I have blogged about CRM before here and here. This post details the top 6 benefits of using CRM in construction businesses.
The top 6 benefits of using CRM in construction businesses
#1 Managing the flow of business development intelligence
[bctt tweet=”CRM systems organise the diverse flow of information from wide-ranging stakeholders.“]
Companies working in the construction sector strategically manage relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, including contractors, architects, engineers, clients, consultants and local authorities. Efficiently capturing, managing and interpreting this data is critical to effectively controlling the business development and bidding processes. A CRM system streams this diverse inflowing information, allowing it to be efficiently interpreted.
#2 Knowledge and understanding of clients, consultants and other stakeholders
[bctt tweet=”Segmented information allows you to understand your clients and target your marcomms”]
Over time a significant bank of quality data will be captured, including projects worked on together and opportunities referred. This information is extremely valuable in the business development and work-winning processes. Segmented information also enables you to sort the organisations you work with and target your marketing communications. For example segmenting by discipline, by value of opportunities referred or by client type.
#3 It provides quality management information
[bctt tweet=”CRM provides real-time management information, allowing for informed decision-making”]
Decision making is well-informed by real-time data and provides real visibility across the business, accessible by everyone. This is particularly useful around pipeline management and sharing relationship/marketing information across the business. A CRM system can also provide the perfect location for sharing project-related collateral, or information on organisations you have relationships with.
#4 Proactive management of business processes
Tasks and activities can be diarised and centrally coordinated, as well as providing total visibility around who is responsible for specific actions.
#5 Drives efficiency throughout the business
CRM provides a single location for a whole host of information. This ranges from the simple to the more complex and minimises replication.
#6 Improved relationships within the business
[bctt tweet=”Sharing information across the business improves relationships and increases efficiency”]
Sharing client information across the business improves relationships between teams, as well as developing a culture of working together towards common goals. This is particularly important for organisations based in a number of offices.
I have worked with many CRM systems, particularly during implementation stages. I can work with you to develop the right protocols for your business to drive the right insights from the data.
My earlier post talked about how to capture project information. In this post I am going to talk about the myriad ways you can recycle and reshape it, to create a range of content suitable for multiple channels and platforms.
- Case studies
- Project information on CVs
- Awards submissions
- Online and offline media
|Online and social media
- Website content
- Develop a bank of library of project information, ready for a range of questions.
There are two key pieces of work-winning collateral which are sure to be requested for each construction submission, whether it is a PQQ or ITT. These are project information sheets or case studies and CVs.
[Tweet “CVs provide the opportunity for the bidder to clearly demonstrate the calibre, skills and experience of the proposed team. “]
Here is my how-to guide to write winning CVs for construction submissions.
#1 – The basics
This is the basic information you need to include:
- Role/proposed role on the project
#2 – Profile of the individual
Use this section to clearly align the person with the requirements of the project. Use the client’s language to reflect back their team requirements.
Write an overview of the individual. This needs to succinctly describe the individual, their background, key skills and any particular specialism they may have. Specialisms may include particular sector, contract-type experience or building typologies.
The information included in this section needs to be relevant and appropriate to the project being bid for.
#3 – Proposed role on the project
Why has this person been selected and what will their daily project responsibilities be?
Clearly demonstrate to the client and their advisory team why this individual has been carefully chosen for their project.
- how they will interface with the client and project team;
- who they report to;
- how much time they will spend on the project, i.e. full-time or visiting; and
- what their specific daily responsibilities will be.
#4 – Projects
Demonstrate how the individual has added value and made a big difference on their previous schemes. Quantify the impact.
Although it is important to put into context a person’s experience, merely describing the project really misses a great opportunity to demonstrate the calibre of the person. Include dates, project value and a brief project description, but use this section to focus on a person’s specific contribution to a project. Also ensure the added value examples clearly relate to the project you are pursuing.
Examples of added value:
- Developing efficient design to exceed minimum statutory standards.
- Designing an energy-efficient heating/lighting/ventilation system which has had a demonstrable positive benefit for the client, saving them money (quantify the amount of money saved by the client through this solution).
- Developing a construction solution which saved time, money or both.
- Working on a site which was occupied throughout the build period.
- Clear, quantifiable examples of innovation or sustainability.
#5 – Nice to includes
Include the nice extras, including completion photographs and client testimonials.
Please contact me to work with you on developing bespoke CVs or other bid collateral for submissions.
Project information capture: a construction marketer’s biggest challenge
Without a doubt a construction marketer’s biggest challenge is securing and interpreting a never-ending stream of project information to enable quality content marketing to be produced, build profile and win projects.
Project information capture: why, what, when?
There are some key considerations for project information capture.
- Why do we need project information?
- What does quality project information look like?
- When do I capture it?
Why do we need project information?
Project information shifts your marketing content and tender responses from being descriptive and features-based, to being outcomes and benefits-based.
From a marketer’s perspective, quality project information is literally worth its weight in gold. I believe its value can be demonstrated in one simple formula:
(Quality project information = quality content) = more projects won + more people in work.
Showcasing benefits, rather than features, speaks directly to client needs and wants, as well as demonstrating innovative thinking and added-value. It also creates amazing bid responses, award submissions and shareable blog posts.
From a purely practical point of view, proactively captured project information goes a long way towards making any kind of submission process a lot smoother.
What does this information look like?
Quality project information clearly shows why your organisation provided a better service to the client and project than your competitors. It will tell a story using examples, evidence, pictures and some words.
First things first
It may sound basic, but double-check the project details you have on record. Include the contractor, architect, engineers and of course the client. Also find out who the contact is for references going forward.
Speaking with your project-based colleagues (the who bit of the process)
Speak with technical colleagues about projects regularly and schedule a formal interview when the project is completed.
Consider the following points during your conversations:
- Challenges of the project and the solutions developed to meet them. Challenges will generally focus around key areas of site, programme, budget or sustainability. These issues require innovation and ingenuity to solve them and its these solutions we need to capture and communicate efficiently to our stakeholders.
- Benefits delivered to the client and project through approach.
- Examples of innovation, including why the approach or solution was innovative and quantification of the project and client benefits.
- Added-value examples.
- Examples of sustainability, quantifying benefits.
- Examples of cost and programme savings, with the impacts properly quantified.
Use these conversations to develop your knowledge (assuming you’re a desk-bound marketer). If you are unsure of technical language, ask for clarification. And remember the golden rule: evidence, evidence, evidence. Any claim which can’t be backed up by proper evidence or examples shouldn’t be included in any piece of collateral or content marketing.
Using a tabulated format like this facilitates capture, storage and eventual retrieval. You will also find that this kind of format will provide a great ‘starter for 10’ when putting together those pesky last minute PQQ responses.
||Benefit to the client
||Examples or evidence
When do you capture project information?
Please see above about regular dialogue with technical colleagues and a project completion interview.
I’m a great believer in creating a project sheet right from the project being formally commissioned by the client, so essentially project information should be captured and organised from a project’s inception.
Please don’t leave project information capture to when a job is handing over. Clearly the delivery team will have other things on their minds to be wanting to help you.
Construction Marketing podcast – capturing project information
For some more detail on this topic, last year I took part in a podcast with Pritesh Patel and Mike Reader. On the podcast we discussed the challenges and provided some solutions. The podcast can be listened to here.
If I can help you to to efficiently capture project information, or use it to create amazing content marketing or scheme-winning PQQs, please get in touch and let me know.
My original CRM post was turning into a bit of a monster, so I have split it out. I have been involved with CRM at a variety of stages in a number of different businesses over the years and there are always recurring themes. This piece looks at some key points of best practice for successful implementation.
1. Having a marketing strategy which is clearly aligned to the company’s objectives
This may sound like common sense, but so many businesses overlook the fact that marketing plans should be integrated into the company’s goals. CRM needs to support the direction the business is travelling in and it there needs to be clarity around how CRM will facilitate this.
Communicate this clarity to the business via the comms plan (below) and develop your roll-out strategy around it.
2. Gaining executive-level buy-in and sponsorship throughout implementation and beyond
One of the key reasons for CRM failing is that senior management don’t buy-in to it. Equally, when CRM has been successfully embedded into an organisation, the key theme has been executive level support and their demanding a flow of quality management information from the system. Pulling the information up through the organisation via non-negotiable reporting requirements has been the single most important contributor to success, in my experience.
3. Appoint a strong project manager
The project manager will be the ‘face’ of the project, managing information requirements and delegating tasks. They will provide the interface between the software provider, senior management and users.
4. Understand your clients’ and business needs
The whole process is about putting your clients central to your business operations. As part of point 1 above, take this opportunity to crystallise what your clients need and want from you.
As part of the research phase, really take the time to understand the needs of the various teams internal to your business. This will also link into point 1 above. How can CRM support the teams to achieve the goals the senior management of the business has set?
Mapping the work flow through a business is key to understanding how CRM will impact each team. This will make any customisation of the system easier. This could also be an opportunity to objectively review how things happen and whether they can be improved.
5. Develop a strong network of CRM champions throughout the business
This localised support is essential during implementation and afterwards, providing knowledge, guidance, training and report-production on an on-going basis. Involve the champions from the earliest stages, throughout implementation and beyond. They will be the strongest advocates of the new system and help drive behavioural change.
6. Have a clear strategy for roll-out
Set a clear vision with clear goals for roll-out. Develop a number of quick-wins around your company objectives. For example, this could be creating a single contact database or proactive pipeline management. Focus on these areas first and implement a ‘step-by-step’ roll-out, which doesn’t overawe the business. Roll-out is an ongoing process, taking months or even years. In certain circumstances, new modules and parts will be continually added. It shouldn’t be thought of as a project with a specific end, because it will almost certainly evolve with the business and will require ongoing updates and training.
Be clear about the fact that CRM isn’t a technology, it’s a state of mind.
7. Develop a robust communications plan
Any change management programme requires the support of a robust communications plan. The key requirement of a CRM implementation plan is to focus on value, both for the business and the user. Frequently CRM fails because client-facing teams of the business fail to see any value in what they are being requested to do. In the case of construction, this is technical people already busy with project delivery.
Communication channels will range from internal communications, training and consistent messaging provided by the executive sponsor, project manager and CRM champions.
8. Have realistic expectations for the short- and medium-term
CRM definitely isn’t a panacea for any business’s ills. It requires sustained effort to embed cultural and behavioural change, particularly amongst the team which is client-facing. It isn’t realistic to expect a 100% increase on sales within a three-month time period. Manage the expectations of senior management.
9. Data cleansing and integrity
If you are moving data across from a previous system, even if it was in Outlook or Excel, check and double check the integrity of the data before undertaking a mass upload. If you do this step properly, it will save a lot of time and you will be starting off from a good foundation. Getting this step wrong will compromise the whole project.
A comprehensive training programme is key, along with the provision of a suite of materials to support users on an ongoing basis. The CRM champions should be responsible for coordinating and delivering training programmes, feeding back comments and observations.