Technology has a huge part to play in the success of any business, across any industry and the same goes for the property sourcing world. Wherever you can introduce efficiencies to ways of working such as automation of tasks, you will be reaping big rewards. So it may come as no surprise that systems like CRM systems are becoming increasingly popular.
Now if you are new to these types of systems then it can be a real challenge just working out where to start, so we will go through the basics with you. A CRM is a Customer Relationship System and in the property sourcing industry, a CRM can be used for managing contracts, sales and productivity. So far, the use of CRMs hasn’t been overly prevalent in property, perhaps because we don’t see the seller/landlord as a customer as such.
However, there a so many opportunities that a sophisticated CRM can bring to property sourcing. So our advice would be to take a look at what a CRM could do for your business. Understanding the full scope of what CRMs can deliver is not straightforward, as the potential use can be limitless, with new technologies emerging on a regular basis.
It is probably easier for CRM newbies to learn about the more basic functionalities before jumping to the more complex details. One of the first things that a CRM will help you with is keeping track of your leads. If you have leads coming in from different channels such as phone, email, social media, networking events etc. it is difficult to monitor these. Recording this data is imperative and far too often, you might lose a piece of paper with some notes or forget about a conversation or forget which seller you have spoke to.
Some property sourcers collate this information in spreadsheets but this is still not the most effective way. It can be difficult to extract data, produce reports etc. Also, you risk losing data if you forget to save for example. A CRM on the other hand will do all of these things with ease. Here are the main benefits of using a CRM system:
- More focus on seller/landlord relationship
- All your leads in one place
- Data on specific opportunities e.g. best ROI
- Easy to access data and reports for better strategic decisions
The data element is really powerful with CRM and as an example of how it can help with strategic decision making, it will identify which deals are close to completion and the amount of cash they would generate. So you can make an informed decision on what move to make next, whether to build your team or develop your JV partnerships etc.
You can control what data to share through a CRM as well, so if you are looking to share certain data with a JV partner, if they are generating leads for you the information can be easily shared. With a quick and seamless process, you have more time to concentrate on the areas that matter (and make more money!).
Different types of CRM
There are loads of CRMs out there right now and you may have heard of ones like Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Less Annoying CRM and SugarCRM. They are all great for taking cold leads and progressing the deal by phone or email, in a sales type manner.
We have used Less Annoying CRM to great effect before and it works in the following way:
1 – A lead comes in
2 – We create the name and stage for each deal pipeline (e.g. Gather info > view property > offers admitted > offers accepted > deal progression
3 – Input data at start of funnel
4 – Nurse the contact through the stages of the pipeline though to completion
There are workflow features and automation features that will assist with this whole process.
Linking with email marketing
When looking at CRMs it is also relevant to think about email marketing and how it all fits together. You might have used MailChimp for example, for email marketing, which offers an element of CRM but essentially these only really enable bulk emails/contact lists and doesn’t some close to the capabilities of a CRM. Industry leading CRM software companies fuse together the functionalities of email marketing services and traditional CRM systems. This allows an end-to-end experience for your customer based on their behaviour.
At Goliath Property Solutions, we use Active Campaign to capture leads (through Facebook ads for example). So traffic goes to a landing page where we capture the lead and then send emails to that lead to nurture them and eventually do a deal.
Choosing the right CRM
Different CRM systems will suit different scenarios, it really comes down to what you are trying to achieve. Zoho CRM is popular – it frequently adds new features and has great support. Less Annoying CRM is one that has worked well for us at Goliath Property Solutions, so those two are both good and are either free or low cost. As we mentioned, ActiveCampaign is another one that incorporates more marketing automation for us but it is perhaps a bit advanced for total newbies, as there is an overwhelming amount of capabilities. As we want to help you in ensuring you can get the right CRM for your property sourcing business, here we’ve provided a CRM System Evaluation Checklist you can download for free.
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