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How to Choose the Right CRM

In previous columns we have covered topics including data quality, targeted email marketing, and how to maximise the results from your open homes and web enquiries. Now it’s time to turn our attention to how to choose the right CRM for your business.

If you feel like your current CRM is holding you back on implementing any of the areas we have previously discussed, such as your data quality and email marketing, it would be worth taking a look around at what’s on the market.

Deciding to change CRM solutions is a significant undertaking involving migration of data from one system to another, as well as learning a whole new system. It can seem daunting at first, but well worth it after you see everyone humming with the one system.

The right fit CRM will allow you to be on the phone to more of the right people at the right time, plus fewer opportunities will fall through the cracks.

If you are starting your research I would like to offer you a framework to use in order to understand what you are after and how to compare the solutions that are out there. The CRM you choose can make a dramatic difference in how your business operates and the results you achieve. The small amount of time invested in choosing the right one at the start will far outweigh the disruption of having to change again in the future if you make the wrong choice.

To assist you it is best to start by understanding the three pillars of a real estate CRM: interface, data, and training & support.

All are equally as important as each other, but traditionally there is a focus on the interface. This is a key element, of course; however, making a choice without considering the other critical pillars could be disastrous and expensive.

Interface
This is where the bulk of the focus is initially, to make sure the CRM can perform all the tasks that you need. Every office is different, but a checklist can ensure you don’t miss anything.

The number one aspect of the interface is how easy it is to use and how fast it can gain access to listing, contact info and reports.

Ensure that you can access all contact, listing and appraisal information while you’re on the go, and are able to run your open for inspections. Being able to send your contracts and other listing documents on the move can really speed things up and makes you appear professional.
Tip: Work through your checklist with the CRM consultant and address the items important to you. Play with the trial system then run through any outstanding items with the consultant again to make sure everything is covered.

Data
This is one area that is commonly overlooked or misunderstood. A database with incomplete, duplicated or corrupt data is almost useless.

Make an effort to understand the difference in how your current system and the new system handle and structure data. What support would you receive in migrating the data from the old to the new system? Ask to be stepped through a clear process to ensure that you minimise loss of data and make sure the end result will be a clean and accurate database.
Have a list of the reports you require and see how the new system can deliver them to you.

Training & support
Most solutions out there have some form of online training and support included in the monthly fee. However, it is worth taking a closer look at the video libraries inside the interface as well as the user manual and any user guidance solution.

In order to train sales agents in a new CRM we have found on-site training to be the most effective. Explore any options that are available and devise a continual education plan after you go live with the new system.

The first three months are crucial to form new habits and encourage all staff to embrace the new way of doing things.

For support it is worthwhile talking to other agents already using the new system to gain some feedback.

[html]To have a copy of “How to Choose a CRM Checklist” sent to you [/html]

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