In the Point2 Success Webinar on Tuesday, I touched on a trend in Real Estate CRMs regarding e-mail. I was asked to expand on it so here it is!
Most CRM users still do what we have been doing for years. We do our customer relationship management work in our CRM, and we do e-mail in our e-mail software. So when someone e-mails us and we need to refresh our memory, we would look back at the e-mails we exchanged in say, Outlook. Then we would go to our CRM and look at notes we had taken in the past, when our last phone call was, when they closed on their house, etc. It’s okay. It works. But bouncing back and forth between the two is more cumbersome than need be, now that we have other choices.
It would be easier if, when we were in the contact record, we could look at notes, to-do’s, appointments AND e-mail right from within that contact’s record, say in a “History” tab.
Well we can do that now. One method that several CRMs use is most often referred to in the industry as a “dropbox”. The way it works is that you can continue to use whatever e-mail software you currently use, such as Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc. When you are in the CRM, there is a setting that provides you with a special e-mail address that is unique to your CRM account. You take that e-mail address and go to your e-mail software (Outlook,Gmail,etc.) and add a new contact such as “MyCRM”(you can call it whatever you want), and give it that special e-mail address. This way whenever you start keying in “MyCRM” in the BCC or Forward box, it will automatically fill it with the special address.
From then on, when you are in Outlook/Gmail and you get an e-mail from “Joe Seller” and you want that e-mail stored with that contact’s record in your CRM, you take one extra step. You BCC or forward that e-mail using the CRMs special e-mail address. When the CRM receives an e-mail from you, to that special address, it knows to look at the content of that e-mail for the contact’s e-mail address. When it finds it, it uses it to match it to your contact record and store that e-mail with that contact’s history in your account.
What if you thought the contact was in there when you sent the e-mail to the CRM, but it was not? Or what if you sent the e-mail and it was the correct contact, but it was a different e-mail address? The CRM holds it for you in a special list that is for unmatched incoming e-mails. You then just match them up and it will be good to go from there on in.
That is one method. Another is the way Top Producer works. A potential downside for some may be that it only works with Gmail or Outlook, so far. The upside is that you never have to BCC or forward. The way Top Producer works is that when you add a contact to Gmail or Outlook, you add it to the Top Producer group or category. So any contact in Google that is in the Top Producer “Group”, or in the Top Producer “Category” in Outlook, has their e-mails automatically stored with the contact’s history in Top Producer.
What may be the biggest upside to this advancement in CRM comes into play if you are not working alone. Since these CRMs are “in the cloud”, all these e-mails are available to all the users with access to the contact record, in real time. So if you get an e-mail on your phone when you’re on the road, your assistant can see it almost immediately in the contact’s history.
The biggest downside to this is that you no longer have to deal with everyone on your team BCCing each other all the time. I’m sure you will miss that, right? – NOT!
There are many many CRMs. Some have added this capability. Some have not. Some do it better than others. Some do it differently than the rest. Now that you know this capability exists, you can ask better questions when you are looking for a CRM.
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