June 22, 2018

3 Ways CRMs Help Contractors Get More Organized

Written by
Emily Hughes

Could a CRM help your contracting business thrive through better organization? Our vote is a hearty absolutely!

This goes way beyond just straightening up your files, though that is part of what a CRM helps you streamline. Among other benefits, CRM technology empowers you and your team to get more done by organizing how you handle Customer Relationship Management tasks.

In other words, it’s about systemizing your way to stronger relationships with existing and potential customers, which naturally helps your business grow. Here’s how.

Which CRM
is right for your business?

Find Your Leverage to Get and Stay Organized

Getting more organized is one of those things most of us keep trying to do.

We know it matters for productivity, since disorganization leads to time wasted looking for documents or unnecessarily re-doing work, just to name a few pitfalls.

We may even be convinced that organization has a trickle-down effect that could help our entire business.

So why is it so difficult to get and stay organized?!

Well, for one thing, we’re human. Most of us do our best to stay on top of to-do lists, but drop the ball now and again. We’re not built like computers, which can be pretty great at doing tasks consistently, every time.

For another thing, organization is a moving target! As business grows, yesterday’s organization doesn’t quite cover all the bases. When this happens, contractors tend to respond one of three ways:

  1. Call it “good enough” and let details fall through the cracks (yikes!).
  2. Start using a lot of different tools for each new problem (which only works for so long.)
  3. Employ the help of a CRM: software that organizes customer records, notes, appointments, and more.

The first two options may be fine for some companies, but for contractors looking to grow their business, the last option is the only real option. Let’s look at three reasons why a CRM is one of the best tool upgrades you’ll ever give your team.

1. CRMs Encourage Consolidation

Many contracting businesses use more tools than necessary rather than strategically choosing a few core powerhouses.

It’s about quality over quantity. Why troubleshoot multiple tools when you could be out building relationships and getting work done with one tool that supports just about everything you do?

A CRM consolidates multiple programs or services you may already be using. Its single interface becomes your all-in-one tool for customer records, notes, reports, spreadsheets, and many other tools depending on the specific CRM.

That kind of simplicity is key when growing your contracting business, because you need to help your team focus on what really matters. The fewer software apps or interfaces each team member has to learn, the better. Simplicity frees them up to do their best work—which often isn’t at the computer.

2. CRMs Boost Team Coordination

All that productive power expands even further when implemented across an entire team or organization.

CRMs remove friction by coordinating everyone’s organization and information, and even more so if the CRM is cloud-integrated, so a contractor’s office and onsite teams see the same information.

Also note that the more your business goes digital rather than relying on paper, the more leverage you get from your CRM. Digital documentation means less expense for physical storage and less time looking for stuff! Everything you currently have stashed in a filing cabinet becomes virtual and searchable by keyword.

By contrast, in most businesses without a well-implemented and widely-used CRM, you’ll find pockets of organization:

  • Maybe Suzy is “the organized one”. She has several spreadsheets, calendars, documents, and other tools to organize the team, but the rest of the team isn’t writing anything down. They’re winging it and calling Suzy when they get in a pinch.
  • Suzy can’t always have the answers others need right when they need them, which means customers are likely waiting too long for answers while another team member in the field “waits in line for Suzy”.
  • The entire process costs unnecessary time communicating back and forth: emails, phone calls, unnecessary meetings, and so on.
  • In another scenario, everyone on the team is organized, but using different tools that don’t share information. Suzy and Jack want to swap details, but end up going to a lot of unnecessary copying, pasting, or other trouble to do so.
  • Without real-time updates, the management or office team loses visibility on what’s happening at the job site, making it difficult to handle that call from an angry customer, for example.

That’s why a single CRM with cloud integration is so valuable: everyone sees the same documents, calendars, or notes—including all the latest changes.

You may be wondering, Well, doesn’t that make for a huge mess? It doesn’t. CRMs typically feature a permissions-based structure that help dispel chaos and enforce organization. So, if Suzy has admin permissions within the CRM, and some of the less-organized team members don’t, the CRM gives her leverage to organize and keep others organized.

Best of all, you’ll attract and retain employees with this kind of organized coordination, because it creates a less stressful work environment.

3. CRMs Engage Automation

CRMs with strong automation ensure that you meet your appointments, follow-through with customers, and even send messages automatically without you having to remember, which is convenient for busy professionals—but the real value of automation is consistency.

Not every CRM prioritizes automation to the same degree, so be sure to find one that offers automation throughout a typical job’s workflow. That could mean prioritizing CRM options that also offer project management tools. Yes, this narrows down your options (not always a bad thing!), but it’s worth it to boost productivity and connection with your customers at every stage of every job.

Find a CRM that will cover you with automation for each of these stages in your sales cycle: Lead, Estimate, Sold, Materials, Production, Billing, Warranty, and Reputation.

  • Lead: Automatically send welcome messages when a lead is entered, helping your sales team follow through every time, to close more sales.
  • Estimate: When prospects digitally sign paperwork to confirm a sale, have it automatically move the job forward to the next step.
  • Sold: Automate a thank you message with next steps, to keep the customer informed.
  • Materials: Automatically send material orders direct to suppliers.
  • Production: Automate communication to the client about next steps, or asking for feedback.
  • Billing: Automatically include self-serve payment options right inside the invoice to improve collection rates.
  • Reputation: Automatically solicit feedback on every job completed or ask customers for online reviews.

In addition, don’t underestimate the power of robust, customizable, and automated reports that support each of your workflow’s stages.

In the right tool, all of that workflow and project management organization meshes right in with the more traditional CRM functions, and your customers will feel the difference. They’ll feel more cared about, informed, and motivated to share their experience.

See for Yourself

CRM technology bears enough evidence of success that it’s probably worth at least a few hours of hands-on evaluation, especially in the context of your unique day-to-day business.

Any CRM worth its salt offers a free trial, so take one for a spin. We think you’ll immediately feel why this technology has improved the organization and success of many contracting teams just like yours.

Emily Hughes works for JobNimbus: CRM and project management software for contractors. Integrations include services you already use, from QuickBooks to SalesRabbit. We’re your hub for consolidating, automating, and elevating your business, by helping teams like yours manage customers and jobs.