The Evolution of CRMs & To-Do Lists

Dec 13, 2021

This is my 35th year in the commercial real estate business. When I started my career, I created a Rolodex to track my client contacts and had a calendar where I listed my weekly prospects and to-do list.  As I moved further along in my career, I expanded my Rolodex to include business cards and created a list with detailed notes to track my cold calls.

Technology eventually advanced and we moved everything to electronic systems including contact lists, scheduling, notes, reminders, and tracking.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools became the new norm. From Salesforce to Outlook, the ability to keep in touch with our clients had never been easier. But for some, it’s hard.  There are still salespeople today that like to operate under my “old school” system used 35 years ago. Fortunately or unfortunately, our world is changing once again.

Today’s CRMs are evolving.  Sites like ClickUp and Trello are introducing new ways to simplify project management and enable collaboration with one another. With just one click, you can have colleagues join a task or project. Notifications give you real-time updates on an individual task or assignment, making it far easier to be more efficient. ClickUp has billboards advertising, “When you use our services, we guarantee you will save one business day of production a week.”

Contact management systems are more detailed. These contact management platforms not only track your lists of business prospects, but they incorporate any email exchange between you and that contact, so you can quickly see what your last engagement was.  It also pulls helpful public data from sites like LinkedIn and Crunchbase so you can see in one place background on each contact you’re trying to reach.

It will only be a matter of time before these project management systems blend into these new CRMS on steroids.

As a salesperson, we focus a lot of our time on developing new services for clients and less on keeping up with the latest tools and technology that have the potential to make us more productive and efficient. The challenge for us is that changes are occurring a lot faster and what was once the state of the art is now obsolete.   Yes, Rolodex’s post-its and datebooks can still work, but look what happened to dinosaurs. Eventually, they disappear.

Written by: Hans Hansson

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Hans Hansson is President of Starboard Commercial Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 35 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email [email protected] or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,