Whether you’re just starting a construction company or you work for an established one, there are always ways to improve construction sales with a CRM system.
What is Customer Relationship Management or CRM?
According to wikipedia, ‘CRM is a process in which a business or other organization administers its interactions with customers, typically using data analysis to study large amounts of information.’
As a technology, CRM software stores and manages customer-related information such as contacts, client companies, leads, opportunities, and won and lost deals. More advanced CRM systems make the customer-centric data readily available and easily accessible. They organize and present this data to the user in a way that aligns with their marketing strategy and sales pipeline. They also help users make informed decisions and identify problem areas as well as growth opportunities.
Yet, according to statistics in the 2020 Construction Technology Report by JBKnowledge, 24% of construction companies use “Other,” 10% use Outlook, and 8% use Custom In-House Software.
The reason for this low CRM software adoption in construction is actually quite simple. Most of the existing CRM systems are not fit for the construction industry and the complex construction sales process. However, with the emergence of CRM software specific to construction, like iDeal CRM, the CRM adoption rate is predicted to increase significantly.
92% of companies believe CRM technology is crucial to achieving goals
- 91% of companies with more than 10 employees now use CRM software – Grandview Research
- 81% of users are now accessing their CRM software from multiple devices – OnePage Express
- Effective sales organizations are 81% more likely to be practicing consistent usage of a CRM or other system of record. – Aberdeen Group
- 64% of companies say CRM tools are impactful, or very impactful – LinkedIn report
- Around 82% of organizations use CRM for sales reporting – Grandview Research
- 74% of companies say CRM technology gives better access to customer data – Resco.net
- 92% of companies believe CRM technology is crucial to achieving goals – SuperOffice
- Customer retention efforts increase profits by 40% – Bumped – Columbia Business School
So, in our article, we will focus on how you can improve construction sales with a CRM. We will analyze how a CRM tool improves sales and profitability, and specifically as it applies to the construction industry.
Construction Sales Process
The construction industry has a unique sales process where a lot of times an opportunity has multiple bidders. In these cases, subcontractors and even general contractors find themselves having to submit multiple bids for the same opportunity or job. Salespeople in construction have exponentially more work to do to create proposals, submit their bids, and follow up than salespeople in other industries.
This aspect of the construction sales process is the very reason why only an opportunity-centric CRM works for the construction industry.
10 Ways to Improve Construction Sales with a CRM
1. Track Opportunities End to End
CRM software allows you to shred the spreadsheets and consolidate the phases and stages in your sales pipeline in an intuitive dashboard. A visual sales pipeline captures a 360-degree view of the entire sales cycle. It serves as the only version of the ”truth” and integrates sales information from what would typically be stored in different spreadsheets or tabs. Nothing falls between the cracks, and that… translates to closed deals! This is one of the best ways to improve construction sales with a CRM.
2. Consolidate Your Contacts – Improve Construction Sales with a CRM
But what about my trusted Rolodex or Excel spreadsheet with contact info, you may ask. All the contact info you gathered over many years doing business in the construction industry? Well, imagine having that on your laptop or smartphone at your fingertips. Typically, CRM software solutions have a tool that allows you to import existing contacts and add new leads. Best of all, it will also store any information related to your contacts for easy retrieval. You and your sales team will be able to organize leads and clients in one location, and record all pertinent details about each. That, we are sure you will agree, will strengthen relationships with contacts and clients, aid in lead retrieval, and boost sales.
3. Expedite the Bidding Process
By providing automation, a customer relationship management system can play a crucial role when it comes to bidding and winning deals.
Generate Proposals Faster
Some CRM systems are equipped with a proposal generator tool like the iDeal construction proposal generator. With a few clicks, you can generate multiple proposals at a time, send them to the right client, and track them. These systems may also allow you to create & store proposal templates so you don’t start from scratch when you put together your proposals.
With a few clicks, you can generate multiple proposals at a time, send them to the right client, and track them. Some CRM systems also allow you to create & store proposal templates so you don’t start from scratch when you put together your proposals.
The more advanced CRM platforms offer a calendar view of all your bids, followups, and tasks. They may even integrate with your own calendar so you can see everything in one place.
4. Ensure Timely Follow-up
CRM software can also prioritize your opportunities by follow-up date once you submit your bid. This ensures that you follow-up with the right client at the right time. And when a job is awarded, mark it up, so you follow up only with the awarded company and clinch the deal!
As we demonstrated before, with a CRM sales management tool, nothing falls between the cracks. You and your sales team can set reminders for follow-up, even prepopulate follow-up email reminder templates to send at specific time intervals. No need to agonize over what to do when and how. Follow-up is one of the more important factors that influence a construction company’s win rate with an importance of about 20%-25%. Other factors with more weight are, of course, price and the relationship you have with the client you are bidding.
5. Nurture Leads and Clients – Improve Construction Sales
Customer relationship management tools (by their very nature) nurture existing clients and prospects alike. The CRM database stores relevant info about each, and a history of your relationship and interactions with them. No need to dig down into your email Inbox to see where you last left off. No chance of forgetting important intel about said contact or client. You and your team have it all at your fingertips and moreover, you can make sure you keep nurturing those relationships by setting reminders for yourselves. Sweet. A nurtured customer is a repeat customer. And a nurtured prospect is more likely to contract your services.
6. Save Time and Money – Improve Construction Sales with a CRM
As you have probably determined by now, CRM tools can solidify your network and increase your chances of success with the comprehensive database and automation of processes they provide. More importantly, they save your company time and money. As one iDeal CRM end user put it “I save at least 1 hour a day with iDeal CRM.” In fact, you can see for yourself with this CRM ROI Calculator.
7. Strengthen the Company Team Spirit
CRM software strengthens and motivates a company’s business development team with the visibility into the sales it provides to everyone participating on the team. It also makes it easier for the sales or business development manager to manage her/his sales team and provide support where needed. Most CRM apps allow management and team members to assign tasks to one another, for example, from a sales rep to the estimator, and from the estimator to the person responsible for creating and sending proposals. A cohesive team is a strong team and vital for business success.
8. Analyze Successes and Failures with CRM Reporting
When a deal is lost or won, the sales process does not end. We are sure you will agree that you (and upper management) would like to know what your win rate is or how much profit you bring in every month. What you may have done right, so you can repeat your success. Or, what you may have done wrong, so you can adjust your approach when the next opportunity comes around.
You can most certainly improve construction sales with a CRM reporting tool. Example of insightful reports include:
- How much did you bid this month, quarter, year?
- How much more do you have to bid to reach your quota?
- What is your win rate?
- Which client is your most profitable and which ones do you need to nurture?
- Who is the best closer and could they mentor others?
- Which opportunities should you be pursuing and which not?
CRM systems provide both high level and granular analysis of your sales and vital information in report format for your continued success.
9. Analyze Current State of Sales with Sales Forecasting
Sales forecasting is a powerful strategy to keep your current state of sales in check. If used consistently, forecasting will tell you when you’re in danger of not meeting your sales goals. It can also uncover teams or sales representatives that are going to meet their goals ahead of time, so you can schedule more sales activities for them in the current quarter and in the future. If you don’t have a sales forecasting strategy in place yet, we highly recommend that you do. Refer to our Sales Forecasting Definition, Methods, Examples article where we’ve deciphered sales forecasting for you so you can implement it easily.
10. Streamline Operations – Improve Construction Sales with a CRM
With the analysis done, you can improve efficiency and effectiveness and ultimately, sales and profitability at your company through strategy and planning. We wrote a comprehensive article Sales Planning and Operations on this topic if you are interested. Often, planning is regarded as strategy, and operations as execution. When, in fact, planning requires execution. And operations require strategy. Planning is a precursor to operations. From getting the numbers right, to setting up a sales funnel, to bidding “wisely”. In other words, it requires execution. And your company’s operations cannot execute without a strategy. In the article, we demonstrate how to integrate strategy and execution from beginning to end.
Bonus. Maximize Return on Investment
If you think implementing a CRM costs too much, you are doing it wrong.
– Bobby Darrnell
We at iDeal believe that too! That is why we developed a sales management software specifically for the construction industry. If you are an AEC professional – a contractor, subcontractor, architect, engineer – looking to improve construction sales with a CRM tool, sign up for a quick demo.
Free for 1 user, no strings attached, so why not give it a try?
Conclusion on the 10 Ways to Improve Construction Sales
CRM software saves you time and money (through improved efficiency and effectiveness) with automation. It also allows you to increase sales and profitability through the visibility, analysis, and planning. Read our article on the must-haves of construction CRM software then find one that suits your sales pipeline!
- Key Sales Activities and Tips
- CRM Usage: Top 8 Benefits of Using CRM Software
- Monitor and Manage Bid Activity
- Bid Multiple Clients for One Job
- Track Opportunities, Bids, Projects
- Construction Proposals Example. Proposal Examples that Make an Impact
- CRM Data: 3 Ways to Use it to Grow Your Business