So you've finally taken the plunge and purchased a commercial real estate CRM. Congrats! However, convincing your team that it's time to get smart and start using CRE technology is only half the battle. Implementing a CRM, no matter your industry, is notoriously challenging.
Throughout my career of rolling out technology within commercial real estate firms, I often see recurring trends that either inhibit tech adoption or drive it. Those companies that are successful make technology part of their culture and identify as forward thinking companies that are striving to differentiate themselves from their competition. They are the ones that embrace change rather than using systems that have been in place for decades.
Often, a lack of adoption stems from stakeholder’s inability to widely promote the value of a CRM, no one to champion the product or provide support, or the absence of the product’s visibility on a daily basis.
Getting everyone on board can be challenging, but it can be accomplished using some best practices. Here are five tips to drive CRM adoption:
1. Stakeholder Buy-In and Executive Sponsorship
Getting key stakeholders within your company to promote your CRM is critical for adoption. Executives or Managing Directors are best suited to help drive the adoption of technology because they are not only familiar with the needs of brokers, but also have skin in the game, so they are more effective at communicating the value of the product. They also have the authority to hold mid-level or junior brokers accountable for using the software.
Not only should stakeholders communicate the benefits of using the CRM, but they should also articulate the cost of not adopting some sort of CRE technology. The risk of a notebook filled with hand-written conversations to get lost or an excel file of property data a broker has been tracking for years to get corrupted is high.
2. Communicate Change
Prior to rolling out a CRM within your company, stakeholders need to communicate the benefits of using it, specifically focusing on its ability the help their brokers win more business. For example, Apto aids brokers by keeping track of important conversations so that they can stay top of mind with potential clients and competitive in their market. It’s a key differentiator when it comes to building and nurturing relationships. It’s important to keep brokers focused on the value to help drive engagement.
When discussing the value of a CRM, it’s also important to focus on how it can change the company. A CRM will increase collaboration because it gives leadership the ability to track team performance (how many cold calls, marketing campaigns, won business, etc.). It will also help brokers develop a methodology for tracking their own property data so that they are less reliant on inaccurate third party databases.
3. Identify a CRM Champion
The most successful Apto implementations I see are from companies that identify someone who is willing to champion the product for the company. This person not only becomes the CRM expert who uses the product day in and day out, but they also take ownership of communication, training, and support. The CRM champion should be both tech-savvy and someone who clearly understands the business so they can articulate the value of the product to their fellow brokers.
The CRM champion should also be an advocate for the product. Many companies identify this person as someone who is passionate about CRE technology and understands that there is a vital need for a CRM within the company. We highly recommend choosing a champion with some influence within the company; someone with credibility and respect amongst their peers.
4. Internal Training
Internal training provided by your champion is one of the key components to a successful adoption strategy. When there is a failure to adopt technology within a company, most often it’s because brokers simply don’t know where to start or are overwhelmed by the product.
While Apto has an extensive library of training videos, one-on-one training from a colleague is a highly successful strategy. It’s important to teach brokers how to use the CRM in the context of their role and how to easily apply features and functions to get the most out of the product to improve their workflow.
5. Product Visibility
One of the best ways to adopt a CRM is to fully immerse yourself in it. It should be a part of a your everyday routine; always visible on your computer so you can log notes from key conversations, track email exchanges, and collaborate with colleagues. It takes 66 days for a routine to become a habit, so it’s important to fully integrate the CRM into your day to day as soon as possible.
It should not only be a part of every broker’s personal routine, but the CRM should also be visible in every team meeting. Whether reviewing your team’s win rates, prospects, or even property data, the software should always be used to analyze that data in a group setting. This will keep the team engaged and offer greater transparency. In turn, your team will get used to seeing the CRM as an integral part of keeping them accountable and on task.
Feel armed and ready to implement a commercial real estate CRM at your company? Request a demo of Apto today!