What New Construction Pros Need to Know About Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management software can increase sales and reduce costs. Here's what you need to know about using a CRM.

Customer management is vital for businesses of all kinds. Good management means more sales, more customers and better profits. Poor management means you’ll be out of business in no time.

This fact is so important that a subset of Software-as-a-Service known as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is largely seen as the fastest-growing enterprise software category.

These incredibly helpful tools allow construction pros to sell more projects faster, with less busywork and better profits. CRMs are essentially cheat codes that can propel a new construction enterprise to the next level. Here’s what you need to know about implementing a software customer relationship manager.

What is a CRM?

A CRM is a software-based system that collects all the data related to a company’s customers and leads, then compiles it in one place. But this goes far beyond the average address book, spreadsheet or Rolodex (remember those?). There’s a lot more to a CRM.

CRMs collect data from every step of the customer journey. They record contact forms, requests for information, emails, phone calls, text messages, purchases and much more. All this data is made available through a customer or lead dashboard, making it easy for a sales team to follow up and make the sale.

Many software customer relationship managers offer other functions as well. Some host entire websites, while others build landing pages that collect email addresses. Some CRM software can track sales and help the accounting and payroll departments calculate commissions.

For these reasons, CRMs are becoming increasingly vital to modern construction companies trying to grow their businesses.

Why Are CRMs Important for Contractors?

Growing construction companies find CRM tools essential. The speed, accuracy and oversight these tools provide to sales and marketing teams are invaluable.

Valuable insights

CRMs offer insights sales teams didn’t have before. The team can see which emails a customer clicked on, what posts they interacted with, and what’s in their social media accounts.

Though construction companies don’t sell physical products online, this data becomes critical in identifying market trends for project types, seasonal opportunities, hot locations and even material types. These insights can help with planning, material procurement, and deciding whether to enter into a new market.

Personalized engagement

Using all the data a CRM collects, sales teams can take a more personalized approach to their efforts.

These programs can automatically log which services interest a user. In turn, an automated email with personalized fields can be sent at specific trigger points. The customer then receives an email with their name on it, the project they were considering, and some prepackaged copy and images that can help the sales team convert.

That’s just one example of how a CRM can personalize contact automatically. They can also be personalized for a contractor’s service area. Email subscribers and site visitors may receive a specific email campaign toward sales, while those outside of their service area can receive a separate campaign geared toward general engagement.

Testing opportunities

A CRM will also track what’s working and what isn’t.

These programs can track landing page visits and clicks, email open rates, text message replies, ad clicks, and even how often and at what time calling the leads works best. All this data can be compiled and reviewed, allowing teams to better tailor their approach for targeting their ideal clients.

Many marketing gurus like to run test ads. These can be different from one another, or similar with slight tweaks in design or copy. The CRM will track the clicks from these ads, allowing users to determine which are most effective.

Maybe an image of a specific home converts more, or one ad’s copy drives lots of clicks. At that point, the marketing department can run leaner, more effective ads using high-converting designs while saving money.

Long-term relationships

Customer relationship management isn’t just about closing a new customer. It’s also about maintaining great customer relationships for the long haul. The programs help team members stay on top of follow-up emails, purchase anniversaries and warranty periods.

Imagine this: You purchase a home from a contractor, and at the one-year anniversary, you receive an email reminding you your refrigerator’s warranty is about to expire. Or a contractor built a large deck for you and automatically sends you updates about how to care for your deck.

You’d likely find these emails heartwarming and thoughtful, and they are. But a CRM can do it automatically, building long-term relationships.

How Contractors Can Implement CRM Software

It isn’t hard. These software programs make roll-out simple and can even handle most of the data entry via uploads. But there are a few things to know first.

Roll it out slowly

As one can imagine, any software with this much impact on a company is going to require a learning curve. Starting slowly and training a few salespeople and marketers at a time ensures the entire company doesn’t slow down while learning the new program. Bring a few folks online, let them get used to the software, then introduce more.

Get everyone to join in (eventually)

CRMs are only effective if everyone uses them for their entire process. If salespeople are withholding their customers and leads or operating outside of the platform, the CRM can’t track the data and improve future interactions. For this reason, all departments must be using the CRM.

Trust your team

Encourage your sales and marketing teams to work together and trust their expertise. These teams can collaborate to create effective email campaigns, offers and other tactics like never before. CRMs give them the information they need to supercharge lead generation and close sales, so give them the tool and watch them build.

A CRM Could Be the Key To Your Company’s Growth

CRMs can ensure your company continues to grow, probably at a faster rate. They’ll help you maintain margins, generate consistent sales and make the most of your marketing and sales teams. This software could be a game-changer for your company, so consider implementing a CRM now.

Tom Scalisi
Tom Scalisi is a professional writer specializing in the home improvement, construction, DIY, and pest control industries. After spending two decades in the trades as a contractor and a building maintenance technician, he now enjoys sharing everything he’s learned with readers through articles and how-to pieces. He’s passionate about helping DIYers tackle new projects while also educating construction and home improvement pros so they can build better businesses.