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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Written By

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.

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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