Finding the Right Contact Management System

What qualities do you want most in a contact management system?

April 1, 2010

"What I want is a desktop dashboard that shows me my pipeline at a glance: the number of contacts in my sphere of influence, leads, current listings, current buyers, under deposit, under contract, and closed properties. I’d like the volume and potential commission for each of the last five categories listed at the bottom to show my pipeline. I envision it much like the cockpit of a fighter jet plane. All the controls you need are at your fingertips so you can ‘pilot’ your business from this one application." −Gail Robinson, e-PRO, GRI, William Raveis Real Estate, Black Rock, Conn.

"I don’t need one particular program or single piece of software. I just maximize the software I have; I have a system in place for mailings and I know exactly who has received which piece of mail at what time. Most people don’t use their hardware, software, and systems to their full capacity. If they would, they could save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on other contact management systems and lead-conversion tools." −Lisa Hill, Florida Property Experts, Daytona Beach, Fla.

"Cost is most important to me. I still control things manually on Excel. I can’t justify one more expense right now. I simply input every name and phone number and address as soon as I get it. It’s a bit awkward, but it works. My volume of leads is getting to the point where this will no longer be practical. When I hit that wall, I’ll change." −Ruthmarie Hicks, Keller Williams NY Realty, White Plains, N.Y.

"You get what you pay for, and I’d be willing to pay if I could find something that could keep up with me instead of slowing me down. I’d be willing to pay for a system that’s user friendly and Web-based, syncs with BlackBerry for contacts and calendar, has customer support that actually helps instead of trying to sell me another feature, and adds contact info automatically when someone who’s not in my database e-mails me." −Melody Russell, Keller Williams Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.

"When I activated my real estate license last year, I was looking for a new program to use and I found that many of them didn’t have input fields for spouse’s birthdays. Or if they did, the program wasn’t smart enough to also put the date on the actual calendar portion of the program." −Kelly Dixon, Charles Rutenberg Realty, Clearwater, Fla.

"I’m switching to something that is a CRM and a workflow/sales automation tool. If a system can automatically launch marketing campaigns based on triggers and rules in my database, it saves me lots of time. The problem is that you have to invest a lot of time to customize a program like this—or pay someone else to do it!" −Justin Dibbs, e Venture Real Estate, Arlington, Va.