Generic CRMs Don't Work For Property Projects. Here's Why.

7 minute read

Why Property Developers Switch to Real-Estate Specific CRMs

If you’re a developer or selling property projects, you’ve probably noticed that CRM software has become a necessary driver of a successful property project. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform makes it possible to get a 360° view of your projects including prospective buyers, marketing performance, sales team activity and contracts.

Whether you’re selling off the plan, listing an unfinished project, or marketing the latest developments, using powerful sales software helps you close deals faster.

The only problem is that there are hundreds of CRMs to choose from in Australia alone. And the catch? Most of them are not designed at all for property projects.

The property and real estate industry is hyper-specific and requires fit-for-purpose sales tools. At Property Shell, we have built a project specific CRM designed specifically for off the plan sales simply because the generic ones weren’t working for our industry.

What Exactly is a Real Estate CRM?

A customer relationship management (CRM) platform is a single place where you can track and manage data to build stronger customer relationships and make data-driven decisions. Property Development CRMs are designed to track, manage and report on leads, marketing, contracts, payments, all the way through to settlement.

How does it help Property Developer and Project Marketing Organisations?

Marketing and selling developments requires a unique set of skills and tools for managing all moving parts. A property or project must connect with key buyers at the right time, right place, and right communication method. A tailored CRM is useful to project marketing teams for not only seeing deal flow in real time, but also managing internal sales teams to ensure no opportunities have slipped through the cracks.

Why Generic CRMs Don't Work

We often hear from developers and project marketing companies that their CRM just doesn’t measure up, or they find themselves dealing with the pain of trying to implement, tailor and manage a generic CRM platform within their business. They end up becoming a part-time ‘software development’ house, taking energy and effort away from the core business of being a property developer or sales agent. Even where resources are available to implement a generic CRM, both the direct and hidden ongoing costs turn out to be astronomically higher than that originally advertised or budgeted.

This is not just in the dollar cost of implementing a generic CRM, but the ongoing maintenance and problems that arise. Ultimately, this can lead to what is perhaps more difficult to measure in the form of poor sales performance.

Often the initial upfront window front costs don’t account for costs in staff input to continuously maintain and update generic platforms by staff and CRM managers. And following from this, inefficiencies and difficulties in managing a property project that come about due to ‘clunky’ or not fit for purpose technology.

The features that make an industry-tailored CRM more effective for property developers and sales agents include:

  • Instant oversight of one’s project(s)
  • A centralised place for sales teams to engage with prospective buyers
  • Simple stock list and sales control
  • Contract management
  • Built-in email and text messaging
  • Lead follow-up and nurturing tools
  • Multi-agent management
  • Automated deposits and payments
  • Settlement and contracts workflows

Here’s a few of the top reasons why a generic CRM won’t work for your real estate project selling goals, and what to look for in an out-of-the-box solution like Property Shell.

1 - Generic CRMs Aren’t Real Estate/Project Specific

Most CRMs do not accurately mimic the sales processes that real estate agents need for their day-to-day reporting. Costly alterations and customisations are often needed to work around this. What if instead of “getting your CRM tailored to you,” it just worked immediately on day one? Property Shell was designed by property development and project marketing experts, for the development industry to close deals faster. This means we’ve already solved industry challenges, like managing entire sales teams, improving the property development sales experience, or giving you lead generation tools based on the latest developments.

2 - They Don’t Talk The Talk

Generic CRMs don’t use property development or real estate terminology, even if they’re marketing to you. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem if they solved our challenges, but by not speaking in real estate terms, many features are unable to meet your needs without custom development.

3 - Not Integrated With Real Estate Software

Face it, generic CRMs are never going to focus solely on the property development space as it makes up a small percentage of their customer base. They market to huge SaaS companies, ecommerce giants, and hundreds of other industries. All of these businesses submit requests to integrate and update with their preferred software. This means that your most important property development and off the plan sales software probably doesn’t integrate naturally with their ecosystem and worse—you are forced to pay for addons to get the most out of the CRM.

A dedicated CRM like Property Shell comes out-of-the-box with industry relevant integrations: financial, accounting and documentation software that developers and agents are familiar with.

4 - You’re Locked In Forever

Brands like Apple lock users into their ecosystem and make it difficult to switch in the future. Generic CRM providers use the same model—making it incredibly hard to transition to another platform without additional costs to migrate data. “I think it's extremely hard to switch from one cloud CRM to another,” says Sangram Vajre, former head of marketing for Pardot by Salesforce. “It requires people, process, dollars and time.”

Real Estate CRMs are suited for flexibility. Everything from pricing, IT setup, and data management is geared more towards the property industry. For example, pricing structures based on project-size or deal-size, rather than flat monthly fees are usually better suited to real estate firms. Additionally, migrating and integrating data from a tailored real estate platform can be faster and easier with CRMs that already know what your data means when it’s time to migrate.

Property Development Software

5 - Generic CRMs Are Hard to Use

There’s a huge learning curve to some of the biggest CRM players, complete with dedicated courses for learning navigation. Because they are generic, they often don’t provide fit-for-purpose usability and this causes serious issues with adoption by teams across small and large organisations. Most organisations may find leading CRMs overwhelming or too big to truly take advantage of and excessively bloated for their day-to-day needs.

A great real estate CRM is one that is used daily by real estate developers and salespeople. Property Shell for instance, was designed with ultimate simplicity in mind, with most of your daily project sales activities within reach from a single panel.

6 - Costly Software Development

If you’re using a generic CRM, what if you need to use it for off-the-plan sales processes? Or develop relationships with property developers and/or project marketers? What if you need to manage onsite property displays, or see all of your properties at a glance? Perhaps you need to drive communications to agents in the field? These are all features that need time and effort within a generic CRM—and there’s no guarantee it will work as expected (ranging anywhere from $10,000 to well over $100,000 per feature).

A property development CRM doesn’t saddle you with too many additional software costs. Instead, it’s important to pick the right one that handles your most important use cases right away.

7 - Customer Support Has a Poor Reputation

The big players in the generic CRM space don’t have the best reviews when it comes to customer support for small-to-medium firms. Some attribute this problem to rapid growth which leads them to spend on innovation and marketing, not customer service. The reality is, as a property developer or a real estate based sales organisation, direct and ongoing support with people in the same industry is not just a nice to have, but absolutely critical to project success.

A lack of resources to personalise support had earned some brands bad reputation, where business owners on the internet share their Salesforce war stories when encountering a problem. Consider the following figures from a recent report:

  • Only 40% of respondents said their experience with Salesforce support was ‘Good’ at handling basic administration, while 60% reported delays or confusion
  • 38% reported only marginal success after adding new features

Meet the CRM Made for Better Project Selling

If you’re ready to take your property development business or off the plan sales to the next level, or maybe you’re using a generic CRM that just doesn’t measure up, switching to a real estate CRM will change your life. You don’t have to use ours, but we take pride in building Property Shell exclusively for those looking to get powerful, simplified features.

A real estate CRM, designed specifically for our industry makes life easier. Here’s how:

  • Quickly respond to enquiries and ongoing sales
  • Empower your sales teams with full oversight of leads and enquiries to maximise sales
  • Track the entire journey of prospective buyers like enquiries, e-mail communications, SMS and e-marketing
  • Centralise the management of your projects with instant oversight of your pipeline at a glance
  • Quickly adapt your marketing and sales strategies based on data driven reporting
  • Integrate with finance and accounting
  • Automate tasks and workflows like payments and signing
  • Centralise all your document management digitally

There’s a good reason why generic CRMs aren't marketed strongly to developers and project marketing firms—they simply don’t offer these sets of features that the industry needs. At Property Shell we believe in better selling experiences for those looking to sell projects. Modern off-the-plan sales agents don’t need to live in spreadsheet hell, or struggle to stay organised—they need simple ways to minimise data confusion, optimise sales output, and build strong relationships with developers and customers.

If you feel that your prospects are falling through the cracks, and are interested in trying out one of a kind, end-to-end property development and real estate sales platform, arrange a demo with Property Shell and kickstart lasting sales success.

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