Every growing business eventually outgrows the systems it uses to stay on top of their customer relationships. Even if you’re going from a handful of notes or another software, scaling up the management of your relationships is a sure sign of progress.
Commercial real estate brokers often turn to customer relationship management software (CRMs) to support their commercial real estate marketing and sales effort.
But there are a lot of CRMs available, with a number of different features. Deeper still, there are also many designed to meet the specific needs of the commercial real estate industry.
To help you match the features to your challenges, and evaluate different CRMs for your needs, we have compiled the 8 best commercial real estate CRMs currently available. Review key features, pricing, and all the other key considerations required to make an informed choice for your business.
What Makes a Good CRM?
Customer relationship management software is designed to help you manage and oversee the interactions you have with prospects, clients, and tenants seamlessly. Rather than a messy datebook or poorly formatted spreadsheet, a good CRM is a resource that streamlines and improves the process of engaging with key people in your business.
Specifically, for commercial real estate companies, there are several benefits to having a good CRM in place, including:
- Pipeline Management – A good CRM will ensure you follow up with deals when needed. No more forgotten calls dropped leases or lost prospects because someone in the office forgot to call them.
- Better Collaboration – With a good CRM in place, your team can collaborate more effectively, especially if they are rarely in the office together.
- Accountability – It’s easier to track and oversee how your team is managing prospects with a central system that everyone is accountable to.
- Back Office Management – Some of the more robust CRM options offer back-office management as well, greatly reducing the time spent tracking multi-agent commission plans, sending or customizing invoices, and applying payments.
- Customization and scalability – A good CRM enables customization so it can be used to handle specific business needs, as and when they arrive. There should also be a level of extensibility to the system so you can manage increasing amounts of data as you scale, and integrate third-party tools for additional functionality.
A good CRM will save you time, keep your data clean and organized, and ensure you follow up with prospects when needed. It is that enhanced accountability and communication that will have the biggest impact on your business.
What to Consider When Choosing a CRM?
What matters most when choosing a CRM for your business? It depends highly on your business and the specific needs you have in managing your relationships.
These might include:
- Property Database Integration – For CRE companies, properties are as important as deals or contact records and need to be as fully integrated as possible. The best CRMs in this space do just that, allowing you to create a custom local database and link it to deals and prospects.
- Marketing Tools – Integration with your existing email and calendar systems, and email marketing options (either via API or built-in tools) is vital to ensure you are following up with prospects at regular intervals and it is all tracked.
- Accessibility – Real estate brokers are on the run constantly. A good CRE CRM needs to be accessible anywhere, either through a web browser or as a mobile app.
- Technical Support – Because of how heavily customized these systems are, you should have support on hand who can help to get the most out of your system. This includes onboarding, technical support, and training documentation.
Drawbacks of CRM Implementation
Anytime you onboard new software there will be challenges and CRM is no different.
Whether you are currently using a locally installed CRM or are tracking everything in spreadsheets, there will be a learning curve for your team as you move so much of your business into a centralized system.
Importing all of that data can take days or even weeks to complete, and then you’ll need to train everyone on your staff to use the system and then follow-up frequently to ensure they are using it properly.
Compliance is key for a new CRM – without it, the system starts to fall apart quickly.
Fortunately, the five platforms we’re going to look at in this article are successful because of the support they offer new customers – in the form of onboarding, training, and ongoing support. Take full advantage of these resources to get the most from your new software.
Best Commercial Real Estate CRMs
To help in selecting a CRM that fits your needs, we’ve collected and reviewed the five best commercial real estate CRMs for 2020 below.
Salesforce is widely recognized as the number-one CRM option available today, and that customer-relationship expertise helps make it the most effective commercial real estate CRM on the market.
Salesforce commercial real estate CRM is a flexible, adaptable, intuitive, and completely cloud-based tool. Built on the award-winning Salesforce CRM platform, agents and firms can collect, analyze, and retrieve nearly limitless amounts of data in real time and at the touch of a button. Additionally, Salesforce CRM solutions are designed mobile-first, which means that users can enjoy full access to the entire catalogue of CRM capabilities, regardless of what kind of device they may be using.
Salesforce offers a number of features built around how commercial real estate brokers operate on a daily basis. These include:
- Contact Management – Ability to organize contacts, schedule tasks, and manage deals.
- Opportunity Management – Manage all your sales deals with Salesforce while staying connected to the people and information you need to close every sale, from anywhere.
- Lead Management – Show the impact of your marketing activities on your sales pipeline and invest your time on the hottest leads.
- Email Integration – Ability to automatically sync and track everything from contacts and events to tasks and more directly from your inbox.
- Sales Forecasting – Get a real-time view of your entire team’s forecast, including in-line forecast adjustments, and override visibility up and down the management hierarchy.
- Files Sync and Share – Share and collaborate on files, publish the best and most relevant content, and track it all in real time. Quickly find what you’re looking for from anywhere, on any device.
Salesforce offers a few pricing plans from $25-$300/user/monthly depending on the features used.
HubSpot’s CRM platform has all the tools and integrations you need for marketing, sales, content management, and customer service.
The CRM product tracks and manages interactions between a company and its customers and prospects. It enables companies to forecast revenue, measure sales team productivity, and report on revenue sources.
With detailed reports on sales activity, productivity, and individual performance, users can track their team’s performance toward and have all the data to coach the team to success.
HubSpot provides tools for social media marketing, content management, web analytics, landing pages, customer support, and search engine optimization.
- Reporting dashboard – Answer important questions about sales performance by bringing all your data together in one place. Get full visibility into your process so you can forecast effectively and deliver exceptional results.
- Customer Profile Software – Get powerful context about the people and companies you’re emailing, right inside your Gmail or Outlook inbox.
- Pipeline Management – Stop letting lucrative deals slip through the cracks. Add deals with a single click, assign tasks, and track progress in your dashboards.
- Appointment & Meeting Scheduler – Eliminate the painful back and forth of meeting scheduling. Share a link that gives prospects the power to choose a time that works for everyone — it’ll automatically sync with your Google or Office 365 calendar
- Sales Automation – Automate your sales process with a personal touch. Set up a series of personalized emails and follow-up tasks to ensure you stay top of mind throughout the sales process.
- Live Chat – Connect directly with prospects when they’re actively engaging with your website. Route chat conversations to the right salesperson to build better relationships and close more deals.
HubSpot’s free tools offer many “lite” versions of select tools featured in their paid products. There are limits to the free HubSpot account, which differ by feature and if you use HubSpot’s free CRM tools with Marketing Hub, the contacts you add to your free CRM tools end up in both places, which could affect your Marketing Hub subscription’s contact tier pricing.
The Sales Hub tiers pricing structure:
- $0/month (Free)
- $45/month (Starter)
- $450/month (Professional)
- $1,200/month (Enterprise)
Apto offers a web-based solution for managing customer relationships, properties, listings, deals, and back-office.
It is this approach that has helped them grow so quickly in recent years with a “built by broker, for broker” approach.
One of the things that makes Apto unique is that it is built on the Salesforce.com platform. A Salesforce embedded license is included in your membership, but you’re getting a system fully customized and optimized for commercial real estate brokers. As a result, it is possible to manage the full lifecycle of a deal from start to finish in the same interface.
Apto offers a number of features built around how commercial real estate brokers operate on a daily basis. These include:
- Appointment Setting – Browsing ability to set appointments for clients against property and personnel availability.
- Automated Tasks – Automation of lease-expirations, follow-up tasks, and more.
- Renewal Management – The built-in stacking plan makes it easy to stay up to date on renewals and list a space at the right time.
- Project Management – Built into the system is a CRM-integrated project management tool to keep track of milestones, tasks and events.
- Collaboration – Deal creation is optimized for tracking relationships with multiple brokers involved in a deal.
- Forecasting – Apto offers both commission estimates and probability estimates for your projection needs.
- Back Office – The back office functionality includes a Book Deal Engine to capture transactions details, invoice creation and tracking, record monitoring for accounts payable and receivable, and agent split calculation.
Apto offers a relatively straightforward pricing structure.
For a flat $89/month per user (billed annually), users gain access to all of the functionality in the CRM and Deal Management modules of Apto.
Back Office access is an additional $29/month per user (billed annually). This includes API access and Salesforce.com embedded license with either membership.
Another highly customized all-in-one commercial real estate optimized CRM, ClientLook manages all three major components of a brokerage in one space – contacts, properties, and deals with heavy integration of the three.
Additionally, ClientLook offers extensive API integration with Google, MailChimp, RPR Commercial for REALTORS®, and TheAnalyst® PRO.
While flexibility is important, ClientLook also provides a bit of additional support for your legacy systems and communications tools.
With three major components, ClientLook is designed to combine all of the facets of your business in one toolset. Features include:
- Contact Management – The contact management system allows you to quickly log notes and emails, create and manage tasks, and sync everything to your mobile devices. This includes Outlook and Google Sync, Private Data management, teaming support for brokers working together on deals, and advanced importing and exporting features.
- Pipeline Management – You can create deals and organize activities, files, emails and other resources accordingly. This also allows you to work with clients actively and record information in real time.
- Property Management – ClientLook includes a personalized property inventory database, allowing you to relate any given property to specific contacts and companies in the database for easier management.
ClientLook offers a similar pricing model to Apto with seats billed annually per user.
When paid annual, the price is $58/month/user.
They also offer a month-to-month plan for $69/month/user.
This includes their extensive support options as well with Virtual Assistance services, in-app chat, and a video library for training your team.
REThink (now part of Buildout) offers another Salesforce.com powered CRM option for commercial real estate companies, with full CRE database and prospect management support, deal pipeline features and reporting and analytics customized for the commercial real estate companies they work with.
Key features of REThink include the following with a handful of additional features available at the Enterprise level for larger companies.
- Contact Management – The core CRM offers the power of Salesforce with customization for commercial real estate companies.
- CRE Database – Property management within the CRM, with the ability to integrate and tie each property to contacts, prospects, or deals in the system.
- Pipeline Management – Deal creation and management tools that tie to prospects, contacts, leases already in the system, and properties.
- Reporting and Analytics Tools – Reporting tools have been customized for CRE use, allowing you to drill into the information you care most about more easily.
- Customized Onboarding – REThink offers a robust onboarding process that takes 6-8 weeks. This allows the system to be catered to your business and populated with relevant information, with the appropriate training to support your efforts.
REThink offers a monthly plan (when billed annually) for the Team and Office options for a minimum of four users.
Additionally, there is a single one-time flat fee charged for REThink Onboarding. Onboarding is assessed on a per-customer basis depending on your needs in the CRM and is mandatory for all users.
There is also a multi-office and enterprise plan designed for larger firms – pricing for these plans is provided on a request-only basis.
AscendixRE AscendixRE is a commercial real estate CRM option built on the framework of both Salesforce and Dynamics 365. AscendixRE includes Salesforce/Dynamics 365 license. Besides, brokers already using one of the two leading CRMs on the market, can quickly integrate with their current systems.
AscendixRE CRM tool can be customized to the needs of your brokers. Ascendix performs all customizations using their own team.
There are three different plans for AscendixRE CRM tool, with the top tier offering advanced supped of Salesforce features. The core features include:
- Core Contact Management – Management of your contacts, activity tracking, property listing and lease tracking, deal and history tracking, all of them linked to one another to fit your tracking needs.
- Dashboard Management – Create and display dashboards for key information to members of your team in real time, track lease expirations and other essential information.
- Stacking Plans, Commission and Lease Tracking – Available as part of the Enterprise package, these advanced tools are powerful additions to any commercial real estate broker’s tool set.
- Automated Tasks – Lease expiration tracking, follow ups, workflows, tasks management automation, mass edits, mass emails.
- Email Integration – Easy integration for both Google and Outlook, MailChimp.
- Ascendix Search – a geo-search, multi-criteria tool to create lists of prospects, properties, analyze your CRM data, export it to Excel.
- Composer – The Composer allows you to generate custom collateral, brochures, and other documents your brokerage will be using by sourcing data and images from AscendixRE.
- Property Listing Portals, Deal & Collaboration Rooms – AscendixRE Unlimited users can automatically publish and update their listings, invite prospective clients to private Deal and collaboration rooms.
- Concierge Service – All Enterprise and Unlimited users can delegate contact management, data entry to Ascendix team at no additional cost.
Because of the variable nature of the AscendixRE plans, the best solution will depend on the size of your company and the way in which you want to interact with your data.
The Salesforce integrated solution, for example, offers no seat minimums and a lower entry price point per user. Also, it has special editions for Capital Markets, Land Brokers, Property Managers. The Microsoft Dynamics system works only with 5 or more users.
AscendixRE offers three pricing options, with several add-ons available.
The base price for AscendixRE Foundations is $49/user/month. For AscendixRE Enterprise, the cost is $79/user/month. Concierge service, Ascendix Search, Commission Tracking, stacking plans are included.
AscendixRE Unlimited is $99/user/month and includes property listing portals, automatic lead capture, Deal and Collaboration tools. Every plan includes Salesforce license without user minimum.
The AscendixRE for Dynamics 365 option is a bit more at $95/user/month with a 5 user minimum to get started.
Apptivo is a CRM solution that brings together more than 50 applications on a single platform to help small and medium-sized businesses run their operations successfully. The integration of all applications offers a wide range of solutions for any business. Its unique features, combined with 24-hour customer service, offer users an incredible experience.
Apptivo integrates with tools including Google Workspace, Slack, QuickBooks, PayPal, Office 365, RingCentral, and Dropbox. This allows you to manage everything in one place without having to hop from app to app.
- Contact & account management
- Partner relationship management
- Opportunity pipeline management
- Task management
- Contract management tools
- Lead, email and campaign management
- Case management
- Customer support portal
- Support analytics
Apptivo offers 4 different subscription options:
- Lite version: $8 per month
- Premium: $12 per month
- Ultimate: $20 per month
- Enterprise: Prices for this plan may vary
Freshworks CRM is a cloud – based customer relationship management (CRM) solution that helps companies of all sizes manage their leads with the use of AI. Freshworks combines sales automation, marketing automation, chat and telephone in the same platform. This platform enables you to attract leads, engage with them as well as close deals and nurture your customer relationships.
- AI-powered features: Freddy AI captures, scores, and ranks leads.
- Client communication: Make calls, send emails, or start chats within the CRM.
- Custom features: Tailor modules, reports, and more to your company’s needs.
- 24/5 support: All tiers include customer assistance via email, chat, or phone.
There are several pricing options available depending on your needs:
- Freshworks Free-for-Life: Unlimited users
- Growth: $29/user
- Pro: $69/user
- Enterprise: $125/user
Zoho CRM is currently used by 250,000 different companies in 180 countries. This platform helps businesses convert more leads, engage with their customers with the final objective of growing their revenue.
By integrating with live chat software, email, and social media, you can set up real-time notifications to be in the know any time a lead or customer interacts with your business. The real-time reports and insights ensure you can have up-to-date data at your fingertips no matter your location.
Other features include the ability to automate workflows, manage contacts, and manage deals from stage to stage. You can also build a sales process for your real estate agents so that prospective buyers get a consistent experience regardless of the team member they work with.
- Automation – Automatically assign leads to sales reps using predefined filters based on territory, likeness of deal closing and much more.
- Zoho’s AI – the technology suggests for the best time of the day to message your leads in order to optimize your response rate. In addition, the technology implemented into the software learns usage patterns so your team gets personalized suggestions in order to complete their daily tasks more efficiently.
- Process management – You can generate leads from multiple channels including: social media, offline campaigns, business cards, online campaigns.
- Lead scoring – The solution gives you the ability to see which leads your sales team should focus their efforts on.
- Collaboration – Zoho gives you the ability to collaborate with your teammates by integrating a chat tool to your CRM.
- Document management – Access important property information such as property details, transaction history and service reports.
Zoho offers several different pricing options:
- Standard plan: $14/month.
- Professional plan: $23/month.
- Enterprise plan: $40/month.
There are many different options when it comes to contact, property, and deal management for your commercial real estate company. The ability to more efficiently manage the different types of commercial real estate leases, contacts, automate important components of the follow-up process and cycle and score leads to maximize opportunity are all incredibly important.
Depending on the size of your company, the number of deals you manage on a routine basis, properties you need to enter, and the people who will be accessing the system, each of these platforms has something unique to offer.