Question Details

Jose Dias, Real Estate Pro in Phoenix, AZ

What CRM tool are you using, if any?

Asked by Jose Dias, Phoenix, AZ Fri Jan 18, 2013

Until last month I did all my CRM stuff on Excel and gmail. I finally decided to use the CRM tool my local MLS board offers for free - RealFutureCRM. I really like its functionality, however it is not very fast. And the other day it was offline for a few hours at night. I panicked when I realized that most of the information I needed to follow up with prospects, clients and leads were not accessible. Now I can't go back to Excel/gmail. But I am considering a new tool. Would love to hear your input.

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There is a 'billion-gazillon' vendors who offer CRM products. Many of them offer a FREE version. As you have come to realize, these stripped down, free, products eventually come to an end when your business needs exceed what is provided. It is extremely important to be aware that the greatest cost in implementing a CRM system is directly related to testing, training and setup. You will need to customize for your business and location.
You seriously need to evaluate what functions your CRM must provide for you business. That is, what functions will you USE to grow your business and support your processes.
What functions do you need to support your business, What will you USE?
Start with your client database.
1. What granularity do you need?
2. Do you send out gender specific mailing?
3. Primary/secondary addresses, multiple email addresses, purchase anniversary, loan amount, age, wedding date, birthdays, pets, searchable note fields, communities, home type, SOI, Top 150, have referred, potential, have responded. suspect, and on. and on, and on. The challenge is, "WHAT WILL YOU USE?" Populating these field will create a care and feeding issue down the road.
How do you intend to communicate with your clients?
What do you need? What will you actually use?
1. Email of course
2. Direct mail
3. Newsletter
4. Stay in touch 'date' sensitive direct or email.
5. Phone call
6. Email blasting
(Note:having access to integrated 3rd party providers is incredibly beneficial to many real estate enterprises)
What do you need? What will you actually use?
Is your CRM required to provide lead capture capability?
1. Landing pages
2. Agent website
3. Info lines
4. Publish to Trulia, Zillow, Craigslist, Facebook, Wordpress and Twitter.
5. Activity based marketing
6. Integrated Google Ad words capability
7. Live chat
8. Video support/file hosting/ Password hierarchical access at consumer/ client/ associate/admin/owner levels. (Hint: Get you FREE stuff here)
What do you need? What will you actually use?
Infrastructure support
1. Transaction management
2. Checklists
3. Team support
4. Syncing
5. Mobile compliant
6. Email/Texting support for scheduled events or activities
7. Email/texting support for lead capture
8. Team calendar
9. Online, video supported training
10. Access to accurate and timely support
What do you need? What will you use?
1. Risk aversion - if you use a product hosted by your MLS or your broker, the moment that relationship encounter turbulence you may loose access to your database, leads, transaction.. Most agents choose to own their own CRM system, and not be solely reliant on those who can cripple your business.
2. Web based - If your enterprise if of sufficient size and technically adept, you may have your own file server, but most do not and rely on the hosting service of the CRM provider. Most choose Cloud Based computing. Be aware, if the 'net' goes down....if your ISP hickups, if your cell phone service starts clipping data, you will be ISOLATED! If Arizona experiences a hurricane and everyone picks up their cell to call their neighbor...well, fortunately that doesn't happen often. You don't show many homes during a hurricane, and you can close ANY. (Substitute Arizona events)
3. Office based - This means your CRM lives on your laptop. You own it, you have it in your possession. You can use the cellular 'hot spot' services of your carrier to allow yourself or team members to access your local CRM. This is a high cost option.
When you have analyzed what you NEED and what you will use, you are able to evaluate each system based NOT on what they are selling but what has value to your enterprise. Then, and only then can you determine what is worth the price associated with it.
Do not surrender your credit card data and risk getting on auto-billing.
DO have a test validataion plan and database ready to roll to ensure you can make a decision before the trilal period ends. Make certain you verify links operate when emials and newsletters are sent)
Here's a good (lowest cost to 'You've got to be kidding me") list of CRM to visit.
Realtyjuggler (free) (I use. Mention my name)
SugarCRM (they have a free version, technology on par with SalesForce)

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 19, 2013
Annette, thank you for taking the time to share your perspective. You certainly raise very valid points. As you probably realized by now, I didn't do a thorough analysis of my needs.

To be honest I started using the CRM offered by my MLS board almost by chance. It was free, and the link was there in my MLS system. Once I started using it I realized how awesome it is to have a tool to take care of all the small follow up things I could never find time to do.

I am sold on the idea of using it now.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and for the list you provided. One note though - I don't think RealtyJuggler is free. They have a 90 days free trial without CC, but after that I believe you have to pay $99/year. Hardly expensive. I didn't like their interface though - seemed dated and not very professional. Difficult to explain without you seeing it.

WiseAgent - I have heard of them, but never tried. I will take a look considering that you use it.

Thank you again.
Flag Sat Jan 19, 2013
Many relators utilize Top Producer; but I can suggest also to consider Leads 360. Or if you can invest some time, ACT would be helpful. Outlook has also some good tools.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 18, 2013

I am familiar with Act and Outlook. However I don't think they are as effective as a CRM specifically designed for REALTORS. I will be honest with you - it took me a lot of time to realize that I needed something more robust. I am now a firm believer on using dedicated CRM tools. I will check Leads 360. I am familiar with Top Producer. Thanks.
Flag Sat Jan 19, 2013
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