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Real estate CRMs versus general CRMs

Many don’t know that there are very specific differences between general customer relationship management (CRM) systems and real estate specific CRMs, but today we highlight a few of those differences.

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Looking for a CRM

You’re a real estate agent in the market for a customer relationship management (CRM) system but there are just so many choices.

Some CRMs are specifically designed for the real estate industry while others don’t have a specific focus but instead are said to be effective for professionals across multiple verticals.

So, are all CRMs created equal? Not exactly. In this article, I’ll discuss the differences between a general purpose CRM and one that has been specifically designed for REALTORS®.

The differences

As a real estate sales professional, I believe you should get on board with a CRM that is real estate specific – a real estate CRM. There are many key factors that distinguish a real estate CRM from a general purpose one and these differences will directly impact the benefits and rewards you can expect to reap from the system.

A real estate CRM is a system that has been designed and developed with the unique needs of Realtors in mind. All the features were created for real estate sales professionals which mean that there’s no “fluff” or functionality not applicable or beneficial to you and your business.

A good real estate CRM will have an “Active Business” area of the system where you can go to organize and manage your current buyers and their requirements as well as current active listings.

Moreover, a good real estate CRM will include email, letter, e-flyer, and e-newsletter templates that are real estate specific. There won’t be one email or letter created that’s not applicable for you as a real estate agent.

But it’s not only real estate specific marketing pieces that you need to think about when comparing CRMs. Many systems have drip email functionality with pre-designed drip marketing programs. You need to ask this important question: “Does the system have drip marketing programs for me to use that are proven to be effective for real estate agents?” If the answer is no, you may want to re-consider the particular CRM in question.

Drip marketing through CRMs

Let’s talk about drip marketing for a moment. Drip marketing is valuable because it helps you stay in touch with important prospects and clients in an easy, time-effective manner.

As a Realtor, you want your real estate contact management system to have pre-designed drip marketing campaigns built for you that are meant for keeping in touch with your sphere of influence (SOI), converting warm or hot leads into clients, marketing to for-sale-by-owners (FSBOs), and more. Only a CRM that specializes in real estate will have a myriad of effective campaigns designed for these purposes.

Activity Plans and reports

An effective CRM for real estate will have Activity Plans for listings and closings. You’ll find that these Activity Plans will help you become more proactive and save you a ton of time. Listing and closing Activity Plans outline the steps you need to take in order to list and close a home. Your CRM system should remind you, at the appropriate time, when you need to perform a particular task or step to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Lastly, the reporting functionality that CRMs provide motivate a lot of Realtors to incorporate a CRM into their business.

Reports can provide you with useful information on your business – for example, where you’re getting most of your clients from, where you’re getting your referrals, etc – so you can take the right actions to become more successful. A real estate CRM will make it easy for you to run all the important reports that you will want to run to grow your real estate sales business.

Making a choice

Not all CRMs are created equal. At the end of the day, you need to chose a CRM that will provide you with the most business benefits and that you believe you’ll actually use on a daily basis. But remember, you wouldn’t compare an apple with a pear, so don’t put a general purpose CRM and an industry specific CRM in the same boat.

Matthew Collis is part of the Sales and Marketing Team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, Matthew works with REALTORS® to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a web-based real estate contact management and marketing system that helps REALTORS® better manage and grow their business. The system includes powerful email marketing capabilities and a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Brandon

    March 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Unfortunately, I’ve been testing every CRM I can find for the last month and haven’t managed to find a real estate centered CRM that doesn’t suck. At the moment I’ve settled on Capsule CRM, it’s not quite as ill-fitted as the rest of the general CRM crowd but it’s still not perfect for a broker.

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Business Marketing

Is Easy Advocacy the tool your business needs for ad campaign reach?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Product claims to make employee advocacy easier than ever with a tool that’s designed to enlist employees to share campaign content online.

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easy advocacy welcome page

Ever wished you could get all of your employees in on your campaigns, enlisting them all to help make your digital content go “viral”?

No? To be honest, me either – at least not until I learned about a new program called Easy Advocacy, created by a company called Agora Pulse.

Easy Advocacy is a productivity and marketing tool geared towards harnessing the power of larger internal groups (employees) in order to make content sharing (campaigns, social media posts, etc.) as easy as possible. The product is listed on Product Hunt, which is essentially a tech geek’s paradise for new and interesting technology. This week, on February 19th, Easy Advocacy was listed as the #1 product of the day.

The website boasts features like:

• Quick campaign setups
• Making content easier to share
• Knowing the reach of your shares

In addition to making it easier for employers to have their employees share content, the platform also offers basic analytics pertaining to things like number of shares and website visits. Employers can also identify their top advocates through a leaderboard.

Their website’s description of the toolset says that the tool “dispels the hassle of the usual employee advocacy complaints and makes the process of sharing content with employees, who then share on their social channels, easy peasy.”
One way it does this is by emailing your employees the exact instructions and copy the company would like them to share, making it somewhat automated.

Now, while this all seems great, my biggest concern is who their market truly is. Are they going after small teams? Probably not as having a team of only 5 people sharing a campaign would be nearly fruitless – unless you happen to have a major social media influencer under your employment.

If they go after larger companies, like Apple, for example, I can see this tool being helpful. However, it’s a little bit of a double-edged sword. Larger companies typically are beyond the point of needing word-of-mouth campaigns. Let’s use Apple as an example here, too. They’ve been around for years, and according to Statista, 45.3% of smart phone owners in the U.S. go with Apple iPhones. Given this, and the fact that everyone already knows what an iPhone is (unless you live under a rock…), I really can’t see much need for a tool like Easy Advocacy for such a large company.

So, where does that leave the company? Only time will tell. My first bit of advice to the company is that the name definitely needs work. The name “Easy Advocacy” implies that there’s some kind of advocacy happening for employees, when in reality, this platform is meant to help employers. But given my points above, I think they need to think about their model some more and maybe make this tool something that’s more robust that companies of all sizes can use.

Full disclosure, this does not mean it’s not worth trying out. Give it a shot and let us know what you think.

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Business Marketing

The Body Shop’s new policy is first come, first employed

(BUSINESS MARKETING) An issue that has been on a lot of peoples minds recently is fair hiring standards, be from sex, race, or age discrimination to former prisoners.

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The body shop hires prisoners

Anyone who has tried to get a job in the last decade can tell you that hiring is getting near dystopian. Everyone has heard jokes about needing 5 years of experience for an entry level job or the combined skillset of 3 positions to get one job. Things have gotten to the point where even some large companies are wondering if maybe hiring (and getting hired) shouldn’t be so complicated?

The Body Shop is making a radical change in the way they hire their retail employees this summer. They will be hiring on a first-come first-serve basis. Employees must meet three criteria to apply, but beyond that it’s open season – or “open hiring” as they are calling it.

1. Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
2. Can lift over 50lbs
3. Can stand for 8 hours

The company will not be performing drug tests or background checks for this “open hiring” round. The goal is to remove some of the barriers to entry for people seeking employment. This move will be hugely beneficial to the formerly incarcerated and people who have minor offenses on their record.

The Body Shop’s U.S. GM, Andrea Blieden, said, “When you give people access to something that they’re struggling to find, they’re very committed to working hard and keeping it.”

This isn’t the first time The Body Shop has tested out this hiring strategy. In December 2019, the company ran a pilot program at their distribution center. According to them, their employee turnover rate dropped from 43% to 16% and productivity improved.

This change could be equally beneficial to both employers and employees. According to PrisonPolicy.org, formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of 27%. To put that in perspective, that is higher than the overall national average during the Great Depression.

When established brands make big moves, people pay attention. If they continue to report success, The Body Shop’s hiring practices could be used as a case study for other businesses looking to shake up their hiring process. Perhaps in a few years, this type of hiring could become more common place among retailers.

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Business Marketing

Stay ahead by decluttering your Instagram accounts with this new feature

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Get a head start on your spring cleaning with Instagram’s newest feature. It may become your favorite way to views others accounts.

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instagram accounts

In a plot twist you weren’t expecting this week, Instagram is looking to make your life a little easier. Their newest app update includes a feature that groups accounts you follow into curated lists such as most and least interacted with or earliest followed to latest.

If you’ve ever looked at the number of people you follow on Instagram and wondered, “who the heck are these people?” then this update will make your heart sing. Instagram has been around for 10 years now, so it’s understandable that some of our follower lists have gotten a little out of control. Your friends and interests shift over time and it can be difficult to find time to actively curate your social media accounts.

Working with this new feature is simple. To access it just head on over to your Instagram profile and click “Following.” You should see a couple of categories above the list of accounts you follow. As an added bonus, you can also change the sort feature on your follower list. It can be set to show oldest accounts followed first or latest accounts firsts.

instagram accounts

For entrepreneurs and freelancers who don’t have the luxury of a full social media team (or any team at all) small features like this can be a game changer. If this feature sparks you to finally clean up your Instagram, here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide who to keep and who to unfollow.

Why did you originally follow this account?

Does this account still serve your business interests?

What was your main purpose behind following this account? As a business owner you might follow an account on Instagram for any number of strategic reasons. Perhaps this account is a fellow business owner in your area, but they’ve since closed their doors. Chances are you’ll find more than one of these cases in your least interacted with group.

Were you looking for business advice or inspiration? When you’re just starting out with your business, you might have followed a few accounts that aimed to give advice to new business owners. Well, if you’ve been doing this for a few years, you probably already know the basic advice these types of accounts are pushing. It’s time to move on.

Do you know this account IRL? Maybe your business has moved locations or changed niche in the last few years. You might have made some great connections with fellow business owners back in the day, but you may no longer run in the same circles. If you know the person who runs the account IRL and you still want to stay connected there are two options. You can either go follow them on your personal account or you can continue following, but mute the account so it doesn’t clog up your Instagram feed.

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