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Social Media Has Changed CRM

April 18 2012

crm imageEvery day, we get emails and phone calls in our office about our Leading Agent CRM System. Even though these inquiries come from REALTORS® all over the country, they share some common themes:

  • Many REALTORS® are not exactly sure what a CRM is.
  • REALTORS® that do know what a CRM is, when asked about their current solution, give us the name of a product that is actually not a CRM.
  • We have yet to see a REALTOR® call or email us that currently has a CRM solution that is actually socially integrated.

Because of this, this week I would like to comment on each of these findings and help you examine your existing CRM solution to see if it is or isn't socially integrated.

What Is A CRM?

If you are a REALTOR® that falls into the category of not knowing what CRM means, have no fear. Many of your colleagues have no idea either. Simply put, a CRM is a Client Relationship Management System.

Your CRM should be the lifeblood of your business. It gives you valuable information on your leads, clients and prospects. It keeps track of your important tasks, your appointments, and any special notes and attachments. In essence, it makes it look like you are a super hero who never forgets anything.

For instance, last week I was speaking with a client to schedule a sneak preview of our new Real Estate 3.0 offeringReal Estate 3.0 offering. When they called, I pulled up their contact record in our CRM and noticed that the last time I spoke with them, they had mentioned that over that weekend they would be attending their son's first Little League game.

When we began chatting, I casually asked them how the game went and how their son enjoyed it. They were noticeably surprised that I would remember such a thing, as it didn't pertain to "actual business."

The reality is that we have a thousand or so REALTORS® with whom we work. Many we are in contact with all the time, and others we hear from only every once in a while. Remembering all these details for all these people would be impossible. The fact that I have my "go to" spot for all information related to my clients is critical to my business. It keeps me from forgetting anything and also makes me look like a rock star to my clients, who can't figure out how I'm always "on top of it."

Just because it stores contacts doesn't mean it's actually a CRM.

Frequently, when I speak with prospective clients about our CRM solution, the answer I get is, "Thanks, but we already have a CRM system." What I find, when digging a little deeper, is that the REALTOR® may have some sort of solution in place, but that solution isn't actually a CRM solution.

Perhaps the most common thing people tell me is that they are using Constant ContactConstant Contact. For the record, I have nothing bad to say about Constant Contact. However, it's NOT a CRM. It is a broadcast email sending tool (a marketing tool). That's it.

As I have mentioned above, you NEED to have some sort of CRM solution in place. So if you think that Constant Contact is it, you are falling short. Keep your subscription to Constant Contact, by all means, but also invest in a CRM. (Most CRMs, including ours, have built-in broadcast email capabilities. Many also allow you to send unlimited emails to any size list, while Constant Contact charges you by the size of your email list.)

So do you have a CRM, or do you have a marketing tool? Here are a couple quick questions you can ask yourself. If your answer to any of these is "no," you most likely do not have a CRM, but some sort of other tool.

  1. Does your solution allow you to post lots of information in the contact record (e.g. phones, emails, web addresses, contact types, address info, etc.)?
  2. Does your solution allow you to keep an activity history for that contact (e.g. log a phone call, schedule follow-up tasks and reminders, view listings that you've sold to a client, etc.)?
  3. Does your solution allow you to store files with your contact's record (e.g. reports, contracts, or anything else related to that contact)?

Is Your CRM Solution Truly Socially Integrated?

While I hope the above information was helpful, the main reason I wanted to write this article is because we are finding, practically across the board, that there is a vast disconnect between CRM and Social Media. Our belief is that if your CRM isn't socially integrated, you are not capitalizing on the full power your software could have, and not prospecting to leads and keeping in touch with clients and past clients in the most effective way possible. This can directly affect your success and, therefore, your bottom line.

Pulling valuable social media info into your customer relationship management platform is critical in today's socially engaged world. Think how much more valuable your data would be if you could easily pull in things such as birthdays, anniversary dates, major life events, bios, work history, hometowns and so much more. Imagine the relationship that would be built with your client. They would feel connected to you because you "actually" know about them and their personal life. You are acknowledging and validating life events that are very important to them, showing that you truly care.

Filling in these gaps gives you the ability to have a much richer experience when it comes to staying in touch with and marketing to past and current clients. The key to a system like this working successfully is integration. What I mean is that you need an automatedway to have this information seamlessly pulled into your CRM. If you have to manually enter this data into your CRM, that's extra work you don't need and, frankly, most likely not ever going to do.

There are very few CRMs on the market for the Real Estate industry that are actually socially integrated. Many CRM solutions claim to be, but the reality is that there are only two or three. If you are looking for a socially integrated solution, or are wanting to determine if your current CRM is socially integrated, here are some questions to consider. If you answer "no" to any of these questions, the CRM solution you are looking at IS NOT socially integrated:

  • Can your CRM system automatically search your contact list and pull in social media information about those contacts without you having to manually enter it?
  • Does your CRM have a control panel that you can use to monitor your "online reputation" (e.g. Yelp, Trip Advisor, web mentions, etc.) and all your social media accounts?
  • Does your CRM allow you to use that same control panel to respond to anyone that mentions you online, or interacts with you, on any of your social media sites without making you log into the actual account to reply? (For example, on Leading Agent'sLeading Agent's social media management panel, all you need to do is click the "reply" button next to any posting and respond to them in that same window without having to log into that social media property.)

There are, of course, many more intricacies to social media and how it can integrate with your CRM solution, but these are some great baseline questions to use when evaluating a CRM solution.

If you would like to schedule a demonstration of our CRM / Business Practice Management solution, please contact us anytime, as we would be more than happy to give you a demonstration and show you the power of our unique CRM solution.