The 2015 Real Estate Software Toolkit: Technology for Lead Management
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
Managing real estate leads can be tricky — well, without the right real estate software. For many, this means having a new piece of software for every area of your marketing, which can be more work in the end. Thankfully for agents and brokers, there are many many-in-one solutions that can track all of their real estate marketing and sales efforts, like CRMs that also automate some marketing tasks or document management systems that also help secure digital signatures and close deals.
Discover the real estate software that helps you generate your leads, but helps you manage and nurture them, and keep your back office in order. We’ve included some of the best platforms on the market and detailed user reviews to give you insights into how well they work.
(Note: The software listed here are ones that are very popular among real estate pros, but this list doesn’t include every one of the best software out there. If you use other real estate marketing tools and sales resources, share them in the comments at the end of the post.)
Real Estate Lead Management
Knowing how to generate real estate leads is a pivotal task for every real estate agent. But what do you do after you’ve secured leads? How do you organize them and their personal details, like age, income, and home buying and selling preferences? The answer is customer relationship management (CRM) software, also referred to as lead management software.
Choosing the best CRM — as will be the case with all other software mentioned in this post — means identifying your personal preference and business needs, including:
- How much budget you can allocate to a single software solution
- How tech-savvy you need to be to use the software
- What kind of features and customer support you get with the software
- The compatibility of a CRM software with other solutions you use
There are several top real estate CRM solutions for agents and brokers that come highly recommended from industry pros, but there are more viable choices on the market that can streamline your lead management operations and help you conduct other marketing and sales tasks.
Some of the Top Agent Options
Reesio: This is an optimal choice for brokerages, as it allows them to see their agents’ lead management actions in the software, ensure their transactions and other files are in order, and assign leads to agents as they see fit. Speaking of agents: The solution also provides them with ample CRM capabilities that make segmenting contacts and organizing closing documents and other essential files a cinch.
- “[T]he latest iteration of Reesio does include the ability to make, accept and counter offers, as well as a mechanism to manage inbound leads from new buyers. You can also publish documents to the public marketing page (disclosures, for example). The public-facing pages even include a live recap of exactly what’s happening with the property.” — eight11, November 2013
PlanPlus Online: From integrating real estate leads with Zillow and Trulia to detailed interaction history function that allows you to see which leads need nurturing, PlanPlus is a well-rounded real estate CRM. You can also send mass messages to your contacts with a blast email campaign and track deadlines to make sure your deals move along accordingly, including from mobile devices.
- “It does everything I need: keeping track of notes, client followups, task reminders, calls, appointments, reporting, custom files, grouping, and tons of other things.” — Software Advice, December 2014
TRIBUS CRM: Having the ability to customize your CRM interface is a big plus for agents. With TRIBUS CRM, real estate pros can organize their dashboard to include only the main tasks that are vital to their real estate marketing and sales needs. Additionally, the real estate lead management tool connects with agents’ IDX and shows what properties are viewed, what searches are made, and by which leads.
- “[T]he reporting options are so robust that you can create literally hundreds of custom reports that precisely match the metrics you use to manage your business. A drag and drop dashboard makes it easy to arrange these ‘portlets’ on your home screen.” — eight11, June 2014
Real Estate Document Management/Storage
In addition to tracking your real estate leads, organizing your myriad documents is also a vital task to undertake. Electronic document management (EDR) has grown rapidly in the last handful of years to make brands and professionals more eco-friendly. The helpful side effect of this move to paperless document organization is it makes it simpler for real estate agents to track and access important docs thanks to cloud-based storage and backup features.
As with your CRM, there are some best practices to abide by in selecting and using EDR solutions:
- Find EDR software that makes it simple for you to retrieve important files on the go using your mobile devices
- If you work at an agency or brokerage, identify solutions that make document-sharing with colleagues quick and easy
- EDR software that syncs with scanners and, in turn, uploads scanned documents into its system automatically is a big pro
- Research options that allow for easy searching and bookmarking so that you can find files and folders and denote important docs
- Try to find an option that includes file encryption to ensure personal data remains secure
Thankfully, just as with lead management software, there are countless real estate tools to help keep your closing payroll files, client agreement forms, and other online documents neat and tidy.
Some of the Top Agent Options
Carbonite: Running an agency or brokerage means keeping track of and organizing thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of documents and making many (or all) of them accessible to agents from multiple devices. Customize your data- and document-sharing using Carbonite, which offers its Syn & Share app: Any doc you save can be accessed from any device you connect to the company’s service. So whether you’re at the office, in bed, or hosting an open house, finding essential docs is a cinch.
- “Carbonite offers unlimited storage and some pretty solid features at its price point. If you are looking for a backup storage provider for home use or a small business.” — Best Backups, 2014
Contentverse: Though it technically doesn’t come out of the box, Contentverse is ready and raring to go as if it was. The document management system has an easy learning curve, as it works with just about any file type, has detailed search functionality, helps automate collaborative work tasks, and offers users a service to convert their paper files into digital ones that can be uploaded to its platform with ease.
- “Big fan of this product. Of course, it manages files and all that — that’s the whole reason. But also, the seamless workflow is a huge boost for our business. The entire package allows our employees … and clients to work together and see everything that’s going on at every level of the company.” — Capterra, March 2014
Google Drive: Have you heard of this company called Google? They have quite a few nifty products and services, notably Drive. The file storage platform helps users effortlessly organize photos, videos, documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Another way to put it: Drive is the perfect place to store all of your assets used for real estate listing presentations (which you can use with several graphic creation tools to create unique presentations).
Real Estate Marketing Automation
Marketing automation software helps real estate agents organize their content strategies with ease: from blog posts to email marketing to social media. Many brokerages and big agencies may find all-in-one solutions best for their particular automation needs. Others prefer using separate ones for each segment of their marketing. Regardless of this preference, the key is identifying software that:
- Provides an easy-to-navigate dashboard so that implementing and scheduling content is simple
- Keeps track of important metrics related to each segment of your real estate marketing
- Allows you to create workflows and personalized messages for your different stages of leads
Some of the Top Agent Options
Imprev: Whether you’re a broker trying to lure top agents to join your firm or a solo agent in need of print and digital marketing software, Imprev covers needs for all kinds of real estate experience levels. Use Imprev for your offline marketing needs (brochures, print newsletters, flyers) and use its internet real estate marketing tools, like its email newsletter platform, virtual tour software, and ecard services, to reach your audience online.
- “Imprev is rock-solid, and filled with proven pieces agents will use again and again. It’s a venerable, proven partner, and I think it’s worth a look if you’re an independent agent or a small team looking to make your marketing consistent and easy to produce.” — eight11, November 2013
Infusionsoft: The more landing pages you have with SEO-rich, relevant copy, the more likely you’ll rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs). With Infusionsoft, you can develop all kinds of landing pages — like ones featuring special offers and downloads — to attract and inform your audience. What’s more, you can sync the real estate software with your Gmail and Outlook accounts, meaning you can automate your email marketing and sync leads acquired into the solution’s CRM.
- “Infusionsoft has allowed me to do a myriad of marketing campaigns and experiments that I couldn’t have otherwise. From managing our database of prospects and customers, to running full blown marketing campaigns. The variety of plugins that support Infusionsoft make it easy to do pretty much anything you have in mind without hiring an expensive developer.” — G2 Crowd, October 2014
MailChimp: Reaching your audience via email is one thing — knowing how to connect with and analyze recipients to find which leads are worth pursuing further is another. MailChimp makes sifting through your subscriber base and marketing to them further an undemanding process. The company provides the tools needed to learn how to engage recipients and appeal to them (and it also features an array of unique email themes).
- “MailChimp provides a great way for you to stay in touch with clients, past and present. So many people forget to contact their former buyers and sellers and they forget who the Realtor was. This is a nice and easy program to set up a way for you to market yourself.” — ActiveRain, March 2014
Real Estate Marketing Analytics
In order to get the most out of real estate marketing tools like automation software, you’ll need to monitor how you’re generating real estate leads and how your content performs. Analytics can track this, and more, including how much traffic comes to your website and the size of your email open and click-through rates. Many automation platforms today have analytics built into their platforms, but it’s still worthwhile to look into separate real estate analytics software to take a deeper dive into your marketing’s metrics.
Some of the Top Agent Options
Google Analytics: Undoubtedly the main analytics software you should use day in and day out, Google Analytics is the go-to resource for agents, as it provides the reporting capabilities needed to accurately measure your marketing’s performance, including and especially that of your real estate website. The search conglomerate also offers an array of tools to help agents and brokers, making Google an essential real estate marketing resource.
Clicky: Using supplementary tools on top of Google Analytics can give you other unique insights. For instance, Clicky is a distinct analytics platform that shows much of the same data as Google Analytics, but also provides site heatmaps (which show which parts of your site visitors look at most) and Twitter and video metrics.
- “Clicky is constantly being updated to improve functionality for users and the development team is extremely responsive. Recent updates include enhanced support for HTML5 audio and video tracking, additional visitor detail and new comparison trends. In my opinion, Clicky just keeps getting better.” — TrustRadius, May 2014
Moz: Link performance, social media monitoring, custom reporting, audience analysis, and much more is available using the comprehensive Moz analytics platform. The site even offers branched-out services for niche aspects of your marketing, including Followerwonk, which shows who’s following you on social media and who you should be following, and On-Page Grader, which gives insights into your site’s on-page SEO and how you can improve it. The former real estate marketing tool can even be used to spy on other agents’ keyword strategies.
- “While Moz is an extraordinarily robust platform that extends beyond SEO into the analytics and social space, its core functionality (e.g. internal/page audits, backlink checks, opportunity audits and more) is quite good.” — G2 Crowd, November 2014
Real Estate Offer/Transaction Management
Toward the end of the sales cycle, it’s important to have software that makes it simple to develop closing documents and finalize deals quickly. The ideal offer and transaction management software allows you to swiftly create closing documents, get the signatures needed for them, and process them, all in a matter of minutes, if needed.
Some of the Top Agent Options
Brokermint: It’s a must for real estate brokers to have software that can help them calculate commissions and add and analyze transactions. Brokermint affords brokers not only these functionalities, but also in-depth reporting for everything from compliance reviews to post-deal document audits. Arguably the major benefit from using Brokermint, though? Real-time reporting, meaning the second deals close, brokers are the first to know.
DocuSign: Getting signatures on the fly means closing deals in record time. DocuSign continues to better its real estate database software offerings for agents and brokers, includings its Realtor Plus and Broker packages, which store signed documents in the cloud and provides real-time data on commission, deals, and other listing information.
- “Since ‘time is of the essence’ in real estate transactions, DocuSign makes it possible to send and receive documents in a very short period of time. We no longer need to overnite [sic] documents or depend on our clients having the ability to scan documents in order to send them back to us.” — G2 Crowd, September 2014
zipLogix relay: One of several products offered by zipLogix, an official REALTOR Benefits® Program member, relay has an extensive list of features in addition to its custom transaction reports: client access to deal updates, vendor access for title and escrow services, and office integration with other popular software like Top Producer and mail clients like Outlook. Communication with everyone involved in a given transaction is possible through relay.
Check out The Agent’s Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Marketing and Tech Terms to learn the major terminology that’ll help you use these real estate agent software options.
What are some other real estate tools you use to coordinate your marketing and sales? Share your favorite real estate software solutions with us below!
Published on December 18, 2014
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.