In order to be successful with larger or more complex invitations to tender for properties, sales staff in the construction industry need the right timing and specialized knowledge in two areas:
- knowledge about how to assess the potential in an invitation to tender properly and make suitable offers, and
- knowledge about the complex set of relationships between the many parties involved.
It is frequently the case that only a few experienced sales staff members possess this knowledge. If many invitations to tender are running in parallel or several complex invitations to tender for major projects are accumulating, the knowledgeable members of staff can quickly become the bottleneck for the construction company’s sales success.
Getting Knowledge into the Open
A modern CRM solution can map knowledge from employees in key positions into the tool. But many companies still have a long way to go. According to the study of Adito (CRM monitor 2019: Customer experience as success factor of tomorrow. Key findings for the construction (and construction supplier) sector), only 60 percent of those surveyed from the sectors construction and construction suppliers can access complete customer histories. With this, the industry is the worst performer when it comes to bundling contact points. At the same time, four out of five of those surveyed operated their CRM as an isolated solution without a link to other systems, such as the ERP system, making a 360° degree view of clients, projects and offers impossible.
Other sectors took steps much earlier to set up their sales department with support from the new CRM system. Directing one’s attention there could help to enhance efficiency and transparency in construction sales. But is such experience readily transferable? After all, the construction industry has special requirements when it comes to CRM systems. How are these solved by modern CRM systems?
Sector-specific Requirements for a CRM System: Construction Sector
Managing Interconnecting Relationships and Rendering Them Visible
A CRM can do more than save addresses and send mailings. It can map complex relationship systems. This is especially important for the construction sector: The relationships between clients, contractors, subcontractors, regulators, architects or planning offices constitute the kind of knowledge that is stored in the heads of a few key sales staff members. In a modern CRM system focused on or with extensions for the construction sector, you can, for example, make a note of how different parties cooperate or what the dependencies between parties look like.
Support Mobile Devices
It sounds so easy: To enable sales personnel to view offer details on the way to customers, or warehouse employees to retrieve order volumes on the tablet, or drivers to get delivery information on their mobile phones, the CRM system must be accessible from mobile devices. However, the views are frequently too detailed for small screens; in daylight, the information needed is often not even legible. Consequently, the solution selected must feature dedicated apps or genuine mobile views, not just “scaled down” large screen sizes.
360-degree View Requires Data Network
A genuine 360-degree view requires more data than are available in the CRM system. Apart from customer information in the narrower sense, this involves, for example, production, price and delivery data from the ERP system, contact data or e-mail threads from e-mail programs, price lists from Excel or documents from the DMS (document management system). Ideally, the CRM systems can retrieve this information centrally. Information needed for offers is then available centrally and the status of offers is presented understandably.
Measure Success in Sales and Service for Successful Property Business
Transparency about the status of offers is just the beginning. If the right data are maintained or linked, it is possible to monitor and evaluate relevant KPIs for marketing, sales and service. Operated systematically, they are the precondition for project planning as well as continuous improvement of processes.
Well-founded data networking is particularly important for the property business. Opportunities for major orders and further growth arise here for companies. However, to enable sales staff to evaluate the potential behind a construction property as precisely as possible, they need comprehensive information. This includes, among other things:
- requirements: What products are needed in what quantities?
- the relationship structures between all parties involved: How do building owners, planners and suppliers cooperate?
- the market: What are the competitors doing?
- the offers: What offers were made when and on what conditions?
- the customers: What communication has occurred and what turnover does the customer provide for?
This information can be evaluated centrally via the property management. A comprehensive overview of the project status is facilitated by precise potential surveys and analyses, property evaluation and mapping of complex group and company structures.
What Do Modern CRM Systems Provide?
Enhance Customer Satisfaction
If a modern CRM solution can serve the sector-specific sales requirements for a construction or construction supply company, the switch pays off quickly: More recent systems support a completely new logic of sales work. For example, cooperation between sales, order processing and the technical field service on the building site can be directly supported. As discussed above, this is only possible once isolated solutions have been abolished. For example, the frequently invoked 360-degree view makes it possible to view the order and delivery status directly from the customer account, while talking to a customer. The project team involved, for example, architects, developers and construction managers, can then also be viewed in the Buying Center. As a result, complaints can be settled to the satisfaction of customers far more quickly.
Mobile CRM Simplifies Work on the Building Site
From a technical point of view, those responsible for the construction and construction supplier sector face a special challenge. Since a stable web connection is not always ensured on building sites, printed paper checklists are often the order of the day. A mobile CRM solution on a smartphone or tablet enables you to access data quickly and in real time – wherever you are. Building site records, complaints and offers can be created directly on the building site by the field service and are immediately available to the back office for further processing. This process optimization avoids duplicate data as well as administration effort and enables fast, uncomplicated addressing of customer needs.
Minimizing Set-up Expense
A flexibly customizable standard platform with sector reference is a way of avoiding unnecessary expense in introducing a new CRM system. Customers are quickly offered novel functions by the CRM supplier. Sector requirements are simultaneously covered, and company-specific processes can be set up.
Faster offer processes
After setting up the CRM system, the potential exists to handle offer processes more efficiently. Thanks to networking with data from other sources, such as existing information or delivery dates from the ERP system, faster offer processes are possible. As a result, those with knowledge have more time to concentrate on essential steps, such as final releases, complex calculations or estimates, for which experience and gut feeling are required. At the same time, transparency about the status of individual calls for property tenders.
Decide faster with AI
Moreover, more modern platforms, such as those on based on SAP, make it possible to analyze interconnections in unstructured data. Recommended actions in contact with interested parties and customers can also be implemented. Not least, self-teaching and rules-based chat bots are also based on AI. These AI-based functions catapult construction sales from the isolated CRM solution directly into the future.