Picking a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system was a lot like horse racing for me, I didn’t have the time to fully look into the form or abilities of each, so went on what other people said and the name!
So now, after testing a few and speaking to a lot of people about the ups and downs they have had with the system they chose, I am going to summarise the best out there right now, what they are best for (as there are a number of property strategies out there) and where they gallop to the line or fall at a hedge!
What do you need your CRM system to do?
Before we look into the different CRM systems, firstly it is worth working out what you want from a CRM system, what current software you need it to link to and what CRM software can actually do for you and your business.
CRM refers to strategies, systems and software that are used to manage and analyse customer interactions throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal of having CRM implemented in your business is usually to:
- Improve business relationships with customers
- Improve customer retention and
- Improve sales
CRM software, in a nutshell, consolidates all customer information in one easy to manage database and then systemises future contact with those customers. So, for the customers of a property business, a CRM software could do the following:
- Investors: Store all information and send out monthly deals, or categorise investors between hot and cold
- Property Sellers: Manage your deal funnel, from initial contact with a seller through to purchase
- Tenants: Systemise the information that is sent to tenants for the beginning of their tenancy and ongoing management
- Guests (think SA – Serviced Accommodation or holiday lets): Systemise all contact including check-in and check-out details, contracts, asking for reviews and following up for repeat business
- Agents: Diarise your regular contact with agents so that you stay in their focus for new deals and take note of conversations you’ve had (ie family, hobbies, things in common)
- Contractors: Structure and manage all communication with contractors including schedules of work, schedules of cleans and important dates, such as the gas safety certificate due date.
Before we look at specific CRM software, do check your current software as some include an element of CRM within them (eg Kigo and Infusionsoft listed below). Also, if you have invested in letting and estate agent software, this should already have a CRM element to it.
Now on to some of the different CRM softwares you may want to consider. First up…
- Probably the most well known and always mentioned as a very comprehensive software system
- Has an app for easy upload of contacts, tasks, communication and triggering campaigns/follow-ups. Great for on-the-go property viewings or networking events.
- Calendar and task management – links tasks to contacts and can automatically generate tasks based on a contact’s behaviour.
- Contact segmentation and scoring – great for more personal and direct marketing campaigns
- Requires plenty of time investment to set-up and for ongoing management
- Some people refer to it as ‘Confusionsoft’
Price: $999 Set-up and $199 per month ($299 per month including sales automation)
Verdict: If you are growing an empire, a business with a big team and have 1000s of contacts, then this is worth the investment. Too much time and cost investment for smaller businesses.
- Links to other apps - calendars, email, files, and notes together from Google, Outlook, Dropbox, Evernote, and many more
- Sales and project pipelines – automating lead capture and distribution along with workflow management for on time delivery. Great for managing multiple leads.
- Email templates, scheduling, tracking and comments – systemise and outsource your email management quickly!
- A mobile app for management on-the-go, this software is most people’s go-to with an easy user interface
- Some features can be too simple and therefore is not as comprehensive as others
- Cannot link contacts to leads or organisations so the system has some limitations that others provide
Price: $12 to $99 per month
Verdict: Great choice for those starting out with a widening range and number of contacts to manage. Much cheaper than Infusionsoft and easier to manage.
Kigo (for Serviced Accommodation (SA))
- More than just a CRM system
- Has a Guest App – guests can login, sign the contract, access check-in details, access guest guides
- Has an Operations (Ops) App – great for cleaning and maintenance to be managed, diarised and outsourced
- Can schedule all contact – for a number of days before check-in, during stay and after. Great for customer interface, ensuring customer satisfaction and getting those all important 5 star / 10 out of 10 reviews.
- Can be pricey if only just starting out
- Is not streamlined in all areas, for example guests input their personal emails on the contracts and this field is not downloadable as a report.
Price: Depends on number of SA units, £810 set-up, between £88 and £145 per month plus between £0.53 and £0.57 per night booked.
Verdict: It systemises a lot of the contact whilst ensuring that the contract is signed by the guest. This makes it an easy yes for businesses managing SAs. Alternatives are out there with varying capabilities and we have used a couple and chose Kigo to go forward with.
Less Annoying CRM
- Simple and intuitive – easy import and export to assist with set-up
- Great system support – commented by many users that the Less Annoying system support is superb
- Excellent for project & pipeline workflow management – great to link the set-up of a property with finding tenants/guests so there is minimal void time
- Free 30-day trial period – one of the longer trial periods in order to fully test the product
- Again not as comprehensive as some of the more expensive systems, for example the inability to create recurring tasks
- The mobile app could be improved for interface and functionality
Price: $10 per user per month
Verdict: Similar to Insightly, another good CRM system for the price. Good to use for smaller businesses and teams and with a 3- day free trial it may be good to test to know what features you really need in your business to look out for in another system.
There are plenty more CRM systems out there and pcmag.com has summarised the features of them here with Zoho coming out top against their criteria:
- define what you need your CRM system to do
- check whether you already have software that is capable of achieving this
- choose a CRM system to go with, commit to it, and then
- invest your time to set up the system correctly in order to get the most from it for your business and property strategy.
I hope you find this useful. If you are using a different CRM system that hasn’t been listed above and is working well for you, please get in touch with us via the comments box below to let us know what you are using, which property strategy you use and why you found it the best for you/your business.