Did you know? CRMs are currently the fastest growing software programs in the business industry for all sizes and types of companies. Why? Because the program and its features help you build stronger customer relationships and create a high level of customer satisfaction, leading to business growth and profitability.
Benefits of CRM Software
A big benefit of using a CRM program is that it will keep all of your sales and customer information in one central database that is available to anyone in the company who needs it. The information is usually accessed through an easy-to-use desktop or dashboard. Most CRMs include mobile applications, so they can be used in the field as well as in the office.
A CRM program will also allow you to review and manage your sales pipeline, track your sales team’s performance, and create reports and analytics such as your average conversion rate, estimate future revenue based on prospects in the pipeline, and provide demographics of your clients.
And CRM’s that are designed for the contractor and construction industry will often include features like project management.
Key Features - What to Look for in a CRM Program
Below is a list of the key features any construction-specific CRM software program should have.
Client Service Tracking / Client History
Consider those CRM programs that will give you and your team a comprehensive view that shows everything there is to know about each of your clients, from the current date going back to the first contact. The CRM should automatically track all communications including phone, email, and meetings.
You should also be able to click on a client and see all jobs, completed or in-progress, and all details relating to those jobs, including subcontractors used along with their contact information.
Integrates with Other Business Applications
A good CRM will integrate with Gmail, Outlook and other business software such as an EPR or an accounting program, like QuickBooks. A CRM that fully integrates with the programs you use will streamline workflows, save you time and boost your bottom line.
Email integration is an increasingly important CRM feature in construction. With this tool, you can view a client’s contact data from your inbox, add new contact information, and save it without leaving your inbox. That’s efficient!
Integration with a Construction ERP or Accounting Program
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software and is typically used in mid-sized to large construction companies. Simply put, it manages all of your daily business functions, especially financial activities. If you are using an ERP or accounting software, make sure the CRM you select will seamlessly integrate with your ERP to enjoy their combined benefits. A well-designed CRM will significantly add to and enhance the abilities of an ERP.
A construction-specific CRM should have features that will complement an existing project management software program. A CRM with project management capabilities should be able to track each bid or prospect as they move through the sales pipeline.
Project management features within a CRM will allow your team to:
· Create bids and send them to clients or prospects
· Prioritize those bids
· Schedule follow-up tasks for each project
· Work with calendars and email programs to ensure tasks and meetings aren’t missed
· Allow you to log customer information directly to your in-box
Look for a CRM that will help you manage all projects and assign roles and responsibilities, delegate tasks with deadlines, and allow communication among your entire team. Quality CRMs let you keep track of everyone that’s working on a job, down to the individual level, including subcontractors.
A workflow is a repeatable process consisting of a series of steps, or stages, until the overall task is completed. For instance, ordering job materials or equipment will have a specific workflow. A CRM that offers end-to-end workflows will allow you to automate
some of the steps necessary in managing a construction or contracting business saving you and your team time.
Automated workflows also increase efficiency, reduce errors, and speed up processes. An effective CRM program will include the ability to customize workflows to meet changes in requirements which are common in construction. Customization also allows a single system to perform distinct functions eliminating the need for entries into multiple systems.
Because no two businesses are the same, the best CRM software can be customized to specific needs of the company. Some basic areas that may require customization include client contact fields, what data you want displayed on your dashboards, who within the company has access to what information, workflow rules, and reports or analytics.
CRM software can track employee activity and performance by providing each individual an account where they can input and view their hours, tasks, client contact and meetings, and sales figures.
CRM programs can pull constantly updated data from devices used in the office or in the field from other software applications used by a company.
The advantage is obvious - being able to access current data is extremely beneficial to a contractor or construction company by allowing them to make the best decisions based on accurate information. Real-time data will allow them to rapidly detect issues or errors and to personalize or improve overall customer satisfaction.
CRM analytics or customer metrics provide insight into customer data and can more accurately measure a company’s progress toward achieving its goals. Depending on your situation and business goals, you will identify a variety of key metrics that can be tracked to determine how well your business is achieving your benchmarks.
These metrics might include sales pipeline data such as conversion rates, average job value, average time to move a lead to close, repeat customer rates, and sales team performance.
A CRM with a Sales Forecasting feature will predict your future sales and revenue based on data from your current sales pipeline as well as historical pipeline data.
Forecasting helps a business make better decisions regarding planning, budgeting, and risk management.
Sales forecasting gives you an idea of future revenues and lets you know if you’ll meet your budgets at your current pace. It can let a business know if they need to allocate resources to create more growth, anticipate short and long-term performance, and help sales teams meet their goals.