Commercial real estate CRM buying guide
Successfully implementing a commercial real estate CRM solution can have rapid and lasting benefits. Finding the right CRM can be tricky. There’s lots at stake considering the critical business intelligence that a CRM provides to your business. Use the strategies below to help you make the best decision.
Keep it simple
First impressions matter. Your new CRM should be immediately intuitive. If it’s not, then move on. You will not invest any time in training. You’ve got better ways to spend your time. CRM complexity and adoption are inversely related. If the service is too complex, or you’re trying to accomplish too much, then you’re setting yourself up to fail. Choose a simple solution that complements the way you work and doesn’t require a change in workflow.
Time to move on
I’ve been involved in commercial real estate CRM software for twenty years. As one of the original pioneers of CRM in our industry I’ve seen numerous multi-million dollar “sales automation” failures. Fortunately none involved my innovations!
If your last CRM didn’t “stick” then the needs of your business and the features of your previous choice were not aligned. Work with a provider who knows your business and understands your limitations. Seek a solution that’s built from the ground up of for your needs. Learn from past experience and don’t be afraid to move on.
Do not over-buy
I can’t stress this enough. One of the biggest contributors to CRM failure is buying a solution that’s overly complex and not aligned with core business demands. Cost is a factor too. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a more costly solution is more capable. It doesn’t work that way with commercial real estate CRMs.
Commercial real estate professionals have very particular needs. A one-size fits all solutions from big companies are a square peg in a round hole for folks like us. You’re building relationships and doing deals – not selling widgets. It doesn’t matter how “customized” a generic solution claims to be. Compile a list of your most basic needs, then match those up with a CRM that provides the most intuitive solution. Remember: complexity and unused features are a recipe for disaster.
Try it out
Insist on a free, no obligation multi-user trial to test any potential system. Then, try things out without any outside assistance. If you get lost in features, menus and options then stop. Move to your next trial since you made the wrong choice. If the features and workflow of your chosen system aren’t readily understandable, then adoption will suffer. Without adoption you’ve got no ROI.
You’re not the first person to look for a commercial real estate CRM software solution. Search for commercial real estate software reviews. It’s likely that others in your office and probably your competition are using something. Ask around and see what people like. Remember that adoption is the key. You want to figure out what people actually use – not what they’re told to use.
What to do
There are many factors involved when considering an online customer relationship management tool. Here’s a summary of the key factors to consider:
- Does the CRM seem intuitive to your team? Appearance counts.
- Does it offer customization?
- Can data be imported from your existing platform?
- Is unlimited storage space available?
- Will it sync contacts and activities with your mobile devices?
- What type of support is available?
What not to do
A few recommendations of things NOT to do when choosing a commercial real estate CRM include:
- Don’t over-buy. Fancy features add complexity and lower adoption – the ROI killer!
- Seek out the simplest solution that meets your needs. Simple is always better.
- Don’t over-integrate. Trying to integrate everything into your CRM is a big cause of failure.
- Consolidate your decision making. Too much input can be a distraction.
- Don’t assume industry behemoths are the way to go. There’s lots more innovation in newer companies.
- If your CRM of choice isn’t cloud-based then it’s an outdated legacy application. Don’t get stuck in the past. This should be obvious, but still traps some people.
It’s also important to follow your instincts when it comes to making a commercial real estate CRM software choice. You and your team will be spending a lot of time in your CRM, and it’s got to fit with your culture and personality. Once you hit upon a CRM that works well, then you’ll reap tremendous benefits.