Why Real Estate Agents Haven’t Used CRM

By Yuna Akazawa | December 2, 2015

“In traditional real estate brokerage, everyone is using antiquated systems and manually managing their day-to-day operations. We saw this new emerging service software and realized there’s a great opportunity for that to be developed in real estate,” says David Speers, Director of Sales at Houwzer.

Why They Ditched Top Producer & Zoho and Married ProsperWorks

From his past experience in software and technology, Speers has tried all sorts of CRM systems. When Speers made the switch from software to real estate, he and his team started using Zoho, as “Salesforce was ridiculously expensive, clunky and very hard to use.”

“For the few months we were using Zoho, everybody slowly stopped using it. When I would bring up the sales report during weekly sales meetings, everyone would just be out of touch,” Speers recalls.

“It was like pulling teeth, just to get agents to input data,” continues Speers. “Real estate agents are simply just not used to sitting at their desks [the] whole day putting data into CRMs. They are out in the field on mobile phones all day showing houses, so getting them to do data entry is next to impossible.”

The Houwzer team has also tried using a real-estate specific CRM, Top Producer, which failed to gain popularity among the team members because of its antiquated user interface.

Superior Google Apps Integration

Since the Houwzer team is full of heavy Google Apps users, Speers looked for an alternative solution with Gmail as its core integration. As soon as he found out about ProsperWorks, Houwzer made the switch right away. “It was just enlightening to see how deeply ProsperWorks integrated with apps our agents use day in and day out,” says Speers. ProsperWorks has now become Houwzer’s core technology for staying organized.

For legacy systems like Salesforce and Zoho to integrate with Gmail, Speers would be forced to pay extra for a third-party app. “And the way in which they did it was with such clunky technology,” Speers recalls, frustrated.

With ProsperWorks, his team has visibility into every deal, in the Chrome extension right inside their Gmail. The extension provides a powerful framework in which agents can communicate with clients, and it has become the Houwzer team’s number-one point of interaction.

ProsperWorks Gives Agents the Mobility They Need

Speers and his team know how to leverage the mobile-first nature of ProsperWorks. The game-changing feature for the Houwzer team was the ability to automatically log phone calls. “Real estate agents are always on the phone, so the ability to automatically record that gives us new insights into our data,” says Speers. “This is something a lot of brokerage [firms] and agencies are just not doing. Coldwell Banker spends close to 5-6 million dollars on a proprietary CRM solution that nobody uses,” he laughs.

With the ProsperWorks mobile suite, Speers now has agents in the field writing emails that are synced in real time to the ProsperWorks web application — no Bcc necessary.

Sales Intelligence

Lead tracking is one of the core sales activities in real estate. Speers often checks on leads to make sure their shelf lives are shorter than a couple of days. He does this by looking at two metrics: the last time his leads were contacted and how many times they were contacted. “I want to make sure leads are not going stale and just hanging there with no follow-ups,” says Speers.

Speers also likes Activity Reporting, which helps him get insights into individual performance, such as who’s making more contacts. Activity Reporting helps him create more leads and spread leads accordingly across the team.

Two Pipelines: ‘Buying’ and ‘Listing’

Platforms like Zillow and Trulia are the top lead sources for real estate agencies. Agencies advertise on those platforms and gain leads. Houwzer’s leads typically come from Zillow, Trulia and Mailchimp and are sent to ProsperWorks. Once they receive commitment from the lead, Speers creates an opportunity.

“In real estate, there are two numbers that matter,” says Speers. “One, [the] value of the property that you are listing or buying. Two, the actual revenue or profit you are making from that deal.” As a brokerage firm, Houwzer’s revenue comes from a percentage of the value of the deal. So Speers created two custom fields, one representing the value of a deal and the other representing a deal’s revenue.

In real estate, you may represent people who are selling a house and people who are buying a house, and each side involves a completely different process. Speers and his team set up separate pipelines for “buying” and “listing.” Both pipelines typically include multiple steps before a deal can be closed. “It’s better to keep pipeline stages longer than simplifying them just yet; this way we can more clearly identify the roadblocks to remedy. Before ProsperWorks, there was no way [of] identifying them,” says Speers.

The ProsperWorks Philosophy: Automation

“My goal is to do something with as few clicks as possible when it comes to CRM,” says Speers. In the past, Speers compared how many clicks it took him to do certain things with various CRM systems. “ProsperWorks blew all of them out of water,” he adds.

“It’s about the philosophy — the idea of automating as much of the data entry as possible.

Agents would rather go closing more deals than making sure their CRM is up to date,” says Speers.

Overcoming the Fear of CRM in Real Estate

“In real estate, people are not used to using CRMs. While they’ve been managing customer relationships manually, they still manage to exist without CRMs,” says Speers. According to Speers, having to convince — if not force — agents to manually input data is why Coldwell Banker and other traditional real estate firms are having trouble with proprietary systems. As 95% or more realtors in the country [U.S.] are subcontractors, he says, companies cannot make one a mandatory office tool. “If you sat them down and made them use it, they’d be an employee,” says Speers. At Houwzer, staff members have a lot more say than in a traditional brokerage, as everyone is an employee.

“If you can get a team to start using a CRM, it’ll change everything,” says Speers. “All of a sudden they’d have open data between people, no more data silos, up-to-date insights into deal flows, and your projections will automatically be accurate. If you’re a sales manager and director, you can really plan and anticipate. CRM makes a world of difference,” he adds.

“ProsperWorks is an amazing product and I’m sure the real estate industry will greatly benefit from it. At Houwzer, our goal is to leverage CRM like no one has ever done it in the real estate space simply because our model dictates that we have to be efficient, and there’s no way to do that with Salesforce and other CRMs,” Speers concludes.

About Houwzer

Houwzer is a young startup that gives a new spin on the real estate brokerage. With an innovative pricing model built on social currency and a tight integration with technology, the team is rebuilding the real estate brokerage model from the ground up to create a more competitive marketplace while still building consumer trust. Houwzer is on a mission to democratize real estate by helping consumers find a better way home.

Repost from Prosperworks