Prior to becoming an Ascendix Technologies partner, Cresa had been experiencing challenges with CRM customization tailored to commercial real estate needs. Ascendix team asked several questions to Principal at Cresa, Robert Sattler about Cresa, the impact of COVID-19 on commercial real estate niche, and AscendixRE and Ascendix Search experience.
Meet Robert Sattler and Cresa
Robert Sattler is the Principal at Cresa’s New York office. He provides strategic real estate advisory services and assists clients with lease restructuring, incentive negotiations, site selection, portfolio analysis, and project management.
Robert’s transaction history comprises a broad range of industries including technology, media, financial, legal, creative, insurance, healthcare, life sciences, not-for-profit, government, and education.
Cresa is an occupier-centric commercial real estate company. Their mission is to be the best advisor that brings the greatest to the occupiers and apply integrated expertise to make their business better.
Cresa has been successfully operating since 1993 and for four years the company has been using AscendixRE and for 18 months Ascendix Search.
|Washington, DC, USA|
Number of Employees
Commercial Real Estate
|Company Representative’s Name and Job Position||
Robert Sattler (Principal)
Solutions that were offered by Ascendix to Cresa:
- AscendixRE CRM for Salesforce, for commercial real estate needs
- Ascendix Search app
- Salesforce customization services
The Homepage of Cresa
Ascendix: What is Cresa’s history and company size?
Robert: We are the largest commercial real estate firm in the world that specializes in representing tenants and occupiers of space. We have about a thousand employees. We were established in 1993, so we are on 27 years.
Ascendix: What are Cresa’s business values and the main focus?
Robert: I guess the main thing is doing the right thing by our clients. We focus on partnering with our clients to build real estate strategies that align with the overall business objectives of the company. We take an approach that using real estate proactively to work hand in hand with overall business objectives that will set you apart from some of your competitors.
As we find a lot of companies, especially fast-growing companies, and that being very reactive and set up proactive when analyzing real estate. So, the focus is to be more proactive, not reactive.
Ascendix: What is your job position in Cresa?
Robert: I am one of the principals that are in the New York City office. And being a principal, I have many job functions. So first and foremost, my job is business development, bringing in business for myself to work on, my team to work on as well as other members of the office.
Second, it is transacting deals. Real estate has a three-part process. First, it is bringing in the clients, then it is transacting the deal and closing the deal. So, 50% of my time is spent developing business and 30 to 40% of my time is transacting business.
And then the remaining 10% is spent on helping to grow the office, whether that’s training new hires, recruiting, working on items on a corporate level, and how we can better serve our market and grow our office more efficiently.
Also, we meet with other partners and the managing partners, probably on a quarterly basis, to just talk about how we could be doing things differently and better and how we can better establish ourselves in the market.
Ascendix: How long have you been in your position?
Robert: I have been at the company for seven years and in my current position for two years.
Ascendix: What are the most challenging aspects of your business?
Robert: I would say the hardest part of our business is to always stay in a business developing mind and focus. We do long term transactions that usually take a while from an initial meeting to conception. We are always going out there and finding new businesses to work on and cultivating relationships that will further your network and enable you to get into more opportunities.
Ascendix: How do you cope with these challenges? What do you do to prosper?
Robert: It is really a mindset. Knowing that this is a business that we are in and trying to keep me on a routine. This development weighs itself as something that I am working on the most. It is easy to get focused on working on deals, but you really need to have time set aside to make sure that you have time for business development. Which I am not always great at, but I try to be the best that I can at it.
Real Estate Expert Opinion about Market Changes after COVID-19
Ascendix: What are your expectations about market changes after COVID-19 pandemic?
Robert: From an optimistic side, I think there is going to be a lot of opportunity in the commercial real estate world. Because everything you are reading is people that are going to rethink their space and how they work in their space today, whether it is less dense.
As the trend over the last couple of years was to put more people into less space. I think that might change. I am looking forward to an opportunity to get in front of new prospects to talk about what we do and building a workplace strategy that has both short-term and long-term effects in your company. I definitely think there are going to be changes in the workplace.
Prior to this, the best prospects and the best meetings I went on with those progressive thinking companies that were allowing their employees to have a lot of flexibility, whether it’s work from home a few days a week, work in satellite offices, touchdown on the HQ office a couple of times a month. I enjoyed working with those progressive companies and I think more companies will be thinking like that. And flexibility for their workforce will be more prevalent.
Launch of Cresa and Ascendix Technologies Partnership
Ascendix: How long have you been using Ascendix Search?
Robert: I believe we were using AscendixRE prior to Ascendix Search. We are using Ascendix Search for around four years and I am pretty sure we rolled out Ascendix Search when it first came out.
One of my partners uses it more efficiently and on a more consistent basis than I do. But we have been using it from the start, and we found that extremely helpful.
On a corporate level, our Cresa’s Salesforce also has an Ascendix Search feature that we use probably for the last 18 months.
Ascendix: Before you found Ascendix Technologies, what internal challenges had you had in your company regarding data ownership and information set up?
Robert: We just really wanted to build a database that could be ours and customize it to have the fields that we wanted to see. We did not want to use an off-the-shelf solution. We had used other databases in the past and we were looking for something that was real estate specific.
We went through a vetting process. And AscendixRE gave us the best features and the way they worked with us was just helpful. And that’s kind of set Ascendix apart from the other companies that we looked at.
Ascendix: Why did you choose Ascendix Technologies among companies?
Robert: It was really the team. They were really hands-on. At that stage, Wes and Chris were really involved, and they were just very helpful. And we were talking about moving things from Excel spreadsheets, imports, and CSV files. And they just walked us through that process, and we felt comfortable that they would not disappear when we needed the help.
They really worked with us to get everything over as consistently as we possibly could. I remember I was thinking that we would probably have 50% success, but we got it to 85-90%, so everything is converted over. And it was really because of the Ascendix team and that is why we decided to go with it. We just felt like they were very hands-on and if we needed something, we could just pick up the phone and call them.
Ascendix: What functions were lacking in the original Salesforce CRM that you decided to use AscendixRE?
Robert: We wanted to be able to own our data. We have some corporate protocols where data, that is untouched for a certain period, gets unassigned from you. We wanted to have a database where our personal items did not disappear. That is why we went out and got AscendixRE.
Ascendix: How does Ascendix Search differentiate from a General Salesforce Search? What was lacking at that time for you in General Salesforce Search?
Robert: I think you had just customized it a little bit better. And again, it was more specific to what we were doing on a commercial real estate level than Salesforce. Our problem with Salesforce was that it was an off-the-shelf version.
And there were so many features like convolution and the Ascendix Search feature seemed easier to use. We were able to pull the information that we wanted to see quicker and easier.
Ascendix: What customized objects did you introduce into your Ascendix Search app?
Robert: I, personally, use a lot of searching contacts, and build more and more saved searches so we can come back in and use that same saved search feature. Here are just like a few that we have. [Below Robert demonstrates his screen.]
Ascendix: What is the most useful feature in Ascendix Search app for you?
Robert: The save search features for me, because usually, we build a list of prospects at a certain period. And we want to reach out to them on a consistent basis by building that save search feature to just go right back into that.
Ascendix: Have you introduced any totally customized objects to the original Ascendix Search app?
Robert: Yeah. I believe this is like some email templates that we have built. Here is one of them. [Robert shows his screen below.]
Ascendix: Do you use bulk and mass actions like bulk edit or mass follow up?
Robert: Yeah, we had used the follow-up functions.
Ascendix: Did Ascendix Search help to make your work more productive?
Robert: I think the more you use it, the easier it becomes. At first, it can be a little bit overwhelming, but it is about just spending time on technology and learning it. I still feel like I can know it a lot better.
Ascendix: Considering your experience with the data readjustment, are you going to continue with further digital optimization in your company?
Robert: Yeah, many features come out, and even whether it is Salesforce as a whole or AscendixRE or Ascendix Search, we will add additional features as we see fit. It is a matter of not trying to over complicate it. I do not see why we would not look to add features that will be more beneficial to business development efforts.
Cresa’s Expert Advice
Ascendix: What would you advise people who are searching for an advanced search app for Salesforce, what should they pay their attention to?
Robert: They should look for a company that has good customer support because most likely you’re going to have questions and need help and you want to be able to get answers quickly. Regardless of whether they are a help desk or individuals, you may need to pick up the phone and call them and walk through something. It is something that you should consider because unless you are super tech-savvy, you are going to have questions. And you do not have to have a half-hour or an hour of frustration trying to figure something out.
The lesson that can be learned from this customer story, that ready-made CRM solutions can be a good option but not for all companies. To scale up your business and to stick to your business values your organization may require custom-made and industry-oriented software.
The right choice of the CRM customization provider can help you to:
- adapt your CRM exactly to your company needs,
- gain absolute control over your database,
- admin it seamlessly,
- automate it to the full extent.
Moreover, besides CRM optimization and adaptation you need to make sure that your CRM development provider can guarantee you training of your team and support in case you have any questions or problems. This will ensure that the whole CRM implementation process will go fast and smoothly both for you, your team and your budget.
In the end, the full cycle of CRM customization and learning process will be paid off in saving more time and, consequently, money for business development and strategy elaboration.
If you have a vision of your perfect CRM system and have a list of ideas that you want to bring into your software to make it more productive, search for a technology partner with CRM customization and consultation expertise.
Watch the video below presenting CRM consulting services and products offered by Ascendix Technologies specifically for the CRE industry.
Speak to one of our CRM consultants, tell about your project and we will definitely find you the perfect CRM software solution that will bring you closer to dazzling business success.