ERG Commercial Real Estate is a full-service commercial brokerage serving the New York-Metro area. Read on to learn why they made the switch from a generic, non-CRE CRM to Apto and how nearly every employee now uses the leading commercial real estate software to track their business.
Goals & Challenges
ERG prides themselves on having “large firm knowledge and small firm service.” The 20-person, New York-based commercial brokerage is further broken down into teams based on submarkets, like Queens, the Bronx, and so on. Brokers need a way to keep track of the deals they’re working, and leadership needs insight into each team’s pipeline. And while brokers are juggling all the moving pieces of a deal, the team is also making anywhere between 600-700 cold calls per week.
At first, ERG tracked everything—contact information, deal stages, etc.—in Excel spreadsheets. Then, they decided to make the switch to a non-CRE CRM. Though that was certainly a step in the right direction, the transition was anything but seamless.
The customization possibilities with a lot of generic CRMs are endless, but ERG wasn’t getting the proper support needed to customize their solution. They didn’t have the time for one of their own employees to become an expert on the software, and it was clear that that level of expertise was required to see any return on investment. Their CRM account managers kept turning over, and they were always getting bounced around from one to the next. Every time that happened, they would have to start from scratch because the new account manager didn’t understand their situation or business needs and goals. Eventually, ERG needed to outsource implementation help. The cost of third party implementation services, on top of the already high cost of the CRM itself, made the team realize there were more cost-effective solutions out there, and they needed to switch to one.
How Apto Helps
For starters, the implementation experience with Apto was completely different from that with their previous solution. ERG’s Apto account manager was very proactive and communicative. The transition to Apto took a matter of weeks, as opposed to months and months—almost a year—for the team to get up and running with their generic CRM.
Apto is designed specifically for commercial real estate. In other words, the software is organized the way brokers think. Brokers don’t refer to deals they’re working as opportunities. So in Apto, they’re called deals. And better yet, deals are broken down into their various stages, such as listings, pursuits, etc. For ERG, having a software that actually understands the way deals go through the pipeline is huge.
Another added benefit of using Apto is the ability to collaborate within the software. Even though ERG is a small office, there are a lot of moving pieces to manage with multiple teams working on multiple deals. Tasks help keep everyone aligned and deals moving forward, especially when it comes to brokers collaborating with other departments like the finance team.
From an administrative and leadership perspective, Apto’s reports and dashboards also help keep the team on track. The software gives everyone at ERG a clear picture on what is (and isn’t) working, so it’s easy to course correct. The level of visibility that Apto provides not only keeps the team organized, but also competitive. Brokers can see if a property is listed with another broker, and if that broker can’t close the deal or things aren’t progressing, ERG can swoop in.
Current Active Pipeline:
- 376 pursuits
- 32 listings
- 9 in contract
All-time completed activities (calls, meetings, etc.): 40,000
What the Team Has to Say About Apto
“Excel is not a smart program. You enter the data and it doesn’t do anything. It’s inevitable that you’re going to miss an important detail of a deal. Even when we upgraded to a generic CRM, our implementation was a nightmare. Apto is so worth the investment. It keeps all of your data organized for you without you having to think too much. Apto sends you reminders for deal follow-ups so nothing gets overlooked. When we have team meetings, our brokers can pull up the deals they are working in Apto, which are organized into different pipeline stages. It helps them prioritize next steps so we can all work more efficiently.”
Katherine Valente, Director of Human Resources
While upgrading from spreadsheets to a CRM is a step in the right direction, there are still inherent risks when you trust a generic platform to manage your entire book of business. And ERG is a perfect example of why you need to invest in CRE-specific technology like Apto to house your most valuable data. Apto does so much more than just organize your information on companies, contacts, and properties. It helps you prioritize deals you’re working and stay on top of next steps, so you don’t miss a beat.