Although there are no shortage of new software platforms in the market, eight applications have risen to the top as the most functional and effective. Each platform has its pros and cons as to its potential value. How it will interface with your organization’s technology stack depends largely on your companies needs and focus.
EXPECTATIONS OF CRE SOFTWARE.
Strong relationships are crucial for success in every industry, but real estate is particularly reliant on the personal touch. Winning clients and negotiating deals requires real communication. Real estate professionals and organizations need a solution to track their relationships. Once relationships turn into closed business, teams will need to track commissions, production, volume, etc. to accurately and transparently distribution the commissions.
CRE focused platforms promise to help professionals build consistency and structure throughout the deal process while also streamlining operations and giving transparency to the agent, his client and the brokerage company’s back office.
CRM platforms were created for the purpose of streamlining the communication between the agent and their customer; however, through effective listening to client feedback these platforms have evolved and now provide enhanced functionality that includes:
- Tracking an agents pipeline allowing the agent and their broker with an organized intelligent approach to forecasting. Not only the individual agent revenue but also a tool to project and create a more accurate annual organizational budget.
- Digitizing databases provides the opportunity for geo-coded mapping capabilities for listings and prospecting.
- Providing “war rooms” for secure sharing of sensitive information during the deal process.
As a rule of thumb, natively written programs may provide a higher level of flexibility and customization than application layered on top of software like Salesforce. Depending on your organizations current level of sophistication within their technology stack one approach vs another may have no effect on the ability to integrate new technology into your operations.
REThink CRM built by experienced CRE brokers, leverages the Salesforce.com Lightning platform to help brokers manage client relationships, listings, deals, and pipeline. Salesforce’s user interface is focused on the concept of a mobile-first society and represents the company’s effort to make the platform easier to use.
It shares some commonalities with other CREcentric CRMs as is referred to as a Digital Rolodex, however, the application includes a deal pipeline feature that tracks sales and leasing transactions.
Integrations with other service providers, such as CommissionTrac (www.commissiontrac.com) and marketing software Buildout (www.buildout.com) gives REThink an edge over some of its competitors in – what is beginning to be a crowded field. The platform also enables the user to build customized reporting dashboards allowing for instantaneous feedback on an organizations KPI’s.
Apto hits upon many of the essential functions of a CRM, with some additional desirable features like news integration and geo-targeting, and deal flow automation. APTO’s application is also built utilizing Salesforce’s cloud-based Lighting platform providing for easier and efficient integrations with other SaaS platforms providing complimentary services.
Apto’s features organize the data to reflect how the industry works based on input from brokers and their founder, a successful broker himself. The deal pipeline dashboard is broken into categories of – Pursuits, Sourcing, Negotiations, Contract, and Closed. APTO’s application takes the deal process to the next level by providing the ability to provide customized automation to the deal processes with their “playbooks” feature that help users deliver customizable, specific tasks at the right time.
One of Apto’s newest features, geo-targeted news, enriches the user experience through built-in automation to keep real estate professionals informed about what’s happening around a client’s properties.
Data is also available within their CRM that assists with client prospecting. Apto Maps is a built-in mapping tool that helps user prospect based on location or property criteria. Throughout their platform, it is evident APTO’s approach is to help automate, streamline and graphically represent information in an effort to broaden the channels of communication between agents, clients, and management.
Voted ‘Best Overall Real Estate Tech Site,’ in 2017 ClientLook boasts some impressive stats, including a 99% renewal rate. Natively written ClientLook allows you to manage every aspect of your commercial real estate business, including your properties, leads, clients, and deals. ClientLook has tailor-made sections for each component of business to maximize business management efficiency in every area.
In addition, the software has built-in integration with several CRE apps and services, such as RPR, Buildout, Google, TheAnalyst PRO, and MailChimp to the database. Additionally, ClientLook has an integrated and collaborative “war room” feature to help facilitate the secure sharing of critical information during the deal cycle.
ClientLook offers its users unlimited support and personalized training for free. Uniquely, its Virtual Assistants are a team of free professionals ready to assist with data entry, lead capture, and listing administration.
RealNex CORE CRM is part of a suite of tools that delivers information wherever real estate professionals are through the cloud. Its capabilities cover the essential CRM tasks, with some upgraded features. Marketing is one of the program’s strong suits.
The MarketEdge tools take CRM-based property data and create documents real estate professionals needs. Generate presentations using company branding from MarketEdge templates. Deliver flyers, proposals, complete financials, and offering memorandums with style. Much of the work is automated and user intuitive with a drag-and-drop builder.
RealNex’s Deal Rooms facilitate transactions from end-to-end. Access is private and secured with an automated non-disclosure agreement and seven levels of security. The war room allows users to post all relevant documents and manage who has access to the information to accelerate a deal.
The RealNex MarketPlace is a free global property search engine. Any CRM property data is accessible through the MarketPlace. Clients can use the search engine to gain exposure for their listings and run targeting eMarketing campaigns across the RealNex suite.
Commissiontrac (www.commissiontrac.com) is a cloud-based natively written application utilizing enterprise Java. The application specifically designed to track and manage the complexities of distributing to agents commercial real estate sale and lease commissions. By automating this traditionally manual and tedious task of the leasing and sales transaction it helps agents get paid on time with transparency and accuracy down to the penny.
CommissionTrac supports back-office professionals as they capture and instantly reports on the most important aspect of their business – their revenue. Additionally, CommissionTrac provides a brokerage companies management, as well as individual agents rich dashboards displaying key KPI’s allowing them to keep their pulse on the heartbeat of their business.
As a by-product to providing this very detailed and transparent information companies have the ability to create their own internal lease and sale comparable databases ultimately giving them a leg up on their competition through their deep detailed knowledge of market transactions.
Astro, a natively written cloud-based CRE application, was designed to help automate the transaction process through effective communication among agents and clients. Tools include broker management of agents pipeline feature allowing commercial real estate brokerage companies and ability to gauge expected revenue.
Realcore Applications is a cloud-based software platform developed exclusively for commercial real estate brokerage firms.
Realcore’s platform provides agents and CRE executive the opportunity to keep a real-time pulse on their ongoing, contingent revenue opportunities of the firm. Realcore manages all client information and provides management with pipeline estimates allowing a more effective budgetary process.
Additionally, the system offers client portals designed for both agents, landlords, and clients to communicate more seamlessly throughout the evolution of the transaction. These portals streamline communications and allow agents to deliver real-time, actionable information to their clients that drives them to make more informed decisions.
With a focus on marketing and helping agents increase the landlord representation side of their business Realcore is an effective option if an agent or company’s focus is to increase their landlord portfolio.
COSTAR BROKERAGE APPLICATIONS
Costar Applications offers an array of features from commission accounting to CRM capabilities, unfortunately, is written in a legacy software platform and is not cloud-based.
Desktop-based applications significantly limit accessibility thereby reducing the overall effectiveness, functionality, and ease of access newer platforms provide. Historically legacy software systems have created significant challenges to integrating a company’s internal information to a new platform efficiently and accurately.
ARE CRE APPS ARE KEEPING PACE WITH INNOVATION?
Overwhelming the answer is yes. Today’s innovators in this space are either lead by seasoned professional or have access through Advisory boards to decades of thought leadership – and more importantly, they are listening to their clients on what will make their products more relevant and accessible to users.
The providers are offering more automation, more integrations between systems. Mobile applications have allowed systems to move beyond the desktop and into a virtual and global world delivering critical information to agents on the go – anywhere 24 hours a day seven days a week.
A digital platform is an essential and critical tool to be competitive today in the world of commercial. With an array of providers in the space, such as the ones mentioned above, firms can find the right service to compete in today’s market at a price within their corporate budgets.
As a more thorough roadmap to evaluating these technologies and how to integrate a digital footprint into your organization, you may want to consider downloading our recent whitepaper on – How to Adopt Technology in Commercial Real Estate.
CRE TECHNOLOGY COMPANY
To find out how you can use technology to manage your individual receivables, commission plans, invoicing and distributions, please sign up for the CommissionTrac blog and learn why TechStars Atlanta selected CommissionTrac as their first CRE application for their intense 90-day mentorship program joint-ventured with Cox Communications. Learn more about CommissionTrac and request a demo today by visiting our website.
Content Provided By Daniel Levison.