I began exploring commercial real estate CRMs at my last firm, prior to starting Elifin. I learned about their benefits and was told I needed one, but using a CRM wasn’t standard practice at the time--no one was using one at my company. Eventually we got on ACT!, but it was so antiquated, inefficient, and at the end of the day, money down the drain. But it was a valuable lesson because it pushed me to take a look at Apto. It was clear that Apto was the gold standard in commercial real estate CRMs. It had third-party add-ons that I could make work with everything I was already using, like Buildout and ConstantContact. I knew it was going to be great not only the day I signed on, but also in the future as something I could build an empire upon.
Fast forward to today and that’s all still true. Every time we breathe, we want it to be logged in Apto. Every single member of my team has an Apto account--it’s the standard at Elifin. I personally have Apto open 100% of the time. I get into the office and start my day by going through my pipeline in Apto and looking at my pending deals, active pursuits, etc. Next, I make calls, which are dictated by what’s on my Apto task list. For two hours every morning, it’s me, my intern, Apto, and a phone. Not only do we get everything logged into Apto (call notes), but my intern hears the conversations and therefore learns about the business in a very intimate way.
"Every time we breathe, we want it to be logged in Apto."
As a team, we keep track of every deal in Apto--due diligence, important deal milestones, etc. As we move a deal from one stage to the next, Apto helps us stay on top of different action items. It gives us all the associated tasks that we need to complete to continue advancing the deal forward. Plus, we can see what other team members are doing, so we know who is talking to which contacts.
While it’s hard to give exact numbers or percentages in terms of the ROI we’ve gotten from Apto, what I can say is that it’s allowed us to actually track what we do. Before, we had zero visibility into our business and how it worked; everything was based off of feeling. Now, we know how many calls we’re making, meetings we’re booking, proposals we’re submitting, etc. That helps us in two major ways. One, that lets me set and measure KPIs that we could have never tracked before Apto. We’re really treating our business like a business and I can forecast future success. Two, we’re able to update each other in our weekly team huddle on our progress. How many prospect dials each person has made, how many property tours have been conducted, how many deals have been closed/what were the fees earned, and more is all information generated from Apto. Not only is the update helpful, but it holds us all accountable to our part in hitting goals.
When it comes to working with the Apto team, they have always been very good to me. I’ve had nothing but great interactions with support when trying to troubleshoot different things. What I really love about Apto is that their Director of Product Marketing, Russ Duncan, will reach out to us and collect feedback when developing new products or looking to make software improvements, and I know he does this with other customers around the country. Then, you actually can see the changes they’ve made to the system based off our input. That really speaks to Apto’s care for its customers and us agents out in the field.
"All of these conversations you’re having, all the business you’re doing, all the knowledge you’re gaining needs to be put into a source of reference for you to build on and accumulate in a logical, structured way, so you can add team members and start building a legitimate business rather than just having a hobby."
If I had to say one thing to a broker who hasn’t yet made the investment in Apto or any commercial real estate CRM, it would be this: You need to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I really committed to making CRE my career and my business?” If the answer is yes, then you need to be using a CRM. All of these conversations you’re having, all the business you’re doing, all the knowledge you’re gaining needs to be put into a source of reference for you to build on and accumulate in a logical, structured way, so you can add team members and start building a legitimate business rather than just having a hobby.
I’ve got a young firm here--the average age in the office is about 28. And that gives us a huge competitive advantage because we are not only young and nimble, but we embrace technology and all of the incredible benefits that come along with it.
See for yourself what all of the excitement is about.