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Four things to look for in a real estate CRM

Running a smooth real estate operation requires organization and marketing, both of which should be found in a team’s CRM.

Industry-specific CRM questions

In the market for a real estate CRM/ contact management system? Keep the following considerations in mind before you make your decision:

First: contact management, of course

  • Robust contact management. It’s essential that your CRM have detailed contact profiles with fields for interests, birthdates, spouse and children information, wedding anniversary date, pets, and hobbies. Real estate is all about relationships so if you’re able to learn about your contacts and their life (and acknowledge them on their birthday and anniversary, for instance), you’re setting yourself up for referrals and repeat business down the road.

It should also be easy to add contacts to the system. This means the real estate CRM should have an Automated Website Lead capture tool that will automatically capture all of your web leads into your database and send you a reminder when you receive a new lead. You can then respond right away and assign the lead to a drip marketing campaign.

Second: email marketing

  • Fully-featured email marketing. It’s important that your real estate CRM have a powerful email marketing component because for REALTORS®, email marketing should be a key element of your keep in touch plan.

Make sure the CRM: gives you the ability to send out an e-Newsletter, includes graphical email marketing templates, lets you send out personalized mass emails, and has pre-designed drip marketing campaigns.

A drip marketing plan or campaign is a series of emails that get automatically sent out at various time intervals from the real estate CRM. There are drip marketing plans for marketing to a first time buyer, a potential seller, keeping in touch with past clients, and more. These plans help you automate a lot of your keep in touch work which will save you a ton of time!

If the CRM includes Email Campaign Reporting functionality, it’s a big bonus. With Email Campaign Reporting, you can see open rate, click through rate, forward rate, and other key statistics and information on emails you send through the system. This way, you’re not marketing with a blindfold on. You can also use this feature to identify potentially hot leads: those people who are reading and interacting with your emails the most.

Third: transaction management

  • Transaction Management. In order to stay organized, it’s important to have one place where you go to manage your prospects, clients, calendar, schedule, appointments, and active business. When I refer to active business, I’m referring to any listings you have and buyers you’re currently working with. Make sure the CRM you’re evaluating has robust transaction management features so you can manage your active business, generate service reports, organize offers, track commissions, and list property details.

The CRM should also have listing and closing activity plans which are a series of “to do’s” with accompanying reminders that will help you make sure no details fall through the cracks when you’re listing or closing a home.

Fourth: accessibility and compatibility

  • Compatibility and accessibility. Is this system fully Mac compatible? Does it work on the iPad? Can it sync wirelessly and instantaneously to your smartphone? These are key questions you need to be asking when evaluating a real estate CRM.

As well, if the system is not easy to use, you just won’t use it. There are many solutions out there that are anything but user friendly – it’s hard to navigate through them and the learning curve is often steep. Make sure you test out the system (even a couple at a time) and see which you find is easier to use. In the end, ease of use trumps flashy design because you need to be using the CRM on a daily basis. If not, you won’t get any value from it.

In real estate, there are so many products and services out there to spend money on. But of all of them, a real estate CRM is probably one of the best products you can invest in for your business. Why? Because the system will quickly pay for itself. The return on investment (ROI) is tremendous. Just one new client you’ve received as a result of using the system (say from sending a marketing email) pays for the CRM for years.

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Summary checklist:

  • Robust contact management
    • Detailed Realtor-oriented contact profiles
    • Unlimited groups and easy contact filtering and searching
    • Keep in touch dashboard
    • Automated Website Lead Capture
  • Fully-featured email marketing
    • Monthly e-Newsletter
    • Personalized mass emails
    • Automated drip campaigns
    • Graphical marketing templates
    • Email Campaign Reporting
  • Transaction management
    • Manage listings and buyers
    • Activity Plans
    • Service Reports
  • Compatibility and accessibility
    • Smartphone Wireless Sync
    • Mac and iPad compatibility

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.

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