Quite a lot of commercial real estate brokers prefer to have their own client relationship management software (CRMs). Why is it so? Chris Petersen, the Client Success Director at Ascendix Technologies, shares her thoughts and explains why brokers decide to get their own CRMs and what benefits they might enjoy.
In my former life, sales teams were divided into two segments, “Small Business Sales” and “Large Enterprise.”
The Large Enterprise guys sold to the mega nationals, like Home Depot, and Whole Foods. Sales cycles were long, few and far in between, full of bureaucracy, had multiple decision makers, but high margin. You had to be a seasoned sales rep to land and keep one of these clients.
The Small Business Sales focused on the moms and pops. Sales cycles were short, volumes were high, margins were slim, but deals were closed quickly. You could be a fairly new sales person and see success accumulate over time as a small business sales rep.
In the more specific world of Commercial Real Estate brokerage, and coming from a vendor that provides technology solutions to brokers, we are faced with the same reality.
Do we pitch CRM to the CEO or CTO of a large, global CRE firm, or do we go after small teams or single brokers?
In reality, we do both, but I see a lot of trends that put us in a position to think about how the paradigm is shifting.
A Large CRE Firm Adopts a CRM
When a large CRE firm adopts a CRM, its hope is to get all the brokers to use it, to input their contacts, their pipeline, to have visibility and transparency across the organization.
Teamwork makes the dreamwork, so to speak.
The challenge with this is that brokers are tepid, shy, wary of sharing their data, their harvested relationships, and their hard-earned strategic approach to their entire company.
They’re 1099’s, so they can’t be forced to adopt a CRM.
Some may use it half-heartedly. Some may adopt it whole-heartedly. And others may abandon it all together.
When we pitch or demo our solutions, we are well aware of the challenges, and the opportunities a centralized system can bring for a large organization.
Back in the day, CRM was on premise (not in the cloud). It was super costly and required a lot of technical resources and people to figure it out. Because that was the case, only a large company could afford to have a centralized CRM for their users.
Why Single Brokers Get Their Own CRMs
#1 Cloud CRMs are easy to manage
Fast forward to the day and age where everything is on the cloud. Technology is not only more simple to navigate, but more simple to acquire.
#2 It’s affordable
It’s mobile. It’s user-friendly. And most of all it’s cheap (relatively speaking).
Because of that, a platform, such as Salesforce, can be purchased by an individual broker to manage their entire book of business.
For as little as $49/month, a broker can prospect, cold call, manage clients, track a pipeline, report on listings, track lease expirations, use marketing tools like e-blasts, and make it all their very own, with very little incentive to want to share that information with others.
“I have been in real estate over 20 years and I have used other crms and this is by far the best. I do both real estate and mortgage brokerage and it allows both. I did trials with at least 10 other crms before picking Ascendixre. I am an individual broker and it’s great I did not have to buy multiple licenses to use it. I highly recommend AcendixRE!!.” shares Edward Chapman.
Sure, the spend comes out of their own pocket, but because of this very reason, they are likely to use it and make it work for their purposes.
#3 Data Ownership
And if a broker’s obligation is to a few people, then he can easily export his pipeline to a managing partner, or export his tour books/listing activities, etc to his clients.
More, his own personal CRM becomes this pocketbook resource of intelligence that stays with him, whether he’s employed at CRE Firm A or CRE Firm B.
This concept catches more wildly with younger brokers, who cozy up more to technology and don’t feel like their arms need to be twisted to make the investment.
In fact, this single broker concept gains so much traction, it’s not uncommon for a bunch of broker friends, working at the same firm, to all subscribe to a CRM individually.
It gives them great flexibility. And while they might not be able to collaborate much because of using separate CRMs, it becomes a small setback in the grand scheme of things.
The great thing about a CRM like AscendixRE that is Salesforce based, is that it can be pared down to be streamlined and simple for a single user to use it quickly, or it can be revved up and boosted with horsepower to support hundreds of users, and support a business with complex processes.
Either way, it’s interesting to see how the CRE community adapts to the trends of data, ownership, flexibility, and autonomy.