The Official Guide to Choosing the Best CRM for Real Estate Investors
Short for Customer Relationship Management, a real estate investor CRM stores, maintains, and retrieves data of real estate contacts, and is most often used for contact management and sales prospecting.
At a minimum, a basic CRM system stores in one central database the information on your interactions with your contacts. However, when fully utilized, more powerful CRMs for real estate investors have the potential to provide a system not just for storing data, but also for lead generation through outreach and marketing, and lead nurturing throughout your lead funnel.
Ultimately, the best CRM solution can increase productivity and fuel business growth for the long-haul.
Introducing the real estate investor CRM software guide
In this article we cover CRM software in broad strokes first, and then focus on those specific features and functionality that meet the many unique needs of real estate investors.
Even though we are the creators of REI/kit real estate investing CRM, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all CRM tool. Some features will be more or less beneficial for your business model and even exit strategy. The key is to identify what those needs are, establish the features that are must-haves, and test the CRM thoroughly for fit.
For that reason, this CRM guide aims to help you work through what is the best real estate investor CRM for your business, whether that is REI/kit or not.
- How to define and identify bottlenecks to efficient business operations
- Important overall CRM criteria
- CRM features for real estate investors
- What to look for when choosing and testing a CRM
Define Your Needs
Define the “why” behind the need. Why do you need a good real estate investor CRM software? You might only have a vague idea at this point, but to get the big picture, it’s important to look at how your business functions as a whole, first, and then establish what would improve it.
Some questions for you and your team to consider are:
- What is your day-to-day process currently? Think back on every aspect of your day, identifying times when you experience bottlenecks, and how you work through them.
- Which of your tasks or processes take more time than you would like? Start noting those times where you are frustrated in working your seller leads.
- Consider also what happens when you start scaling your business – the mechanisms you should have in place to handle the increased deal flow.
REI/kit was built for investors, by investors, and we remember the challenges clearly — maybe you are facing these roadblocks to efficiency:
- Lead information is scattered across different communication mediums like email, paper, text, and voicemail, leading to chaos
- No comprehensive view of activity with a lead, so you forget who you contacted, how you contacted them, and what was discussed
- No central email, text, or call tools for reaching out to every lead, not just the ones you remember
- Data duplication nightmare from using spreadsheets or other “static” applications to store data
Once you have a clearer idea of what can be improved or streamlined, assess your needs by keeping in mind these criteria:
Important CRM Software Considerations
Do you require a stand-alone CRM, or an all-in-one real estate investor CRM? A stand-alone CRM may be all that your business requires now. If, on the other hand, you have multiple subscriptions for features not included in your basic CRM such as SMS messaging, you may be able to consolidate all your subscriptions into just one hard-working software.
Ease of Use
The best CRM is a CRM that you actually use. Your time is best spent working with sellers and your team, not moving data around. If it’s a complicated piece of machinery that you cannot easily learn, or get from point A to point B quickly, it defeats the purpose of improving efficiency.
Cloud based systems allow you to work with just about any Internet connected device anywhere you happen to be. All your data, features, and utilities are available when and where you need them.
Essential CRM Features
Every CRM needs to have the ability for you to easily add and search for contacts.
If you already have contacts in spreadsheets, the ideal CRM system would have a tool for the import of your current contacts and their information, including property data, if sellers.
If your cell phone or laptop Contacts screen is a jumble of personal and business contacts, you will benefit from having a dedicated software platform for just your real estate investor business.
With a dedicated CRM platform, contacting your leads is made easy through multi-channel communication methods such as
- Text messaging and text blast
- Ringless voicemail
- Native dialer for cold calls
Just as important as having multiple ways to contact your leads, is an at-a-glance Activity view to remember vital details, such as what was exchanged using those communication methods, so that you can get quickly up to speed when a lead is ready to work with you.
Teamwork makes the dream work, and the best CRM will allow you to work seamlessly with your virtual assistants and acquisition team members. The ability to give each member specific access and specific permissions (access to the CRM, for example, but not to Billing) is very important.
Set up and manage tasks for your team involved in acquisitions and transactions.
These features are the absolute minimum that you should expect in a real estate investor CRM.
Powerful Real Estate Investor CRM Features
“Growth is never by mere chance, it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney
To scale your business beyond just you or your current team requires laser focus and discipline.
The benefits of a great real estate investor CRM are obvious when you have tools that enhance that focus and increase your marketing spread – such as cloning your business’ presence with marketing automation.
There are many generic CRMs that have similar features that apply predominantly to Business-2-Business, and have little application to real estate.
However, there are a handful of CRMs that have more features specific to real estate investors, that boost productivity by saving time and streamlining deal flow.
A powerhouse CRM system for real estate investment would have all of the above-mentioned features with the addition of custom features that bring together deal due diligence, lead data and data append, and lead follow-up tools to ensure an investor’s success.
The real estate investor CRMs that you choose from may have one, some, or all of these additional features:
Seller property details – The system generates or allows the easy import of property details such as owner, mortgage, and tax information to craft an offer on a seller’s property.
Expert Deal Analysis
Real estate analysis tools – CRMs designed for real estate investors should have built-in tools that pull in real estate comparables, allow you to calculate ARV, estimate property rehab, and create reports.
Motivated seller lead list data – If you don’t have any of your own sources of leads, a top CRM will have a source of leads available for you.
Lead Capture – Websites are an integral part of an investor’s overall marketing strategy. CRM’s that automatically add submitted form data from the website both save time and ensure that you follow up with a lead quickly.
Inbound lead management – Leads generated from calls to virtual phone numbers (virtual phone numbers allow custom campaign numbers for inbound leads) would be automatically imported into the CRM.
Bulk skip trace – Makes bulk skip tracing fast and easy with the ability to append data such as mobile and landline phone numbers and email address so that you can contact your potential leads in as many ways as possible.
Customized marketing – Different prospect types and motivations require different campaigns to address their specific needs and motivations. You want the CRM to give you maximum flexibility in creating custom campaigns, and automatically kick them into gear when new leads enter the system. These campaigns could be drip campaigns or blasts, and can be comprised of text messages, ringless voicemail (voice drops), emails, or any combination of those.
Automated multi-touch marketing campaigns – Outreach campaigns can get in front of prospects initially, but it often takes multiple contact points to establish reputation and trust to get them to contact you back. By automating your follow up campaigns, you can work towards that goal completely hands-off, knowing that any lead responses will be relayed to you immediately.
Now that you have a good idea of what CRM features are required for most businesses, and which features are ideal for your real estate investing business, let’s review a few pointers on how to choose and test a real estate investor CRM.
Evaluating Potential CRMs
When choosing a software to find the right CRM, there are certain capabilities and features that should be non-starters.
Evaluate the Cost of the CRM
Is it software with a hefty upfront cost or flat fee? Some CRMs will charge you thousands of dollars up front, instead of an easy to cancel subscription.
Is there a subscription involved, and if so, does it lock you into a long-term contract? Think about whether you need the flexibility of a monthly plan.
What about setup fees? If there is a high cost to make your system operational or customize it to your business, research that as well. Many CRMs charge a setup fee of $500-$2,500.
Apart from the price of the CRM, there are other items to consider when choosing a real estate investor CRM.
Does the CRM software have a free trial available? Having a trial subscription period is non-negotiable.
You must be allowed to use the system to determine if it meets your business needs.
This means being able to import contacts and explore the entire system, to the extent of being able to reach out to and follow up with real leads during the trial period, in exactly the same way you would as a subscriber.
Avoid “Locked” Trials
What you do not want to see is “limited feature” trials.
Some companies withhold their best features until after the trial ends and you become a customer.
You must be able to use every feature during the trial that is allowed for that tier or plan, in order to make an informed decision.
Test Team Functionality
Does the CRM allow you to add your team and coordinate with them?
It does not matter how well you work leads if your lead funnel is poorly coordinated.
Add team members, have your call center test out the call features if available, and start managing tasks and status updates.
On-Demand Customer Support
A support line is a life line. When your business hits a snag with the software, is there support available right away?
During the trial, call the software’s support line with questions about how to use a specific feature, chat with them, or send them an email.
Do this to check how responsive they are to users. If you subscribe and later bump into an actual problem, you want to resolve it quickly and move on.
Choose a CRM provider that provides free training during the trial period, and not just after your first payment. If they offer one-on-one live onboarding for you and your team, you’ve got a winner.
This post broke down how to choose the best CRM for real estate investors. First, you learned crucial questions to ask yourself and your team before choosing a CRM, and we outlined the most useful CRM features for real estate investors. Then, specifics on what to look out for when choosing a CRM, and finally, we walked through how to test the CRM and evaluate the cost of the software.
Looking for a powerful CRM in an all-in-one integrated real estate wholesaling and house flipping software?
REI/kit offers everything you need to:
-Track your calls and campaign communications with a lead in one central place with a robust CRM
-Automate reach out and follow up with direct mail postcards, text, ringless voicemail and email automation campaigns
-Import and/or skip trace your own contacts
-Calculate accurate ARV with premium comps, deed data, and rehab estimation
-Market your deals to cash buyers, lenders, and other investors
Click here to find out more: REIkit Real Estate Wholesaling and House Flipping Software