Does BestAgent compete with CRM software, or is it going to?
The question we’re asked most often by industry suppliers: does BestAgent compete with existing CRM software providers, or does it intend to?
The answer is no it doesn’t and there are no future plans to.
But we understand the reason that the question is repeatedly asked.
BestAgent does contain some automated features which are typically found in most CRM systems, for example a property database which uploads listings to portals in real time, an applicant database that sends out matches on new instructions, a portal lead importing system and an online viewing booking and offers system.
Suppliers need automatic triggers from agents – hence Marketplace
Why are these typical CRM functions necessary? Because there is only one way to provide suppliers with an integration which gives agents a seamless way to use their products. Suppliers need to know the precise moment their service is needed. For example, when a new instruction is won, a new applicant is added, a viewing booked, or an offer made.
Getting agents to use new products correctly is a challenge for many providers, because they require the agent to input data before they can start. But the Marketplace solves this problem. Any agent data needed by the supplier will be automatically transferred. This means that in many cases agents will be able to test and trial new supplier products much more easily, with much less set up work necessary. 30 or 90 day free product trials, which are often used to entice agents to try new services, will have a far greater uptake now that data importing won’t be needed.
No single product can ever be all things to all agents. Different agents want different products to talk to each other.
Full CRM systems contain more detailed functions and features such as applicant management tools, reporting suites and mailing lists which BestAgent won’t be implementing. It became clear in around 2016 that no single CRM system would ever be all things to all agents (or even all things to one agent!)
Numerous new niche tech products were appearing that specialised in one specific area, but which needed integration with a CRM to be useable to agents. The only way to offer agents a way to access any supplier products they wanted was open collaboration among suppliers, but this wasn’t happening.
Most (but not all) CRM systems have restrictions on which supplier products integrate with their software. Agents began to ask for more and more new products to be integrated, but the work involved in delivering that was at best expensive and at worst technically impossible, based on the age of the oldest mainstream systems on offer.
Now any and every supplier can connect their product in one place for 15,000 agents to access more easily.
At our inaugural Supplier Conference well known agents addressed a room full of suppliers from around 50 companies. They clearly communicated the frustrations felt by agents about the PropTech supplier community:
- Too many interfaces to log in to
- Agents’ real problems aren’t being solved
- Suppliers products don’t talk to each other
Agents also agree that the perfect CRM doesn’t exist, and can’t. There is no such thing as the perfect CRM because every agency operates differently. CRMs all have different strengths and weaknesses, and they have happy, loyal, long-standing customers with no plans to change systems.
Our first free Supplier Workshop – all invited.
Our first Supplier Workshop takes place in Bicester on 26 June 2019. We will be showing how to connect any product and explaining how Marketplace will allow all supplier products to, in effect, “talk to each other”. All active UK agency suppliers are invited. If you’d like to attend, please register as a supplier and you’ll be sent an invitation. It’s free, but a limited to a maximum of 3 people per company.
All CRMs can connect to BestAgent Marketplace (as long as they can communicate via the REST protocol)
All of which contributes to the reason that we have made BestAgent Marketplace a platform that all CRM’s are invited to connect with. Indeed the first supplier connection we implemented was a full, two-way integration with a CRM system.
We want to ensure that every last agent can have integrated access to BestAgent Marketplace, no matter what CRM they use. Every supplier to the UK residential property industry is invited and encouraged to connect their product, including CRM providers.
BestAgent solves the supplier integration problem for CRMs as well as agents.
We hope that CRM providers who have customers asking for integrations with multiple supplier products will see BestAgent as a simple answer to that problem. Offer your customers a connection to the Marketplace, and they will be able to sign up to and use any supplier product on offer.
In fact, rather than competing with CRMs, we see the integration of existing CRMs with the Marketplace as a way to secure existing customers in the long term. Agents will come to rely on the single CRM point of entry as their access to the entire marketplace. In that sense we hope the Marketplace will help secure CRM customers in the long term, because no agent ever enjoyed having to change systems.