Real estate agents who use a CRM are 26.2% more productive than agents who don’t use one. The solution: get a CRM, right? Wrong. Or to be less black and white about it, you’re only halfway to the answer. More specifically, you’ll need a) a CRM with features designed with real estate agents in mind, and b) a CRM that your employees will actually use.
A CRM that doesn’t really meet your needs is a cost. On the other hand, a CRM that optimizes your working practices, improves efficiency and helps your agents close more deals is an investment. If you’re smart about the CRM features you look for, your software can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Below are three features that can help you make that leap.
Read on for what real estate agents need from their CRM:
1. An easy-to-use mobile app
Salespeople are generally quite a mobile bunch, but none more so than real estate agents.
Due to the nature of the product your agents have to sell (big and hopefully rooted to the ground), the ability to do business on the go is important. Those dealing in real estate often spend all day out of the office, so mobile CRM functionality is absolutely essential for estate agents.
Sales reps need access to client data at their fingertips to maximize their chances of closing a sale or turning a top-of-funnel prospect into a concrete lead. They also need a way of updating CRM data remotely post-meeting. Expecting them to do it when they’re back in the office is a disaster waiting to happen – the potential for forgetting or data input error is too high.
When looking at mobile CRM functions, a well-designed UI will put you well ahead of your competition. Consider that:
- 41% of real estate agents ranked their mobile CRM interface 5/10 or below for usability
- Despite the potential it offers, mobile CRM is relatively underused by agents.
This doesn’t mean mobile CRM has nothing to offer – it means that a significant chunk of your competition are missing out on its benefits. Investing in mobile CRM could therefore be a real differentiator for your business.
Quick tip: A good mobile solution should emphasize the features that agents use on the go, and make using them as seamless as possible. Analytics can stay in the office.
2. A wide range of integration options
61.18% of respondents in the Inman report cited above listed contact organization as an important feature when selecting a CRM.It was also the feature that 25.9% of respondents liked most. You’re probably wondering why – if contact management is so important – we’ve listed it under a subheading about integration.
The reason is this: it is difficult to get agents to manually organize their contacts using a CRM. They have them all on email, and having to re-enter them into a CRM is both time-consuming and something that it is easy to forget to do.Integrate your CRM with your email provider, however, and this problem goes away almost immediately.
Similarly, if you can integrate your calendar with your CRM, you eliminate the need for agents to enter meetings manually. You can even set up prompts to remind users to update details or add notes post-event. The more up-to-date you can make your CRM database, the more accurate your analytics can be. The more accurate your analytics are, the more targeted and effective your improvements can become. It all adds up.
On the topic of integration, you’ll also want your top lead sources to integrate directly with your CRM. ‘Generalized’ CRMs won’t offer this option, so you’ll need to look for a system that’s specifically designed for real estate agencies. It’s a smaller market, but worthwhile if you want automated data upload from lead sources like Zillow and Realtor.com.
Quick tip: don’t take email integration as a given – not all CRMs offer it! Check with potential vendors before making a decision.
3. Follow-up/relationship marketing
Realtrends’ 2015 study suggests that this was the most popular CRM feature for agents, who also ranked it as the most important. So unlike mobile CRM, which offers the opportunity to one-up your competitors, this really is a case of keeping up with the Joneses. If you don’t have it, you will be at a disadvantage.
To state the obvious, following up with potential customers is extremely important in the real estate sector. Buyers – particularly in the private sector – are happy to look at a number of properties before settling on one that they like. It’s a crowded market, so you really need to keep your foot in the door – either to sell the benefits of properties you have shown clients, or to show them new ones if those didn’t meet their key requirements.
Automated follow-up reminders help your agents remember to do this within an acceptable timeframe to keep the conversation ticking over. Ideally your CRM should also allow you to segment your prospects by position in the funnel, so that you can target your email marketing campaigns
Purchasing real-estate can take a while. Buyers aren’t only looking for the right property – they’re also looking for an agency that will be responsive and reliable throughout the process.
Quick tip: You’re selling a professional relationship as much as selling real-estate. Make sure your CRM facilitates that.
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