11 Jan 5 Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a CRM for Your Home Improvement Company
Whether a company employs one in-house salesperson or a team of folks working inside and outside sales leads, every home improvement contractor can benefit from the organization of a CRM. Customer Relationship Management tools allow sales teams, managers and CEOs to track sales progress, create effective follow-up processes and close more deals.
CRMs range from hundreds of dollars a month to free. Before you begin your search or sign on the dotted line, ask your sales staff these questions.
What are your goals?
Most CRMs help you track customer deals as they progress through the sales process. Do you need more data on sales cycle length, average purchase size or close ratio in order to create those goals? Do you know those numbers but need a tool to help your sales team create a follow a sales process? Do you want to increase sales of a specific product or service or in a specific niche market? CRMs can help you reach any of these goals, but some are more targeted at one goal than another.
Will your sales team use a CRM?
We’ve worked with companies who swear their team is so set in their ways they won’t use any new software at all. We’ve also worked with companies whose philosophy is “if I say use this my team will use it because they work for me”. A healthy team relationship lies somewhere in the middle. If your sales team is wary about trying a new software because you’ve changed the CRM on them twice in the last year already, now is probably not the time to switch. For other teams who aren’t sure about implementing something that might require more steps on their part, you might consider a trial with financial rewards if the team as a whole reduces the length of the sales cycle and improves sales using the new program.
For teams uninterested in changing the way they manage sales consider whether or not the team could actually close more sales by using a CRM or if its time to consider adding more flexible members to your sales team.
What do you want the CRM to do?
A CRM allows sales, marketing, and management staff to track where customers are in the pipeline and more effectively follow up with those customers through the sales process and turn them into repeat business. Some CRM programs include marketing software that coordinates with social media scheduling and email marketing while others allow you to create quotes and invoices and track payment. Review some of the top CRMs out there and decide which features are most important to you.
Does your CRM need to function outside of your office?
For retail locations where all customers visit your store having an app that allows in-home estimating won’t matter. Teams that include outside salespeople need a CRM that works as well on the road as it does in the store.
What’s your budget?
As we mentioned earlier, CRMs vary in cost and functionality. The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies here as well. Free CRMs offer minimal functionality which may be all you need to train your staff to use a CRM and many offer upgrades to accommodate changing needs as your company grows. If you can dedicate some budget to CRM implementation be realistic about what functions you need versus all the bells and whistles you may not be able to afford to have set up.
In our research purchasing a CRM for your home improvement company, we found this article that details many of the available options. It’s a great place to start now that you know the questions to ask first.
As your setting your sales goals, let’s talk about how marketing can play a part in filling your sales team’s prospect lists.