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The daily workflow of commercial real estate brokers is commonly supported by leveraging familiar and readily accessible tools such as notepads, Microsoft Excel and Outlook to manage their business data. However, it’s unrealistic for any CRE professional to expect top performance and distance themselves from the competition by using Excel as a CRM tool or Outlook for email marketing campaigns.
If you’re reading this, you likely know that the key to increasing your efficiency, responsiveness, and accuracy is CRM.
Today’s commercial real estate CRM offerings are diversified and multi-faceted and it is easy to get overwhelmed when deciding on the right tool for your brokerage. To this end, we’ve authored this article to help dissect the top commercial real estate CRM tools, their strengths, weaknesses, and other non-feature-related considerations for your evaluation.
To begin with, any commercial real estate CRM is designed to help brokers manage interactions with prospects, clients, tenants, investors, and other brokers seamlessly from early-stage conversations to advanced deal tracking.
Instead of a cluttered notebook or Excel spreadsheet, modern brokers use commercial CRM to streamline the process of engaging with key people and nurturing them to close the deal successfully for their clients.
Choosing the best CRM for CRE is easier when you know what the key differences are and what features to look for.
With this in mind, we created a list of commercial real estate CRM features that help you to get more informed in selecting the best CRE CRM.
A built-in property database allows users to connect clients with properties. When choosing commercial real estate CRM programs, pay special attention to the depth and breadth of property and related record tracking. Top broker CRMs allow you to create a custom local database and link it to your existing deals and prospects.
As many systems are hard-wired to accommodate CRE industry specifications, customizable fields and form layouts are vital features to consider in a commercial real estate CRM.
To use a commercial CRM, you need it to adapt to your needs – set up the required fields to create a record with any data you need, instead of surfing across multiple systems.
Easy fields and form layout customization are signs of an advanced commercial real estate CRM.
Check whether a vendor can configure and customize a CRM platform considering the specifics of your niche, your unique corporate needs, and the amount of data you use.
Ideally, the company must have resources to suggest the most optimal way to create necessary CRM functionality, configuration & customization of:
For example, Ascendix does have such resources and can assist you with modifying CRM using default point-and-click tools (by configuration) or custom code-based development (by customization).
It is a nice-to-have feature that can save you a lot of time and money. Many CRMs have limited reporting and brochure-generating functionality. If you want to create visually appealing property brochures directly from your CRM, in most cases, you’ll pay extra for a separate third-party product. The best CRE CRM will have a built-in report and marketing content generation tool included in the pricing plan.
Having such functionality allows you to reduce manual work facilitating the generation of property flyers or marketing activity reports on your own in a few clicks.
Correspondence tracking and follow-ups reminders are another noteworthy feature of commercial real estate contact management software.
You can’t expect to remember every call and/or meeting you’ve arranged or every deal that needs some clarification. That’s what follow-ups are for.
All you need is to set up a reminder on a record and forget about it until the time comes. Also, you can follow up on Contacts related to specific Companies and Accounts. You’ll see your follow-up activity grouped by the date for each record.
If a commercial CRM system you’re considering has a wide range of follow-ups, that’s a positive sign.
The CRE industry is all about establishing trusted relationships using various methods of communication. One of those is emailing.
Brokers send dozens of emails daily through commercial real estate CRM. But what makes a good bulk email send succeed is personalization.
Clients become more loyal to brokers that refrain from such generic and non-targeted emails. You have all the data inside a CRM, so why not link every email with the customer record and send personalized emails?
If CRM is properly integrated with email tools, it isn’t a difficult task.
Integration with your existing commercial real estate marketing tools and synchronizing with new tools is a vital requirement for choosing the best commercial real estate CRM.
This feature ensures you follow up with prospects regularly and track your activity. A good CRM must contain a well-rounded range of tools for mass email campaigns, integration with social media accounts, generating branded marketing collaterals, etc. So, check them thoroughly.
CRE brokers and agents are constantly on the run. Therefore, the best CRM for CRE must be accessible anywhere, either through a web browser or as a mobile app, and perform the same functionality as its desktop version.
So, now that we’ve covered some of the features/functionality to evaluate when considering these tools, it’s time to analyze the various commercial real estate CRMs that meet these requirements (and more).
When choosing CRM, brokers face a dilemma: whether to select a generical CRM that is not specialized in commercial real estate or to choose an industry-specific one.
By generic CRMs, we mean all CRM solutions you can use for contact management, deal pipeline automation, sales/marketing automation, etc. that are not tailored specifically for commercial real estate usage. The top choice generic CRMs among brokers are HubSpot CRM, Pipedrive, Monday Sales CRM, Zoho CRM, and others.
Advantages of generic CRMs for CRE brokers:
Disadvantages of generic CRMs for CRE brokers:
If you summarize the monthly subscription and customization costs, you’ll see that the total price for generic CRM will be higher compared to industry-specific CRMs.
Industry-specific CRMs are CRM solutions for commercial real estate industry. The most popular examples are AscendixRE CRM, ClientLook, RealNex, REThink CRM, Apto, and others.
Advantages of industry-specific CRMs:
Disadvantages of industry-specific CRMs:
The beauty of industry-specific CRE CRMs is that you invest money in a one-stop tool tailored to the CRE industry to increase usage, efficiency and effectiveness in getting deals done.
Now, let’s have a look at the top 5 best CRE CRMs you may consider. To compile this list, we analyzed the built-in functionality, pricing, integration features, and clients’ testimonials.
AscendixRE CRM is one of the best commercial real estate CRMs based on Salesforce. Being an industry-tailored solution, AscendixRE CRM delivers more value to brokers and agents than any other platform. All of the nuances that we’ve learned over the 16 years in commercial real estate have been incorporated into the functionality of AscendixRE CRM.
In addition to authoring a market-leading CRE CRM product, Ascendix is also a professional services firm with just under 100 Salesforce consultants and developers to tap into for further customizing the solution or assisting in the best practices onboarding of you and your team.
Our experience and available consulting resource pool allows us to scale from individual implementations up to multi-100 user implementations with the same predictable and successful outcome.
AscendixRE CRM as an all-in-one tool consists of:
Advantages of AscendixRE Сommercial Real Estate CRM
Get a full overview of AscendixRE features in this video
AscendixRE price consists of 3 pricing plans:
This pricing plan includes 2 hours of consulting and interactive training (within a flexible time of signing up), multifamily functionality, Deal/Account/Contact management, data deduplication, and much more.
With this optimal plan, you get all AscendixRE CRM functionality included with advanced search, geo-mapping functionality (Ascendix Search), and brochure generation tool (Composer)
The Unlimited plan includes all AscendixRE CRM features, Ascendix Search, Composer, and a property listings portal – MarketSpace
Also, pricing plans cover Salesforce license and the opportunity to import accounts and contacts using original data template mapping.
See how AscendixRE can help you close more deals and improve your prospecting.
REThink is a CRE-optimized CRM solution built on top of Salesforce. In February 2021 it was acquired by Buildout. Since then, REThink has been positioned as the main CRM system (deal pipelines, contact, properties, and companies’ information resides here), whereas Buildout offers advanced marketing and reporting functions, which are not included in the base subscription of REThink.
Key features of REThik CRM
REThink CRM costs $120/user/mo + additional one-time setup fee of $250.
The price covers:
If you need advanced marketing functionality (branded marketing collaterals, customizable stacking plans, email blasts, etc.) you need to buy a Buildout marketing license separately as well.
RealNex CRM is a tool that helps commercial real estate brokers, brokerage firms, investment sales brokers, leasing agents, office/asset managers, and tenant reps automate their deal flow and create branded marketing collateral for their properties.
RealNex provides an integrated suite of real estate solutions for customer relationship management and marketing.
This software allows brokers to push and pull data between different platforms. The RealNex bundle allows you to harness your CRM, financial analytics, and property listing/e-marketing functions under the same roof.
RealNex is suitable both for a single broker or the traditional global brokerages.
RealNex offers 2 pricing plans: Basic Subscription and Advanced Subscription.
A basic subscription (CRM only) includes 200 emails per user per month and has several pricing options:
Advanced subscription Navigator (CRM + other functionality) includes 1000 emails per user per month and has several pricing options:
ClientLook allows you to manage every integral aspect of your commercial real estate business, including your properties, leads, clients, and deals. ClientLook has tailor-made sections for each business component to maximize business management efficiency in every area.
In addition, the software can also be integrated with several other CRE apps and services.
ClientLook has three types of pricing plans:
Apto is a commercial real estate CRM built on Salesforce. It provides a web-based solution for managing customer relationships, back-office, deals, listings, properties, and more. Recently, Apto was acquired by Buildout.
Apto commercial real estate system allows brokers to manage the full lifecycle of a deal, set up appointments, automate daily tasks, forecast sales, etc.
Apto offers a straightforward pricing structure. For $129/user/month, users gain access to:
There is an additional one-time setup fee of $250. Data migrations require scoping and will incur an additional cost. Tools for generating branded CRE reports and sending branded emails are sold separately for extra cost as well.
As different commercial real estate CRM programs focus on different capabilities, we decided to compare the 5 best CRE CRMs, so you can have a general view of features.
Hope this comparison helped you to assess the functionality of commercial real estate broker software.
The success of your CRE business is closely connected with the commercial real estate CRM software that you choose. The selection requires a disciplined approach, dedication of time to review the various options and attention to detail on what separates each solution.
That’s why we created a checklist of commercial real estate CRM business requirements:
Taking into account the price-quality balance, level of customer and technical support, built-in features and apps, client feedback, and user experience, you may consider AscendixRE CRM.
Commercial real estate CRM helps firms to run and upgrade the next activities:
Kateryna creates engaging content about Salesforce consulting, Ascendix products, and CRM best practices for the commercial real estate industry and legal services. Her articles provide readers with relevant data, stats, business tricks and overviews of new industry trends and CRM updates.