Construction companies revolve around client relationships. Sustaining those relationships is what makes those companies successful.
Most clients approach construction firms based on how well they know and trust them.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, many construction firms are having trouble attracting and retaining new clients.
In this scenario, companies need to focus on maintaining their existing client base. This isn’t new knowledge, though, as companies are looking at different tools that can help them evolve and grow.
The key tool in this context is customer relationship management (CRM) software.
CRM for construction might not seem like the typical use-case for the software, but CRM represents a new way for construction companies to manage their work and build their business.
Before we talk about the importance of CRM for construction companies, let’s understand why they need it in the first place.
Why Should Construction Companies Use CRM?
In any industry, business-client relations are the key to success. This is arguably true in construction as well; construction companies need long-standing clients to build trust and credibility.
For all those working in the construction industry, managing a project is a complex & lengthy process. It involves many stakeholders and contacts, including contractors, builders, architects, and decision-makers.
A new contract or a project comes with a host of interpersonal dynamics that a construction firm must navigate.
To give you a gist of what that means, here is what’s involved in a project:
- Identifying managers (also known as prescribers) for each project. These managers come with expertise in a particular field or niche.
- Monitoring all projects and contractors.
- Relaying all the information about the progress of a project across all levels — from builders and contractors to management and leaders.
- Maintaining a database of accurate, up-to-date information that is easily accessible from anywhere on-site.
- Analyzing sales processes to understand what is working and what isn’t.
Efficiency is imperative in the construction industry. If a company can’t keep track of the project activities, it’s not possible to accurately build a sales strategy.
A good CRM can help with all these moving pieces: reputation management, client satisfaction, sales, and growth.
Common Features Of CRM Software
A few features of CRM for construction (and other industries) are:
- End-to-end process workflows
- Process visualization
- Data tracking and analytics
- Project monitoring
- Lead tracking and generation
- Sales pipeline
- Social media management
- Contact management
We’ll take a look at which features a construction-centric CRM requires further below.
Key Benefits Of CRM For Construction Companies
Generally speaking, CRM for construction companies helps in three ways:
Customer relationships can make or break a business. Here’s how CRMs help:
A CRM platform centralizes all available data. A company can view all the contacts, their details and requirements, and map their customer journey.
Essentially, it’s a single point of information on everything a team needs to work efficiently.
CRM for builders or the construction industry helps businesses understand what their clients need. Knowing what prospective clients need can help a company personalize the sales experience.
CRM technology can also help companies evaluate how best they can provide value to their clients.
One practical example: when a construction company scores a new client, there’s a long list of paperwork that comes along.
The simplest way CRMs can help is by streamlining data entry: a manager can input all contact details and make them accessible to everybody involved in the project.
From marketing to sales to finance — there would be a common source of information.
Streamlining all the areas of client engagement makes it easy to build strategies that can help retain clients.
Productivity remains a significant obstacle in the construction industry. So, what causes low productivity?
According to a study, low productivity is due to a lack of proper digital infrastructure.
The construction industry has been slow to implement digital tools and strategies, which explains the productivity gap.
Many construction companies still rely on old-school methods to keep track of customer data and leads. Old information gets lost, and employees end up doing the same work repeatedly.
Furthermore, without a centralized information system, there can be no efficient way to track progress or analyze results.
CRM systems can help accelerate productivity by keeping information out of paper vaults and emails, reducing paperwork, digitizing customer interactions, and optimizing projects.
An effective CRM tool for construction can help businesses become more profitable and foster better client relationships.
Sales & Revenue
Visibility is crucial in sales. If a company doesn’t know where its leads are coming from, customer engagement becomes difficult.
Without sales visibility, on what grounds can a construction company forecast its revenue and growth?
An effective CRM provides better options to view and identify lead volume and behavior. A company can keep track of the number of leads, how the sales reps interact with the leads, and which deals have been closed.
Construction CRMs help drive sales. They help contractors and builders know exactly what kind of clients they’re dealing with, and what the requirements are.
By knowing a company’s client base, the business can grow its profit by increasing repeat sales.
Repeat sales are made easier by CRMs. If a company knows a particular client requirement, they can make an effort to reach out one-on-one and close the deal.
It beats launching broad marketing campaigns as they’re costly and not result-driven.
A CRM also allows businesses to take a more proactive approach to their sales. When proposals go out, sales reps know which client to follow up on within a given timeline.
A sales-specific CRM software can help track the entire journey of clients — from lead generation to customer satisfaction.
A construction company deals with a lot of moving pieces.
Multiple projects are finalized and closed every day. Tasks such as classifying contacts, identifying leads, closing deals, and assigning work are routine.
They’re also very time-consuming.
CRM software allows companies to automate their routine tasks. A contractor or manager can set parameters and assign roles. When a new task gets added, it automatically works within the framework of those parameters.
For example, a sales rep might be in the process of closing a deal. CRM automation can help in understanding when to send a follow-up email or send an invoice.
Automating repetitive tasks can save you many hours every day. Repetitive tasks include scheduling appointments, data entry, sending emails, asking for feedback, etc.
By optimizing work processes, employers can free time for their teams to work on high-priority tasks.
A CRM can also send emails to the right clients automatically. Automatic emails can vary from sales proposals to feedback surveys.
Generally speaking, any automation that reduces redundancy increases productivity and growth.
Better analytics means that businesses can make well-informed decisions for their companies. An excel sheet is limited; CRM gives deeper and better insights.
A company can track its past projects, customer feedback and complaints, the sales pipeline, and marketing efforts to understand the bigger picture.
The Need For Construction-Centric CRM
There’s a CRM for every industry. CRM software is not a one-size-fits-all solution; it needs to be built and customized to suit each industry’s needs.
In the construction industry, the quality of work is important, but so are customer relationships.
While most CRMs are multi-purpose, the unique requirements of the construction industry mean that the software must also be structured differently.
Let’s look at it in further detail.
The sales process in most industries is a two-step process. You have a lead (potential client), and you have an opportunity (deal).
Let’s take an example.
A creative agency sells services rather than products. That agency’s lead comes through and asks for a package of services. The agency and the lead discuss proposals and requirements through various follow-up emails.
Finally, if the agency and the client agree upon the service and the price, the deal is closed.
In this case;
lead -> conversion -> client
opportunity -> conversion -> deal
The construction industry’s sales process is not as straightforward. A construction firm sells its experiences or knowledge. Due to the number of stakeholders involved, this process is complex.
For general contractors:
The sales process for general contractors is
Lead -> Opportunity -> Proposal -> Project
- Lead: Word-of-mouth referrals, online forms, rumors, etc.
- Opportunity: Leads and bids sent from the developers to the contractors
- Proposal: Proposals sent by the contractors for the project
- Project: The finalized project
For subcontractors, the process is a bit more different:
Relationship -> Opportunity -> Bids -> Project
- Relationship: The subcontractors and general contractors generally have a working relationship.
- Opportunity: Opportunities from general contractors
- Bids: The general contractors invite subcontractors to bid on a particular project or proposal. There are usually multiple bids sent for one project
- Project: One of those bids is converted into the final project and submitted.
When one understands the complexity of the sales process, it’s clear that construction companies need construction-centric CRM.
The Key Features Of Construction-Centric CRM Software
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, CRM is scalable and comes with many features. Unfortunately, a lot of those features might not work in the construction industry.
When a company is shopping for CRM for construction, we recommend prioritizing these key features:
- Central database
- Activity, pipeline, and contact management
Many construction companies have data in various spreadsheets and desktops.
CRM collates all this disparate data in a central repository for easy access. Data is easily accessible and shareable across clients and stakeholders.
Integrations are important in CRM.
A software can sync with the company’s G-suite and calendars and update information and appointments in real-time.
Integrations improve functionality; industry-specific integrations cater to the needs of a construction company.
Activity, Pipeline, And Contact Management
In construction, there are a lot of activities happening simultaneously.
Keeping track of all the projects and contacts manually is tedious. Construction CRM software and CRM for builders handle this well.
A good CRM gives a background on various sales activities and projects. Contact management is crucial — whether they are clients or contractors.
An effective CRM will also give companies insights into the sales pipeline and understand the touchpoints of the sales cycle.
The main purpose of data management is to provide actionable insights and help businesses make well-informed decisions.
A good construction-centric CRM will show companies all the data – customer history, past projects, contacts, pipelines, results, leads – in an understandable format. When a construction company understands where its profit is coming from, it can implement targeted strategies.
Customizable features can be tailored to suit a particular firm’s business needs. These features involve changing sales dashboards, changing data visibility, building web forms, and automating workflows.
How Can A Company Choose The Right CRM Vendor?
The functionality of CRM depends on the needs of a firm or a company. Small scale construction businesses can work with CRM’s basic features. Large enterprises might need more customization and complexity. Before finalizing the vendor, companies should keep these three basic things in mind:
Function: What are the needs of the firm? What are the business goals? Does the firm require management software or something more complex? Which team needs CRM support?
Cost: What is the budget? What’s the forecast for the current ROI? Does the firm need all-in-one support or particular features? What are the pricing plans for each vendor?
Set-up: Should the software be hosted locally or on-cloud? Is it simplifying sales or marketing processes?
Once a company gets a basic understanding of their requirements, choosing a vendor is easy.
The Bottom Line
The construction industry is booming, and it’s time to get your CRM in place.
You know the old saying — “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
It’ll help you stay on top of your contacts, automate plenty of key marketing and sales tasks, and grow your revenue by enhancing your customer relationships and team productivity.
And best of all? It’s free forever!
At EngageBay, we’re so confident in our CRM software that we don’t even need your credit card details to begin with!
Get started today, and soon you’ll have a competitive edge in the construction industry.