The customer relationship management (CRM) software market is booming. Total sales in 2014 were in the neighborhood of $25 billion. Given the strength of CRM in the business world at large, it’s a good time to ask: What benefits does CRM software bring to the real estate industry? And how does it help individual REALTORS® and agencies?
Here we answer these questions with a look at the top three benefits of real estate CRM software.
Better Organization, Greater Efficiency Through Unified Profiles
At its most basic level, real estate CRM software helps collect and manage client information. The software integrates that information into a variety of workflow processes (such as responding to initial contacts, sending follow-up messages and updating MLS listings), which the software then helps track, schedule and automate. For example, InfusionSoft, a CRM platform designed for small businesses, offers lead-generation functionality that integrates with an agency’s website. When a visitor fills out a “Contact Us” form, a record is created for them in the system. The properties a visitor views online are then tracked and collated with their record. So instead of just forwarding that potential client’s contact information to the agency, the software provides a detailed profile of which properties, or types of properties, the client is most interested in.
In this example, the CRM platform not only improves the organization of information by creating a unified client profile, it also improves the efficiency of communications with that client. The first conversation with the client doesn’t need to be, “What are you looking for?” Instead, it can begin with, “I see you’re interested in this property. Would you like to view it today? We could also look at three other very similar properties in the same neighborhood.”
Marketing Automation Helps Strengthen Client Connections
Successful REALTORS® grow their businesses largely through referrals and repeat customers. For either of these growth strategies to work, it’s critical to maintain regular contact with former and prospective clients. This contact can be as simple as a note on the anniversary of a client’s closing, a periodic list of new properties the client might like or even a regular newsletter.
Whatever form communication takes, CRM software can make it happen either automatically or with little manual effort. Products such as SimplyCast help connect with clients both before and after sales, with functionality such as automated open house reminders, follow-ups to listing inquiries and SMS (text message) property updates. If you already have a contact management system in place, there are stand-alone marketing automation products, such as Salesfusion, that can integrate with many existing platforms.
Instant Insight and Improved Oversight With Reporting and Analytics
Ever wonder how you, your agency or specific agents are performing this year compared to last? Which of your outreach emails has the highest response rate? How many days you average between contract and closing? Without software, these questions could only be answered with tedious calculations. With CRM software, they can be answered with a few mouse clicks.
Take, for example, Referral Maker, a CRM software designed for the real estate industry. Its “Business Dashboard” displays a variety of real-time metrics, including sales-to-close ratios, average commissions, outreaches per day and others. Individual agents can use this data for better insight into their long-term progress. Large agencies can gain better visibility into the company as a whole, or use it for better oversight of individual agents.
While some look to CRM software simply to organize their contacts, it actually brings much more to the table. Smart REALTORS® know that CRM is more than a software tool.
It’s an organized method for finding, strengthening and growing client relationships all of which lead to more sales.
A great resource for additional information is our CRM Buyer’s Guide.
Craig Borowski is a researcher at Software Advice, covering technology and changing trends in the CRM market, with a focus on customer service, marketing automation and the impact of technology on CRM strategy.