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9 Things You Need in a Real Estate CRM

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Author photo: Brent Barnhart

Brent Barnhart


If you’re a realtor, chances are you’re busy.

Like, crazy busy.

When you’re working 14-hour days while juggling multiple clients, anything you can do to rein in some of your day-to-day chaos is a plus.

Which is exactly why more and more realtors are investing in a CRM.

Rather than relying on tedious spreadsheets, using a real estate CRM is a total game-changer for organization and efficiency.

Want to manage your massive contact list once and for all?

Looking to spend more time closing deals and less time stuck in a spreadsheet?

A CRM can make it happen.

Well, the right CRM can make it happen.

So, what are the must-haves for a real estate CRM?

We’ll admit it. Comparing CRM software can be tricky.

On one hand, you don’t want a bloated system that’s actually going to make your life more complicated.

And on the flip side, you don’t want something that’s too bare-bones.

Realtors have a special set of needs when it comes to their CRM. By understanding exactly what to look for, picking out a solution doesn’t have to feel like a guessing game.

But what are those needs, anyway? Here are our top priorities for realtors looking to shave some serious hours off their workweek.

1. Smart lead segmentation

When you’re dealing with tons of listings and inquiries, it’s tough to determine who your top priorities should be.

That’s where segmentation can be a life-saver.

Your real estate CRM should be able to break down your leads based on specific parameters in your capture forms. Some of those parameters might include:

  • Area/zip code
  • Budget
  • How soon they’re looking to buy/sell
  • Pre-approval status
An example of how to segment your leads

Once these leads are stored in your CRM, you can prioritize them based on who you believe will result in a closed deal sooner.

The end result is a bird’s eye view of each and every one of your leads, all in one place.

Oh, and some CRMs automatically capture info about your leads for you, which eliminates hours of data entry. Here's how Reali uses Copper to stay on top of its pipeline of clients and open houses:

2. Automated follow-up options

You probably spend a good chunk of your day following up with people, right?

Responding to contacts is the number one priority for realtors, but it’s also incredibly time-consuming.

With a CRM, realtors can automate a portion of their follow-ups with leads. This frees up your schedule to focus on your priority calls in real time.

This is especially important in the Relationship Era where realtors are expected to make a human connection with their clients.

How do you put follow-ups on autopilot without sounding robotic, though?

Email templates and personalization fields. A proper real estate CRM should feature both.

For example, let’s say you want to follow up with cold leads or people you haven’t heard from in a couple of weeks.

Hitting them up one by one via email would take forever, wouldn’t it?

With email automation in your CRM, you can create follow-up templates to roll out again and again.

What setting up an email template looks like in Gmail

Personalization fields such as [First Name] allow you to create templates that don’t feel copied-and-pasted, but rather tailor-made for each client. These fields then auto-populate based on your CRM data.

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Sell more 🏠

Learn about the best brokerages and real estate agents are using CRM to stay on top of tasks, open houses, and relationships.

3. Robust touch-point tracking

To build relationships, you need to treat your clients like individuals.

But doing so can be a hassle when you’re juggling dozens of clients and listings simultaneously.

Touch-points such as calls and meetings are essential to getting to know your clients on a personal level. These tasks can quickly run together and likewise can take forever to track by hand, though.

Again, one of the biggest benefits of using a CRM is getting away from manual data entry as much as possible.

That’s why realtors should look for a CRM that automatically tracks each and every touch-point with clients and leads alike. These points of contact might include:

  • Emails
  • Calls
  • Meetings
  • Shared documents
  • Proposals

Automatic event logging in your CRM gives you a concise overview your lead relationships. Rather than second-guessing where you stand with a lead, you can find out right away in your CRM.

This complete “profile” of your leads can keep you on track to close your deals. By looking at where you’ve been with clients, it’s easier to figure out what to do next.

4. Notifications and reminders

Remember what we said about realtors being crazy busy?

It’s not hard to lose track of a meeting or call when you’re swamped with clients.

Your CRM should be able to serve as your digital to-do list. Features such as automated reminders for calls and meetings keep you from accidentally flaking on your meetings.

In addition to one-off reminders, it’s also helpful to set up recurring tasks. This is a particularly useful feature for realtors.

For example, if you want to set a consistent timetable for following up with cold leads, you can set a reminder for when to do so.

A nice added bonus in Copper, for instance, is the ability to receive notifications whether you’re at home, in the office or on the go.

Setting reminders also helps you build out a comprehensive calendar so you know what your schedule looks like day-to-day.

Tasks in Copper can actually be synced to Google Calendars for real estate agents who are spending serious time in their inboxes. (Learn about the 33 ways you can use GCal to save time.)

When you have so much on your plate, reminders can help you hone in on your most pressing tasks.

5. Plenty of third-party integrations

Chances are you’re already using a variety of third-party tools to streamline your business.

Remember: the purpose of a CRM is to make your life easier. Your real estate CRM should feature seamless integrations with the tools that you’re already familiar with.

This allows you to continue using the solutions you love while spending less time juggling between them.

Let’s say you’re already using Mailchimp to manage your contact list and incoming leads. You could sync that same lead data with your CRM.

Or if you had a DocuSign integration, you could get a client to sign an offer letter or send over a time-sensitive document—no matter where they are.

Whether through existing integrations or through Zapier, your CRM should ideally supplement the current tools you’re using.

6. Easy access to your existing list

A CRM is perfect for wrangling new leads, but what about the ones that you already have?

If you’ve been working in a spreadsheet for years and don’t want to waste your existing lead data, you shouldn’t have to.

Your CRM should be able to allow for quick and easy uploading of your current client list. For example, you can instantly upload Excel files in Copper, which will populate in our system based on your fields.

Copper also helps realtors detect and merge any duplicate leads that you might come across. This way, you don’t lose any of your precious data and there’s less confusion in your CRM.

7. Robust reporting

Realtors are swimming in a sea of data.

Budgets. Deals and fees. Commissions.

The list goes on and on.

Reporting through your CRM allows you to visualize your client data in a way that’s easy to digest.

Not only that, but you can also better understand the financial standings of your clients, as well as what you need to do to reach your revenue goals.

For example, who are your most valuable deals? What’s your average deal size? How much more do you need to close to exceed last year’s numbers?

Through reporting, the data is there in black and white.

Checking your reports regularly helps you move the needle forward as you set realistic income goals for yourself.

8. Mobile functionality

This one’s pretty straightforward.

Most realtors are constantly on the move.

This means you’re often away from the office—and your laptop.

Using a CRM with an app guarantees that you can still keep an eye on your client relationships when you’re on the go.

This is especially useful for note-taking during showings or collecting lead information with an iPad or tablet.

For example, Copper’s mobile app makes it easy to log your interactions no matter where you might be. This sort of freedom means that your business is always “on” for the sake of your clients.

9. A low learning curve

Last but not least, your real estate CRM should be easy to learn.

Because when you’re constantly on a time-crunch, trying to learn an entirely new piece of software can be frustrating.

That’s why it pays to work with a CRM that’s robust in features but simple by design.

Copper’s real estate CRM has been proven to produce results for real-world realtors. In fact, it saves realtors an average of 13 hours per week and speeds up client communication by 40%.

Because it allows you to work directly within Gmail, it’s also the perfect CRM for realtors who’ve never really worked with a CRM before.

Looking for a real estate CRM that’s right for you?

Ultimately, to find the right CRM, you need to first understand your needs.

As a realtor, if your top priorities are keeping organized, streamlining your communication, and saving time—then Copper ticks all of those boxes and then some.

Curious about what Copper can do for you? Get a demo or check out a free trial.

Try Copper free

Instant activation, no credit card required. Give Copper a try today.

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