What is CRM and how can it help you build and sell more? CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It’s a set of online solutions that helps businesses keep track of potential new customers and improve their relationships with existing customers. As we all know, happier customers mean more business for you.
As a builder, you know that there is more to building than meets the eye. You may be experts at the building side of things, but you also know that the human side of the equation is vital. You’re not just building structures, you’re building relationships.
A CRM helps you get away from copious amounts of paper and inconsistent, duplicated, conflicting data and records, and towards a quick and efficient streamlined method for keeping track of existing and future customers. A CRM gets you the answers you need to basic questions:
- How many customers do I have?
- When’s the last time I spoke to my customer and what did we talk about?
- How many customers did I lose or gain in the last quarter?
- What was my revenue last month?
- Who closed the most deals?
CRM also automates data entry and ensures that data in your system is up to date and correct, so you’re always dealing with the right information.
A CRM connects you to your customers and your prospects by keeping track of all different touchpoints: websites, social media, phone calls, and more. And it also brings your team together by allowing them to collaborate more easily and share information.
What are the main features of a CRM that builders should look for?
The main features you will want to look for in a CRM will depend on your specific business needs, but here we can provide you with our take on the features best suited to the reality of builders:
Always be selling, they say. So, you need a CRM that helps your Sales team be as “on” as they can be, all the time. That means knowing who your prospects are and how to approach them. Knowing in an instant what kind of message those prospects need to hear, through what medium, and when. The CRM should let you share performance and key metrics with your staff to help you identify top performers and figure out which sales approaches work best. A good CRM uses artificial intelligence (AI) to guide you in the sales process and help you identify and engage with the right buyers to grow relationships.
Your CRM should help you execute multi-channel marketing campaigns and improve your marketing return on investment. You need a CRM that can determine the type of customer message you need and can help you send it at the right time. Look for a CRM that integrates with sales and analytics to give you a transparent vision of what’s working and what isn’t. And your CRM should help you craft and send messages using your prospect’s preferred channel.
- Customer service
In the building world, client relationships are built on trust. You need excellent customer service to maintain those relationships and inspire confidence. A CRM should allow you to engage with customers on their preferred channel or device. It should use data and AI to help you provide better service and reduce your costs. And in a world where personalization is power, CRM allows you to both automate and personalize your communications to help your customers feel well taken care of.
- Project management
Choosing a CRM software that has project management features is essential to maximize the results of your business. These solutions support you for:
- Effectively planning your projects and resources
- Defining time management for each task
- Tracking invoicing and expenses
- Generating reports
- Accessing to a collaborative portal.
- Dispatch service
If you need to dispatch teams on-site, you need a CRM that helps your people deliver positive onsite experiences for customers. It should provide tools that help your workers improve services, resolution times and earn trust. It should help you with scheduling, so that you know you always have the skill set available when needed. And ideally, it should offer customers a self-service portal that they can use to track workers or get recommendations, allowing them to feel empowered.
- Automation of manual and repetitive tasks
Manual and repetitive tasks take up a lot of time that you could be using to do something more productive for your business. And yet, these tasks have to be done. Your CRM can help take care of these tasks for you in an automated and pre-scheduled way, both saving you time and avoiding potential mistakes.
- Intelligent data management
Sometimes busy people end up working in “silos” and failing to share information. They do things the way they’ve always done it, and they have their own systems in place that work for them to keep track of customer data. But does that mean that their system works for you? Probably not. It saves everyone time and money in the end if data is readily available to all members of your team. You need a CRM that allows everyone to store information in one place, in a clear and coherent structure, so that information is at your people’s fingertips when they need it. It means that marketing, sales, and customer representatives all have access to the same information – no duplications, no missing data fields. Knowledge is power, and this way, your whole team benefits.
The benefits of using CRM for builders
Where to begin? The benefits to builders of using a CRM software are multifold.
Better customer relationships
It’s hard to quantify the value of a good relationship but the fact is, it is quantifiable. And a CRM helps you do that. The CRM helps you both build better relationships with prospects and customers and then measure the effects of those efforts you made in terms of sales. How exactly do you improve a customer relationship? By reaching out to customers at the right time, in the way they like to be communicated with, with an awareness of their needs and a perfect recollection of the last things you said to one another. CRM also helps you provide better service and support to your customers on time, which builds trust and inspires confidence. All with the ultimate purpose of ensuring your customer loyalty.
Better access to information
The CRM lets you centralize information so that everyone on your team has access to the right information, the most up-to-date information, and performance results. No more working on paper, no more heavy binders, no more team members hoarding information in their own minds when that information could be vital to the whole team if only they had known it on time.
The CRM automates manual and repetitive tasks so that you can spend your time doing more important things. It makes sure that data entry is done correctly and on time.The CRM can also be accessed from mobile devices, meaning that your people can be connected wherever they go, whether they’re in the office or on-site. Your communications will be at once more focused and personalized, and will take up less time to produce and send.
A CRM is there to help you in all dimensions of the customer experience. It will help you optimize your marketing, sales and customer insights. It will improve your ability to deliver quality service in office and on-site. And at the end of the day, a CRM will help you increase sales and build more.
How do CRMs help builders specifically?
Communication and collaboration
As all builders know, communication with clients is key. And as all builders also unfortunately know, clients are prone to changing their minds. A CRM not only makes it easier to communicate with clients by integrating communication tools such as Teams to the CRM platform, but it helps you keep track of past interactions and what was said. So, goodbye to misunderstandings and lost time. Hello to well-informed, personalized communications that enhance the builder-client relationship.
A CRM can also be a collaborative tool for clients and builders, allowing clients to interact in the building process in a way that is controlled and monitored by you.
CRM isn’t just about managing customer relationships, it’s also about managing the project itself. It will help keep you organized, on-time and on-track. It has features to help your create your invoice. By automating repetitive tasks and using artificial intelligence, it can cut out human error and improve your overall operations.
Thanks to the availability of shared, accurate information, and the ease with which the CRM can produce analyses and reports on sales performance, marketing campaigns and so much more, you’ll be making data-driven decisions that promote growth and lead your company to success.
How to choose the right CRM for you?
There are a lot of CRMs out there. How do you know which one is right for you?
A good first step is to start by making a list of the customer management systems you are already using, and figure out whether you intend to replace those systems or simply supplement them. Then make a list of the features that you would like to have in your CRM.
Next, consider your budget. How much do you have to spend on CRM software? Are you intending to completely overhaul your system or just add a few new features?
Lastly, what have your customers been telling you that they want from you? If you don’t know, it might be a good time to ask them what their expectations are, how often and in what way they’d like you to communicate with them, whether they have any suggestions for how you can improve your service, whether they have any issues with the time it takes you to get back to them either in everyday interactions or on support calls, etc. You don’t know what you don’t know. So, if you’re at the point where you are considering investing to improve your customer relationships, it makes sense to ask those customers what they really want from you. The answers might surprise you.
With these questions and answers in hand, you’ll be ready to start comparing the CRMs that are out there to find the best fit for you.
Things to look for
- A CRM that is customizable.
An out-of-the-box solution might not be right for your reality as a builder. Make sure your CRM can accommodate the needs of your particular business model.
- A CRM that is extensible.
Chances are you already have some other platforms that work for you and you don’t see the need to change them. Then find a CRM that can connect seamlessly with other platforms so that you can build on what you already have instead of starting from scratch.
- A CRM with the right levels of security.
Obviously, customer data is not something to take lightly. Some of it can be sensitive in nature, and your very reputation depends on your clients trusting you with their project and their information. Make sure your CRM has the right security in place so that neither your data nor your customers’ data is at risk.
- A CRM that is scalable.
You’re in the business of growth. Don’t pick a CRM that is incapable of growing along with you. Your CRM needs to evolve and keep pace with your business decisions, and should be able to handle anything that is thrown your way. After all, you’re not shopping for a CRM for the next year or two, you’re looking for something for a much longer time horizon that won’t need to be replaced down the road. Choose a CRM software that plans to keep changing and developing to keep up with the needs of the market.
Seems like a lot to keep in mind? Don’t worry – many CRMs take all of these points into account. And those that don’t? Well, they can be more easily set aside, which should make the decision easier for you. There is no need to settle for less than the features you know you want because it is possible to have them all with a powerful software such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM.