Contact Management Quandary

By
Real Estate Sales Representative with RE/MAX of Wasaga Beach Inc., Brokerage

 

My nightmare of contact management is finally coming to an end. After using AgentOffice for the past 12 years (and outgrowing it about six years ago!) I felt it was finally time to investigate what's out there so I headed south in November to the 2008 NAR convention in Orlando to see firsthand. When Top Producer went internet a few years back I was envious yet reluctant to jump ship, knowing that AgentOffice would soon counter with their own version of an internet-based contact management system. Good thing I didn't hold my breath! Talk about a company dropping the ball on a loyal following...

So for the past few years I've been tucking contacts into:

1) AgentOffice (and doing back-ups and syncs and inventing new cuss words every time something went haywire and I had to sign up for their ridiculously expensive support services)

2) Outlook (my main email center) which never synced with my AgentOffice without great struggle

3) MobileMe (a handy though weak contact and email program from those wonderful Mac folks) which gave me the ability to access my contact info, emails and data from anywhere

I've now surrendered to the universe and, after a solid month of testing my top picks I decided (drum roll...), that I'm still torn between an internet-based system and a database system. Did I want to access my info from anywhere via web 2.0 enabled programs or maintain control over my data and have a beautifully clean sync between my emails and my database?  A huge thank you to all who have posted on this topic (and there are many posts in the Rain about this topic) and thank you to Gary David Hall for your patience with my questions. It's down to two for my needs: RealFuture CRM for the internet or Mark-it Advantage Xi for the database.

I have a PC at my office, two PCs at home (one for me and one for my wife who is also my client services manager), a Mac desktop for photo and video editing (trust me, once you've done any kind of graphics work on a Mac after a lifetime of using PCs there is no going back!) and a MacBook laptop. Sounds like too many computers, I know, but there are still many MLS-related programs in my area that aren't Mac friendly yet. If I had my druthers, there'd be nothing on our desks but a Mac desktop but the real estate community isn't there yet in my opinion (though I will be giving Parallels 4.0 a try which will allow Windows XP -- no VISTA in my world -- to operate on my Mac).

I need my phone (Treo 700) to sync easily to my data, I need my email (Outlook) to flawlessly integrate with my CRM, I need a good referral tree and the ability to set up drip marketing campaigns.  I want a company behind the product constantly updating the system and listening to its clients' needs. And I want to have complete control over my data and the ability to move it somewhere else should the need arise. 

So, I am leaning heavily toward Mark-it Advantage Xi based on my above needs and also by the fact that this is the program of choice for Gary David Hall (aforementioned Guru of all things CRM-related) to use for his day-to-day business. Consider this: Gary has studied CRMs for years and is assembling a matrix right now using hundreds of questions to determine which CRM will be right for your needs (go here for a sneak peek: http://garydavidhall.com/CRMMatrixSample.htm ). Good enough for Gary, good enough for me. And during my test of Mark-it Advantage Xi, I easily pulled far more data from my old AgentOffice database than any of the other companies told me I'd be able to... and it only took a minute or two.

This has been a steady progression of scouring the internet for CRM comparisons and comparing them to my list of needs. The only thing I'll be giving up will be the ability to easily access my data from anywhere, anytime via the internet but realistically, with my Smartphone, I'm never far from my data anyway. Good luck to those of you still searching for the perfect CRM. If anyone knows of a more complete solution, please let me know so I can see how it stacks up against Mark-it Advantage Xi. 

Happy Holidays!

Bruce

 

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Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Ontario Simcoe County
Tags:
real estate
crm
markit advantage xi
contact management
software
agentoffice
top producer
gary david hall
matrix
pc

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Rainmaker
314,400
Dave Halpern
Louisville Short Sale Expert
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827

Judi,

I put myself to be notified of any comments on this thread, so I'm benefiting from questions and your responses. Your response to Paul was extremely beneficial to me, also. Thanks for the all the time you dedicate to helping others.

March 05, 2011 01:54 PM
Anonymous #57
Anonymous
Anonymous

Well said, Judi. Regarding Paul's question about the multiple users option, my wife and I work together but we share the same data base. I'm not sure if you can each have your own data base. That may be a great question for Gary.

Regards,

Bruce

March 05, 2011 01:59 PM
Rainer
42,689
Judi Bryan
Your Chicagoland Connection
Executive Realty Group

And I'm not sure whether you'd really want "separate" databases...since you have the option of "privatizing" contacts.  With one database, you have all the letters, all the task series for followup and transaction management that can be shared, a "record owner" that you can assign and modify priviledges for, reports, etc.  All of that can be used by everyone on the "team", but used for their "own" people.

Yes, I'm curious to see how Gary weighs in on this as well.

 

March 05, 2011 11:05 PM
Rainmaker
63,303
Gary David Hall
Real Estate CRM Sales, Realtor,GRI, e-PRO,RECS
RE-ACT, LLC

I agree with Judi that separate databases are rarely necessary as Advantage's ability to separate contacts based on the 'record owner' is sufficient the vast majority of the time. If you could describe why you feel you need two different databases, maybe I can field that question better.

With regards to buying one primary license and having 2 people share it, that can be done easily if you are on a team, and sharing essentially everything but the contacts. If you mean 2 people running two entirely different businesses on one license then the answer is no. You would be sharing most of the CRM other than the contacts. The purpose of the license is to restrict usage to those who pay to use it on their computer. It's analogous to buying a car. You can let anyone drive it, but there is only one car.

How it can be shared is detailed on my site at http://garydavidhall.com/advantagexiSynching.htm

Hope this helps!

March 07, 2011 11:15 AM
Rainmaker
63,303
Gary David Hall
Real Estate CRM Sales, Realtor,GRI, e-PRO,RECS
RE-ACT, LLC
July 08, 2011 05:30 PM
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Rainer
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Bruce Johnson

ABR CRS, GREEN, e-PRO
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