FRUSTRATED! That word describes my love hate relationship with my current CRM...you know, the tool that is supposed to help me make more money and increase my productivity as a commercial real estate broker. I am so pleased that Bo Barron and Rod Santomassimo will host a debate on May 27 on the subject of CRMs. I CANNOT WAIT.
Let's review, shall we? In the CRE trade we MUST have certain information at our fingertips...static building information, currently available buildings, buildings that have recently sold or leased, the occupant that currently resides in the building, the owner of the building...PERIOD! Everything that we do as commercial real estate brokers uses one or more of these FIVE pools of data. The ways in which we choose to track, update, and market using this data depends upon personal preference, specialty, and direction. Don't agree? Follow along here...
You represent tenants. You need some means to know who's looking (the occupants), some way to know what's available (availabilities), and a way to judge the market conditions (comps).
Listings are your thing. You need access to owners (owner info), market data (comps and avails). When you commence your marketing efforts, access to potential occupants and the brokers who hold their hand would be important so you can spam them unmercifully until the cry uncle...or worse...hit the UNSUBSCRIBE button!
You're an investment guy. Any comp provides a potential investment. What owners are active? Is the lease rate above, below, or at the market?...comps and avails.
Simple, right? Hmmm, not so fast.
What makes today's CRM offerings so damn FRUSTRATING is that NONE of them seamlessly blend ALL of my third party data sources into one system!
Here is what I mean. I pay third party providers for building owner information, ProspectNow, CoStar, and LandVision. My occupant information is derived from ProspectNow, Inside Prospects, CoStar, and Dunn and Bradstreet...you got it...I pay all of them. Avails...three sources...ALL with varying accuracy and price tags...CoStar, Xceligent, ILS. CoStar provides sales comps and our proprietary database tracks all of our lease comps.
So I've got all this data living in different neighborhoods...not in the same house! Plus if my house doesn't move, I can only live in one location. Want ALL your data furniture in the same house? Good luck to you...start typing, hire an assistant OR figure out a complex mapping/spreadsheet/API conversion...of those sources that WILL ALLOW sharing. AND, once all that data is entered, and something changes...the database is obsolete.
With ALL of that VC swimming around the CRE tech waters, why can't someone invent a CRM that marries ALL of the data sources I already buy, updates the data real time, and allows me to create my own follow up and marketing protocol? Similar to Metropolis...a nifty mid-nineties tool that placed all of your third party data sources on one page...I'm looking for a CRM that could replicate that.
Imagine the possibilities. A building changes hands and your CRM updates the info for you. A tenant vacates and moves...cool! You already pay for the data...now your CRM reflects the change. Want to create a list of static building owners in a market place for a prospecting list? DONE!
I'm sure there is a way. But, how much would I pay? Handsomely! If someone can figure out a way to get ALL my furniture arranged in a mobile home...count me in!
By: Allen Buchanan
Principal, Lee & Associates