The most important tool in a real estate agent’s toolbox is their database. Your database is the culmination of all of your outreach and marketing efforts, and it’s the heart of your business, storing the information of all the people you’ve worked with over the years.
But your database is only what you make it. This is where a customer relationship management (CRM) database comes in. The term “CRM” can be deceptive, because it doesn’t just refer to “managing” your leads, but also growing and expanding your market.
With the new year right around the corner, it’s a great time to set up a CRM. Learn why a CRM is worthwhile and how to pick the one that works best for you.
Why you should have a CRM
When you know where your leads stand, you can determine where to best put your efforts: do you need to focus on establishing a deeper connection with your existing clients so they can bring you more referrals, or are you ready to branch out and expand your network? Your CRM can help you answer these questions.
It’s easy to feel daunted by a CRM, but once you start to use one, you’ll never want to go back to using plain ol’ spreadsheets. Since Realtors® often work independently, a CRM can function as your personal assistant (especially if you get creative with your automation). A CRM allows you to assign a status to your leads to help you prioritize your efforts. In addition, a CRM often provides tools to easily create additional marketing resources, such as eFlyers and newsletters, to send to specific groups within your database.
CRM services almost always include analytics, so you can have a bird’s eye view of your progress and your goals.
What CRM works best for you?
There are many CRMs made with Realtors® in mind, but choosing one can be overwhelming!
When looking for a CRM to fit your needs, consider the following:
- Does it make it easy to set goals and track your progress?
- Does it help automate mundane tasks, such as emails or scheduling meetings?
- Does it store the information that’s most important to you?
We’ve done some of the research to get you started. Here are three popular CRM tools for Realtors® and some of the key features of each.
This is a robust tool with a multitude of features. Import your contacts and create groups of your contacts — also known as “segments” — by assigning them a “grade.” This grade is based on referrals they have brought to you, and this system makes it easy for you to see which of your contacts are best worth your time.
Referral Maker has both a desktop and a mobile app, so you can check your lead status on the go. It also has a really neat “Pop-By” feature: a map that updates wherever you are, locating your nearest clients, so you can easily keep in touch face-to-face.
This service also uses automation to compile reports and to-do lists for you. A unique feature is the “Priority Action Center,” which alerts you to complete specific actions (such as a phone call or a visit) with your hottest leads. Referral Maker starts at $49/month, with additional costs for more features, such as team collaboration.
RealtyJuggler is a browser-based cloud service, which means you don’t have to install any software or worry about backing up your data to your devices. It syncs with other services, such as Google Calendar and Outlook, which makes it easy to schedule meetings with your clients. Keeping track of when you’ve last communicated with certain clients can help you prioritize your marketing and can ensure that none of your valuable leads fall through the cracks. RealtyJuggler costs $99/year.
Contactually is a popular choice for many agents, and with good reason: it’s packed full of useful features that help you stay on top of your goals. Every day, Contactually will remind you to take action with your leads, whether that means sending an email or mailing them a card. Regular contact with your clients is key, and it helps them to remember you so that you remain at the top of their mind when they’re ready to buy or sell.
Contactually also includes a template library of data-driven marketing materials. This service starts at $39/month.
All three of these services offer free trials, so you might as well test them out before you take the plunge. Ultimately, a CRM can help refine your marketing and lead nurturing strategies by helping you make sense of your most valuable data. Make it a goal to set up your CRM for the new year!