With so many CRM solutions out there, a contractor can easily get distracted and settle for a less than ideal one. In this post, we take a look at the key features that a CRM tool needs to have to be the best fit for a contracting business.
Choosing new business management software is a major step for any company, especially so if it is your very first time. Given the number of CRM solutions in the market, it is all too easy to get distracted by flashy features or convenient pricing and forget functionality. If at all you are to be successful in choosing a CRM for your construction business, you first need to define success. What makes a CRM great for the contracting business?
Only after you nail down the features you are looking for and determine what’s important can you make a wise decision. Let us start by finding out why CRM is important for contractors. Afterwards, we will uncover how to choose a CRM for contractors by examining the features that matter the most for the sector.
Why Contractors Need a CRM Solution
As your contracting business picks up, you may notice some seemingly small flaws here and there. Though they may not amount to anything at first, with time, they could pile up and lead to strained client-contractor relationships.
A CRM can help your contracting business thrive in a number of ways. First, it helps you to become more organized, cutting down time wastage and other pitfalls. It organizes everything about your business including customer records, appointments, notes and so much more.
CRMs also consolidate multiple services and programs, becoming an all-in-one tool for your business needs. This comes in particularly handy in the contracting business where there are numerous tools, interfaces and apps for various tasks. Another benefit that CRM offers is boosting team coordination. Everyone has visibility on what is happening, dispelling chaos and enhancing efficiency.
Now that we understand the key benefits that a CRM can offer contractors, let us explore how to choose a CRM for contractors.
Tips on How to Choose a CRM for Contractors
Convenience and Mobility
In the world of contracting, being able to access business information from anywhere is of vital importance. The marketplace is constantly evolving and contractors need to be able to keep pace to manage customers effectively.
Cloud-based solutions are mobile, accessible from anywhere. However, it’s not all about accessibility as it is about convenience. To illustrate, having to haul a laptop everywhere you go is not nearly as convenient as accessing information on a mobile device.
A system which has a mobile-specific interface or is otherwise optimized for use on a small mobile screen is ideal for a contractor.
Project Management Features
Another important feature to factor in when choosing a CRM for contractors has to do with project management capabilities. Most solutions in the market seek to offer an all-inclusive approach that can apply in any business.
But in the construction industry, it is more important to get a solution whose features are industry-adaptable. Project management is among the most important aspects of a contractor’s job. It makes it possible to work within the required budget and timeframe.
Full-feature project management tools cover all bases, from workflows all the way to reporting and everything in-between. They also ensure that everyone knows what to do next, without the need for constant babysitting. At the same time, they reduce follow-up problems and foster higher customer satisfaction.
Ease of Use
Contractors require easy to use solutions that do not have a steep learning curve. This way, it is easier to train users and encourage them to shift to the software and automate processes. Ideally, they should not require technical expertise and should offer user support.
Think about the people who will take part in implementing the change and how well they will be able to cope with it. Weigh the cost of time required to learn to use the software against the potential benefits.
Avoid any CRM that you feel is too difficult or takes up too much time and try another one. It will cost a lot less to find a simple solution that works immediately than trying to make the wrong one work for you.
Some CRM solutions have evolved over time from being a proprietary tool for a specific user to becoming available to the general public. However, such solutions can only be suitable for contractors if every company played the same tune. But that is not the case.
A contractor business needs a solution that they can adapt to their specific needs. It also needs to be versatile enough to accommodate different kinds of projects.
To find the best solution for your business, assess your processes and see how a potential solution will translate them into apps for automation. You should not be the one to change processes. Rather, the CRM should be flexible and customizable enough to help you do what you do more efficiently.
But at the same time, consider what the out-of-box solution covers and what it does not. Does it require complex customization or just a few tweaks here and there to work for you? Ensure that your choice of tool does not create more problems than what is needed.
Robust Reporting Features
Every CRM has different tools for reporting, each of which comes with its merits and limitations. What kind of reports does your contracting business require? Who will need to access these reports in your organization?
Ensure that the software you are considering can support the creation of the reports you need and cater to the needs of those who will need to use them. A majority of solutions will allow you to get general performance figures at a glance. But the best solutions for contractors are those that let you narrow down your desired details and find the numbers that really matter.
A contractor’s job often involves collaboration between multiple participants and the best CRM for the sector takes that into account. With the right tool, the entire team should be able to communicate effectively and stay on the same page at all times.
An important aspect of collaboration features includes the capacity to update documents and records in real-time. That makes it possible to ensure that everyone is aware of all developments and changes, preventing unnecessary confusion.
Are you already using an accounting solution and contract management software? Think about the importance of choosing a CRM that will integrate with existing systems.
In case the users of the software in your business have to leave the CRM interface every time they need to handle important tasks, it will result in lost time. Over time, minutes of lost time here and there add up to kill productivity.
Make sure that the tool you eventually choose works seamlessly with your other software so that everyone can work from the same platform.
Issues will arise from time to time and a great CRM will help you handle them effectively. Contractors would do well to look out for some capabilities that will enhance customer support. For instance, you should have a 360-degree view of all customers allowing you to see everything about a client from the initial point of contact.
The best tools will also log important details such as website visits, history, incidents and all relevant activities for the sake of future reference. With such information at hand, you will always be on top of your game when it comes to customer relations. In turn, this will foster greater satisfaction.
Choosing a Long-Term Solution
These are some of the most important considerations on how to choose a CRM for contractors. At the end of the day, contractors need a solution that makes their work easier both in the office and on the go. It should be easy to use, versatile and robust in features.
Instead of getting a good CRM that you will need to update after some time, why not do your research now and get the best long-term solution? It will solve your current problems, enhance customer relations and in the long run, boost efficiency.