Despite all the recent advances and innovation in CRE technology, many brokers tell us they still use Excel spreadsheets to keep their business organized. Whether they’re maintaining contact details, commission records, or deal reports, many brokers still rely heavily on a system that segregates their data, making it harder to use that data effectively.
Trust us, relational databases are your friend. If you still need to take the leap, consider these three perspectives.
Check out a quick chart to see these two systems square off. For example, think about data security and access. In a CRM, the system admin can set controls on who can see what and which fields can be edited. Users can also see the data as it’s updated.
In Excel, you’re limited to a file as it exists when you send it to someone (or just need to find it on your desktop). Version control becomes an issue quickly, and it’s difficult to collaborate and stay up-to-date.
Did you know that 9 out of 10 spreadsheets contain errors? In commercial real estate, a mistake like this could cost quite a lot. Multiple studies have reported that Microsoft Excel is not as simple or accurate as users think. One misplaced number or decimal point—whether you entered it or the format autocorrected—can ruin your entire data set. That’s why Excel was once proclaimed “the most dangerous software on the planet” after JPMorgan cited billions of dollars lost to cutting and pasting.
Apto Founder and CEO, Tanner McGraw, argues that commercial real estate brokers are thinking about data all wrong. It is simply information—and for brokers, it takes countless forms, from the names of landlords, owners and CEOs, to building sale prices, to the number of times they’ve reached out to a prospect. Sure, most brokers would rather be making pitches than crunching numbers, but if they can change the way they think about data, they can actually use their time more efficiently and improve performance in a way that doesn’t conflict with their natural love of the sales game.