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Switching Real Estate Software

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How do you know when it’s time to switch real estate software? Signs to watch for, plus what to look for in your next solution.

Whether you’re a new user of real estate software, or a seasoned pro, it’s important to continuously monitor your software’s outcomes and performance. If either category is falling short of your agency’s goals, it’s time to make a switch.

It’s easier said than done. You’re already stretched thin managing partnering agents and leads alike – red flags in your software solution might not register or seem as dire in-the-moment.

We’re breaking down the top eight signs you need a better real estate software (plus, the top eight features you should look for in your next solution).

These are the sure-fire signs your current real estate solution needs to go by the wayside  

  1.       It’s only offering you a CRM. CRMs are important in helping you manage and organize your leads (and clients’) information. But CRMs aren’t the be-all and end-all of real estate success. You need a much more comprehensive feature set to address your real estate agency’s needs. If you’re limiting yourself to a solution only focused on CRM, you could be falling short in lead cultivation and management and creating roadblocks for your business’ long-term growth.
  2.       Everything is an add-on. On the flip side, while it’s important to have other tools in your software stack, it can quickly get out of hand if every feature, module or service comes with an added expense. We’ve even heard of agents spending almost half of their monthly budget on system management fees alone.
  3.       Lack of quality lead generation = lack of ROI. In most cases where we’ve seen management fees spend that high, the rest of an agent’s budget is being consumed by pay-per-click (PPC) spending. In some cases, that would be worth it…if the leads generated were quality leads. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. You need a tool to support growing quality leads for less money.
  4.       Low conversion rates. No matter what marketing channel you’re focusing lead generation efforts through, if your leads aren’t converting, you’ve got a problem. One of the best ways to convert real estate leads is through successful follow-up tactics. Unfortunately, this is an area where many software solutions fall short, offering inflexible follow-up plans, outdated communication methods, or zero tools that can help you build a valuable relationship with your leads.
  5.       Too much manual work for your agents. It’s true that relationship-building isn’t something that can be 100% automated. Selling or buying a home is a big decision for most leads, and they want to know they’re entrusting the process to a person invested in their property as they are. That said, there’s a lot your software can do to alleviate the bulk of the work agents are otherwise doing manually, like lead generation and follow-up automations. If your agents are currently doing it all themselves, you’re wasting time and money (besides missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with more leads — there just isn’t enough time to do it all manually).
  6.       Zero insights into performance: Any CRM can spit out data. But what does it all mean? If you’re spending time outputting data that isn’t leading to any kind of actionable insights, you won’t be able to know when things are going well, let alone when you need to pivot to hit transaction goals.
  7.       Lack of usability. You shouldn’t need a coding degree to operate your real estate software. From website management to landing page builds, PPC and SEO — you should be able to manage everything internally, with minimal training required.
  8.       No innovation. You should expect more than just one big annual upgrade to your real estate system. The market is constantly changing — if your solution remains stagnant, you’ll be left behind.

Here’s what to look for in the best real estate software:

Going beyond managing customer and lead information.

The best real estate software does the heavy lifting with your backend management needs, while supporting collaborative efforts for your business. It tracks activities and searches, so you gain the clearest picture of what your contacts are searching for on your website and how you’re engaging with them every step of the way. It also routes leads to the optimal follow-up plan based on your custom criteria. It should also dive deeper than surface level information with the use of data tags, so you can quickly evaluate your database based on things like time preference tags (timeline to sell/buy).

Apart from the backend, your CRM should offer more in the way of collaboration. This may look like having access to third parties, such as lenders, through your CRM, making it possible to leverage programs like call transferring between account users. Or, it could be that your your CRM provides ways to access messaging and action plans from coaches through the CRM, so you can build your plans with confidence, without having to leave the system. In either example, the key here is that your CRM should support collaboration, not make it more difficult.

Lead growth and performance.

Look for a solution that’s proven to deliver higher quality of leads so you can maximize the amount of money you’re spending to close. Remember — don’t get distracted by general lead volume. High quantity lead volume that is low quality is the same (or worse, as you’re paying for each lead) as low quantity lead volume.

“Sierra Interactive’s PPC management delivers on value. Almost immediately we saw an increase in the number – and quality – of leads coming to the brokerage. Once I set up the campaigns, I don’t have to think about them again. They simply run successfully. It was an enormous, positive change from the results we’d seen using our previous solution.” – Lorraine Danielson, Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage. Read her full case study.

Tools to target buyer leads and seller leads.

As there are varied strategies (and costs) associated with seller lead generation versus buyer, your software tools should adjust depending on what audience you’re targeting. Whether that’s flexibility in geo-targeting, PPC campaign budgeting, SEO planning or other features, your real estate software should be able to adapt to your given approach at any given time (and, run both a buyer-led and seller-led strategy simultaneously.)

Campaign management.

You need tools (like action plans) that enable customized follow-up depending on the ‘who’ you’re trying to attract and ‘when’ based on their timeline to buy or sell. And, those tools should be able to be constructed into traditional task lists (serving as reminders to initiate points of contact with your leads), fully automated or a mixture of the two.

Ease of use and UX.

Your real estate software should be easy to demo, easy to implement, and easy to use – it’s as simple as that. While any solution requires some level of investment from your team, look for a solution that enables you to update your website(s), add pages easily, manage the backend CMS, build out SEO, manage your lead generation campaigns and initiate follow-up with minimal training time.

Pro tip: Even the best software solution is only as good as its support team. It’s reasonable to expect your support team to be local and accessible.

“One of the things my realty business values most [about Sierra] is that we can trust them with our business. They’re always reachable, always collaborative. Sierra wants our campaigns to succeed. They make sure the services and support they provide help us achieve our goals.” – Ricky Cain, Cain Realty Group. Read his full case study here.

Worthwhile reporting and actionable insights.

Ask for samples of reporting data during your demo. That way, you can know with certainty where your budget is focused, what’s working and when to pivot to squeeze the most value out of your investment each month.

Evolution.

While it’s important to select a software solution that’s constantly innovating to keep you one step ahead of your competitors, it’s equally important to use a software solution that values your input in future development. Ask how your solution provider weighs development decisions, what channels are available to submit suggestions or questions, and stay engaged throughout the process.

Budget-friendly services.

Money is always important to factor into your decision around software. See what solution can deliver the most bang for your buck, with the most value-adding features weighed against potential ROI.

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