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“All In One” vs “Best In Class” – is there a difference?

David Anderson 0

One of the most frequent questions you’ll see on Facebook groups is, “What CRM should I use?” and the answers are inevitably all over the board.  The reality is, whether you’re just starting out in real estate or well experienced, choosing a new CRM can be a daunting task. There are many to choose from and each offer their services with slightly different features and methods. This article will cut your research time in half by examining the differences in the two largest groups of CRMs: all-in-one versus best-in-class.

All-in-one systems are very comprehensive and encompassing and may include a website, lead generation and a lead manager.  It all sounds great, but many all-in-one systems spread themselves too thin by not focusing on core functions, that in the end, limit your choices as new technologies emerge. Instead of excelling in a specific category (such as lead aggregation and distribution or easy sales and marketing automation), they can only have a mediocre grasp on a whole slew of tools for your business. While this may be good for users who want their systems to manage everything and be self-sufficient, the real issue is that often times these all-in-one management systems cost thousands of dollars. Once you purchase your website, have it set up, and pay to have your account designed, you still have a steep monthly fee.  Next, the “CRM” portion is usually just a lead manager that has just a few basic features, when what you really need is a full blown Client Relationship Management platform.  A big problem on top of this is that these pricy all-in-one systems are generally designed for the very large brokerage because it’s just ‘easy to deploy’ and then shove down to their agents.  The last ‘problem’ is that if you decide to switch websites, or get a different transaction management system, or even want to plug-in a new marketing channel, you might not be able to without having to completely blow up your whole operation. We agree, that having an all-in-one CRM might seem simpler and easier at the beginning, the reality is that you’ll be spending money on features and functionalities that don’t match up with what you may need for your specific business needs.

A best-in-class CRM platform knows what it does and it does it extremely well. Rather than attempting to do everything at once, they specialize in a few specific features and excel at them, while allowing you to plug in a myriad of other solutions with ease. This may seem limiting, until you realize they’re not only much cheaper than all-in-ones, but you can then choose your best-in-class IDX Website to plugin, or perhaps you want to generate and plug in FaceBook leads and follow up on them. Once you choose the ‘hub’ of your business, you should then have the flexibility to plug and play with hundreds of other products and technologies. That’s actually one of the best aspects of LionDesk: it is the hub of your business. While LionDesk excels at drip campaigns, texting, video emails and contact management, there are other providers with specialties that LionDesk doesn’t have, such as a website or lead landing pages. Best-in-class platforms also offer optional upgrades and add-on features like custom phone numbers, so you only pay for the tools you need at the time you need it.

Benefits for new users

If you’re just starting out, you’ll most likely want to know some information about the industry. An important statistic to remember is that 71.5% of realtors use a CRM, according to a recent report by Inman Select. There’s a reason so many use them: they work. Here are some reasons why you should get a best-in-class as your first CRM.

  • They’re cheaper. New users are just starting out and aren’t sure what works for them and what doesn’t. Better to have a cheap first investment, than spending hundreds or thousands and realizing you’re in over your head.
  • They’re simpler New users don’t know everything they’ll need for their business. Less useless tools to get in the way of things you need to learn first.
  • You can choose what you want. Best-in-class CRMs come with many optional upgrades and features. Instead of purchasing every tool and then deciding what to use, you can choose what you want and then purchase it.

Benefits for existing users

Regardless of whether or not you’ve gone your whole career without using a CRM or you’re looking to switch from your all-in-one service, there are plenty of reasons for experienced realtors to use a best-in-class.

  • You can choose what technologies your business runs. If you’ve already been in the industry for years, you will most likely have a specific and personal way of handling things. Best-in-class CRMs are more versatile and fit with your style.
  • You can hold on to other services you use. Even if you’ve never had a full CRM, you’ve most likely used some systems other than Excel or Outlook in your time as a realtor. With a best-in-class, you don’t have to give up those services you’ve grown accustomed to.
  • Constant new integrations. The core of many best-in-class CRMs is connecting to other systems and becoming stronger together. Whether it’s IDX or an MLS, integrating with other 3rd party providers benefits everyone. These are essentially upgrades to the system that can happen when you’re ready for them.
  • Larger, more complicated systems require a full computer to use most of their services, whereas a best-in-class can be almost completely managed in-app. This means you can take your CRM on the go, do quick work at an open house, and even create contacts and set them on a drip campaign all from your phone.

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