Construction firms are on an unprecedented march to implement client relationship management (CRM) systems, or move to a CRM that is configured for project-based workflows..
As contractors adopt CRM tools that stack with project management systems, financial data tools or ERP resources, their sales and marketing teams are realizing that CRM systems can be used to measure leads and sales-based metrics.
before contracts get signed
In recent years, this movement to CRM adoption has changed for several reasons. Construction firms are quickly learning that pre-contract data, such as a client contact information and documented activity against project leads, should be well-disciplined and measured so nothing falls through the cracks. Streamlining this data into one accessible platform ensures data continuity against attrition and saves time for staff who can access email addresses, account ownership and the status of potential pursuits.
The final and most powerful reason construction firms are adopting CRMs resides within the complex needs of those responsible for chasing down historical project records and listing the right metrics in the right proposals.
Marketing is a big word
Most marketers within construction firms are not completing the typical tasks one would associate with the title. They’re neither investing time and money through AdWords campaigns, nor are they spending much time optimizing their website for SEO. They are expected to deliver the holy grail of documents that makes or breaks the company’s revenue potential: proposals. A well-crafted proposal meticulously matches the relevant experience of personnel and brand to the client. Without a proper CRM, marketers spend an inordinate amount of time navigating through various databases and departments gathering information needed to short list.
In addition, compiling the design, résumés and project descriptions for proposals is an aggressive challenge for construction marketers. A proposal must stand out against competition while equally conveying the firm possesses the experience, resources and talent to master the project. Accomplishing this requires a careful balance of choosing the most relevent projects to showcase, coupled with Pulitzer-level project descriptions along with an InDesign layout that would make a graphic designer proud.
to marketers, crm is a godsend
CRM software is usually thought of being an account and contact database that associates, measures and forecasts the sale of products. The idea that firms sell experience or projects does not bode well with standard CRMs built around transactions. This is arguably what has held construction firms back from justifying their expense (both financially and mentally). Why move to one when Outlook has a Rolodex or MS Office products can do the trick?
Marketers within construction firms are the catalyst to adopt CRMs that specialize on projects as living categories or objects (vs. solely opportunity objects) and allow for the consolidated indexing and storage of their firm’s historical projects in ways the ERP, PM or accounting tools simply cannot. Further, they store images, boilerplate templates, project descriptions and prescription resumes that feed directly into the publisher tool of choice.
When a CRM is properly dialed into categorizing their data and saving marketers quantifiable time, the quality of their work increases and translates to better hit rates. Gone are the days of hunting and gathering, waiting for vital data points from countless corners. To owners and business developers, the CRM is the sleight of hand that can crush competition, yet to the marketer it is their portal to efficiency and getting home on time.
But Wait, There’s MOre
Proposals, generally speaking, are not fun. They’re rewarding and require some acumen; however, they are stressful. The elements that bring joy and speak to traditional elements of the marketing title, such as managing events, cannot be dismissed. These are the indispensable tasks that leverage mapped relationships (both potential and actual) to deepen the firm’s brand and rejuvenate pockets of momentum.
Construction firms without a CRM scramble to “check the boxes” on whom to say what to, and when. This is where the CRM has a tenured, towering strength. There is no better tool to clearly map and identify clients, prospects, partners and associations, and ensure the right people are getting the right message at the right time. With staff contributing business intel regarding contacts daily, by its nature the CRM segments audiences to send content tailored and delivered to specific needs and interests. Open rates, click rates and results are fed to the marketer in real time allowing for iteration, A/B testing and enlightenment.
The needs and benefits of having a construction-friendly CRM at the marketers’ fingertips is a powerful argument to justify ROI, and for decades has been overlooked against more prominent tools driven by accounting, project managers and owners. Marketers migrating across firms are cross pollinating this CRM experience or sharing their trade secrets in networks. As a result, CRM providers are evolving and continually refining their workflows, interfaces and integrations to meet the challenge of their niche, but commending role requirements. All said, the marketer has the strongest argument to the owner to get a CRM acquisition done, and done right.