Homebuilders have found a secret weapon through the use of CRM (customer-relationship management). This technology has been a catalyst for builders of all sizes in their efforts to streamline marketing and sales processes, helping many build strategic campaigns and outreach programs.

The technology has been directly related to many successful customer satisfaction and retention programs, as builders work with the options contained with these programs to build the right strategy for their business.

But just like with any piece of information technology, builders need to ensure they are picking the right CRM solution for their particular business in order to be successful. However, that strategy hasn’t been as easy in recent years, given the great deal of merger and acquisition activity that has gone on with the major players in the market.

Take, for example, Builder1440. The company was long established as a leader in the CRM software market for homebuilders, and then was acquired by Constellation HomeBuilder Systems, www.constellationhb.com, Markham, Ont., in early 2010, a company that had already been offering a rival CRM system to builders. While the Builder1440 product line has been maintained by Constellation, the fact of the matter is this move did shakeup the market for CRM in homebuilding at the time.

In fact, Constellation continues offering Sales1440 CRM for small, medium, and large builders, designed around the idea of managing all aspects of the builder-customer relationship, including email marketing, lot and floor-plan selection, contract generation, and change-order management, to name a few.

More transition is now occurring in the CRM market as it has been announced that CDC Software, www.cdcsoftware.com, Atlanta, Ga., has been acquired by Vista Equity Partners. According to the agreement, CDC Software is now operating independently of CDC Corp.

The CDC Software product line has proven to be successful for larger production homebuilders, helping them to integrate CRM functions to key areas of the enterprise like an ERP (enterprise resource planning), which the company also offered. Builders like Toll Brothers, www.tollbrothers.com, Horsham, Pa., and M/I Homes, www.mihomes.com, Columbus, Ohio, for example, use CDC Software.

“CDC Software is a great company that, due to its previous ownership structure, had a limited ability to invest in its people, products and services,” says Robert Smith, chairman of the board, CDC Software, and Vista’;s founder and CEO. “We look forward to applying our proven expertise in growing dynamic, successful technology-based organizations to help the talented employees at CDC Software deliver an enhanced customer experience.”;

According to CDC Software, it now serves more than 10,000 customers in more than 50 countries, providing what it calls a “hybrid enterprise software” for on-premise and cloud deployments. CDC falls into that category of software providers that can be considered ‘horizontal’ in nature, meaning its solutions are not targeted at any one specific vertical market, and instead take a best practices approach to various enterprise functions. This approach suits large production builders, as evidenced by its customer lineup in homebuilding, but might not be a good fit for small-to-medium sized builders.

It is still too early to tell what this announcement will mean for larger homebuilders running the CDC Software CRM system. Early telling indicates that perhaps it could provide CDC with the ability to operate more independently. What does it mean for the residential CRM market in general? Again, it might be too soon to say, but it is safe to say we are in a market that continues to transform itself.