In construction, building relationships can be just as important as building structures. Project owners tend to award jobs at least partly based on how well they know and trust a contractor. That’s why developing rapport with clients and understanding their project needs are often key factors in winning bids.
But keeping track of multiple clients and their projects can be challenging — especially if you spend more time on jobsites than in the office. What’s more, tracking customer data and acquiring new leads can become overwhelming when relying on manual methods or basic spreadsheets.
How can you quickly identify key client contacts, what projects you’ve done for them and which ones resemble the one you’re attempting to win? Consider the potential advantages of customer relationship management (CRM) software.
All data, one place
CRM software enables users to place all customer and prospect data in one central repository. As a result, information can be fully accessed and analyzed by all team members — no more cross-checking against separate documents or spreadsheets.
CRM eliminates the information silos that often occur when, for instance, estimators work with some contacts and project managers work with others. Instead, everyone has access to the same, comprehensive data to see the complete picture of your construction company’s relationship with a client (and the client’s staff members).
Client data includes anything from contact information to project history to email exchanges. You can organize individual contacts into groups, such as by company or independent contractor specialty, or any list you see fit. Doing so helps identify longtime clients vs. new prospects, as well as trends or client-specific requirements, to help determine which team members to involve in the sales process.
Nowadays, many CRM solutions are cloud-based, allowing employees to remotely access up-to-date details on a company, contract or bid via mobile device. As a result, tasks don’t get stalled and team members can oversee projects more effectively and close bids more quickly.
Projects and partners
A CRM solution can serve as a library for past projects and bids, which estimators can use to easily find the optimal projects to reference for a proposal. Drill down even further to reveal the:
- Partnerships that have helped win work,
- Most fruitful lead sources, and
- Types of projects that are more profitable for your company.
This data can also be used to identify the types of jobs your company has a high percentage of winning, so you can focus your time and resources on winnable bids and avoid long shots that may only serve as a distraction.
CRM users can also add business partners — including general contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers and consultants. This information provides an overview of past project partners with relevant relationships to the bid. Some contractors add their employees to the system so they can track and leverage those relationships if employees move on to other companies.
Costs and compatibility
A construction-specific CRM solution can help improve business relationships, retain customers and drive sales. But that doesn’t mean you should rush out to buy one. As with any investment in technology, carefully consider purchase, training and maintenance costs. Also think about whether you’ll fully use the software long-term and its compatibility with your existing systems.
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