If you’ve just been using your real estate CRM to store contact details, you’re missing out on a slew of features and business insights that can help give you the edge in today’s tight real estate market.
At Inman’s Connect Now conference earlier this year, it was reported that only 20% of agents use their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in a meaningful way.
While some say “the best CRM is the one that your agents use,” that old adage may not apply in today’s world where more agents and brokers are proactively tailoring their tech stack to suit the way they do business.
The world has shifted. CRMs were developed initially for big businesses and don’t always fit the needs of today’s small real estate team or brokerage.
Fortunately, several real estate-oriented platforms are taking the lead on upgrading their tech with smart features designed specifically for agents and brokers while delivering more personalized communication for their customers. Here are 10 things agents and admins can do now with their real estate CRM.
As machine learning and automation becomes more sophisticated, CRMs are now able to extract details of conversations on any device and virtually any platform to create a contact database from scratch.
Cloze, dotloop’s newest CRM integrations partner, has created a system that applies AI to glean contact info, call and email logs, and pull contextual information from all the apps an agent interacts with daily to help build their database. This CRM pulls in relevant data from iPhone conversations; apps like Evernote, Slack, Whatsapp, FaceTime and Dropbox; all major phone carriers and email marketing tools; as well as the Google and Microsoft suite of products. The system then prompts the agent to swipe if they want to accept the details and add them to the client’s profile. Cloze can also work retroactively to glean details from past conversations.
While most CRMs begin as “empty boxes,” this platform operates like a personal assistant to fill the box automatically with contextual, informed contact details that help “humanize communication,” says Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder Alex Coté.
With top-performing agents getting 86% of their business from referrals and repeat business, Coté bases his strategy on helping brokerages build deeper relationships with customers they already know versus low-converting leads.
Cloze is already able to identify and auto-classify some types of contacts thanks to the rapid progress made by AI over the past several years. Coté expects to take this even further in the near future using subtle nuances within the context and tone of a text conversation. “Is it an urgent or passive lead? What is the tone of the conversation? AI in text messages is fundamentally different from email, so there will be much to come on that front,” he notes.
BoomTown recently released new features that enable agents to create custom Facebook and Instagram ads to promote anything on their site, including recruitment messages, a blog post or virtual tours. An easy-to-follow wizard and templates help simplify the setup, in which the user answers a series of questions and selects an image. Client behavior informs the ad audience, helping the user reach their desired target faster. For example, clients who regularly search 4-bedroom homes would receive the user’s virtual tour ad of similar listings. Or, agents can use BoomTown’s custom Ad Creator to re-engage old leads by creating a “lookalike” audience based on previous engagement, says Director of Product Marketing Stacey Finnegan.
Both BoomTown and CINC offer reverse prospecting tools, which reveal prospects who are interested in features similar to an agent’s new listing. As the agent plugs in details about the listing, BoomTown’s Best-Fit Leads tool generates and scores a list of those prospects who are looking for similar houses. BoomTown users can easily reach out to those leads using bulk email with a link to the property and let agents within their brokerage know that they have leads looking for a property just like it. “It’s a powerful tool that does the work for you,” says BoomTown’s Allison Woodward.
The way a prospective client navigates an agent’s site with listings provides powerful insights for a CRM to market to those prospects based on their search preferences. Market Leader, for instance, has an IDX feature that captures leads and streams the lead seamlessly into the CRM for outreach.
“The importance of tracking trends, website activity, visits and where consumers come from is widely overlooked,” says Market Leader’s Sheldon Rapoza. “Providing our users analytics and lead insights allows them to manage their digital relationships and double-down on strategies, features and areas that are working — ultimately moving their bottom line.”
With Market Leader, consumer data is captured while they search and view listings directly on an agent’s website. Through flexible registration, the agent can ask consumers to register to continue viewing listings or to save preferences. Once captured, the consumer immediately becomes a lead in the agent’s CRM, and their search preferences and activity are automatically recorded.
Follow Up Boss recently introduced its Pixel, an easy way to track customers’ website activity and then use that information to better inform followup texts and emails. For instance, if a prospect is looking at a particular house on the website, the agent can reference that property in a text or email. “It provides the agent with a way to understand what their buyers are looking for and it gives the consumer meaningful information about the properties they’re most interested in,” says Follow Up Boss’s Head of Marketing Andrew Szatan. “The cool thing is you don’t have to wait for a buyer to fill out an inquiry about a specific property. It lets you understand what a buyer is interested in and personalizes the followup.”
Pixel allows customers to move seamlessly between and even track multiple website platforms while keeping all their data in one place. Compatible with most IDX providers, Follow Up Boss’s Pixel improves ROI by better tracking which Facebook or Google ads convert into closed deals.
With Market Leader and BoomTown, agents can completely customize their agent-branded websites. Market Leader’s robust IDX technology streamlines MLS listing and sold data with notable SEO benefits. Additionally, each Market Leader website comes equipped with content widgets that allow agents to create blog posts, community pages, testimonials, featured listings/properties, recent sales, contact cards and more. Agents can create an unlimited amount of custom pages and maintain control over how content is displayed on each page.
Released in February 2020, Follow Up Boss’s newest addition is their teams Leaderboard, in which the names of agents who log the most calls, texts, emails and closings within any timeframe flash on a dashboard that can be shared and even cast across a big TV screen in the office or web. Using real-time data, Leaderboard assigns different values to different tasks, such as calls lasting more than 20 minutes, thus influencing the scoring criteria and better enabling brokers and team leads to recognize all contributors.
With each agent receiving a score, competitive tools like Leaderboard encourage engagement as agents on a team or brokerage revisit the dashboard often to learn their latest score. “This is what most companies want in the office — friendly camaraderie,” says Szatan.
BoomTown’s Vitals Report features for brokers provides insights into how well agents are managing leads and how often they’re using the system. “For instance, this feature gives brokers an overall score of agents based on their peers, whether they’re in a 50th percentile for followup or closing leads,” says Finnegan. The platform also offers a similar tool for agents who want to gain insight into metrics such as their own response time and contacts who need followup.
CINC users can gate their content with popups that ask buyers to input their name, address, time frame and whether or not they’re pre-approved.
“This lets the agent understand who the person is and their readiness to buy, thereby giving them the information they need to place the buyer in campaigns more strategically,” says CINC’s Jamie Quenzer, VP Marketing, Sales Operations.
Market Leader guarantees how many leads a user will receive as well as the exclusivity of those leads and offers two leads products: Leads Direct leverages Market Leader’s team of advertising experts to manage search engine marketing campaigns on behalf of the agent; while, HouseValues leads offers prospective home sellers a personalized home valuation and comparative market analysis and then passes that consumer information on to a HouseValues’ real estate agent in their area. Agents who purchase a zipcode own all leads within that zipcode that come through the HouseValues.com portal.
Dotloop currently integrates with the real estate industry’s leading CRMs to provide a true lead-to-close experience. Many offer a “Create a Loop” function, in which users can begin a “loop” or transaction directly within their CRM.
If any contact or property details change, the user can easily update the information from the CRM or dotloop, and the changes will automatically sync. Such auto-syncing features significantly help eliminate multiple data entry and errors between the CRM and the transaction management platform.
Market Leader, Follow Up Boss, BoomTown and CINC offer team leads and brokers multiple ways to route leads. Whether leads are assigned to specific agents, first to answer, by zipcode or round-robin style, there are many ways to route inbound calls.
Once the call’s in Follow Up Boss and details like the length of the call and response time are captured, the system automatically assigns the lead to the agent’s contact records.
CINC can be configured to route team leads by round robin; speed to lead; assigned agent; minimum/maximum price point; day of the week; lead source; and city/state. CINC’s Quenzer expects advances in AI to better inform behavioral matches in the future by “using technology to help us fill the gap between human interactions and qualifying leads. Smart AI brings the lead from top of funnel to mid-funnel when they’re ready to engage with an agent,” she says.
CINC’s hyperlocal strategy also lets agents dictate where they want to work and then the CRM creates landing pages and ads on their behalf.
All of the above CRMs have put the focus on their mobile apps, placing powerful functionality and features right within an agent’s pocket.
Market Leader’s Next Level Contact Management allows users to toggle between Recently Active or All Contacts and to call, text or email directly from the contact record.
Follow Up Boss offers a dialer accepting both inbound and outbound calls and logs all conversations automatically, thus enabling inquiries from listing signs, ads and other marketing campaigns to flow directly into the CRM as a means of organizing contacts and minimizing lost opportunities. Follow Up Boss’s two-way integrated texting feature takes it one step further by enabling agents to continue a texting conversation on the mobile app.
CINC, which has led with a mobile-first strategy since its founding, now offers three mobile products: its CINC Agent App; Etta, a consumer app branded to the agent’s business, which also lets agents track their home buyers’ property searches; and an Open Houses app that collects visitors’ personal information and flows it into the CRM.
No matter which CRM used, make sure to check in often with the platform to learn of new features and training. And for a complete list of dotloop’s CRM integrations partners to streamline your deals from lead to close, click here.