On December 5, Ascendix is holding a webinar on mobile CRM for CRE. The focus is on exploring how commercial agents and brokerages use mobile devices and specifically, what they want out of a mobile CRM app. I suspect there will be as many responses as there are agents and brokerages.
There are basic differences between what agents and brokerages want in a CRM application. Some brokerages provide CRM applications for agents but plenty of agents – especially those that have been around before the company systems – still keep their own CRM apps. There is a lot of information that can be gleaned from keeping CRM data in one place, though – even if, in the end, it’s the agent who owns the relationship. So brokerages want as much data as they can get.
As for what agents want, I came across a 3 year old post at Bigger Pockets begging for a decent CRM system. It could have been written yesterday because the issues are still the same:
- Smart capture technology fully integrated within your website and social media outlets whereby, if you get a lead from ANYWHERE, it automatically gets filed, categorized, and followed up with by the system.
- Comprehensive usability on your desktop, laptop, and mobile phone… online or offline.
- Reminders and task management send to agents through their preferred media. Want your CRM to text message you about your next appointment? Done. Want it to sync with Gmail or Outlook? Want an all-in-one system where you can go to one place and do all of your business, paperwork, prospecting, and marketing? Done.
- Complete brokerage solutions by managing showings and feedback, accounting and payables, and keeping close tabs on your Realtors’ ability to convert leads into sales.
- Cool tools. I want to be able to embed videos in my email marketing campaigns. I want my clients to be able to login to my system and see all of our upcoming appointments, favorite listings, and be able to use it, on their phone. I want a complete tracking system that tells me when my prospects read my email, what links they clicked on, and keep notes on when they responded. I want to know intimate details of my clients’ lives and be able to recall them with one touch on my phone.
Whether its for an agent or a brokerage system, the CRM app has to simple to use, designed to minimize data entry errors and have just enough features and customization tools to make it worthwhile.
Even if there was a perfect CRM system, you have to deal with “legacy” issues. Agents with archaic or self devised CRM systems are loathe to give up a process they’re familiar with. There’s also real concern for what happens to their “old stuff.” I can’t tell you how many agents won’t consider something more efficient because they’re afraid of losing data. And what they have, they say, works. But it doesn’t really, because they’re always complaining about it.
It doesn’t help that the two most commonly used CRM apps, Act! and Microsoft (Outlook) have totally botched the mobile/synching piece. Or that they’ve locked user data up in a way that makes it very expensive if not impossible to migrate to another system. Or, as in Outlook’s case, there’s no integration with email marketing.
But back to Ascendix’s webinar. One of the things they’re interested in is what CRM features agents want to do with their mobile devices. Is having contacts and calendars on a cell phone enough or do agents want access to documents or marketing tools? Are tablets so pervasive that “fat finger” features only make sense on those platforms? And since LoopNet and CoStar apps are only for Apple, is that the CRE operating system of choice? (As an aside, most agents I know have Android phones…).
I know I am looking forward to hearing what agents, brokerages and CRE marketing people have to say. And if you’d like to listen in or be part of the conversation, you can sign up here.
Photo by Yutaka Tsutano