Customer Relationship Management for Contractors
Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.
Think back to when your business was small. No, not small. Tiny.
Was there a time when you didn’t even call it a business? Clients and customers consisted of personal friends and family. People knew as much about you as you knew about them.
A foundation for any successful small businesses are deep personal relationships. No matter what stage they are at, every small business relies on customer referrals. Word of mouth is now and will always be your primary lead generation tool. That won’t come from looking at your customers and prospects like numbers.
As your business grows, your client base expands, maintaining strong personal connections with your clients becomes difficult. Changing your strategy is critical once you have outgrown your ability to keep up personally with every customer. A CRM for Small Business Customer Relationship Managment tool should be the next step in the evolution of your business.
What is CRM?
CRM for Small Business is about taking what you used to do manually in the maintenance of your relationships and making it automated. Putting all deals (big or small in one central place. Details about every customer in one place able to access at anytime, anywhere, With a proper system in place, your customers will feel just as connected to you. Like those friends and families, you helped when first starting out. without the impossible undertaking of memorizing all personal information about each and every one of them.
Free Excel Spreadsheets to Paid CRMs
With most small businesses adding another expense is not welcome. Especially one that doesn’t look to grow the bottom line, at least from the onset. You probably think a well-organized spreadsheet is up to the task. There are a few signs and stages that help you determine when and why a CRM for Small Business is the next best step for your small business.
1. Your spreadsheet is starting to contain double letter columns.
When you first start inputting your clients in an Excel spreadsheet, you start off with basic fields. Name, contact information and a few columns about their sales stage. BThe trouble is your business is growing and your processes are becoming more involved and complex. Details surrounding each contact grows as well. Locating information is no longer done simply with a “find” search. This means is may be time to look at a CRM.
2. Spreadsheets are never 100% up to date.
Do you keep a list of items you NEED to add to a spreadsheet? Are you avoiding adding additional columns to the spreadsheet to fooling yourself into thinking the information is not critical? Are you keeping a lot of client data locked up in your brain? If updating, locating and relaying your customer details becomes a chore and is no longer a priority, your small business system is no longer effective. A customer relationship management (CRM) system can help you automate.
3. Your saying “I wish I could…” a lot.
Do you lay at night wishing:
– You could have your contacts organized in groups
– You could apply bulk actions to select contacts
– Your email marketing strategy could be tied to customer details
Those are strong indicators that you are ready for a more hearty system.
4. Are you hiring employees?
Organized chaos is usually the system we see with small business owners. You personally know where everything is and how to find it because you put it there. The problem is no matter how your internal system is, relaying that information to new employees almost always has an unhappy ending. Excel is ok but if you’re looking for something that more than what you can no longer store in your head, customer relationship management tools like a (CRM) can be a next step.
How you follow up with your customers can make or break your business especially if your business relies on appointments or more importantly, multiple meetings. Effective follow-up is all about getting personal details right. You don’t have to try to be best friends with every customer, but knowing where, what and why (at least) of their connection to your business. The more information you acquire and can use, the better your follow up will be. Successful business owners mostly have a method in the chaos, but being able to harvest the information you hold and enable your communications is what grows your business and prevents you from burning good quality leads. The right CRM service will not only make this possible, but it can even automate the process for you so that you have more time for strategy and development.
ConstructingU has experience with CRMs from big to small. Most small businesses can get started with a CRM that runs for about $10 a month, and there are many choices. We can help you decide which CRM is right for you and most importantly set it up so you use it and benefit from it.