It's often said how the construction industry is largely a late adopting one, only incorporating the latest tools and innovative technologies into business operations long after they've been established and proven effective in other arenas of work. With this being said, it shouldn't surprise you to learn that many construction companies today are using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and bulletin boards to track leads, projects, activities, bids and more. It should go without saying that in order to operate a successful construction business, it's imperative to ensure that you're staying on top of job prospects so that you can pre-qualify and bid on work to continue to grow your business and keep revenue coming in. Every construction company yearns for a sales pipeline that will lead to a backlog of work.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, and those companies that are using antiquated means to track the overall sales process are likely to be less efficient and less prosperous than others. However, the adoption of a robust customer relationship management (CRM) program can help streamline and take your operations to a whole new level. So what are some of the key features that any good CRM software should include? We'll get into some of them in this post — here's a closer look at the features you should be looking for to take your construction business to the next level:
Contact management is key when it comes to any construction CRM software program, and to say that it's a necessity would be understating its role. What exactly does this look like in a program? A thorough customer history feature should be tracking more than just a client's contact information and the best way to reach them, but historical data that consists of every communication with them. We're talking emails, phone calls, in person meetings and any other type of networking that your firm's business development team can refer back to for sales management purposes. The inclusion of this key data can help track customer behavior, attitudes toward your firm and topics that have been previously discussed so you can put yourself in a stronger position to win new work with them when new projects become available. And like we said in the opening, ensuring a steady flow of new work and continuing to build a backlog of new work is key to the prosperity of all construction businesses. Customer history is one of the essentials that you should be looking for in a CRM software.
When most construction companies think of project management, they're referring to the task at hand after you've won the job and after groundbreaking has occurred. To most people, project management is the task of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the project to ensure that it is finished on time and on budget. But project and construction management can also extend to even before groundbreaking occurs as it pertains to tracking bids, leads and other activities (not to mention keeping tabs on your pursuit team's progress and likelihood of winning the job). Usually when it's time to bid on a new construction project, a team already has a fairly good idea of what kind of a shot they have at winning the work — and a good project management feature in a CRM program can help add to this insight so companies can make better decisions about the work they pursue and allocate internal resources toward. You don't want to miss any opportunities to earn new work, and project management features can help keep your team on track by assigning each employee involved in the pursuit tasks to put your company in the best position to be successful. This feature can also help prioritize tasks so that any employee roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and pursuits are much more streamlined overall. Simply put, a robust project management feature can help make your company work smarter, not necessarily harder. Furthermore, it can help to properly assess whether or not it's a good idea to pursue a new market to build in.
It's a common theme throughout this piece, and we'll mention it yet again: The key to a healthy construction business is ensuring that you always have leads to pursue to create a backlog of work. With that being said, being able to track the sales pipeline is paramount to staying on top of where leads are in the pursuit process so that potential work doesn't slip through the cracks. You need to be able to see not only where you are in the overall pursuit process, but what type of revenue is pending and what tasks need to be performed both in the near-term and in the long-term to ensure you don't take yourself out of the running for any jobs. Despite the importance of tracking this pipeline, many companies don't have a robust management software in place that allows them to track this information or access it quickly. This can result in overall disorganization and even desperation. Above all, however, it can mean that jobs are slipping through the cracks and your company may be falling out of favor with certain clients. This could potentially impact more than just the job you're pursuing, but any future work that a client has planned.
If you carefully analyze three different construction companies, you'll likely discover that each of them is using a different sales process. With that being said, any CRM program shouldn't be something that construction firms have to adapt to, but a program that should be able to adapt to the needs and preferences of a construction company. That's why a CRM program that's customizable is such an important aspect, as you want it to be flexible enough so that it seamlessly integrates into your operations and becomes an asset — not a burden or tolerated inconvenience. That said, look for a CRM platform that can be customized to your processes to provide an ideal user experience. Furthermore, you'll want to ensure that whatever CRM program you select can also grow along with your business as you increase your revenue and your backlog of work. Customization features can also help you track the different markets you build in so you can see where there's opportunity and where there needs to be more resources allocated to. Make any CRM software that you use work for you, don't be held hostage by a static platform that you have to adapt to.
We already discussed how archiving client history is key to providing ideal customer support and staying on top of leads, and to take this a step further is to consider how exactly this is accomplished. That's where integration comes into play, as a good CRM program should be able to keep track of conversations you're having with customers in other programs. Integrating with Outlook, Gmail and other programs can therefore keep all client conversations in one place so that your business development team isn't searching the archives of several programs when attempting to put together a report or reference a prior communication. CRM software should also integrate with other programs, such as Foundation, Sage, FCS and The Edge. User friendliness and ease of use is essential, and in an industry that's been historically known for its inefficiency, streamlining operations in this manner can help keep your company improve its overall processes and, ideally, win more work. Furthermore, you should be able to access any information from a mobile app as well as your desktop.
We can't underestimate the importance of a CRM that can thoroughly and extensively report on the likes of pipeline, revenue, projects and more to give you the high level of detail and information that you need to take your management scheduling, pursuits and overall operations to that next level. That's one of the biggest competitive advantages that a CRM can provide you, which can separate you from other companies bidding on new work and managing existing work. It's also one of the most significant features of Followup CRM, as the program's ability to thoroughly create reports permits construction companies to make more informed decisions to streamline efficiency and win more work.
Contact Followup CRM for More Information Today
For more information on Followup CRM and the features that you should be looking for in a CRM program for your construction business, contact us today. As a simple, easy to use tool that packs a ton of insight, Followup CRM can help take your business to a whole new level — and we'd love to show you how. Click here to watch a free demo video of what a customer relationship management tool such as Followup CRM can do for you and for your business. We're just a phone call away to help you get started and help you create that sales pipeline and work backlog that all construction companies yearn for. Contact us today for more information.