Brokerage best practices

Data privacy features to consider when choosing your commercial real estate CRM

July 12, 2022

Today, companies are amassing more user data than ever before. In the commercial real estate world, savvy brokerages leverage CRMs to collect and manage first-party data, enhancing marketing personalization and improving experiences for clients and potential buyers. This sort of data use case benefits everyone.

But some organizations capture data and sell it to third parties, which means it can end up in your competitors’ hands. Others fail to properly secure clients’ information, which leaves them vulnerable to cybercriminals.

As consumers become more aware of deceitful and negligent data practices, they’ve also become warier about sharing their personal information. As a brokerage, failing to protect this data is a surefire way to breach clients’ trust and harm your reputation.

So how can you enjoy the benefits of all this data without negatively impacting your clients or jeopardizing your relationships?

Today, we’re walking through a few data privacy features and considerations to keep in mind when choosing a CRM.

Broker-controlled data sharing

Relationships are the foundation of a broker’s success, and you work hard to build and nurture those relationships. The last thing you want is to give those hard-won contacts to anyone else — including colleagues who may become competition. That’s why, when choosing a CRM, it’s crucial you ensure the software you select allows you to control what information is available only to you versus what’s available to your entire brokerage or team.

In Buildout, user permissions can be managed by an admin, which means people will only have access to the data they need to do their jobs. For example, marketers need access to specific documents, email management, syndication management, and other relevant features.

The better you control your data, the less the chances of information inadvertently falling into the wrong hands.

Syndication opt-out

Syndication is essential to maximizing the reach of your listings, but manually updating this data can be a headache. Each time you need to add, remove, or change a listing, you have to do so on each platform individually. And with so much else already on your plate, it’s easy to forget to update details or remove unavailable listings.

Fortunately, a CRM for commercial real estate makes it easy to automatically update listing details across several syndication platforms at once. This way, you have complete control over what data is publicly promoted at any given time.

Ethical data sourcing

There are many ways to procure data, and not all are ethically sound. As we discussed earlier, some organizations make money by buying and selling data to third parties. And while users may technically give permission because they failed to notice the fine print before agreeing to terms and conditions, that doesn’t make it right.

When selecting any sort of software, it’s vital you know precisely where any data is coming from and how any information you collect will be used (as well as how you can prevent it from being used). Make certain software providers follow ethical data practices, like ensuring users have full knowledge of how their data is collected, stored, and shared and can opt out at any time.

Ideally, the CRM you choose shouldn’t share your data outside your organization or provide you with anyone else’s data.

Proven adherence to data privacy regulations and cybersecurity

Over the past few years, there’s been a flurry of new data privacy regulations across the US and Europe. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to hefty fines and legal penalties, but that hasn’t stopped some organizations from behaving negligently.

Before investing in a CRM for commercial real estate, do your due diligence. Ask the provider what they do to help protect users’ data and comply with relevant regulations. Find out about specific cybersecurity measures they’re taking to reduce the risk of a hack or leak. Remember that if a client’s data is compromised — even if it’s a vendor’s fault —you’ll be in hot water too.

No conflict of interest

You and your team are obliged to avoid any conflict of interest, per the Certified Commercial Investment Member’s (CCIM) code of standards and ethics. And this extends to your CRM software.

Data monetization or data-sharing are common practices in the software world, but when these activities happen without client knowledge and consent, it becomes a clear violation of data privacy and a conflict of interest.

It’s up to you to ensure the software provider you work with doesn’t have a business model dependent on data monetization and doesn’t have an ownership stake in businesses that provide services to client competitors (like an investment advisory services firm).

Check out this blog post to learn more about avoiding conflict of interest when choosing CRE software. 

How Buildout supports data privacy and security

When shopping for a CRM for commercial real estate, remember some providers take data security more seriously than others. At Buildout, keeping your data safe is a top priority. Here are a few steps we’ve taken to enhance data privacy

  • We make it easy for you to get your data into and out of the system. While some CRM companies hold contact information hostage, we ensure you can easily take it with you throughout the rest of your career.
  • Once you save property information (from our built-in inventory data feature) to your property records and property lists, that data is yours.
  • Our software is built on Salesforce, the most secure CRM platform on the market.

A CRM is a crucial investment, and the software you implement can significantly impact your organization’s future. By thoroughly vetting software based on data privacy and cybersecurity, you’ll help preserve your brokerage’s reputation and your clients’ trust.

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