When you think about it, choosing real estate technology is a lot like buying a car. You ask yourself what you want it to do and who’s going to use it. You think about how long it will last, and whether you’ll outgrow it at some point and need to upgrade models.
But there’s one big difference between the vehicle you use to get around town and the tools you use to run your business.
Your old car will get you where you need to go long after a newer model comes along. But if your technology doesn’t keep pace with your business, your sales and revenue could come to a screeching halt.
A tech stack is made up of the systems, tools, software and programs that serve as building blocks for how you run your business.
If you’re like most real estate agents, you’re probably already using some combination of calling, texting and emailing – along with a CRM –for keeping track of your client database.
In this simple example, your phone, email and CRM represent your “tech stack” — the combination of tools that make it possible for you to go about your business each day.
Of course, to hit the next level in your business, at some point you’ll likely need a tech stack that gives you the best tools for a variety of tasks, such as:
Much like your business, technology is always changing.
The real estate tools that make up your tech stack today might not be the same tools required of your business tomorrow.
Now that we’re clear on what a real estate tech stack actually is, let’s talk about some of the reasons an integration-friendly tech stack is important as you grow your business.
We’ll start with a quick hypothetical. Let’s say your email system was suddenly missing the software that actually transmits the email. Sure, you could still write up an email and hit send, but the email wouldn’t actually go anywhere.
Similarly, if your email system didn’t have the backend software to translate a message into the language your computer uses, you might receive an email that looks like an indecipherable tangle of ones and zeros.
In the same way, a tech stack for real estate contains a variety of systems for tasks like digital marketing and lead capture and then connects those systems so you can manage, nurture, and convert leads as one seamless process.
Rather than simply collecting inbound leads via your website only to let them sit in your database, your tech stack can help move leads forward in the conversion funnel — even when you’re not there to manually manage the process.
When you start looking at real estate CRMs, sooner or later you’re going to bump into the question of whether to choose an open system or a closed “all-in-one” system.
A closed system is ready-made for you, like choosing a car off the lot versus ordering it customized to your specifications.
A great tech stack isn’t just about the software you use. The way these programs work together can mean the difference between spending your days working your technology, or having technology work for you.
Choosing a closed system off the shelf might seem like a no-brainer. It’s a plug-and-play solution that can be especially attractive when you don’t have a lot of experience with technology.
But it’s important to also consider the differences between an open system and a closed system before making your decision.
While an all-in-one system can be just fine when you’re starting out, top-producing agents and teams often tell us closed systems don’t make it easy to invest in best-of-breed solutions as they scale their businesses.
An open system means you choose each component of your real estate tech stack, depending on where your business is today and where you plan for it to be tomorrow.
Because systems with an open API architecture let you easily integrate new programs, you can keep up with all the latest innovations without taking a forklift to your entire tech stack.
Think about the difference between seeing a GP for a checkup and going to a specialist. The GP might be able to diagnose your medical condition, but when it comes to treating it, they’ll likely refer you to a specialist.
When you use an open system, you can choose from a variety of specialized tools for each of your core business functions — whether that’s social media retargeting, transaction management or anything in between.
Closed systems lock up your data. Once you input your data, you may not be able to pull it back out. But an open system is designed with two-way architecture so you always control your data, and can easily move it into and out of new tools within your tech stack.
This means that if a new lead source comes along, you can easily integrate it into your CRM. If your marketing strategy changes, and you need new tools to support it, you have the flexibility to add them.
When it comes to tech, solutions evolve in the blink of an eye.
An open system gives you the flexibility to change when your business changes. That flexibility on the user side also gives tech vendors with an open system even more incentive to always deliver the best solutions.
As you might’ve guessed, Follow Up Boss was intentionally built as an open lead management system. And because Follow Up Boss uses an open API, it allows different systems to talk to each other and sync information in real time.
In fact, Follow Up Boss integrates with over 230 different tools and lead providers so that you can customize your tech stack to fit your business needs to help monitor everything from lead gen to commissions paid.
And if you need more tools, you can use Zapier to easily connect Follow Up Boss with 1,000s more software vendors.
No one wants technology for technology’s sake. Technology for real estate agents and teams should help solve problems and make you money. Period.
So when it comes to building the right tech stack for your business, start by answering the question: “What problem does it solve?”
If you’re building a tech stack with an open API, the good news is you only need to solve one problem at a time. You'll have the flexibility to address new problems as they arise, without having to uproot all the components of your system.