Although businesses in any industry affect their customers’ lives, construction firms have a unique role: contributing to the structures and spaces where people work, shop and live.
From small woodworking shops to major construction firms, builders and construction managers don’t forge run-of-the-mill customer relationships. With so much physical activity and output involved in managing a construction firm, site or individual job, it can become easy to overlook the many other aspects involved with running a business in the industry. Simultaneously working with multiple clients and acquiring new leads can get hectic, and the fast pace of daily details can divert construction managers’ attention away from the parts of the business that matter most: crafting quality work while maintaining solid customer relationships.
Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms can help with the latter goal. However, the CRM market is saturated with options. What priorities matter most to an industry like construction management? Here are the top four aspects of CRM every construction executive should evaluate.
1. Project management functions
When managers are working on multiple jobs, there’s one technology feature that can help make or break their ability to pull it off: smart project management. Grouping tasks and timelines into pipelines or milestones can help track progress, new employee goals and new opportunities to increase productivity. Look for a CRM that not only focuses on project management, but does so visually–and allows customization functions, such as importing files, importing contacts and emails, and setting reminders for tasks.
2. Sales pipeline maintenance and management
At its core, a CRM is designed to manage contacts, prospects and a sales funnel. As prospects move from interested parties to loyal customers, construction managers can use CRM software to quickly monitor the employees responsible for each sale, as well as details about each customer. Managers can use the information to better forecast close dates, using those insights to optimize sales and enhance client relations in the future.
3. Customized reporting
Nearly any CRM will offer the ability to report progress on opportunities and ongoing activities. However, some functionalities won’t extend beyond basic graphs. When shopping for a solution that proves its ROI for a business, managers should be sure they’re able to define the criteria included in their reports, and be able to filter results based on the categories that matter most to their organizations. A CRM also should have the capability to create graphs that communicate sales and set alerts or schedule automatic reports.
4. Integrations with existing technology
New solutions will only add complexity to business if they don’t play nice with the existing IT setup. Construction managers should take stock of the applications and solutions most important to their firms: Sales, calendaring, file sharing, email, accounting and productivity apps tend to rank high on this list. Ideally, they should choose a CRM that will integrate with those technologies. Importing app data helps provide a 360-degree view of a business, which improves the quality of insights, analytics and potential ROI for a manager.
CRM systems help construction managers quickly access client information and maintain, or even raise, customer satisfaction, as their level of detail makes it easy to add a personal voice to every client interaction. However, managers should prioritize solutions that are simple, easily customized, rich in project management and integration capabilities, and can prove their value to the company’s bottom line.