What’s the difference between workflows and activity plans in a CRM? The answer to that question can play a very big part in which CRM you choose. Generally speaking, workflows are much more powerful than Activity Plans and CRMs that have workflows are far and few between. Activity Plans will absolutely do the trick, just not as powerfully. The industry started out with activity plans and they will stay around, probably forever. Choosing between the two is about how much time you’re willing to spend and how adept you are at learning new software.
My opinion is that a real estate business should use workflows, if you are capable of creating and implementing them. They are much more efficient and will streamline your processes like nothing else. That said, not everyone is cut out to be able to use them. They tend to be more complicated to learn, set up and implement. Depending upon you, your staff, and your needs, activity plans may be a better choice for you.
The big picture difference between a workflow and an activity plan is that the former has the ability to branch. By branching I mean that certain actions are black and white. They are either done or they are not. But some actions are not that simple. Some require a decision about what to do next as a result of the answer to the reminder. Huh?
Let’s take an activity in an activity plan that is a reminder to check to see if there is a mortgage commitment. The to-do item comes up in your list. It says “Is the mortgage commitment in?”. If it was indeed approved, then you just mark that activity complete, right? Not really. If they got the commitment, you have other things you now need to do as a result. If they did not get the commitment, then you have a different set of tasks to perform.
In an activity in an activity plan, checking the box to complete it simply marks it as complete. If you want to take additional steps after you mark the activity complete, you have to remember to do that manually or have a very bloated activity plan.
In a workflow, that need of having to take different actions depending upon what happens, is addressed. In the image below on the left, you would click in the box to complete the activity. Upon doing that, instead of it just being marked as complete, it comes up with two options, or actions.
In the real world, when the mortgage commitment is received, sending a quick email congrats would be a good move. However, if the mortgage is declined, you might want to send a different email offering to help them fix their credit. As you can see in the boxes, clicking one of the two new check boxes will either send an email or start a new workflow. It’s all up to you, when you build each activity. This is the primary difference between workflows and activity plans in CRMs.
While this is the primary difference, workflows tend to come with many more options than activity plans. That’s what makes them so much more powerful.
Are workflows better than activity plans? Well, they’re more powerful and you can do much more with them. But, if they’re more detail and work than you want, then they’re not better, for you! They are more than you can use effectively, so go with activity plans. You’ll understand them faster and get them built and running faster. Activity plans are what we have been using for many years. They’re an incredible boon to our business to keep us organized. Some people want much more from their CRM than others. Some are perfectly content with less detail. Which one are you?
Contact me and we’ll talk about it and figure out which best suits your needs!