Why Serious Real Estate Investors Need to Use CRM
As a serious real estate entrepreneur, you want to work with all the tools at your disposal. No doubt you’ve spent a lot of time researching the best methods to market and contact potential leads. You’ve tried various tricks and tips as they come along and you’ve joined forces with like-minded groups (such as REIvault). Overall, you know that it’s easier to use available resources rather than to invent new ones every time you need them.
But one resource that often seems to get overlooked is CRM. If you don’t know yet what CRM is or why you should use it, hopefully, this article will help convince you of the importance of this game-changing tool.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for “Customer (or client) Relationship Management” and is a general term that is used to describe software that helps you stay in contact with and manage your client relationships. Dealing with clients and their needs can be a full-time process by itself, so many people find it difficult to keep up with all the ins and outs required for this crucial part of the job. One solution is to hire a client relationship specialist, but then this comes with all sorts of problems, including payroll and training.
Other investors opt for CRM software, which can sometimes come with a bit of a learning curve, but ultimately helps put you in control of your client relationships. By choosing the right CRM software, you can automate many of the time-consuming processes that are currently demanding so much of your attention and taking you away from where your heart really lies — with your real estate investing.
What Can CRM Do?
So, what can CRM software do? Several things make this an essential tool for any serious real estate investor. A quality CRM will:
Manage Contact Information
This feature is the most obvious and easy one to understand, so let’s get it out of the way. Leads are clicking on your site, responding to direct mailings, answering the phone, or doing a million other little things that put them on your radar to let you know they’re worth noting. As they do, you’re going to want to build a database of these potential contacts for future reference. CRM software will automatically populate and update this list, giving you a continuous feed of prospective clients with whom you can build a lasting relationship.
Track Customer Behavior
More than just building a list, CRM software pays attention to how these people interact with your website and other offerings. There is a lot of information to be discovered just by noticing a few crucial variables, and CRM software pays attention to this kind of data. This information can include:
● When a client first visited your site
● How many times they’ve visited
● What they do and where they go when on the site
● The steps that led them there in the first place
Record Customer Interactions
Another great feature of CRM programs is that they keep a log of all interactions with a customer. This log is updated continuously as new transactions and communications occur, and it is easily referenced and searchable. This log allows you to deal with a customer based on his or her data and history, which gives you thorough insight into his or her account and situation. Knowing your leads makes it easier for you to ultimately land a deal, rather than watch them walk away or go to another company. By tracking history like this and remembering it, the CRM software is helping you to build a comprehensive profile of your visitors and their needs.
Assist in Marketing
No, your CRM program can’t put together your next direct mailer. It can, however, help you know when and how to market to different groups more effectively. Your CRM can take all of your clients and group them according to varying sets of data. These groups need to hear different things from you at different times, and a good CRM program can help you manage these groups and know when is best to reach out to them — as well as the means that will have the most impact.
CRM can also assist in follow-up, helping you know when the best times are to initiate a subsequent contact and when it’s better to let someone sit a few more days.
Organize and Track Your Leads
What CRM systems do best, though, is to organize the massive amount of data that is coming to you from all sides. It can be overwhelming to manage all the clients and potential leads you’ve discovered. If you’re not organized, you can find yourself missing appointments, forgetting to call someone back or committing a hundred other mistakes that could tank your business. Your CRM software can protect you from all of that by helping you keep your head on straight.
How Can You Choose the Right CRM For You?
There are many different CRM programs available to choose from, and many of them are excellent products. The question, then, is finding the one that works best for you and your business. Here are some factors to consider when choosing:
Cloud, or No Cloud?
One of the more crucial elements is whether you’d like your CRM to be cloud-based or stored locally. There are good and bad sides to each approach, depending on the strength of your internet connection, your overall mobility and your access to IT personnel. There’s no right or wrong answer here, but you have to figure out what works best for you.
Of course, it’s also important to think about what features you are going to need in your CRM. Since these systems come with different functionalities depending on their focus, you can’t go with any random option. Instead, you need to figure out which functions are most vital to your company and then focus on finding the CRM that delivers them. One thing to note — the most common mistake people make here is not buying the wrong features; it’s purchasing a program with too many. Don’t overpay for what you don’t need!
Another critical factor to consider is the applications you are already using. Because the whole point of CRM is to make your life easier, it completely defeats the purpose if the system you end up going with doesn’t play nice with other software and programs you use. Of course, you’ll be thinking about the biggest and most common options, such as Microsoft and Google products, but don’t forget to consider all of the applications you use from start to finish.
Ease of Use
This feature is one that seems obvious, but you should also consider how easy the program is to use. Is it intuitive? Does it seem user-friendly, or are the various systems difficult to understand? Do the help features make it easy for you to figure out what you’re doing and how to do more? Any CRM that gives you an impossible learning curve is going to waste your time.
Most programs worth checking out offer a trial period to let you decide if you like it. Any CRM that doesn’t give you this offer should be cause for alarm. Just as you can expect to take a vehicle for a test drive before you commit to making payments, you should be able to expect the same from a program that has the potential to integrate itself into every part of your business for the foreseeable future.
Training and Configuration
Most CRM systems come equipped with tons of features and options. That being said, no program, no matter how good, can be one-size-fits-all. Once you figure out how your CRM best fits into your business, you’re going to want to be able to tweak it to best fit your needs. A good system should be customizable so that your company and staff can get the most out of it and the features it offers.
We addressed this earlier when talking about cloud storage, but another feature to consider is mobility. Regardless if your CRM is cloud-based or not, you should be able to access the most important elements when you’re on the go. A serious real estate investor is continuously mobile – checking out properties, meeting with clients, etc. Your CRM needs to be able to come with you wherever you go and handle the tasks you need it to on demand.
Bottom Line – Do Your Homework
As you can see, having the right CRM can be a game-changer for your real estate business. Why spend so much of your time and resources trying to keep your clients and customers happy when you can have software do it for you with so many more satisfying results?
So, spend some time researching the various CRM programs out there, and choose the one that works best for you!
In REIvault, we specifically use Podio with our members, and have a program in which we do the complete, customized setup for each of our members. Be sure to check out REIvault.com if you’re interested!