Tech Tip Tuesday: January 21, 2014

Running an Efficient Business : Utilizing  CRMs and Going Paperless

Cloud-based real estate CRM

Want to increase productivity? Cut costs? Maximize the safety and security of your data? If so, you’ll want to learn more about two key trends that have hit the real estate industry: cloud-based real estate CRMs and running a paperless business.

Cloud computing can equal big savings

You’ve likely heard of “the cloud” by now, but if you haven’t, a simple definition of cloud computing is the ability to access applications and data via the web. Contrast this with a desktop program that cannot be accessed through the internet; instead you’d download a software application on your computer.

There are a myriad of substantial benefits to moving to the cloud. The first is cost. While there is a monthly fee associated with most cloud-based systems, there’s less of a capital investment up-front and software upgrades and customer support are usually included in the monthly fee.

I was recently speaking with an agent who insisted, over and over, that desktop systems are less expensive. Of course, her mind was focused on all of the monthly fees involved in web-based systems. As this is a common concern that comes up, I’ve done analyses in the past for some of my other customers comparing the long-term costs of cloud-based versus desktop software.

The bottom line is that you pay more long-term due to having to purchase software enhancements and customer support on a yearly basis. Upgrades and customer support is often purchased yearly and can account for 15-20% of the total cost of the software. I went through with this agent the analysis I did and we had a fairly lengthy conversation. After doing some of her own research, she eventually agreed and is now an IXACT Contact customer.

The second key benefit is data security. Data hosted on the cloud is much more secure than that hosted on your PC. When it’s hosted on the cloud, it’s protected via advanced safety and security measures far beyond what would be possible for you to do yourself. Not to mention, the data is usually backed up daily.

The third benefit, and this is a big one, is mobility. As a REALTOR® you can’t be chained down to your office computer. You need the flexibility to access your real estate database from wherever you are. This is not possible with desktop systems. Plus, if you’re in a team, you can benefit from the ability for multiple team members to collaborate with each other and work on the CRM at the same time, regardless of where they are.

As well, if you ever get a new computer, it’s often a hassle to reinstall the software on the new machine.

And, let’s not forget about commitment. Using a cloud-based real estate CRM means you purchase a monthly subscription that can often be cancelled at any time. This means that you’re avoiding the risk involved in purchasing a software upfront just to find out that it’s not working for you.

Want to run a more efficient business? Consider going paperless.

Just like moving to the cloud can help you streamline your business and become more efficient, the same can be said about making the commitment to go paperless. And a paperless office is a whole lot easier and more convenient than having to manage stacks of binders, paper, and file folders.

If you think about it, it’s also quite easy to have files, filled with confidential client information, get misplaced or be stolen. Perhaps that’s why Realtors across the country have decided to take advantage of the great technology that’s out there, streamline their business, and run a paperless office.

Technologies like real estate CRM that allow you to consolidate your database, manage your transactions, and store data in the cloud, and tools that let you do everything from signing documents online to creating and sending forms via the web help big time when it comes to organization and productivity.

My advice is to do what you can to learn and explore the technology that’s available and see if, and how, you can make it work for you. Running a paperless office and moving to the cloud are two fairly easy things you can do, as a Realtor, to improve your business in 2014. 


By: Matthew Collis of Geek Estate Blog