SAAS versus Desktop CRM

I’ve taken three calls in the last three days from Agent Officer users.

In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a desktop real estate CRM. The last upgrade was in 2006. They had been using it for many years but operating system upgrades will eventually make it unusable if not already. Frankly, it’s amazing to me that it has worked as long as it has. The last agentsoftware as a service was referred to me, thinking I would recommend another desktop real estate CRM. He hasn’t paid anything for his continued use of Agent Office for many years. When people find out there is no such thing as a real estate CRM that is a desktop product any more, they they tend to be, shall we say, not real happy. I had to tell them they don’t exist any more. They were not expecting that. That’s why I’m writing this. If you have an ancient desktop real estate CRM, you’ll want to read on. 

The thing that most people liked about desktop software is that it was a one time fee.

For a few hundred dollars, you could purchase the software for permanent use. Support and updates were an additional cost, but a small percentage would opt to pay for them. That meant that the CRM developer had to keep up a significant continuous flow of sales to new customers. That’s where it got difficult. It just isn’t a viable business model, which is why it no longer exists. If there are any real estate desktop CRMs left, I am unaware of them. If you find one, I would caution you that it is very likely that the product will not survive. Real estate agents are too small of a market compared to products that have many millions of potential users. 

When you’re looking at real estate CRMs, a big question used to be SAAS versus Desktop CRM.

In other words, one that you access only in the cloud, or one that’s only available on your computer. The latter is software you actually install on the computer. That’s the first downside to it being desktop versus SAAS. With SAAS, you can access it from any computer anywhere. With a desktop CRM, you could only use it on the device upon which it was installed, and the number of devices was often limited. 

One of the benefits of using a SAAS versus Desktop CRM is that you can access it anywhere. All you need is their URL. You go to the site, log in, and you’re good to go. Because you’re paying monthly, all the updates and support are included in that fee. The variables from CRM to CRM are many, so the pricing can vary a lot. Typical SAAS CRM pricing can be as low as $19/mo., up to hundreds per month. For one of the more popular CRMs you can expect to pay in a range of $40 to $60 per month. No startup fees. No other charges.

There is such a thing as additional fees, but they are not for the CRM.

Some people have a tendency to take issue with any additional fees at all. They see it as an extra fee that the CRM is charging. That’s not normally the case at all. You can expect a CRM to provide certain features. Storing your contact information, screens for listings and closings, automated lead population, and email template mailings are common CRM features. Different ones have different features. But some of them affiliate with other software so they can provide additional features that they themselves do not yet, or never will have. Although Top Producer deserved different criticisms over the years, that was one they didn’t deserve. People used to say they nickel and dimed you to death. That was simply not true. They offered more additional affiliates than anyone for a while there. And rather than it being seen as a good thing, they were chastised.

At this point, SAAS is the only way to go.

The number of benefits they have over desktop software are too many to count. The days of paying a few hundred bucks for a product you could use for years are gone. The need for technology makes It a lot more expensive to be in real estate sales then it was when I got in in 1987. But it makes us more efficient, we’re making twice as much as we did then, so…

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