Author Steve James Mulka does a bang up job of explaining why CRM is not only relevant but critical for new business development:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”Construction companies have traditionally invested in software systems for estimating, job costing and project management. The industry has not historically been a large adopter of Customer Relationship Management, CRM software, but that is changing.” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””][/perfectpullquote]
I am taking the liberty of truncating the article into five compelling reasons why CRM is right for construction, with my editorial comments in italic type (all other content is attributed to Mr. Mulka).
#1. Pipeline Tracking
Too many contractors are chasing projects that they have a minimal chance of winning, taking the focus away from opportunities that have a good potential.
- What projects are we bidding?
- Where in the sales process is each project?
- What is the bid due date?
- Who has the ball in court?
- What was the last activity completed?
Can you answer these questions instantly? Can you answer them at all??
CRM is not only for tracking customers but can be extended to all business partners for a company. Subcontractors, Architects, Banks, General Contractors, competitors all can be entered into CRM so that employees can quickly find the details on a particular company, contract or bid.
By having all business partners in a single software system, this information can be used during the sales process to provide the company with a complete picture of partner subcontractors and the architect, owner, GC or other relevant relationships to the bid and ultimately the project. The end result is that now companies are “Managing” their business using Customer Relationship Management software instead of reacting to emails or phone calls.
Do your valuable company assets exist in silos by department or role? Are you leveraging the “relationships” you have to win business?
For each Account, an unlimited number of contacts can be added so that all the players at a company are identified. This reduces the islands of information within a company when estimating has some contacts, project managers have other contacts, and business development has their own set of contacts.
Does every employee have their own system/spreadsheet/address book? What happens when they leave the company? Is the data transferred back to the company?
Opportunities (entered into CRM systems) contain key info:
- Opportunity Name
- Contract Value
- Bid Dates
- Construction Type
- Market Segment
- Sales Stage
- Tasks to be completed
- Who are the Players: Architect, Owner, GC, Subcontractors, etc.
Do you have a system that can pull opportunities into a pipeline report? Are you able to make informed business decisions with the data you have?
#5. Sales Stage
CRM also helps standardize on the sales process and methodology. Setting up Sales Stages for the opportunity allows for a consistent approach to bidding and winning work. A typical sales stage for construction has the following steps:
- Qualification: Identifying the scope, timeframes and decision maker
- Bidding: Getting pricing and takeoffs
- Proposal Development: Creating an estimate and supporting proposal
- Negotiations: Finalizing contracts
- Close: Win the Business
Do you know where you’re stuck in your sales cycle? Is anyone following up after proposals have been sent? What percent of bids are you winning? Can you improve any stage in the funnel to close faster, or win more jobs?
CRM software represents a new way for the construction industry to manage getting work and tracking customers. The benefits of standardizing an organization’s sales process and gaining insight into all aspects of the bidding process can provide a real and immediate return on investment. Companies looking to increase their success in bidding and winning more work should seriously review CRM software as a strategic element of a company’s overall Information Technology Strategy.
Did you know that Sage CRM now integrates with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate? ETHOSystems has recommended and implemented scores of Sage CRM systems for construction clients.
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