BEST PRACTICEBrand EditorialElite Agent

Make the right CRM switch

From carbon paper to leading CRM platforms, Travis Williams has seen the gamut of real estate tech options. Here, he explains what to do and what to watch out for when changing your CRM.

When I started building Box+Dice in the late ’90s, 90 per cent of our customers were coming from carbon paper inspection sheets and institute diaries.

If they had any tech at all, it was a basic desktop CRM or Microsoft Excel.

We were selling technology as a concept.

At trade shows, people would stand 10-deep to see our groundbreaking tech.

Making the switch to digital was a no-brainer.

These days, flashy tech is par for the course.

But that doesn’t mean all CRMs are created equal, and switching to a new one comes with some hurdles to jump and pitfalls to avoid. 

Here are five dos and three don’ts of switching CRMs.


Do research your problems and be clear on what needs solving.

Agents will often find a system easy enough to use, but won’t use it because it doesn’t do enough of what they need it to do.

Have a meeting with key users and create a list of problems they feel need solving.

This is essential when road testing your next platform.

Do be clear on what it is you want to achieve.

Typically you’ll want to become deeply connected with your past clients using a strong loyalty strategy.

But you’ll also want to have tools that make it as easy as possible to connect and service your current buyers and appraisals.

An awesome native app that works on both Android and iOS is essential.

Plus, you’ll want your CRM to efficiently capture leads from web portals and other third-party apps.

Do focus on getting the accounting and administration right, not just the CRM.

If administrators are using a separate system from your consultants it will cripple your growth.

This isn’t simply a matter of some extra hours to double enter; any information that’s not accessible to the sales team is effectively lost and useless.

Consultants monetise your historical data by using it to connect, reconnect and stay connected. 

Do have your sales team and administrators agree to the change before announcing it.

No culture is perfect and dissent can erupt if things are handled poorly.

In a small team, have everyone (that cares) in the presentation.

In larger organisations, form committees that everyone agrees will act and speak for the rest.

You’ll need a sales committee, accounting and admin committee and property manager and BDM committee.

These committees will report to the chief(s), who can then make a well-informed decision.

Do make sure your new platform is interoperable and integrates with essential technology partners.

That means your website, data, email, property management and sales presentation apps – everything.

Your CRM is not just a CRM, it is your single source of truth for your organisation.

Everyone should go to it for phone numbers and historical information.


Don’t assume you can flick your data across in one easy swoop.

How easily you can migrate your data depends on the systems you’re migrating from and to.

Unless you only have a basic list of names and addresses, your new provider will need to write a program to transform your data.

Large, experienced providers have transform programs in place.

Don’t restrict teams or consultants from sharing information by siloing your data.

This isn’t the ’90s – every customer expects your brand to share information and put their needs ahead of protecting individual consultant commission claims.

To pave the way for this, your company needs clear and fair policies that balance the best interests of your customers with consultants’ rights to certain clients.

Your CRM is the vehicle to reinforce your policies.

Don’t go with an unproven system.

It takes decades to get this all right.

The devil is in the details and new systems may impress you with a flashy dashboard but ultimately disappoint when you start needing to do the heavy lifting.

Follow these dos and don’ts when you’re looking to change to a new CRM and you can feel sure you’ll end up with a system that will bring true value to your business.

Travis Williams is the CEO of Box+Dice, a leading real estate CRM and transaction management platform in Australia and New Zealand.
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Travis Williams

Travis Williams is the CEO of Box+Dice, a leading real estate CRM and transaction management platform in Australia and New Zealand.