You are here: GeekEstate Blog » Communication, CRM, Featured » Sad Truth: New real estate tools don't integrate with CRM

Sad Truth: New real estate tools don't integrate with CRM

I have seen a disturbing trend of late among vendors and developers of real estate tech tools. Since it baffles me, I’m sure it bothers other agents as well and I would be surprised if it isn’t hampering the sales of efforts of these innovating tech companies.

Why don’t these new tools easily interact with my existing tool set – specifically my CRM?

In my estimation there are three kinds of agents (or consumers from the vendor perspective) these days.

  • The first type of agent has no money, makes no money, and doesn’t spend any money on tools. This is not your target market even though it might be a very large group.
  • The second type of agent makes money, but isn’t interested in new tools and won’t spend money on them.
  • The third type of agent is your target market. They both make money and are willing to spend money on new tools to make their job easier and to make more money.

I’ll make some educated guesses about this third group. If anyone has data to prove me wrong, I’m open to being corrected.

  • They have a smartphone and use it regularly.
  • They have a website. There’s a good chance they probably even use WordPress.
  • They have a CRM and use it to keep themselves and their lead generation system organized.

If I was creating a new tool for real estate agents, I would work to ensure that my product worked seamlessly with mobile devices, had a WordPress plug-in of some sort, and an easy to use API that connected to the agent’s existing CRM.

I use 37 Signals “Highrise” as my CRM, but I know there are plenty out there that use Top Producer, Sugar CRM or Salesforce.  I get it if your tool doesn’t work on my platform but I can’t imagine why a tool that is for communicating to customers isn’t designed to work with an existing CRM.

Both the Nudge App by 1000 Watt and Doorsteps come to mind as great new tools I can’t imagine investing in without CRM integration.  The price point is great, the tools look slick and solve a real problem, but they just don’t fit my existing workflow.

When I look at what others outside of real estate are doing, it almost always includes CRM integration. Take a look at who partners with Highrise. This list is a who’s who of cloud based web tools:

  • Zendesk
  • Wufoo
  • Olark
  • Zopim
  • Mailchimp
  • Freshbooks
  • Constant Contact
  • Hubspot
  • Zapier
  • and DOZENS more!

Since these new real estate tools don’t integrate with CRM systems I have in place, the vendor has left me with three choices:

  • Run two separate systems and contact lists.
  • Manually export and import contact data from the new tool to my CRM on a regular basis.
  • Skip the above headaches and carry on without the new tool.

I guess the lack of CRM integration saves me the hassle of being a beta tester, but surely I can’t be the only agent who actually uses and is reliant on a CRM tool to my manage my business?

About Geordie Romer

Geordie Romer is a Realtor in Leavenworth Washington. He specializes in selling vacation homes in Leavenworth, Plain and Lake Wenatchee. He has been blogging on his own site since 2005 and guest posts for others around the web. In 2013, he rediscovered competitive cycling and if he's not showing houses, he just might be off riding his bike.

This entry was posted in Communication, CRM, Featured and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Geordie. I see too many agents looking for all in one. How hard is it to port contacts back and forth, or copy and paste a few email addresses?

    • Sure, it’s not hard if you think about it in terms of seconds/minutes. But keeping the two systems in sync is a real challenge if you forget to update one system and not the other a time or two. Overwriting data is too easy to do if you don’t know what you’re doing. Been there, done that. Granted I’m not running a real estate biz, but if I were – I’d be right there with Geordie and want this solution.

      • I’m not on this train at all. The way you host contacts in a CRM has a different function from how you use them in a marketing app. Additionally, the two apps cited, Nudge, and Doorsteps – have two totally different functionalities. Your contacts dont live the same way in your CRM that they will be utilized in these products. Also, nudge has a csv importer. Over-automating leads to irrelevancy

        • In a well oiled machine – all systems should work seamlessly together.

          • True. But as a developer where should we draw the line? I don’t think integrating with every CRM that hits the market, is best. Then it becomes a API management nightmare. At Brokerloop, we are gathering feedback from our customers to tell us which CRM systems are most used and they want to see. I agree that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

          • You’re right – integrating with every single CRM that hits the market is not the right strategy. It’s a strategic decision as to which platforms to integrate with…there’s only so many development resources to go around, and every partner you integrate with needs to be maintained/supported as they evolve.

          • Abdul- I totally agree. It might not be worth it to cater to every CRM. Go where the customers are.

    • Greg – I guess it depends on the size of your system. I need to spend more time with clients in “income producing” activities. Copy and pasting is minimum wage work and my hourly is considerable higher than that.

      • Geordie – I’m not following. In my experience, marketing and platform invitations are contextual, so figuring out who gets the messaging and who gets introduced to an app is a process that takes some time. Have you investigated either of these apps at length and do you have any working idea on what a use-case is for them in your business, or do you seriously shut out anything that doesnt integrate with your CRM? I see your time is very valuable, so I’ll understand if you don’t respond.

        • Greg-

          I have poked around with both tools. Nudge has “groups” in their email system which would be great to merge with “tags” on Highrise. I could send different nudges to different neighborhoods, or past clients, or different buyer types. With Doorsteps, I could see creating 2 different paths – one for vacation home buyers (my primary market) and one for primary residences/ first time home buyers. The more data I have on my customers in one place, the better my team and I can serve them.

          I won’t rule out a tool that doesn’t integrate with my CRM, but it certainly is in the equation.

          A huge number of my clients start as strangers over the internet. They don’t live in my area and they take a long time to nurture. I have a pretty strong memory, but my CRM is my secret weapon to keeping everything organized.

          • Geordie, I will set up your Nudge contact groups for free. It might take me 7 minutes to export your Highrise contacts, upload them to Nudge, then match your tags in highrise into groups in Nudge. I’d hate for you to miss out on such an awesome tool.

          • Greg – A CRM isn’t a static list. It’s not the original export I’m worried about. It’s the constant updating.

            Drew nailed it earlier. “keeping the two systems in sync is a real challenge if you forget to update one system and not the other a time or two. Overwriting data is too easy to do if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

            If your system works differently from mine and that is making you money, more power to you.

  • It’s not just you G man…

    We realize the whole “contacts” thing is a pain point in Nudge specifically and we’re looking at some integrations that should help. I can’t make promises (yet) but we’ve talked about API integration with Top Producer, MailChimp, etc. and just completely cutting out the contact management portion of Nudge. Again, nothing set in stone, but just wanted to make you aware that we’re working on it. 🙂

    • Thanks Jeff. I expect nothing less from the 1000 Watt team. I was just surprised that it wasn’t part of the original roll out. Since I have run into this with more than one tool, I wanted to share this frustration with any new developers so that they think about it too. (While we are at it, I wish Zillow and my IDX would work with my CRM too.)

      • Yep. As Jeff said, it’s definitely something we’re aware of and looking at. Our goal was to get something out the door and actually shipped, so a lot of the features we had scoped out for Nudge had to take a backseat!

        This conversation is actually very timely as it dovetails with a lot of the discussions we’re having internally.

        What would be really helpful to us (and other developers I imagine) would be to get a punchlist of what CRM services agents are actually using these days. Is it: TopProducer, Sugar, Highrise, MailChimp, SalesForce, rDesk, etc.? Our 1000watt Index literally has dozens of CRM suites on it… you catch my drift.

        Maybe this is something GeekEstate could do – a survey and rank order of agent CRM tools – so we would know where to spend our efforts?

  • Guest

    Hmm, I left a comment and it seems to have disappeared… Sorry if this double posts.

    It’s not just you G man…

    We’re aware that the whole “contacts” part of Nudge is a pain point for a lot of people. I can’t make any official promises (yet) but we’re looking at API integration with some of the larger CRM’s (Top Producer,MailChimp, CC, etc) and possibly getting rid of contact management within Nudge completely. Again, nothing is official… but just wanted to let you know we’re looking at options and working on it as we grow and receive feedback like this from users (and non-users).

    Take care,

    • I see your other comment. Deleting this one

  • Michele Serro

    Hey Geordie, I love that you wrote this, so thanks – I mean that. If you talk to people that know me, they will tell you I am a feedback whore, so this is welcomed. I don’t know much about you, but if you have ever designed software you know that it is a constant prioritization game so please know that the perceived lack of attention is not an absolute truth (or sad truth) and doesn’t reflect our lack of understanding for your process and what is important. But I know that as user that is not your job, the product just needs to work for you today, full stop. I get that. Your perspective is heard though and felt inside our company, and please know that it is on our minds. Greg brings up a point that is also widely heard amongst our user group so it’s a balancing act to roll out features that we know will produce the best outcome for our users. We respect your point and really appreciate your attention to this. We hope that in the future, we will work together.

    • Michele – I too am a “feedback whore.” I love that representatives of Doorsteps and Nudge were so quick to respond to this post. I look forward to watching the evolution of both incredible products.

  • Sudarshan

    Hi Geordie, you’ve brought up an extremely valid argument; and one that is not only plaguing the real estate industry, but many others too. When we saw quick adoption of our live chat service, ClickDesk in many different domains – this is something our customers came up with immediately. We then went on to integrate with the likes of Salesforce, Highrise, Zoho, Sugar, Capsule etc.

    I think it boils down to demand, if a business is willing to listen to its customers, then I’m sure it wouldn’t be much of a challenge. I guess you have to start a campaign of some sort to get this thing off the ground.

  • Keeping two systems in sync with multiple leads coming in every day is impossible unless you hire someone to specifically manage that task. If my IDX was a CRM (a good one) in the back end I’d be very happy.

  • Pingback: With Nudge update, email never looked so good | 1000watt()

  • Pingback: With Nudge update, email never looked so good « Nudge Notes()

2008 - 2018 GEEK ESTATE · ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - THEME BY Virtual Results
Hosted by Caffeine Interactive