For Newbies

What Real Estate Investors Need to Look For in a CRM System

What Investors Need To Look For in a CRM System

Creating and maintaining meaningful relationships with customers is key when it comes to building a successful business, and this is especially true for the real estate industry. And since this process is quite complex, you need to have a system in place that allows you to follow up on old leads and clients while also building relationships with new contacts. Luckily, there are tools nowadays that let you do all these things and much more

CRM systems are tools that help businesses create and manage their relationships with their customers, and they can offer a lot of value for real estate investors. There are many CRM tools available on the market today, but knowing the ones that resonate with your business the most does require some knowledge and research. 

We’re here to explore the things you should consider when looking into CRM systems, but first, let’s see how they apply to real estate investors.

What Does a CRM System Mean for Real Estate Investors?

One of the most prominent characteristics of the real estate industry is that consumer needs are more complex than in other industries, and timing is essential. This is where a good CRM system comes to the rescue, and here are just some of the things it can help real estate investors with:

  • Managing contacts and viewing transactions,
  • Sending professional-looking, mass-customized emails and SMS messages to old and new leads,
  • Tracking leads,
  • Managing properties,
  • Automating marketing, and
  • Tracking large amounts of data and metrics in an organized manner.

In addition to these, some CRM systems offer various other services, so think about what you need when deciding which one to go for. In addition to giving you a few tips on what to look for, we also selected some of the best CRM tools on the market, and we’ll give a short review of each one to highlight their strong points.

What to Look For In a CRM System

As we already mentioned, finding the right CRM system depends greatly on your needs. Some offer only the essentials, while others offer more advanced features and integrations with a variety of other tools that can help you manage every aspect of your business.

Features such as lead capturing, contact management, and creating analytics reports are essential for every CRM tool, and you should first and foremost look for these features. We should also note that a good CRM tool should be able to create referral opportunities from your contacts by finding the connections and similarities between them.

Let’s go over some other important aspects to look for in a CRM system.

Ease of Use

Not everyone’s a tech wizard. Nowadays, you shouldn’t be expected to figure out complicated systems and convoluted interfaces to get a job done. The tool should be able to do the legwork for you. So, if you’re not that tech-savvy, look for a CRM system that offers a minimal, simplistic design with a clean user interface. We’ll take a look at a few of these down below.

Integrations

Let’s face it, an online tool is only as great as how well it works with other tools. If you’re switching over from another CRM tool, or if you’re working with different tools by different service providers, you might find that integration is key for a CRM tool. 

A good CRM tool should allow you to import your contacts from other systems, collect data from various real estate websites, and work with analytics tools by 3rd parties.

Customer Support

Another thing to look out for is robust customer support. Even if you have the best tool in the world, you may still need some help now and then, and having that help at your fingertips at all times is crucial. Timing is everything when it comes to real estate investment, and a few minutes just might cost you that deal you’ve been toiling over for. 

Having 24/7 customer support, preferably with a real person, is an important aspect of all business tools and CRM systems are no exception.

Pricing

There are many free CRM systems on the market, some of which we’ll cover in our picks, and they do a great job in what they promise. 

However, if you’re considering a more advanced CRM system that you have to pay for, it’s always a good idea to pick one that has a free trial period, which we have also included in our picks below.

Top Ten CRM Systems for Real Estate Investors

Now that we’ve covered the key criteria to consider when making your pick, let’s review some of the best CRM systems offered today.

1. Best Overall – Podio

Rightfully sitting in the first place on our list is Podio, a great CRM tool with great features. Podio helps you manage your business in more aspects than just customer relations, with features that make it easier to manage your tasks and share files. Podio even lets you keep tabs on your budget and it has great mobile compatibility with its smartphone app.

If you’re working with a team, you can also manage your team’s tasks on Podio, and we can say that it’s easily the most customizable tool out there. In addition, Podio lets you organize your listings efficiently, which allows you to easily link these listings to potential buyers. You can also automate your workflow on Podio, which saves time and effort.

However, one thing to keep in mind with Podio is that while it’s a great tool that allows a wide variety of tasks to be performed, this also comes with a price. Setting up Podio may be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re not familiar with software such as this. 

Of course, you can get help from the always available customer support to help set it up. Contacting their customer support is very fast, and this is because, in addition to the customer support team, all Podio employees respond to support questions! This way, there’s always someone available to help, and this is one of Podio’s highlights.

Podio is free for up to 5 people, so, if you have a small team or work alone, it’s the perfect tool for you to take your business to the next level.

2. Best Paid – Wise Agent

It was a hard choice to make this our second pick, because Wise Agent is another great CRM system that benefits a lot from being a streamlined software, as it’s significantly easy to use. 

Similar to Podio, Wise Agent can help you keep tabs on your transactions in addition to your contacts and leads. You can manage your teams, automate the categorization of your leads, and create landing pages for your websites. We have to say that it has a much better and more user-friendly interface than Podio, and it even includes a planner for scheduling your CRM processes. 

Another strong point of Wise Agent is the impeccable customer service it offers. It’s relieving to know that you’ll be connected to a real person that can understand you and provide help accordingly in case of a problem. It also has great integration with 3rd party applications, so you can set up Wise Agent to work with other software you use.

There isn’t a free version of Wise Agent, so if you’re not looking to fully invest in a CRM tool just yet, take a look at some of the other ones on our list.

3. Best Free – HubSpot

HubSpot is another great CRM tool and the best thing about it is that it’s completely free! HubSpot allows you to view and manage your deals and leads in real-time. It’s the most versatile choice on our list that has a clean and easy-to-use interface, making it a great solution even for the not-so-tech-savvy investors. Whether you’re managing a big team or just wish to manage your own business, you can easily customize it to fit your needs. 

The HubSpot CRM system has great compatibility as you can quickly integrate services like Gmail or Outlook to manage everything from one panel. Once you set up your email and SMS service, HubSpot can automatically track your interactions with your customers. In addition to the mail services, HubSpot is also compatible with tons of other applications which is great for keeping everything related to your business in one place.

Hubspot also includes a variety of templates for sending emails quickly. You can also automate your emails, as well as your other processes like marketing, and even plan out your schedule right on Hubspot so that you don’t miss anything.

With HubSpot CRM, you can store up to 1,000,000 contacts and manage your team, no matter how many team members there are. The service is essentially free, but a paid version with three subscription tiers called Starter, Professional and Enterprise is also available. These plans come with additional features like automation, creating and managing teams, forecasting, and predictive lead scoring.

4. LionDesk

LionDesk is another very popular CRM tool that offers services such as lead generation and transaction management, and it’s a great all-in-one tool for all your business needs. The simplistic interface lets you get right on with what you need to do, even if you’re not familiar with LionDesk, or any other CRM system for that matter. 

One of the best features of LionDesk is the Power Dialer, which helps investors connect with more clients due to the single and multiple line options offered in the plans. 

Additionally, with the help of the lead generator tool, you can easily generate new leads, even if you don’t know much about how to efficiently use Facebook Ads. The Facebook Ads integration makes it much easier to create your ad campaigns through LionDesk. You can create different lists that include different clients, and choose the audience you want your ads to be shown to with a few simple clicks.

Just like the other tools on our list, LionDesk also has compatibility with most of the other popular tools related to real estate investment. You can integrate your apps into your LionDesk dashboard and manage everything from your phone or desktop. 

Although LionDesk does offer a free trial with unlimited features, the actual service is paid.

5. FreedomSoft

FreedomSoft is another great and well-rounded tool that can help you in many aspects of your business, in addition to your CRM needs. 

One of the best features of FreedomSoft is the skip tracing it offers, which helps real estate investors track information regarding the ownership of a property. Moreover, you can utilize FreedomSoft’s lead finder to generate new leads that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to,  thanks to the robust lead search engine FreedomSoft offers.

Additionally, FreedomSoft has some neat data analysis options that let you create customized reports and keep track of information such as lead conversion, DNC lists, and SMS usage with ease. 

FreedomSoft has many customization options and you can pretty much use it however you like. It also has a mobile app that lets you control everything, just like on the desktop site, and most importantly, it offers seamless integration with other popular services you may be using for your business, so you can manage everything from one place.

While the service is not free, the company offers a free trial in the form of an easy refund policy which lets you get your money back within 30 days of purchase. If you don’t find FreedomSoft useful after this period, you also have the option to cancel your subscription anytime.

6. Elevate

Next up, we have another powerful tool that can do more than just manage your customer relationships. Elevate lets you follow up on your new and existing leads and create automated ad campaigns, which is one of its highlights. Additionally, you can send texts and emails, and call your clients without having to leave the Elevate dashboard.

The user interface is simple and intuitive, so everything’s set up in a way that makes sense to first-time users. You can customize your dashboard to show the metrics you need, route your lead responses, and track your KPIs with ease. There’s also a live chat and support feature so you can get help with anything you need.

If you’re not sure whether Elevate is the right CRM tool for you, you can give it a try. However, the company only offers a 15-minute trial session, which is not a long time to fully experience a product to its full extent. Still, you can sign up to schedule a demo and see if Elevate is the right tool for you.

7. Follow Up Boss

One of the most popular CRM systems on the market, Follow Up Boss offers a simplistic solution to your CRM needs. The service is paid, but you can try it for free for 14 days. 

The best feature of Follow Up Boss is undoubtedly the integration it offers. You can import your existing leads from more than 200 different sources, which makes changing your CRM system a breeze. You can also sync your email servers, such as Gmail and Microsoft Office, as well as your Google Calendar so that everything stays connected and in one place.

Follow Up Boss also offers integration with many real estate websites. You can sort your leads based on their last activity, or the listings they checked out or saved, which will help you focus on the leads that matter the most.

Another feature that’s worth noting is the smart list function. Smart lists help you keep track of large pools of leads and contacts, and you can easily manage the information of all contacts and send messages right then and there. In addition, the filter functionality inside the smart filters is highly functional and it helps with sorting your leads according to the type of information you want. 

8. Realvolve

Realvolve sets itself apart from the other CRM systems on this list with the exceptional automation it offers. The modular design of the system allows you to customize your dashboard completely, and it’s nice to be able to view a lot of different aspects of your business all at once, in one place.

Realvolve automates your workflow to a great extent, which is great for following up on old leads. If you have a large pool of leads and contacts that you want to manage, Realvolve makes it easy to go through all of your contacts by creating custom filters and categories. 

Just like the other CRM tools on this list, Realvolve also integrates with other apps. Apps like Evernote and Google apps work seamlessly with Realvolve, and you can easily import your existing data from other CRM systems to Realvolve. You can also use Zapier to automate any process you want, which works very well with Realvolve.

Realvolve is a paid software, but it offers different plans for different needs. Their basic plan, which is a good choice if you only want a CRM system that you can manually manage, even has a 14-day free trial. If you work with a team, want more functionality, and want to give the other plans a try, you can schedule a 45-minute trial session as well.

9. REI Blackbook

Another great choice overall, REI Blackbook is first and foremost a CRM tool, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any tricks up its sleeve. 

REI Blackbook has a clean and minimalistic interface, making it easy for first-timers to use and understand it. However, it also allows for extensive customization, so you can manage your leads in the most efficient way possible. 

In addition to helping you follow up on your old leads, REI Blackbook also helps you create mass-personalized ad campaigns to ensure maximum reach. You can utilize SMS messages, emails, and even automated voice calls for this, and it’s a very simple process to set up a campaign.

Moreover, REI Blackbook offers a trial period of 14 days, and you’ll get to try out all the functions as it’s a trial without any restrictions. You can sign up for the free trial and start using REI Blackbook right away by filling out the form on their website.

10. Propertybase

Propertybase offers a robust CRM system for real estate investors where you can follow up on your leads, but it also offers a variety of other features and functionalities, all combined in one platform. It’s especially great if you’re working by yourself because it makes you feel like you have your own team.

The drag-and-drop design is easy to use, and the CRM tool is simple enough to get started on your own, but as we mentioned, Propertybase is more than a CRM tool. It’s a platform that also has a great CRM system among a variety of other tools, like a website builder, an analytics tool, and a lead generator that can help you grow your business. Therefore, if you’re only looking for a CRM system, you might find the platform a little too convoluted. 

The pricing is in line with the services Propertybase offers, so keep that in mind. However, if you still want to give it a try, there’s a demo session you can book, which may help you get an idea about how you can manage your entire business on the platform. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, CRM systems can help real estate investors immensely by allowing them to efficiently manage their customer relationships. While many tools on the market focus solely on achieving this task, other tools offer additional services, so think about what you want the CRM system to help you achieve before deciding. At the end of the day, the best CRM system is the one that fits your needs the best. 

 

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