I want to issue a challenge to real estate CRM (Customer Relationship Management) providers.
Integrate or die.
The real estate CRM scene is in dire need of some useful innovation.
And not in the area of bells and whistles.
I was inspired to write this after a recent demo of PlanetRE’s newest offering, Socialite.
Not only does their software already offer the following four things, they also offer a comprehensive transaction and financial management piece.
It’s worth a look for serious agents, teams and brokers.
4 Must Have CRM Features Moving Forward
1. Unified communication
Almost everyone with a pulse has more than one email account. Additionally, every day messages come in on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that are related to business. A unified inbox and a record of correspondence, across platforms, within each contact’s file is critical.
2. One click importing of social media connections
Many agents have grown their social sphere of influence more than their database. Through the readily available social media APIs, adding contacts from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn into a CRM only takes one click.
PlanetRE as well as companies like Ming.ly and Nimble have already figured this out.
3. Unified calendar
If an agent is using Google Calendar, Outlook, an iPhone, a CRM and trying to keep up with their Facebook Friends’ birthdays they need to be able see all of that in one place. They also need to be able to select all or deselect them, as needed.
When I suggested this approach to PlanetRE they added the functionality within 48 hours of our call ending. It can be done.
4. 100% iPhone, iPad, Mac and Android compatible
If you haven’t noticed, real estate is no longer a PC and Blackberry dominated industry. Agents need mobile tools more than most business professionals. Largely they are using iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
If your CRM is not fully functional on those devices…good luck.
Mac Book Pros and Airs are becoming the laptop of choice for more and more agents. Asking an agent to install Parallels/Windows on their new shiny new Mac, just to use your CRM, is not acceptable.
Can’t we all just get along?
There will never be a truly all-in-one real estate CRM solution.
Many have promised. All have failed.
My advice is to stop trying to build it as soon as possible.
It isn’t a logical approach anymore with the plethora of tools and platforms agents can invest their time and money in.
If I were a CRM vendor I would put this on the product development team’s whiteboard immediately:
“We must work with and on everything real estate agents use to run their business. Deadline yesterday.”
In the real world this would mean that an agent getting leads from Zillow would have them automatically added into their Top Producer or Market Leader CRM.
An agent paying for Trulia mobile app leads should be able to open up their Wise Agent or PlanetRE account and see them in the dashboard immediately.
The challenge is that many of these companies are either competitors or currently have zero communication with each other.
That’s what needs to change.
To earn agent CRM dollars and to stay relevant moving forward – vendors must build bridges to other products and services as well as build out their own proprietary features.