There are all kinds of contact management systems on the market today, but how do you know which one is best for your business and fits your budget? Well, first of all, you need to know what your options are. Let’s review the different types of systems:
Generic: Outlook is an example of a basic generic manager. The nice thing about this type of product is that you probably already own a copy. If you have Microsoft Office or Open Office, it’s already included and ready to use. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time and customization to adapt it to your needs as a real estate agent. Although this option may be the cheapest, most of the time this type of system will not be able to be linked to the rest of your business, such as lead generation or marketing solutions that come with contact managers specifically designed for our industry. .
Industry specific: These contact managers give you far more control over your business than more generic options. Most include features like lead tracking, list integration, drip campaigns, and more. Since the software is already customized for real estate, you save time and effort trying to create something so effective from a generic program – no one wants to reinvent the wheel! This belief, however, will usually end up costing you more. Personally, I believe that since communicating with clients and prospects is at the heart of real estate, it’s worth making sure you’re doing it right!
Web-based solutions: It is the newest type of contact management systems and is moving towards the industry as a whole. While you may have a “generic” web-based solution (like Gmail for example), industry-specific systems that are also web-based give you the best of both worlds:
- You have access to your contact database anywhere and anytime, not just on your desktop computer.
- Your contact manager can be automatically linked to your website and lead generation tools.
- Take control of your marketing with targeted emails and drip campaigns.
- Real-time site monitoring will give you instant notification of registrations and other website activity via your email or mobile device!
- An integrated calendar can use scheduled messages to correspond with prospects based on site activity or special events such as birthdays.
If you are looking for a new contact manager, I would definitely suggest an industry-specific web product that will give you the best and latest technology to stay ahead!
After narrowing the field, however, there are still a bunch of different options. So what kinds of features should you be looking for to get the most bang for your buck?
User-friendly: Although there is always a learning curve with new software, look for something that has a good user interface and is easy to navigate. See if you can get a demo of the CRM to make sure you like it before you buy it!
Customizable: You’re going to want to set up your account your way! Do you want all your emails to be forwarded to one primary address? Maybe you made a nice signature that you wish you could put at the bottom of your emails. A good contact manager will let you customize it the way you want.
Interactive calendar and planning: The right CRM will help you have better communication with your prospects and customers. Having your email linked to your calendar will allow you to schedule important messages, get reminders and notifications, and easily schedule follow-ups.
Integrated website and lead generation: When your contact database is connected to your website and lead generation tools, you can track all of your prospects’ activities and then automatically send them personalized property information. Be sure to look for a CRM that has great stats and reporting so you can see the results of your marketing efforts and respond to them directly.
Integrated marketing options: Whether it’s social networks, drip campaigns or pay-per-click, the new contact management systems integrate these options. Wouldn’t it be nice to tweet directly from your CRM or have pre-written marketing scripts ready to go at the push of a button? These features are available with some of the latest technologies.
Transaction management: I’m sure you’re constantly emailing documents to your clients as you walk them through the process of buying or selling a home. If you have a transaction management system as part of your CRM, you can track all your documents, request electronic signatures, and organize all your digital files as you send them.