The Challenges of Today's Real Estate CRMS
Today, Client Relationship Management (CRM) tools are robust and cutting-edge. They’ve moved past the point of simply being a “Rolodex” of sorts — nowadays, they’re more like a Swiss army knife. To compete, CRMs need to offer users an array of tools, all within one platform, like marketing email applications, IDX websites, lead generation tools, success plan managers, and much more. As we see more and more added to the CRM, it seems there is no sign of the push to add new features slowing down any time soon — and that’s good and bad.
I believe the biggest challenge with most of the technologies out there is that, with the adoption of all these new capabilities, CRM systems always seem to lag the coolest, newest feature. Real estate agents are busy people, and they’re hoping for a “set it and forget it” system that can read their minds and do what they need the system to do with a snap of their finger. And I get it — I want that system too! But until that time comes, we have the duty as technologists to find better and easier ways to use available technology, and ensure it’s meeting the needs of our agents.
If we think of the CRM system as a fully-loaded Swiss army knife with different tools added over time to provide a robust range of functionalities, sometimes we run into the question of whether all the tools are actually valuable. I believe in being very intentional about adopting new technology and making sure we are providing our agents with tools that will actually help them nurture relationships and grow their business. Sometimes what appears to be a fully-loaded CRM has more than a few features that don’t provide true value. Sometimes those new features get added within well-established tools, changing the dynamics of how it works for users. It’s up to us to understand the tool and provide our users the training and support to really put it to work in their business. At Baird & Warner, we provide a rich platform to our agents, and we encourage each of them to use what’s available in their own way and find the combination of tools that work best for them and their business.
Another challenge we face is the complexity of those new features. With more tools and functionalities, the greater the potential for those systems to conflict with each other, which can quickly cause roadblocks and interruptions. In the push to get new and better features, we have to be mindful of thoroughly testing them so we can avoid those interruptions — and that means preparing for more time for delivery and adoption across the organization.
Now, let’s talk about security and data privacy. Every state and country has their own version of privacy laws, and that can create a challenge for tools that are specifically designed to collect and use data. Baird & Warner is based in and serves primarily the Chicago land area, so abiding by the privacy laws of one single state isn’t difficult. But if an agent serves different states with varying privacy laws, a CRM tool has to be able to account for that, which starts to get more complex than a simple “Please delete my data,” request.
At Baird & Warner, we’re proud to support our agents with industry-leading technology that truly helps them grow their business, and that also includes a robust CRM with features we believe they can really take advantage of — even if it isn’t flawless or capable of reading our minds just yet. We are constantly working with our agents to add features that are important to them and find ways to help them use the tool to its fullest. We know, there’s always something new on the horizon, and we’re ready and excited to see what comes next.