneous message. This step alone can take your follow-up time from five or ten minutes down to three minutes or less.
This process also allows your Prospect to have an immediate personal connection with you that is fast and seamless with their experience on your website.
6. Reporting Capabilities: Reporting tools allow for accountability and visibility.
It doesn't matter if you are a single agent or a team leader, the dashboards and reporting tools help with lead management for all. They also provide a window into your marketing programming. They will show you what’s working, what needs tweaking and what activities you might want to stop because they are not working.
A panoramic view of all your prospects will show you how a Lead entered your system, when they entered the system and exactly what path they took through your marketing pipeline. As a smart marketer, you will be running several campaigns at once which means your will be relying heavily on reporting to tell you what you should do more of, what changes you need to make and what activities you should consider ending. History and activity tracking round out the tools that come together and give you the complete picture.
Brokers and teams are learning quickly that integrated solutions like CRM systems are not just for “the big dogs”. The 21st-century customer is looking for the highest level service no matter what size company they choose, and your CRM is right at the heart of managing that expectation.
Everyone has finite resources, but you can make yours go much further with the choices you make. For companies looking to implement a CRM in 2017, we suggest a turn-key solution with customization capabilities and scalability. If you would like to find out how you can integrate a Real Estate CRM solution to drive business and close more deals in the new year contact us.