How AscendixRE Helped Northern Crain Realty Automate Lead Generation and Inquiries Management

Northern Crain Realty faced challenges with capturing and organizing leads within their system, as well as following up with them right until the company undertook a business-changing decision to migrate to AscendixRE.


Northern Crain Realty is a full-service commercial and residential real estate brokerage headquartered in Fort Worth, TX. The brokerage works with third party clients and provides all types of representation: landlord, tenant, buyer, and seller representation. Additionally, Northern Crane Realty provides property management services to landlords.

At some point, the company realized that their processes around capturing and organizing leads within their system, as well as following up with them, were not effective enough, right until they undertook a business-changing decision to migrate to AscendixRE.

We sat down with Will Northern, Partner and Broker at Northern Crain Realty, to discuss the CRM adoption challenges they faced and the value CRM implementation brought to their company.

Scope of Work We Delivered to Northern Crain

As the company was just embarking on using AscendixRE CRM, all tasks were focused on facilitating this process. In total, we:

  • Implemented an automation to transfer data fields upon conversion from Inquiry to Contact;
  • Implemented an automation to show exclusive inquiries based on property listings;
  • Customized Composer templates for listing activities;
  • Conducted importing training sessions: our consultants assisted in training sessions on how to map fields and use our multi-tab spreadsheets;
  • Presented how to collect and import Inquiries, Contacts, and Accounts within AscendixRE org.
Will Northern
Partner and Broker at Northern Crain Realty
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Fort Worth, TX
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Real Estate
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Ascendix: Let’s start from the basics, what are the most challenging aspects in the daily workflow of real estate brokers that could be automated? For example, repetitive tasks, manual inquiry processing, etc?

Will: Time management. It always comes to mind as being at the top of the list as brokers are constantly bombarded with large volumes of correspondence from all different types of mediums, whether it be phone calls, text, emails, and then all the other social media components.

Therefore, trying to stay on top of the virtual world and respond to people in a timely manner in addition to taking control over what physically has to happen – I would say it’s the largest challenge.

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Ascendix: Will, can you please define the pain points that led you to leverage AscendixRE CRM in your company’s workflow?

Will: Before switching to AscendixRE CRM, our company used a homemade matrix in Excel spreadsheets and notepads for tracking inquiries. We filled out information about the various prospects and then used a color-coding system of red, yellow, and green based on how likely prospects were to proceed and how often our brokers should follow up. Excel spreadsheets and notepads worked for a while but it’s not a system the team could scale on.

Over the last 3-4 years, Northern Crane Realty has increased our spend on lead generation. As the number of inquiries increased, managing the inquiries we were receiving from our listings became unmanageable and dysfunction started to arise in a lot of different ways. For example, we missed out on some opportunities by not getting back to people in a timely manner or following up at a future date.

It was clear that our company needed an advanced tool to get more organized and time efficient.

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Ascendix: Could you please describe your experience of working with Ascendix as a services provider as well as a platform provider? How did Ascendix turn from being just a vendor to being a partner? What shaped the relationships?

Will: Indeed, we had 2 relationships with Ascendix: one is as a subscriber to the AscendixRE CRM and the other is the professional services support and configuration.

So, we got AscendixRE, but soon realized that we were not using the system in the correct way. The tool can do a lot, but you need to take the time in the beginning to ensure that you’re setting it up appropriately. That could be done via instant communication with the support that Ascendix provides.

And we weren’t doing that. We just kind of freewheeled it and had things in the wrong categories that ended up not making the system as functional. But then we took a step back, looked at what we were trying to accomplish, and contacted the Ascendix team. We made some changes together, reset the data and the tool started working much better.

That is how our relationship evolved from the vendor-subscriber stage to a solid partnership.

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Ascendix: How did you use AscendixRE CRM within your company?

Will: Shortly, we automated the creation of inquiries in the AscendixRE system. To be more specific, we wanted to make the system as efficient as possible and by working alongside Ascendix and some outside developers to create an API, we were able to get AscendixRE CRM connected with LoopNet and CREXi, where our leads were generated from.

With the help of Ascendix developers, we set up an automatic flow of incoming leads into the CRM. Previously, it was the manual entry, so the automation of this process became a time saver and allowed us to spend more time talking to prospects instead of having to manually go in and do data dumps periodically.

AscendixRE really met all of our needs and additionally it had flexibility to be customized to our brokerage model that was really unique. It wasn't just this static out-of-the-box toolkit you have to like conform to. I like that the programmers at Ascendix can manipulate it to where it the best functions with your business model and policies and your company

Will Northern, Partner and Broker at Northern Crain Realty
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Ascendix: How did the implementation of AscendixRE affect Northern Crain revenue and time spent on lead origination and tracking?

Will: In Northern Crain Realty, we have 2 ways of lead origination: by agents and by business. The size of the split varies: if agents originate the deal, they receive a higher split. To delineate those leads that were created by the business or originated by the agent, we needed a tool where we could label and identify inquiries.

By implementing AscendixRE, we could customize and automate our lead flow. When an inquiry comes in from a listing that is exclusive to that agent (meaning he/she originated it), the system labels and identifies this inquiry as exclusive just to that agent.

In this way, others in our office know that this particular inquiry belongs to Agent B and Agent B will be paid out at a higher split.

And so that’s been really helpful for us and for our agents. Adding to that, we know that storing such sensitive data inside AscendixRE CRM will be securely protected.

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Ascendix: How are brokers and agents adapting to AscendixRE CRM?

Will: We’re still learning aspects of AscendixRE as it’s a big and versatile program.

Let me provide you with a real-life case: 2 weeks ago, I came into the office and one of our agents was discussing AscendixRE with the Business Development Director: they were going through it and sifting through listings in the weeds and really learning how to use it.

I didn’t know they were having that meeting, but it put a big smile on my face when I walked in and saw that happening. We talked about AscendixRE on a fairly regular basis in our office meetings and our agents definitely see the value of it.


Ascendix: What are the most useful features/tools/functions of AscendixRE for your company?

Will: Firstly, I’d like to mention the properties tab that’s separated from the listings tab. When one of our agents is prospecting for new listings, that’s a way we’re not just organizing people, we’re also organizing the real estate itself.

Secondly, reporting functionality. Having the ability to generate any reports without leaving a system saves a lot of time and makes us more prepared for conversations with prospects about activity on their properties.

Thirdly, integration between Gmail and AscendixRE for tracking inbound and outbound emails. Because we use Gmail it was important for us to integrate Gmail with CRM. It became possible due to the plugin. Now with the click of a button we put the entire e-mail thread and attachments and load it into the Ascendix platform. When we’re looking through the CRM, we click on a person or on a property and see everything that’s happened in all the correspondence related to that Inquiry or Property. It keeps us very prepared and organized.

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Ascendix: Can you tell us any other benefits of using AscendixRE?

Will: In addition to the benefits mentioned above, I’d say that AscendixRE serves us as a helpful recruiting tool to get new agents to come on our team. Also, it helped us have better communication with our landlords on the activity that’s going on and have one central repository to collect everything.

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Ascendix: Did you conduct any kind of organized training and adoption policies that you put in place to ensure your CRM investment? Please tell us a bit more about the adoption and change management processes.

Will: One thing that we’re now looking at is changing our business model because of the system.

Instead of having agents take a transaction from cradle to grave, you know, from prospect to closing, we’re now developing a call center and starting initial cold calling researching, property tours, contract generation and transaction coordination.

We’re in the really early stages of that, but nothing would be possible without a tool like AscendixRE CRM.

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Ascendix: Why would you recommend brokers to use AscendixRE CRM? What benefits do you think that they would get?

Will: As brokers, you must stay organized. Because time is our most valuable commodity, the more organized you are, the more you maximize on it. And with the sheer volume of people we’re expected to communicate with, you must have a tool that frees you up. And that’s exactly what AscendixRE CRM does.

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