CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and when you think about it, there are lots of ways to manage customer relationships depending on where they are in the sales process.
You start with a lead or a prospect. So you need a way to turn that person into a client. Then once you have that person committed to working with you, you need a way to manage the sale of their current home or you need a way to manage the purchase of their next home. And then once the sale is finalized, you need a way to stay in touch with that person.
The Three Stages of Customer Relationship Management in Real Estate
- Client (Seller/Buyer)
- Past Client
So how do you manage these people? With the perfect CRM. However, as you probably know, or are learning, there’s no such thing.
The system you use to capture leads and nurture them into clients is likely not the best system to use during the listing and selling phase (otherwise knows as contract to close). And the system you use during the listing and selling phase is likely not the best system to use in the past client follow up phase.
It’s a convoluted and confusing mess if you haven’t designated which system does what. Let me just illustrate to you the life cycle of someone who uses our team to buy or sell real estate.
The Life Cycle of the Internet Lead
A buyer hits our eEdge website (Keller Williams) and registers with name, phone number, and email address. After 2-24 months of receiving drip emails, phone calls, and new listings, this buyer chooses to work with our team to start looking at homes and buy something.
After the in-office buyer consultation, where the buyer fills out a buyer information sheet, the buyer’s information is entered into Top Producer. The buyer’s agent puts the buyer under contract and all the contract to close process is handled within Top Producer. We also keep an Excel spreadsheet of all current clients to use as an at-a-glance management system.
After the buyer closes, he is assigned a series of yearly anniversary letters and quarterly phone calls from the buyer’s agent in Top Producer. In addition, the contact type “mailing list” is added to his record and once a month I export everyone with that contact type into an excel spreadsheet which is sent to our local printer for a postcard mailing. Additionally, he is entered into our Happy Grasshopper database where he will receive a fun email every three weeks.
The Life Cycle of the Expired Listing Lead
My lead agent Ron Henderson receives from Vulcan 7 a list of the people whose homes expired the previous day. Ron cherry picks the ones he likes and thinks are most likely to sell. Then he emails me a pdf for each individual prospect for me to enter into Top Producer. The plan I assign to the prospect includes a letter and brochure mailing as well as weekly follow up phone calls for Ron. The prospect is also added to the mailing where he will receive the monthly postcard.
Once the prospect agrees to list, the listing and the contract to close process is managed in Top Producer. We also keep an Excel spreadsheet of all current clients to use as an at-a-glance management system.
After the seller closes, he is assigned a series of yearly anniversary letters and quarterly phone calls from Ron in Top Producer. Additionally, he is entered into Happy Grasshopper for the fun email every three weeks.
How Many Systems Do You Need?
We use the following systems to run our real estate business:
- Top Producer
- a custom website
- Vulcan 7
- Happy Grasshopper
I know some of you are using more. The point is, there is no ONE system that does everything exactly as you want it to. EVERY system has one thing it does really well. For the stuff that it doesn’t do as well, we find a workaround by using another system. That’s just the way it is! When our buyer’s agent Scott first started with us, he couldn’t understand why were keeping a database of people in eEdge and another in Top Producer. (The answer is because eEdge is a great lead capture and nurturing tool, but it’s a terrible transaction manager.)
Before I started working for Ron, he was using WiseAgent. I hated it. I couldn’t write and print letters out of it. More importantly, I couldn’t enter the contract to close process. So I made him get Top Producer. I had used it with my previous team, and I knew I could get his systems going by using it. I trained Ron how to use it and away we went. I’ve done a trial with a couple of other programs, but to be honest, I have everything I need set up in Top Producer. Some of the top teams manage 300+ transactions a year with it. Starting over with something new would be a nightmare for me.
CRM Survey Results
I took a survey of the subscribers to my blog. Below are the entire results that I received. I gathered 42 responses.
- 18 use Top Producer
- 8 use eEdge alone (eEdge is the Keller Williams branded version of Market Leader)
The rest use:
- CINC (Commissions Inc)
- Followup Boss
- Ixact Contact
- Real Estate Webmasters
- Realty Juggler
- Seize the Market
- Team Leads
Others I’ve seen mentioned around the Internets:
|Role||Team Size||Expansion||CRM Current||Pro||Con||CRM Past|
|admin||6-10||no||BoomTown||Everything is in one place. All leads are auto-imported (realtor, zillow, trulia, etc) and auto-assigned. We can track conversion, email accountability, phone call accountability, etc. It’s in all-in-one CRM and it’s wonderful!||We’ve been able to text directly from BoomTown’s site now, which is fantastic. We wish we could auto-text as soon as a lead comes in. That seems to be the missing piece right now.||Before BoomTown, we used Excel spreadsheets. This is our first CRM.|
|admin||3-5||no||BoomTown & eEdge (we HATE eEdge)||We HATE eEdge, so nothing positive to say other that the campaigns and market stuff they have available to agents.||We HATE almost everything about eEdge! My lead agent doesn’t want to switch because it is provided by Keller Williams and he doesn’t want to confuse the clients.||none|
|admin||3-5||yes||CINC (Commissions INC) Top Producer (25 years, might be changing soon)||Easy to use.||A lot of editing from our 2 CRMS not communicating properly||Boomtown|
|sales||3-5||no||considering contacually using eedge||none||none||none|
|sales||3-5||no||Contactually||Conversation log..task setting||Waiting to browse||none|
|sales||10+||no||Contactually||Syncs with all platforms||nothing really||ACT|
|admin||3-5||no||eEdge||user friendly||email from eEdge is currently blocked by most email providers||none|
|sales||2||no||eEdge||Not much||almost everything||none|
|sales||3-5||no||eEdge||nothing||Don’t really care for eEdge. therefore, we have not invested to the time to populate it. Not very friendly.||none|
|admin||3-5||no||eEdge||Convenient and cost-effective||none||none|
|admin||3-5||no||eEdge||lead auto populate in there from the website||It could use a lot of changes. Reminders and tracking||none|
|admin||6-10||no||eEdge||Lots of marketing capabilities||There is no way to link two contacts into a “household.” Instead, we have made husband and wife one contact in our system. This helps greatly with our mailings and keeping the info up-to-date but limits who receives our campaign emails||Top Producer|
|admin||3-5||no||Followup Boss||That it tracks all emails in the system without me having to do anything.||The plans are not ideal.||Agent 2000 (years ago) and the old KW system cant even remember the name.|
|admin||6-10||no||Infusionsoft, Boomtown||Not much, we are actually switching back to Top Producer soon.||It’s too complicated for what we want/need. I am a firm believer in keeping it simple.||Our Agent use BoomTown for lead follow up. We keep out leads and mets database separate.|
|admin||3-5||no||Ixact Contact||I like many things, ease of use, its a “smart” program – I don’t have to reenter info, everything is in one place.||The tasks need a date. I would prefer it to allow, once task A is competed, task B is “on deck”, once task B is completed, Task C is on deck, etc.||none|
|sales||6-10||no||My Red Tools||CRM & Transaction Managing capabilities||Customer Service is terrible||none|
|admin||3-5||no||Propertybase||Customizable and tons of integrations||Expensive onboarding, and difficult to put together||I have done a trials on several in the past, it feels like I tried them all. In the past we did have Follow Up Boss|
|sales||10+||yes||Real Estate Webmasters and Infusionsoft||Just getting started on Infusionsoft – work Smarter, not harder.||none||Salesforce – cool – like it – they couldn’t get my RETS feed to work and then the oil spill hit and I dumped it.|
|sales||1||no||Realty Juggler||Very easy to use, and inexpensive||It’s me – I don’t think I am utilizing some of the features like I probably should be!||ACT|
|sales||10+||no||SalesForce||All encompassing||Ease of Use – or lack thereof. 🙂||Contact and Transaction Management: Top Producer, Brivity. Lead Management: Boomtown, Kunversion, Real Estate Webmasters, Follow Up Boss, Tiger Leads, Zurple|
|admin||6-10||no||Seize the Market||everything rolled together in one application||Not very user Friendly||eEdge|
|admin||6-10||no||Team Leads||The ease of which I can check the status of any leads and what/how the BA has communicated with them.||We haven’t had it long so I am still adjusting to the features, capabilities, etc.||eEdge|
|admin||6-10||no||TeamLeads||TeamLeads is the primary CRM our team is currently using and just the option to do so many things is the best. It is user friendly as well.||Our team agents seem to be intimidated by the website until they get in and start using ALL the features and get used to it.||E-Edge (KW) and Top Producer|
|admin||6-10||no||TeamLeads||It’s user friendly and easy to ALL to learn||It is one sided, it would be nice to have a list/sell side database that tracks, leads, drips, and is great for aftercare with the ability to upload docs and email directly from.||Top Producer|
|admin||10+||no||Top Producer||Easy set up||Doesn’t have a lot of customization available||none|
|admin||2||no||Top Producer||Tracking listing/closing tasks.||My agent doesn’t use it like he should.||none|
|admin||6-10||no||Top Producer||Having the reminders and access remotely.||Time consuming to update and get use to using in the middle of the summer when real estate is at its peak season.||none|
|admin||2||no||Top Producer||Easy to learn and use and does pretty much everything from contact info, letters, reminders, etc||That I can’t email reminders to myself||none|
|admin||6-10||no||Top Producer||The Market Snapshot||Top Producer can do so much but certain tasks are complicated to get set up and remember how to use if you don’t do them often. Also a huge pain to import or export contacts from other sources.||Outlook|
|admin||3-5||no||Top Producer||Suggested contacts for each day for each agent||Out dated content, complicated to the point of inefficiency, would like a more simple and streamlined system||none|
|admin||3-5||no||Top Producer||Sales Pipeline and Follow-Up plans||Userface isn’t very pleasant||Team Leads|
|admin||6-10||no||Top Producer||Very comprehensive, able to track transactions||Clunky, does not have a very good customer interface option||Brivity, Team Leads|
|admin||3-5||no||Top Producer||Being able to create listings and closings and keep notes to track stages of the transaction.||Not great functionality for creating attractive emails/marketing.||eEdge|
|admin||6-10||no||Top Producer||Robust||Marketing is outdated||eEdge|
|admin||3-5||no||Top Producer||All-inclusive||All-Inclusive- too many things can make it difficult to maintain a “clean” database.||Excel, Outlook, nothing full-fledged.|
|admin||3-5||no||Top Producer and eEdge||Everyone see’s the entire teams progress and knows where the file stands in the process||It doesn’t send postcards to our database like eEdge does||Just eEdge before we got Top Producer|
|admin||3-5||no||Top Producer, eEdge||Top Producer = action plans, contact management eEdge = KW premade campaigns (professional looking)||Top Producer = I feel like I don’t use half of what is available (partially my fault for not learning and not having the time to learn about all the features) eEdge = action plan section seems disjointed (at least the last time I looked)||none|
|admin||3-5||no||Top Producer, eEdge||mass emails||none||none|
|admin||3-5||no||TopProducer||Nothing||Cumbersome. Everything takes more time/steps than it should (at least in my opinion).||WiseAgent|
|admin||10+||no||TopProducer||The multiple capabilities of it. Calendar, contact information for clients, being able to pull reports in excel files that I can send to a mail house for mailers.||Very little help from customer support||We tried Brivity for transaction management, but do to our team not responding well to it we never made the jump to using it as a CRM.|
|admin||3-5||no||We had top producer but are trying to find something different. Any suggestions??||User friendly, mobile platform friendly, multiple user,action tasks assignable to different users.||Top producer seemed outdated and clunky||None. We are thinking of follow up boss???|
|admin||6-10||no||We use Brivity for TC, Top Producer for Database, Follow Up Boss for lead management||Brivity sends out auto emails to clients. I can enter notes, extra tasks, and to-dos for others on my team.||That there isn’t a perfect one for all things. I am learning to accept and embrace this 🙂||none|
Finding the Perfect Underwear
Asking “which CRM do you like and why?” is like asking “boxers or briefs?”. For women, it’s more like, “bikini, high cut, thong, briefs, boy shorts, or hip huggers?” What’s comfortable for one admin or team will not be comfortable for another. You will never know what works until you try them on. And just like underwear you can’t return, you gotta pay the price to figure out what works. Every CRM needs to be built out. Some are more robust than others, but NOTHING (and I promise this) does EVERYTHING you want it to do.