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?