Web based versus Desktop Contact Manager/CRM Solutions
A statement is often made that having a Web based CRM is clearly superior to a desktop CRM. The reality is that there are pros and cons to both. While there are many arguments over which is better and why, let's address a few of the most common misconceptions.
The first thing to do to is to realize that desktop does not mean what it used to. It is likely that many people form their opinion on the limitations of having a desktop CRM based on the most well known original ones - Howard and Friends, Agent Office and Top Producer. None of those could be shared remotely other than by a manual synching procedure. There are desktop products available now that can. Advantage Xi for instance can share its database remotely because it has the option of having their server hold a copy of the database which is then synched via the Internet to the other computers. REST uses one of your computers as the server for the database much like Outlook Exchange. Advantage uses a free Google account to synch to your phone and allows you to receive and reply to emails on your phone, and have them all stored with the contacts. When you get back to Advantage, the emails you deleted on your phone have been deleted in Advantage as well, eliminating the need to delete them once again.
When people say they have to have a Web based CRM because they need to be able to access the same database from “anywhere”, the question then becomes “Can you define ‘anywhere’?” The vast majority say they mean they need to be able to access it from both their home and office computers. If that is the case, both Advantage and REST satisfy that need. The next questions is “How many times have you needed to access your CRM database from a computer other than your own in the last year, for information other than the address book or calendar which is synched to your phone from the CRM.” The answer is almost always very seldom if at all. Most of the time the only true exception is for agents who do not have their own computer in their office so they use a community computer in the office. That puts them in the category of truly having a need for a Web based CRM.
Another concern voiced about Web based versus desktop is having your database all in one place and being vulnerable to loss. Since you have multiple computers with the database on them, and a server with a copy as well, that concern is eliminated.
Since having a Web based CRM is most often not really as necessary as is perceived, it still comes back to which one has the features that are most desirable for the agent. For example, if having your email fully integrated with the CRM such that all emails incoming and outgoing are directly stored with the contact record in the CRM automatically, then Advantage has an advantage that almost no Web based CRM has. So it still comes back to feature sets, more so than Web based versus desktop.
There are many misconceptions about Web based versus desktop. For the most part they are promulgated by what seems to be common sense. Unfortunately, in this case common sense does not often work because there is too much information lacking with which to make that common sense decision. Another source of these misconceptions is the vendors themselves. Developers of Web based solutions promote the benefits of being Web based, and purposefully do not mention the downsides. In contrast, the developers of desktop CRMs do the same thing.
When you are making your selection, don't be so quick to discount desktop solutions without first discovering the real pros and cons, versus the assumed ones.
Gary David Hall became a Real Estate Agent in 1987, and has been in the industry ever since. Gary has been "in the trenches", and speaks your language. Gary's clients often qualify him as being able to teach so that they understand, without a lot of technical jargon. He knows exactly what it's like to sell Real Estate, and that is why his training is so much more relevant and insightful, than someone that was never a top producing agent. Just ask his clients. His last 4 years in Real Estate Sales, Gary closed 147 transaction sides. Having just come from a background as a computer technician, and then a computer operations manager, he was able to put many automated systems into practice. When it became evident that the industry needed the technological efficiency he used in his personal business, he decided to share that knowledge with other real estate professionals. So he founded RE-ACT (Real Estate Automation, Consultation and Training) in 1999.
Gary's primary focus is helping agents improve their transaction management, lead generation and follow-up efficiency and techniques, by using Contact Management/CRM software. He travels the country conducting seminars comprised of the many topics of which agents have a need for more clarity, such as Choosing and Using a Contact Manager or CRM.
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