How To Find The Best Real Estate CRM For Your Business
What is the most important thing you look for in a CRM?
With so many CRM systems and other products saturating the real estate technology market, how do you know which is the best real estate CRM?
While there are standard productivity-enhancing features in most CRM systems, what works for your colleagues might not be the system that works for you. It’s important to do the research to find the CRM that’s right for you and your business.
We asked one of our clients, Mike Grbic of Select Homes Team Real Estate, to weigh in with his story on how finding the best real estate CRM helped his team reach their ultimate success.
The Select Homes Success Story
Armed with the BoomTown CRM and a unique vision for growing a team, Mike grew Select Homes Team Real Estate to become the #1 Real Estate Team in Kansas, and #10 Team in the US by the Wall Street Journal.
In his first six months of business, he did 25 units. Within his first year, he had done 93 units. By this fourth year, he was at 234 units. But then, he hit a ceiling. For the next 5 years, Mike and his team bounced around the 300 range, but could not break into the 400s.
But then, in 2011 he signed on with BoomTown, and saw major changes. In his first year with BoomTown, he went from 393 transactions in 2011, to 688 transactions in 2012. His numbers only grew steadily from there.
Mike’s story, as well as the success stories of real estate professionals across the nation, highlight the value and long-term benefits of having a CRM system in place. All real estate professionals should have a system that helps you foster client relationships, increase productivity, and accomplish your ultimate goals.
Continue reading if you are in doubt having a CRM is worth the cost, or are unsure if your current system is giving you the best bang for your buck.
What is the Purpose of a CRM?
REAL Trends conducted a recent study titled “CRM + Agent Adoption = Productivity,” to determine the presence, usage and overall impact of CRM systems within the real estate industry. They found data that supports a high correlation between CRM usage and agent productivity.
Even though the particular processes in CRM usage may differ across brokerages and agent teams, the purpose of using a CRM is to strengthen client relationships and increase productivity.
The study showed that 96.2% of brokerages and 94.6% of agents felt that the use of a real estate CRM increased agent productivity to some degree. Most agents responded that using a CRM system increased their productivity by at least 50%, and even the majority of brokerages felt that agents who actively used a CRM were 50% more productive than agents who did not.
And the results don’t lie. In fact, the numbers support what the agents and brokers themselves sensed. Agents who use a CRM close more transactions. REAL Trends found that brokers who provided a real estate CRM system to their agents showed on average 28.2% more transaction sides per agent than brokers who did not provide a CRM. This may not seem like a huge gap, but these results reinforce the fact that proper usage of a real estate CRM has a positive impact on agent productivity and business growth.
What is the Value of a CRM?
According to a REALTOR Technology Survey, CRM solutions continually rank high on the list of most valuable tools.
Despite this fact, many brokers and team leaders find themselves facing resistance and difficulty getting their agents to adopt new technology. Whether implementing a CRM for the first time, or switching to a new system, we see this issue come up for our clients fairly often.
The key to agent adoption is to get agents to see the value that a CRM system brings to the table, or hiring the right people who will.
What do agents and brokers find valuable?
Realtors reported that about 44% of their time is spent on mobile devices, responding to and doing work for their clients.
Based on this fact, any tool that allows agents to respond faster to more leads in less time would prove to be a gamechanger. And sure enough, the technology survey revealed that realtors continue to find the greatest value in technology products that let them conduct business quickly and conveniently, wherever they are.
What features help agents do business better?
In an Inman Select special report titled “Which CRM Is The Best?”, ¾ of agents reported that they do not use all the features available in their CRM. It may come as a surprise, but agents actually don’t like having too many features or options in their technology products.
A ton of bells and whistles with no real point or purpose brings no value to your team or business if it does nothing to help conduct business faster, respond more quickly, or provide better service.
In fact, having too many features on board may be so distracting and disconnected that they sink your business. The Inman study found that what agents actually want is more customizations and integration with other technologies.
What are the most important features in a CRM?
Agents and brokers from the Inman survey listed these three features as the most important in a CRM: contact organization (61.2%), activity management (56.5%), and ease of use (50.6%).
The ‘CRM + Agent Adoption’ study from REAL Trends got a little more granular and had both agents and brokers rate the features they used the most in a real estate CRM.
At BoomTown, we have studied our data and spoken to clients to figure out what features enable successful behavior. We have learned that the most responsive agents who provide great service are typically the most successful agents. The BoomTown system was engineered with features and innovations to improve responsiveness, and thus help reach and convert more leads.
The Select Homes Story: Most Valuable Features
When asked what he considers the most valuable feature in the BoomTown CRM, Mike Grbic’s answer is the Opportunity Wall. The Opportunity Wall acts as a live feed of activity, telling you who to follow up with first, second, third, and so forth.
“That alone is a huge money maker and time save for my agents,” says Mike. Even if you have a huge database of leads, and only 30 minutes to spare, you don’t have to waste any time trying to figure out who to call, or put it off because you’re short on time. “It sets the agent up to make a specific call to a specific person for a specific reason. The more targeted the call, the more useful the agent is, which leads to more money.”
How Do I Get The Most ROI From My CRM?
Is your CRM system an investment or an expense?
When Inman asked this question in their “Which CRM Is Best” survey, they were met with mixed results. The majority of respondents (78.2%) consider their CRM to be an investment rather than an expense.
“It’s an investment,” said one respondent. “Without my database and a way to track and stay in contact with my database, I would lose 90% of my business.”
There were, however, some naysayers.
“I expect an ROI from an investment,” said a naysaying respondent. “A CRM is simply a tool.”
“It’s an expense and not an investment because it requires an investment of my waking hours to get myself familiar with is functionality,” said another. “I feel like I shouldn’t spend my time doing that kind of admin work.”
To put this gently…..don’t be an idiot.
You can’t complain that an “investment” requires an investment of your time. That’s why it’s called an investment! You can’t expect immediate ROI without putting in any work. ROI stands for return on investment. Point blank, you need to invest something to get something in return.
If you’re NOT seeing any ROI from your CRM…you’re either using the wrong system for your business, or you’re not investing to necessary time and effort.
There is no such thing as “magic button” in real estate. With any technology product or service, you only get out what you put in. You need to invest time and work into a CRM in order for it to produce an ROI.
Mike understands this and has some helpful advice for agents and brokers who continually claim that either CRMs don’t work, or that CRM’s aren’t worth the investment:
The Select Homes Story: 3 Steps to Maximize ROI From a CRM
1. Understand Internet Buyer Leads
Before you can successfully convert internet leads through a CRM system, you’ve got to start with a basic understanding of how it works. “There is only a small percentage of leads that are considered convertible,” explains Mike. “If you can consistently convert at a rate of 5-6%, you’re doing great.”
2. Be Patient: Success Takes Time
Real estate professionals need to be mindful of the ramp up time required to create a well-oiled lead generation machine. It could take an average of eight months of nurturing leads before they’re ready to talk. “You have to stick it out for a year, year and a half before you actually start hitting optimum levels of return and really seeing long-term benefits.” Mike and his team are still closing deals from leads that registered over 4 years ago!
3. Train Agents To Adopt The System
When Mike first implemented BoomTown, his team was comprised of older-fashioned agents who did open houses took sign calls, but didn’t want to make phone calls. “Even though we had a Cadillac of a system that generated leads, we weren’t doing that much with them. Then we developed our ISA team, recruited new agents that were more tech-savvy and eager for business.”
Agents need to be much more responsive and diligent with follow up to successfully convert more leads. A particular lead might be registered on your site, as well as 4 others. Speed to lead is more crucial now than ever before.
Brokers need confirmation that implementing a CRM is an investment towards growing your team and expanding your business. Brokers and team leaders can manage their agents’ progress with BoomTown’s Accountability Dashboards, and track their success rates with our reporting tools.
Choosing The Right CRM For You
What you want a CRM system to for your business? What problem are you trying to solve, or what challenges are you trying to improve? Making a list answering these questions will help you narrow down your many options.
The Select Homes Story: Why Mike Chose BoomTown
Back then, most CRM and IDX site platforms were doing a terrible job of lead generation and lead conversion. The system Mike was using prior to BoomTown was not only clunky, but it was expensive to generate leads, and did not do much to help his team convert leads. He was dumping a lot of money into PPC advertising, but his ROI was minimal.
“I’m a research and development nerd,” admits Mike. “I looked into all the products that were out there. I probably sat through a hundred CRM demos!” Once he found and successfully implemented BoomTown, he never looked back.
“To this day, I’ve never found another company that does it at the same level as BoomTown. The elegance of the website and the smoothness of the backend CRM are unbeatable.”
You need to have the right team to handle the leads, and have processes in place to hold your agents accountable to make the calls and produce an ROI for the money you spend on advertising.
“It’s one thing to generate leads. It’s another thing to convert them into closings,” says Mike. “If agents just collect leads and never call them or work the system, you’ll never get an ROI.”
The Best Real Estate CRM Is…?
So, how do you know which is the best real estate CRM? The answer won’t be the same for every real estate professional. Don’t just pick a CRM because everyone else you know is using it. Regardless of how popular or inexpensive a platform may be, implementing the “wrong” CRM system will not provide value or a desirable ROI to your business.
Choose one that you know you (and your agents) will use, and that you know will benefit your business. BoomTown offers three CRM products for the different stages of the real estate business. Launch is our simplest product, geared to help individual agents and small teams ramp up their fledgling business. BoomTown Grow helps established teams and brokerages scale their growth. Advance is engineered for enterprising brokerages to manage multiple offices and expansion.
We know that one size does not fit all, and believe all agents, teams, and brokerages should find their perfect fit. That is what makes the best real estate CRM.