What Is A CRM?
CRM stands for customer relationship management and is used to describe a category of tools used by businesses to manage interaction with current and potential customers. There are many types of CRMs but they generally share the same common goals to benefit any kind of business:
- Improve relationships with clients and prospects
- Help businesses stay connected to customers
- Streamline processes
- Improve profitability
Why A Real Estate CRM Is Helpful
Given the general goals of a CRM, it’s easy to see how an industry like real estate could benefit from a real estate CRM designed for the needs of agents and brokers. Trying to use a one-size-fits-all CRM for real estate would be very frustrating and time consuming since a lot of customization would be required, and even then it would be full of compromises. A real estate CRM will typically use industry terminology and refers to common real estate business workflows, so agents and brokers feel right at home.
Common CRM Features and Benefits
Lead Profiles And History
Options are provided in CRMs to record important information you’ll use when interacting with a person in your database. This could include things like past call notes, significant dates like their birthday, past email exchanges, their stage in a transaction, when their last contact was, and more. All of this is used to provide you with details that inform how and when you interact with that person.
One of the biggest benefits of having a CRM is bringing structure and organization to your work so you work more efficiently. Tasks are a tool usually used in CRMs to provide scheduled reminders when something needs to be done in relation to a transaction. You could manually create a task for yourself so you have a reminder, or your CRM might even produce tasks automatically based on workflows. CRMs will often provide a view of all your tasks in one place so you know exactly where to focus your time, making you more efficient. If you often feel like you have no control of what’s happening next in your business, a CRM can bring a lot of relief.
Most transactions will have a specific flow they follow which determines the next steps you need to take to close the transaction. CRMs allow you to make sure you regularly follow the required steps throughout the life of a transaction. And you’ll always know where each of your leads fall in this flow. Some CRMs can send alerts automatically based on the progress of a transaction. If a document always needs to be sent to a lead or client x days after another event, a workflow could trigger an alert reminder. Or it might even send the document automatically.
Most businesses categorize the type of transactions they manage. Each of these types of deals could even require different workflows. If you have a team, you might even have options to assign owners to different leads or to specific tasks, depending on transaction categorizations. There are many examples of this which will vary depending on the industry and size of a business. In real estate, it could be a buyer lead vs. a seller lead or maybe a residential buyer vs. a commercial buyer.
Many CRMs will provide an email campaign system with drip email features. These could include email campaigns that are ready-to-use or they could provide tools for you to build your own. Marketing automation features are increasingly provided in CRMs because they are so effective in engaging leads automatically, providing regular “touches” that appear to be personally sent from you, even though they are automated. This takes a load off your plate so you can you use your time more productively on tasks that can’t be automated.
These business activity reports show your sales funnel and where each of your leads fall in that funnel, helping you understand if you’re falling short against your targets at any stage. For example, you could determine if you have enough new leads coming in or enough leads progressing to closing at any given time.
CRMs will typically assign dollar amounts to transactions. They will often offer reporting to show closed revenue and potential revenue for a given time period based on the transactions in your pipeline. They may even use this information to provide revenue forecasts based on the stages of the transactions in your pipeline.
You can’t improve and grow your business if you don’t know where to focus. Performance reporting in CRMs helps you see how many transactions were won versus lost. Over time, you can look at the details in your lost opportunities to learn why they were lost and make adjustments to how you’re doing business.