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As the saying goes in real estate, the three most important things are location, location, location. But for brokers and agents, it’s actually leads, leads, leads. Brokerages everywhere are dealing with tighter margins, so agents can’t miss a single opportunity: more leads equal more listings. There’s nothing more important for your brokerage than a robust lead funnel and the ability to track, assign and follow up on every single lead.

Investing in new technology, like brokerage CRM tools, helps agents act on every lead fast to win more business. The faster they follow up, the more likely the lead will convert. According to Gartner, a lead is ten times more likely to convert if they are responded to in less than five minutes.

Despite the proven effectiveness of CRM tools, only about half of real estate companies provide them to their brokers and agents, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Research Group. What’s more, 35 percent of agents wished their brokers provided a CRM tool, and research has found that REALTORS® earning $100,000-plus in gross commission income are more than twice as likely to be using technology like a CRM application than those who earn less.

Given how useful they are and the potential for strong returns, brokerage CRMs are clearly a valuable asset. Let’s look at the six key features that every brokerage CRM should have to derive the most value, convert the most leads and see the best ROI.

1. Mobile Compatibility
Last year, the NAR Research Group found that 95 percent of real estate professionals use a smartphone with internet access on a daily basis to do their work. According to sales strategist and bestselling author Mark Wayshak, 41 percent of salespeople say that the phone is the most effective sales tool at their disposal. Your CRM tool should, therefore, have a mobile version, either in the form of a mobile site or an app, that allows users to access, input and sync data seamlessly. Having a good desktop CRM is great, but it doesn’t align with how agents work today. We’re all on the go, and if your agents can only use your CRM on a computer, they probably won’t.

2. Easy to Use
The NAR Research Group also found that 46 percent of brokers say that keeping up with technology is the biggest challenge their agents face. Adopting new technology is hard, which is why your CRM needs to be intuitive, easy to use and require minimal training. Otherwise, your agents won’t use it.

3. Visibility Into Agent Activity
All too often, brokers have no way to measure how well agents are using the technology at their disposal. Your CRM should be able to report on which agents are using it, how often and how well. You can use agent data to recognize top performers and coach those who need more help. Poor follow-up means lost opportunity and money down the drain.

4. Automated Customized Lead Routing
When a lead fills out a contact form, they expect to hear from someone fast. There is nothing worse than a new lead getting stuck into lead assignment purgatory, waiting for someone to respond. Your CRM needs to be able to route and assign leads automatically as soon as they come in. Better yet, it will allow you to choose how leads are routed based on location, budget, agent availability and expertise, and more, to make sure the right agents are responding to the right leads.

5. Lead Follow-Up Time Tracking
The importance of lead follow-up time is no secret. According to two recent studies from Velocify® by Ellie Mae®, leads that receive a follow-up call within one minute of the initial inquiry are 391 percent more likely to convert. If you give your agents a powerful CRM tool but can’t see how long they take to follow up, it’s a missed opportunity. The best brokerage CRMs not only track lead follow-up time, they help agents stay on top of leads with clear follow-up steps and prompts to improve conversion.

6. Lead Snapshots
Understanding who your leads are and what they need is crucial for providing strong, value-added service. Your CRM should be able to provide a holistic view of all your leads (for example, with a special report or a dashboard) to track key data about where they currently live, the number and price range of the listings they are interacting with, and how frequently they visit your site. This kind of snapshot will allow you to better understand who your leads are and make sure none of them fall through the cracks.

In today’s increasingly competitive real estate market, nothing beats speed, experience and ease of use. Your CRM must be optimized for real estate so that agents can move from conversation to conversion quickly. Whoever does this best will win the business. Agents are hungry for better contact management resources, and as real estate tech continues to advance, so will available CRMs.

To learn more about how to assess your brokerage’s CRM needs and improve lead response time, download our guide.

If you’re ready for a better CRM experience, book your personal tour of Constellation1 CRM today.