Construction CRM systems are evolving and adapting.
Now, more than ever, we are seeing construction companies needing technology and software to increase efficiency, communication, and collaboration. Which is no surprise, especially with more office teams working from remote locations or from their homes.
Many Construction CRM systems are designed to help you collect, organize, manage, and automate interactions with current and potential customers. However, we are seeing Construction CRM systems evolve to offer pre-construction capabilities and project management capabilities too.
Due to this evolution, we’ve put together an all-in-one guide to help you understand who benefits from a Construction CRM, which features come standard, and steps you can take to ensure you’re finding the best CRM for your construction company.
Who benefits from a Construction CRM?
Due to their advanced features, Construction CRM systems can be used to help general contractors, specialty contractors, sub-contractors, and multi-discipline organizations.
Now, more than ever, Construction CRM systems are focused on increasing communication and collaboration for your entire company. For many construction companies, this opens a new dialogue between your project management department, your sales department, your marketing department, and your accounting department.
Even if you’re a small team, a Construction CRM can store valuable information that each department can access and use, even if it’s just you wearing multiple hats.
How a Construction CRM can help you.
At the heart of every CRM lives the ability to collect and store information.
What makes a CRM unique is what it’s capable of doing with that information. Unfortunately, not all Construction CRM systems are created equal. You’ll need to pay attention to your needs and make sure they align with whichever CRM system you’re evaluating.
At a minimum, your Construction CRM system should offer this core functionality.
Construction CRM Pre-construction Functionality:
Without the proper tools, job quoting can be a headache. Not only is it time-consuming to build an accurate quote, but it can also be even harder to make it look professional.
A Construction CRM streamlines the quoting process and produces professionally designed quotes in minutes versus hours. It does this by letting you select predefined assemblies, prices, and quantities. Additionally, these quotes can include job photos, addendums, and custom branding, like your company logo.
If that wasn’t enough, construction quoting software includes the ability to send quotes directly to your customers without switching to a different program. The quoting software will then send you alerts when each quote is sent, opened, reviewed, and accepted.
Lastly, quoting software can include electronic signature capabilities. This software addition opens up the possibility to receive signatures for all of your documents, not just quotes.
By using bid tracking tools, your sales teams, project managers, and estimators can collaborate on bid opportunities coming into the company.
When a bid opportunity comes into your company, your sales teams, estimators, and project managers will receive an automatic alert. They’ll continue to receive automated notifications when bids are due and when critical tasks are completed, like an on-site inspection.
Bid management is even more effective for specialty contractors and subcontractors. Specialty contractors and subcontractors often submit multiple bids for the same job but don’t have a way to track all of the bids together under a single job. A good Construction CRM will help you capture, track, and report against jobs with multiple bids to different GCs.
This is a crucial tool for understanding which jobs and bids are in the pipeline, why they are being won, and why bids are being lost.
If you are a contractor, you will receive a lot of bid requests. Choosing which bids are likely to be awarded and which ones are likely to be profitable can be a challenge.
With a Construction CRM, you can expect to receive bid scoring. Bid scoring will help you prioritize and score each bid opportunity. It does this by looking at multiple variables, such as customer & job history, available labor, estimator & project manager performance, and customer payment & credit history.
The job board is used to help construction companies coordinate their crews, equipment, vehicles, project managers, foreman, etc. to specific job sites. In other words, these tools are used to coordinate multiple moving parts and keep your projects from falling behind.
Additionally, the job board makes it easier to see where your job resources will be each day, week, and month. This helps you understand future labor requirements and schedules.
Lastly, since it’s connected to your CRM, you can quickly find job dates, addresses, and contact information for each job. By utilizing the job board software, you can increase your chances for projects to stay on schedule.
Construction CRM Sales Functionality:
CRM – Information Collection
Unlike mainstream CRM systems, Construction CRM systems need to track different information and use different terminology.
For example, a Construction CRM should track critical job information, such as job specifications, bid due dates & times, bid submitted dates & times, job site location, project documents, job start & end dates, customer details, labor requirements, and assigned project manager & estimator.
CRM software systems should automate sales activity and reduce the need for any manual data entry. One major way to reduce manual data entry is to have your CRM integrate with your email platform/application.
In other words, if you’re emailing a potential customer from Outlook, that conversation should automatically be uploaded under that contact’s history in the CRM. That way, each of your team members can see the email correspondence and know what has been said and by whom. There is nothing worse than having multiple team members responding to one person with different or conflicting messages.
Additionally, without this email integration, your team would be required to copy and paste each email into the CRM. We all know, that just isn’t possible during a busy workday.
Another crucial function of any CRM is its ability to automate tasks. These are commonly referred to as workflows.
For example, with a proper workflow, you can automate what happens when a new lead comes in through your website.
- 1. A potential buyer fills out a contact form for additional information on your website or third-party site. This interaction will immediately upload the lead’s contact information in your Construction CRM.
- 2. The CRM will note the lead source, and it’ll automatically assign a status.
- 3. The workflow will add this new lead to your business email list.
- 4. The potential buyer will receive an automated email notifying them that the form was completed correctly, and they’ll be contacted soon.
- 5. A notification is sent informing the team a contact form has been completed. This automated alert can be sent to one team member or multiple team members.
- 6. This new potential buyer is assigned to a sales representative or business development representative.
- 7. The sales representative or business development representative will then be sent task reminders to follow-up with the lead as soon as possible.
It certainly doesn’t have to stop with the last step. These workflows can grow as the need arises in your company. Ideally, you would build these workflows for numerous sales and marketing activities needed by your team.
With content management software, you can store, categorize, and manage reusable content and templates.
This functionality has the potential to save you and your team hours each week by helping you and your team easily grab email templates, documents, FAQ responses, images, and more with the click of a button.
If you have multiple sales representatives, it can help reduce their time spent writing emails to commonly asked questions. Additionally, it ensures your team members are following the company’s communication standards.
Document Management & Storage
With document management and storage, you can keep all of your documentation in one place. In other words, you can assign your documentation to a job, lead, customer, contact, task, etc.
This helps you and your team coordinate which documentation has been completed and what hasn’t. Also, this isn’t limited to just documentation. Document management should store client documents, contracts, pricing agreements, change orders, job photos, etc.
Reports & Analytics
With the right sales and marketing reports, you can quickly measure the effectiveness of your sales and marketing activity. This can tell you how many leads have been added, how many appointments have been scheduled, and how many potential buyers have progressed through the sales process.
Powerful reports like these can tell you the health of your company at a glance and give you the information you need to make better business decisions. For example, a contractor can track RFQs, Bids Submitted, and Win/Loss trends by job type, lead source, and even division/territory.
Construction CRM Marketing Functionality:
A Construction CRM would not be complete without an email marketing tool. This is important because you need to promote your company’s services at the right time to the right audience. Without an email marketing tool, this task can be cumbersome and time consuming for you and your team.
Construction companies and contractors commonly use email marketing tools to announce new promotions, services, events, and content to generate more traffic. This tool alone can significantly impact your company’s ability to push leads through the sales funnel or re-engage previous customers.
Lead Capture Tools
Lead capture tools are used to automatically add new leads to your Construction CRM. In other words, if someone completes a contact form on your website, your lead capture tools will automatically upload that new contact into your CRM.
This feature commonly kicks off a new lead workflow to notify your team and send automated email responses to the new potential home buyer.
How to find the best Construction CRM.
With any software purchase, we recommend you start by writing down your software needs, wants, budget, and timeframe for starting with your new Construction CRM system. These few details will likely be the first things your potential software provider will need to know. Lastly, it will help them customize the software demonstrations for you and your business.
Now, when you’re in your software demonstration, we recommend have a list of questions ready. Below are a few questions to help you get started. They aren’t the only questions you should ask, but it’ll get you going in the right direction.
What is the on-boarding process?
Each software provider will have its own unique on-boarding process. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The length of this onboarding process can change based on a variety of factors.
However, be cautious if the software provider expects you to do most of the work during this process. This can be a sign that the software provider is more hands-off with new customers, which can also be an indicator of a slow onboarding process. This is important to note because the longer it takes to learn the software, the longer it will take for you to see a positive return on your investment.
How is individual & company data protected?
A Construction CRM system will collect your company information and your customer’s information. With your software provider storing this much sensitive information, it’s important for you to know how your data is protected.
Additionally, it’s important for you to know how your data is backed-up in the event of a system failure. Be sure to ask:
- How do you protect my data?
- If there is a system failure, what would happen to my information?
- Do you share information with any other business entities?
- Do you sell information with any other business entities?
What are your training & support policies?
You and your team will need multiple training and support sessions to learn the new Construction CRM. It’s important the training and support system offered by your software provider is structured and documented.
This will help you and your team learn the system quickly, lower confusion, and increase technology adoption by your team. So, when you are evaluating a software provider’s training and support structure, be sure to ask:
- How does my team receive the training they need to learn the software system?
- Is this in-person, video conference, online courses, documentation?
- When will the training be available to me and my team?
- Is this daily, weekly, monthly training?
- Which training comes at an expense to me?
- You should receive some form of free training.
Additionally, be sure to ask them how they handle support tickets. Your new software provider should have a system built to handle critical issues, important issues, and moderate issues.
Again, these are just a few questions you should be asking when evaluating any construction software system. If you want to see our full list of recommended questions, you can access our free download here.
A Construction CRM system is a powerful software system. A software system that has grown to help your management teams, marketing teams, and sales teams.
If you’re actively looking for a Construction CRM, use this article to help you document which features are critical to you and your construction business.
Again, the goal of any Construction CRM is to help your business win the right projects and avoid the wrong ones. Actively look for features that help you collect, nurture, and convert opportunities into high margin projects.
If you’re looking for a software system to utilizes all of the features listed above, we invite you to explore our Construction CRM system. You can review TopBuilder’s software by going here.