Client Relationship Management (CRM)

25 Replies

I am looking for an affordable user-friendly CRM system.  Any recommendations?

If you want something inexpensive then I recommend Podio. It's the same company as gotomeeting and it's free. I have set it up specifically for real estate wholesaling but you can modify it to fi the way you work. I hope this helps ... Good luck!

I never could find one that did what I wanted (keeping track of dozens of lists with thousands of names each) without being needlessly complicated, but still robust enough to keep what I wanted to see in front of me......so I just built my own on Google sheets.

But you should check out Streak. Its free, lives right inside your inbox and is ridiculously easy to set up and start using. Its a chrome add on and only works in Chrome for gmail.

Great question. Wish I could be more helpful...but I'm responding to this mostly because I want to keep tabs on the convo and see what others say. I use saleforce in my day job, but it is a cumbersome and expensive beast! I'm looking at zoho and insightly right now. I've not explored podio. Curious to see what others recommend...

Been using Podio.  It is basic but free.  There are pay services that piggy back on Podio to give you a lot more functionality.  Right now I am just using Podio and am pleased so far but will definitely have to start using 3rd party add-ons soon.

Podio works for me. And I love how you can create and customize any app you need. I know it has a lot more to offer that I haven't taken advantage of yet as well. I would definitely recommend it. 

I tested 10-12 CRM's before I finally ended up with Podio.

I used Streak for a while because it was free, but it is just not robust enough for a full CRM system.

I then moved all the data over to Pipeline Deals, which I really like, but lacked some perks of Podio.

My main draw to Podio was the "form to lead" and "email to lead" functions.

As a wholesaler, every lead that comes into my system, be it through email, phone call or webform or craislist, Podio autmatically create a lead (line item) with that information.  You can even set it so if someone leaves an voicemail that it creates a lead and attaches the voice recording to the lead, pretty cool!

For one user it is only $10/month.  If you are serious about getting a CRM, this is about as cheap as you will get.  We were paying $50/month for Pipeline Deals.

Take a look at Realeflow. Once you put in the address all tax info is populated with owner name and address.

I use Zoho for my wholesaling stuff and Podio for everything else.

@John Horner

"My main draw to Podio was the "form to lead" and "email to lead" functions."

That is one of my favorite features about Podio too. I've tried all of the real estate CRM's out there and they all seem to have their pro's and con's. None of them seem to do everything that I need to do all in one. I was having to use multiple products/websites to manage everything so I decided to build my own CRM and take the features I liked from each one. I looked into building a CRM using free open source software like SugarCRM or SuiteCRM but they had too many features that I didn't need, so in the end I decided to build from scratch, (specifically for real estate wholesaling) using CodeIgniter.

The feature that you mentioned is the one I am taking from Podio. The forms are external javascript forms that dump into the CRM. This is great because you can give a VA, answering service, etc the link to the form without giving them access to you entire CRM. The thing that Podio doesn't have is a contract generator or comunications system i.e email, fax, sms, voice broadcasting, autodialer, blacklisting, etc., which means you still need other systems. But as far as free CRM's I think it's the best. The fact that you can build custom apps for the way your team works and seperate workspaces is brilliant!

@Martin Stevens 

Realeflow is very good and probably has more of the moving parts than any other real estate CRM on the market. It was ahead of it's time when it was first released. It has some of the communications features that others are missing but I think the new thing now is call tracking and analytics on all of the phone numbers to track each marketing campaign seperately. For all of the paid (real estate) CRM's this one is the best.

I use Insightly for CRM apart from proprietary CRM software modules as part of two seperate ERP systems in our other lines of businesses (brokerage and property management), but it is a lot of work to set up all processes (pipelines and activity sets for each activity). It's cheap, $ 7/user/month when using Google Apps (or free) and integrates with Google (mail, calender, drive) and MS Office 365, and many other products (Quickbooks, Evernote, Mailchimp and such). API can be used so that leads / prospects are directly recorded into Insightly through your website form. The integrations are delegating (and monitoring) tasks to team members the biggest plus for me.

To piggyback onto @John Horner  's post, I used Pipeline too and loved it, but didn't love the price.  After some research I learned that Pipeline is based on the Japanese kanban board productivity tool pioneered by Toyota many years ago.  

With that info I found Trello, a free web site that lets you create your own sales pipelines with more functionality than I'll ever need.  

I find most of the CRM's to be more complicated then what I am looking for. They seem to need to many moving parts plus their mobile apps are not that great. I like to be able to easily add someone to it on the fly from my phone. I love the way trello is made though. It is so simple and you just drag and drop stuff where you want them. Plus there are other programs like itduzzit and zapier that can connect it with other apps and programs for you. The only downfall I see is not having a place on their to keep contact information. You just put everything into the cards which means you have to use something else to have phone numbers and email addresses for doing things like sending out mass broadcast. unless you want to go through each card and pull that info manually. 

@Alison M.   I must thank you for introducing me to trello from one of your post I read on another thread but I would love to see or hear exactly how you are actually using it. I think I am really missing something.

Great thread! Quick question @John Horner & @Tim Herndon , how did you arrange your systems where your direct mailing leads from Realeflow are converted and automatically integrated or transferred into Podio? I'm having the hardest time figuring this out, and really would like to make it a last resort manually transferring so many leads and contact information. I've gotten used to Podio's CRM long before I got my hands on Realeflow's CRM, and find it easier to use. Your direct mail leads in Realeflow can be easily transferred, at one click I believe, into it's own CRM, granted, I'm not sure if it's wise to utilize Podio's management system for with leads from Realeflow if Realeflow can make my life easy storing new leads into the management system at one click. Any tips?

Originally posted by @Dre Lewis :

Great thread! Quick question John Horner & Tim Herndon , how did you arrange your systems where your direct mailing leads from Realeflow are converted and automatically integrated or transferred into Podio? I'm having the hardest time figuring this out, and really would like to make it a last resort manually transferring so many leads and contact information. I've gotten used to Podio's CRM long before I got my hands on Realeflow's CRM, and find it easier to use. Your direct mail leads in Realeflow can be easily transferred, at one click I believe, into it's own CRM, granted, I'm not sure if it's wise to utilize Podio's management system for with leads from Realeflow if Realeflow can make my life easy storing new leads into the management system at one click. Any tips?

I don't use Realflow.  I have a dedicated number setup for each different mailer and the number forwards to my call center.  When they ask the questions and fill out the online form, it automatically emails to Podio, creates a lead and puts the questions and answers in the notes of the lead.  Pretty slick, I have not found anything else that is capable of being this automated.  Look up Joe McCall, he is a paster of Podio and does stuff even I haven't gotten to yet.

That is pretty cool, I'll see what I can find on Joe McCall and Podio. Thanks again, @John Horner

@Dre Lewis

I don't use Realeflow either. That's a hard question to answer without seeing how realeflow imports and exports leads. Why do you want to transfer the leads from one system to another? That seems like it defeats the purpose and having to use multiple systems is what made me develop my own. Every system out there is missing something!

@John Horner

What system are you using for the tracking numbers?

Originally posted by @Tim Herndon :

@Dre Lewis

I don't use Realeflow either. That's a hard question to answer without seeing how realeflow imports and exports leads. Why do you want to transfer the leads from one system to another? That seems like it defeats the purpose and having to use multiple systems is what made me develop my own. Every system out there is missing something!

@John Horner

What system are you using for the tracking numbers?

 For tracking right now I just export the Podio info into an excel file at the end of every month and sort and filter for what I need. I can see exactly where every lead came from, how many were put in contract or close, how many are in follow up, how many are underwater, etc. 

Do you use a separate tracking system?

I use Zoho along with zoho sites. Works for me.

@Tim Herndon Exactly! But I understand..that's the question I've been asking myself. I guess I'd just rather use Podio's CRM because I believe it's easier to use as I'm more familiar with it than Realeflow's.

I use salesforce because of it's power and flexibility, but it's expensive. Especially if you need multiple users. 

Other good options are zoho and Highrise CRM 

This post has been removed.

@John Horner

What I meant was, what system do you use for the dedicated tracking numbers?

@Dre Lewis

Let me know if you need help setting up Podio for wholesaling. Below is a link to a video showing how we set ours up. Hopefully, this will give you some ideas!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NzrQynGEeQ

Since I made this video we have added two new apps.

This post has been removed.

@Tim Herndon Thanks, I'm going to check that out now. I appreciate all of your help!

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