So, you’ve decided to take that next step in your business success: you’ve purchased a CRM platform. Good for you! As I’ve talked about many times in these pages, organization and efficiency are the key to a seven-figure contracting business, and a solid CRM platform is the best way to start.
Your CRM is a significant investment in both time and money, but simply purchasing the software and installing it on your computer is going to change nothing. The reality is that CRMs can enhance your workflow and make your business more efficient, but only if they are used properly. If you take a half-assed approach or don’t get buy-in from the rest of your staff, it will slow down your team and cause frustrations and headaches.
But how do you get buy-in to use the CRM from your staff – especially your sales staff, who have a primary responsibility for data entry? How do you get the staff excited to use the new system and motivated to continue using it on a daily basis? Without this kind of buy-in, you’re already sunk.
Optimizing your business efficiency with an effective CRM starts with a clear definition of what the CRM does for you, the business, and your team. We call this the WIIFM stage: What’s In It For Me?
Perhaps the most important team you’ll need buy-in from is your sales team. Sales people generally have the task of entering information like customer name, address, contract amount, date of contract, and more. They also upload job pictures, drawings and measurements. Remember, you’re going to eventually want to use your CRM as a sales tool, so customer information and organized job statuses are a critical first step.
Yes, it’s a lot of work to ask your sales team to do. But with your sales team fully engaged, you’ll find that your CRM gives you:
- Quicker job approvals
- Accurate (and comparative) commission data
- Historical sales data
- Mapping of current and past customers
- Increased organization
So, what’s in it for them? More sales. If the administrative work that’s necessary in any sales job is now automated, the sales team has more time to close jobs, which means more commissions and more bonuses.
You’ll also need buy-in from your production team. Production people are going to usually have the tasks of reviewing build information from the files entered by the sales team, as well as moving the job through the different production job statuses. They may also have some billing or invoicing responsibilities depending on your setup.
What’s in it for them? Less time in front of a computer, which means more time on the job site…which means more projects are completed on time. If you pay bonuses for that sort of thing, that translates to more money in their pockets.
Administrative personnel are going to have tasks like generating the final invoices, creating the budget and updating that budget throughout the job, contacting the customer for QA or closing out and archiving the job after completion. They may also have to track down missing or incomplete information and perform data entry audits.
What’s in it for them? More workflow automations mean fewer 12-hour days, catching up on admin work. And for an admin on salary who’s not receiving overtime pay, that’s music to the ears.
Next, you need to make your CRM easy to use, or as the saying goes, “Keep It simple, Stupid.” If entering information into the CRM is going to take an hour per client (which it shouldn’t), then you’re going to have a much tougher battle to fight with your team. Entering the information can’t be difficult or time-consuming, or no one is going to want to do it.
There’s another saying: “Nature abhors a vacuum.” If your team doesn’t know the easiest and most effective way to use the CRM, they’re going to fill that knowledge gap with animosity. Instead, fill that gap with training. Show your team first hand how easy the CRM is to use. Educate them with the best practices for use.
The company that provides our CRM, JobNimbus, provides both extensive documentation and tutorials on how to use their system. Make sure your team has these tools at their disposal as they are first learning how to use the CRM. Schedule time for training. Make yourself available to answer questions. Hold meetings to discuss how the new integration is going and what changes need to be made.
As your training progresses, be careful not to fall into the trap of shortcuts. As much as you don’t want to waste time with your data entry, you don’t want to take shortcuts or leave incomplete information. Why? Because like so many systems, CRMs are only as good as the data that is entered into them, so “garbage in, garbage out.” If you don’t enter good information into your CRM, the tool will likely not be as effective as it can be.
Finally, it is important to commit to your CRM and build its use into your daily operating procedures. This is one of the reasons why simplicity is so important. Your staff can’t approach the daily tasks of data entry with a sense of dread. If it’s simple to use and makes their life easier – as well as more profitable – you’ll soon have your staff asking, “what else can we do with this new tool to increase our success?”
And that’s the best buy-in you can get.