I decided to write this because I get many calls from agents requiring the CRM they choose to have IDX integration.
Another way it is often asked for is they want “web site integration”. The vast majority of the time, that’s not what the agent really wants. What they usually want is for the CRM to add new leads automatically, saving them the time of having to key in the information.
IDX (Internet Data Exchange) is the ability for a web site visitor to do an MLS search.
There are a variety of features that come after that but that’s the primary function.
Auto-population of leads is the ability of the CRM to automatically add incoming leads from a variety of sources including web site contact forms directly, or emails containing the lead information.
While there are some CRMs that incorporate IDX solutions into them, they are typically only available in broker level or more sophisticated and expensive CRMs. They’re a time saver because instead of having to go to your web site to see what the prospect is searching for, that information can be contained within the CRM right with the contact’s record.
So the point is that if what you are looking for is a CRM that has the ability to automatically add leads, you don’t need the CRM to have IDX capability, just the ability to take a lead from a web site, lead generation solution, or an email. At this point most of the better CRMs do this. How they do it, and what kind of leads they are capable of adding vary significantly.
A detailed description of each method is fodder for another article, but I’ll summarize the primary ones here.
1) The first method most had was for the CRM to enable you to create a contact form from within the CRM. It then provided the HTML source code. You then replace your existing web site contact form with the new one. The downside is that many template sites are not capable of allowing you to replace the contact form, or if you do replace it, the follow-up capabilities on the site may be negated.
2) The next method that came into common usage was for the CRM to have a relationship with the lead provider so they could “talk to each other” and add the lead automatically.
3) The newest method is “Email lead parsing” – the ability for the CRM to receive an email from any lead source, analyze the content of the email and add the information as a new lead. This is probably the best overall because it doesn’t matter where the lead is coming from. All it needs to have is a consistent format. By that I mean it has to label the information by preceding it with a consistent name such as “Name: John Buyer”. The vast majority do this. The downside is that if the email is HTML instead of plain text, which the vast majority are not, it can confuse the lead parser utility.
The bottom line is that you can require IDX integration in your CRM, but if what you want is for the lead to be automatically added into your CRM’s database you don’t need IDX. What you want is simply the ability to auto-populate new leads into it.