There was a time in my career when I had a notepad and a pen, and that’s how I kept my entire office organized. I wrote down tasks as I remembered them, then scratched them off when they were done. I took my notepad with me everywhere. Wrote down the names of current clients and prospective clients, along with thoughts and ideas about how to put together bids for their projects.
And you know what? That worked for a while. I tried to keep all the tasks pertaining to a specific job on one page, but ended up scrolling through page after page to find out what needed to be done. Then I started losing information, or forgetting to write something down. After a while – as I closed more and more jobs and began gaining a reputation, the notepad system had to go.
If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, you’ve probably encountered the same problem, whether it’s graduating from a notepad to an Excel sheet or an Excel sheet to a CRM platform. The difference between a million dollar office and a roofer who has a buddy who helps him with jobs is how well you can organize your office at the lowest cost.
Advanced CRM Workflows
As I stated in a previous post, my office uses JobNimbus as its CRM platform. In order to track dozens of jobs simultaneously and create as many automated workflows as possible, I created four “boards” that each include different job statuses or stages. These boards give me a quick, visual status for each job, making it easy to see which steps are next and which tasks are incomplete. My board layout looks like this:
First is the Sales board. All of my jobs start with sales so this was a logical first step. Within the Sales board is the “pipeline” that my jobs follow: leads, estimating, ready for sales, job sold, job approved, and more. These are the categories that work for me and my company. Yours may and should be different, depending on the best practices that you’ve developed.
Next comes Production. Production has similar stages like job approved, material ordered, crew scheduled, in progress, and more. This board is particularly critical, because once production starts, the clock is running, and we want to have our jobs completed on time as much as possible. You may find yourself tweaking the workflows on this board as much if not more so than the Production board.
Finally, we’ve got the Administrative board, which covers items like invoicing, commission, crew pay and such, followed by what I call the Escalation board. I will be taking a deeper dive into these two boards in the coming days.
The point here is that an effective CRM should not only organize your data, it should mimic your workflow and allow you to easily see who has what jobs in what stages. It can help make sense of your budgets, schedule when commissions and crew pay are paid out, and even when material needs to be ordered. The organization aspect extends beyond the idea of an “advanced Rolodex” with customers’ names, phone numbers and notes.
Consistency Is Critical
Using your CRM as much as possible is the key to the management side if it. We mention consistency pretty regularly in these pages, but it’s important to understand that it’s a two-sided proposition: use your CRM consistently, and use it to create consistency. Here’s what I mean.
The more you utilize your CRM, the more it becomes a habit in your office – the more you come to depend on it. Your CRM holds more than data – it holds about 80% of the answers to the questions your staff want to ask. The more they can rely on turning to the platform to get the answers and information they need, the less time you and your Admins spend answering those questions yourselves. But to get to that level, you need to be consistently using your CRM.
Secondly, the more you use the CRM, the more apparent it becomes which workflows and tasks can be handled through the system. Literally, you start to think more in terms of automation – you start to see more and more tasks that are repeated time and again and can therefore be workflows in the CRM. Seriously, you’ll start to see the lightbulb around the third time you’re asked the same question, and suddenly it’s, “wait a minute, can we automate this task in our CRM?”
The reality is, most companies simply don’t have this granular level of organization, which means all of those “little” tasks fall on one or two people rather than being automated. This creates a situation where the capacity of a business owner defines the capacity that the business can realistically handle. Believe me, you will never become a million dollar business this way. A seven-figure revenue depends on creating and consistently maintaining a CRM that uses advanced workflows to handle multiple, simultaneous jobs. These workflows must be customized for your office, using the best practices you develop along the way. Keep at it, and if you need any help, give me a call!