- James Maile
The Best CRMs for Commercial Real Estate and Why You Need One
Looking to reduce the admin of your commercial real estate business? Find the right CRM tool to automate mundane tasks, track and manage leads, and close more deals!
By James Maile || December 12, 2022
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are essential for any growing commercial real estate business.
As a company grows, so does the need to efficiently manage new and existing relationships. This is why many are turning to CRM tools to boost sales, manage lead generation, store customer data, and increase internal productivity.
Every 21st-century real estate company from brokerages to tech firms should be using a CRM tool in some shape or form to manage growth opportunities, minimize risks, and maximize revenues.
But with so many to choose from, picking the right one can be as difficult as putting socks on a rooster.
To help you out, we’ll outline the different CRM tools and how you can use them so you can decide which ones to give a whirl.
If you’re in a pinch and want a more exciting way to learn about CRMs, take a look at our CREview episode on the subject, it’s the only CRE marketing podcast you will ever need (don’t forget to subscribe!).
Why You Need A CRM in Commercial Real Estate
Okay, Indiana Jones, it’s time to stop using your Excel spreadsheets and diaries to keep track of your prospects, tenants, and clients.
Without a good CRM, you’ll be a day late and a dollar short.
Once you find the right CRM, it will be difficult to imagine a world without it.
If you’re a fan of structure and organization, one of the main benefits of CRMs is that they offer you everything related to managing your business relationships. This includes analytics, metrics, data, outreach, and many more.
Let’s have a look at the top benefits of using a CRM.
The Benefits of Using a CRM
1. Centralized customer data – Have all the information about your clients, tenants, and prospects all in one place, that all stakeholders can access. By arming the sales, marketing, and other departments with the relevant information, everyone is better prepared to keep the customers as happy as a pig in mud.
2. Recognize and convert more leads – Let’s say you’re doing all of the right marketing things. You’re running advertisements, going to all of the right CRE events, having a great SEO strategy, etc. but how do you know that you have people’s attention?
With a CRM, you would know all of the relevant insights to identify high-quality leads, then use those insights to create automated and personalized marketing campaigns.
3. Improve your client/customer retention – Attracting new clients is more expensive than keeping existing ones. Keeping clients is the secret ingredient for long-term success.
CRMs make it easier to foresee issues and solve them as they occur. They also stop clients from feeling neglected because your salespeople always know when to reach out. Or better yet, automate a sizable portion of your outreach so you don’t miss a beat when it comes to client communication.
4. Easily understand data with visual dashboards – Manually inputting data into a spreadsheet, finding what is important, and then representing it graphically is as exciting as watching paint dry. A CRM will do all of this for you.
All of your precious data is presented in a visually pleasing (often customizable) dashboard. Easily access marketing metrics like email open rates, website traffic, click-through rates, or sales reports like how many cold calls resulted in a demo or future meeting.
Dashboards are great for seeing the most important data for your workflow without having to scratch, dig, or create a report.
5. Automated Efficiency – People in commercial real estate already have way too much admin and don’t need any more. CRMs help lighten the load by automating several mundane tasks. Some examples are:
Drip marketing: automatically sends a limited number of prewritten emails to prospects at set intervals based on actions they take (like submitting an inquiry, signing up for a newsletter, or a whitepaper).
Sort leads using parameters set by you or with a built-in AI: better prioritize which marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) are most likely to turn into sales-qualified leads (SQLs).
Nurture leads: track the position of all of your leads at every stage of the marketing funnel and connect with them throughout the sales process.
6. Simplified internal collaboration – Some CRMs have built-in collaboration tools that allow users to simultaneously assign, work, and track tasks, improving internal efficiency. Different departments can work seamlessly, reducing the impact of siloed information.
As you can tell, there are so many benefits to using a CRM but with all new things, there will be a learning curve for you and your team.
What You Should Know Before Implementing a CRM
Adopting a CRM is not all sunshine and rainbows, especially in the beginning.
The adjustment period - Moving all of your data to a centralized system and training everyone can take a few days or even a few weeks, then you have to follow up regularly to make sure everyone keeps up to speed.
The admin to get rid of admin - Once everyone is comfortable with the CRM, you have to regularly update and maintain the database. Poor and outdated data can lead to inefficient sales and marketing efforts. This means that the data needs to be kept accurate and up to date by removing the old and adding the new.
After all, a CRM is only as good as its data and the people who use it.
To make this process a bit easier, we recommend that you appoint someone (let’s call them the designated CRM driver) to develop a deep understanding of the platform and keep the data clean, fresh, and new so you’re not beating any dead leads.
The Cost – Beyond being time-consuming, implementing a CRM is very costly. So, if you are planning on using a CRM, make sure you are using the right platform to the best of your ability and that it is worth the cost and time.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few CRM tools you should consider implementing in your commercial real estate business.
The Best CRMs for Commercial Real Estate
Freshsales is a great sales-focused CRM that offers some good general real estate features within very affordable tiers.
One of its best features is its built-in Freddy AI, which will give you insights and recommendations for how to best approach your clients and prospects.
Additionally, you can customize modules for dealmaking, like listing building descriptions, square footage (SF), pricing, etc.
One major drawback is that it doesn’t have certain marketing features that you might need if you are using inbound lead generation.
Visually pleasing dashboards – Access visual pipelines, reports, and dashboards in the paid tiers.
Freddy AI – Capture, rank, and score leads, including task suggestions.
Client Communication – Within the CRM, you can send emails, make calls, text messages, or begin conversations.
E-signature Integrations – seamlessly send, sign, and store agreements and applications.
Free Trial – 21 days, not required to put in credit card information
Free version - $0 with limited features
Growth – starting from $15 per month
Pro – starting from $39 per month
Enterprise – starting from $69 per month
Salesforce is a CRM powerhouse with many features that are based on the daily operations of commercial real estate brokers.
The sales-focused cloud platform offers impressive features at a decent price. A particularly useful feature for commercial real estate is the ability to pull sophisticated reports and create fully customizable dashboards.
The dashboards start as easy-to-use templates that you can customize to show any industry-specific metrics you want to track (like leads generated, closed listings, appointment to listing close rate, etc.).
Salesforce Essentials is the cheapest tier and is best if you just want to report and track sales whilst keeping your monthly costs low. However, the more advanced features get steadily more expensive.
Sales management – manage all of your sales whilst having access to all the relevant information and people to close deals.
Lead management – know how effectively your marketing activities bring leads into your pipeline and focus on high-value leads.
Email integration – automatically exports and tracks the right contacts and events from your email inbox.
Sales forecasting – Understand your team’s projected sales forecasts, which include historical information.
Mobile-first – The Salesforce mobile app provides users with instant access to CRM data on the go.
Sync and share files – Collaborate and share files with the relevant users and track their progress in real-time.
Salesforce offers a wide range of CRM services based on different business sizes, uses, and industries, all with varying pricing options. The sales CRM starts at a reasonable $25 per month/per user but packages sharply increase if you need more features. The marketing CRM tools are where features can get very pricey. Depending on which marketing CRM package you choose, you could be starting anywhere from $400 per month to $300,000 per year. It all depends on what features you need and the size of your business.
On to our favorite CRM!
HubSpot offers amazing sales, marketing, and service tools for free, with the freedom to upgrade as you grow.
You can use integrated marketing tools to generate leads with lead-gen forms, use email campaigns to share listings, and sales and service tools that include live chats and bots to make sure that potential buyers and renters are the perfect fit for your commercial real estate listings.
When needed, upgrade to more features like sales automation, predictive lead scoring, and calendar sync for scheduled viewings.
This CRM is great for brokers who want to use a free tool for as long as possible but upgrading to the higher tiers will cost you a pretty penny since you pay for more features and users. However, if you can convince the entire organization to adopt it, the cost is worth it!
Lead-gen forms – get leads with embedded, pop-up, and many other lead-gen form types.
Email campaigns – you can segment your leads based on your parameters, design personalized emails for each segment, then just drag and drop them into the relevant groups.
Live chat – use the tool to have a conversation with interested commercial property buyers, renters, and other prospects.
Bots – bots are used to automatically qualify and route leads, collect data, and set meetings.
Reporting dashboard – keep all of your data visualized in one place and get a full understanding of your processes to effectively forecast and achieve results.
Customer profile software – get valuable insights into the companies and people you are emailing within your Outlook or Gmail inbox.
Pipeline management – easily add deals, assign team members tasks, and track your progress.
Sales automation – add a personal touch to your sales process. Create personalized emails and follow-up tasks when a prospect completes an action.
Free versions (limited marketing, sales, customer service, content management system (CMS), and operations tools)
Starter – starting at $45 per month
Professional – starting at $800 per month
Enterprise – starting at $3600 per month
Sales & Customer Service Hubs (Separately)
Starter – starting at $45 per month
Professional – starting at $450 per month
Enterprise – starting at $1200 per month
Content Management System (CMS) Hub
Starter – starting at $23 per month
Professional – starting at $360 per month
Enterprise – starting at $1200 per month
Starter – starting at $45 per month
Professional – starting at $720 per month
Enterprise – starting at $2000 per month
Finally, a commercial real estate-specific CRM!
With its niche focus, it offers unique features such as geo-location search tools and national property data, which helps you find options that will perfectly suit your clients’ needs.
Buildout has millions of properties on its database, meaning you don’t need to spend extra Benjamins on data from outside sources.
You can also purchase marketing and insights platforms that can be integrated with the main CRM. This is a bit of a drawback.
Property database – access to a lot of property data, including nice visual geo-mapping.
Automated workflows – keep your team and overall brokerage updated.
Pipeline insights – prioritize the prospects that are most likely to lead to a deal with the pipeline management, dashboards, and reports.
Customizable onboarding – a robust onboarding process that takes between 6 to 8 weeks that allows you to cater the system to your needs, upload all of the relevant information, and the appropriate time for training and getting familiar with the CRM.
Native integrations – although this is at an extra cost, the marketing and sales features are a powerful addition.
CRM - $120 per month
Insights tools - $299 per month
Marketing tools - $150 per month
Propertybase is another real estate-focused CRM that provides an SEO-optimized website for your listings. We cannot stress this enough... SEO IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT IN COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE!
With this CRM, you can personalize your website structure, branding, and property listings.
Create custom pages for your commercial property listings, interactive market trends, and property search options for prospects to look for properties.
All of the activity on your website gets funneled into the CRM, where you can manage your leads, create custom email campaigns, and many more.
This CRM, with its website features, is great for brokerages that want to easily create a website for their commercial property listings and agents. However, their user reviews are a bit mixed, indicating that the platform isn’t always reliable.
Custom agent websites – create separate personalized websites for each of your agents.
Site manager – Completely control and edit your website from the backend of the CRM.
Property search – let users easily search for all of your listen commercial real estate properties.
Powerful market insights – get access to interactive market trends, which include building data.
You have to contact them for a quote and to download the demo.
There are many options when it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) tools for contact, deals, and property management for commercial real estate companies.
With all of these options, keeping track of prospects, leads and your marketing activity is easier than ever.
The size of your firm and the amount of admin you currently face will ultimately decide which CRM you should go for.
All of these CRM tools have a unique offering and will make your life easier. We hope it helped you find the right tool for you!
Until next time,
Stay ATYPICAL 😉