Can You Track Your Brokerage’s Deal Pipeline Without A CRM?
Daniel Levison | July 8, 2020
The short answer is – yes. But before we tell you how let’s review the pros and cons of a CRM platform for commercial real estate brokerages.
I doubt there is a managing broker in our industry who hasn’t at sometime, if not, continuously struggled with effectively getting their 1099 independent contractor sales agents to provide them with their future pipeline projections. In my experience as a managing broker trying to, even on a quarterly basis, get a grasp on the potential unbooked future revenue for our business was like pulling teeth.
Without an accurate ability to understand your brokerage businesses booked, but unreceived revenue, combined with potential revenue opportunities (pipeline) puts a managing broker in a difficult position to create accurate budgets. It’s like trying to pilot a plane without navigation.
Unfortunately our industry’s standard approach of utilizing independent contractors as agents creates a scenario that makes this task even more difficult. Although there are advantages for implementing company wide CRM’s, because of the inherent nature of salespeople, who are superstitious about jinxing deals, and are hesitant to share customer information the task is never easy.
An organization can unknowingly create an adversarial relationship between the broker and their sales team forcing them to utilize a company wide CRM platform. I know several sales agents we hired over the years, whose organization utilized a company wide CRM, took the last several months of their employment retrieving personal information on all of their clients and customers. I’m sure their productivity was significantly lower during this period of time.
However, if your brokerage business is still inclined to incorporate a company wide CRM implementing a thorough strategy which incorporates the buy in and input from your team is critical. As with the implementation of any technology taking the time to evaluate your needs can make the difference in success or failure .
Fear of failure is also a major stumbling block for any technology and CRM’s are no exception. In order to overcome this fear, organizations need to think through thoroughly and assess all the benefits a CRM implementation will bring along with all the possible challenges they may have to overcome to ensure that the system is implemented successfully.
When evaluating CRM’s SoftDoit offers a very easy questionnaire that you can instantly review solutions that are the most suitable for your business. Their service has helped over 35,000 companies select a CRM. There are also several real estate centric CRMs, such as, ReThink, ClientLook, APTO and RealNex to consider.
Should your firm decide to move forward with a company wide CRM some of the key ingredients to consider for success are:
- The cost structure – is the platform based on a flat fee vs a per user fee
- What are, if any, the additional cost for customization
- Are their additional cost associated with hardware requirements, data migration, scalability enhancements and agent training
- Is your brokerage businesses current culture resistant to change if so people within the company can cause major difficulties
- Integration capabilities with other relevant tools, such as QuickBooks, the business currently utilizes
- Without complete commitment and follow through my company leadership failure will likely be the result
- A weakly defined understanding and process for agents to have access to their relationship information should they leave the company
What Are Some of the Difficulties and Disadvantages in Implementing a Companywide CRM Platform?
- It potentially removes a significant amount of the human element from the business opportunity and sales process
- Potential security issues with CRM software. You are relying on your vendor to have the appropriate security protocols
- Employees must go through a learning curve with a full blown CRM
- Lack of proper technical and customer support from your vendor
- It can put sensitive data into the hands of a third party
- Salespeople’s fear of losing control of their information and clients
- Salespeople’s fear of being locked out of “their” information if they leave the company
- Disagreement or confusion on the probability profile for each step of the deal process (percentage of success) – this can then create inaccurate information for management to create budgets
Looking for a solution that allows for budgeting and forecasting from deals in the funnel without the full CRM bells and whistles?
CommissionTrac has recently added a new module called “Opportunities” to our cloud based commission tracking, invoicing and distribution platform. The module has been designed to remove all disadvantages of a full blown CRM in mind.
The CommissionTrac opportunity module only asked for the most basic information from a brokerage firm’s sales team. Asking only for:
- A deal name
- Transaction Type
- Estimated commission
- Estimated time of completion
- What stage is the deal in? (customizable)
The opportunities module does not require any detailed or sensitive information on the salesperson’s client in order to give managing brokers the tools they need to effectively create an accurate budget.
The opportunities module allows managers the ability to define the deal flow process with associated probabilities for completion. The deal flow steps can be custom designed and each step of the deal flow is assigned probabilities (percentages) of success by management and NOT left for individual agents to determine on individual deals. CommissionTrac’s opportunities module provides the standardization managing brokers need to create more accurate budgets.
Through utilizing CommissionTrac’s new opportunities module, principals can project potential revenue and in conjunction with CommissionTrac detailed tracking of a booked but not yet deposited income; managing brokers can create an accurate budget for the future. With more accurate information managers and principals can determine what new services and support they can afford to provide their agents. For a quick video of how the new opportunities module works, check out our pre-recorded demos page.
To find out how you can use CommissionTrac to gain clarity and insight on your brokerage’s performance and see why over 1,000 paying users including affiliates of Colliers, CBRE, Cushman Wakefield, NAI, SVN, Lee & Associates, as well as largest national ‘tech-enabled” brokerage business, TenantBase have chosen CommissionTrac as there platform – request a demo today by visiting our website at www.commissiontrac.com
Author: Daniel Levison – CRE Holdings (CommissionTrac, Commercial Property Consultants, Sharedspace) and Turner Levison, CEO, CommissionTrac