Successful companies generally share similar traits, and one of the key traits of all successful companies is organization. Organization applies to all facets of your business: front office, back office, sales team and production. If you’re not running as a highly organized, fine-tuned machine, you’re not only missing out on jobs, you may be screwing-up the ones you did close.
So, how do you get and stay organized? With a CRM tool. CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is absolutely essential if you want to build, grow and organize your company. If you don’t have one, you need one!
Some people look at CRM as simply a way to manage contacts – the 21st century equivalent of a Rolodex. And though you may find a lot of CRM platforms on the market that are based purely on organizing your contacts, I have found that a customer-based platform can be used most effectively to manage your office and your projects. Why? Bear in mind that the most successful and longest-lasting companies are ones that are focused on the customer and customer service. If your project management platform starts with the customer, you will be focused on the customer from day one.
CRM services can seem expensive if you are not already using one but their value can be tremendous if you use them effectively and customize them for your operation. Let me show you how.
The Excel Mistake
When you’re first starting out, it’s tempting to just use Excel or some other spreadsheet to organize your workload. To be fair, that will work, for a while. Excel organizes data granually and effectively, and can be used as a way to both calculate data and organize contacts. I started that way myself. It’s even pretty easy to learn the basics of Excel.
The reality is that a simple spreadsheet that tracks job status, payments, commissions, and all the other tasks and procedures in your office can become pretty cumbersome pretty quick. So, unless you’re some kind of Whiz Kid at Excel or Google Sheets, and you’ve learned how to write macros and structure the form to be visually friendly for querying and data entry, project management with Excel can become absolute chaos. Trust me, I know.
I like to look at Excel as a reporting tool. It’s extremely effective at calculating and showing job costs, sales pipelines, monthly and quarterly revenues, profit projections and more. It’s a tool that needs to integrate with your CRM, not replace it.
CRMs offer a lot of value in organizing your workflow and managing multiple jobs at one time. It has a much more substantial feature set than Excel, providing ways to store pictures, contracts, scopes of work, field notes, and so much more. It can be extremely robust and, perhaps most importantly, it can give you cloud-based access to this information that you and your team can put into a format that is easy to search.
My Solution: JobNimbus
We use JobNimbus, a cloud-based CRM and project management platform. JobNimbus allows me and my team to see and manage our roofing jobs with interactive boards. It’s easy to organize and with a drag-and-drop feature that allows me to move and update jobs through the process that I develop (and tweak along the way).
With JobNimbus, I can create contracts, attach job photos, estimates and more, then access it whether I’m in the office or on the job site. I use the calendar to see my entire team’s open tasks and then plan each team member’s day accordingly. I can even do a two-way sync with Google Calendar, making it even easier for people within and outside the organization to see tasks, events and meetings.
Of course, all my contacts are in one simple-to-use and easy-to-search place. The back office can then move these contacts – our customers – through the sales process (again, a process that we create and define, as everyone’s process is slightly different). I can also see important notes and communications like emails and phone calls whenever I bring up a contact.
Automated Workflows – The Key To Efficiency
My production board is detailed, and yours should be too. Depending on what your job scopes normally are, you may have anywhere from 5 to 50 buckets or statuses that a job can be in. If you’re juggling more than 5 or 10 projects at a time, keeping track of all those steps can be a nightmare. But with JobNimbus, you get an intuitive, visual “board” that represents all of those statuses, which your team can easily and quickly update as the job progresses.
One thing we did with JobNimbus early in our integration was structure it in such a way that we could use it as a sales AND production AND administrative tool. As I mentioned, JobNimbus gives me the ability to set up multiple boards and easily move jobs from one board to another. So we set it up in a way that each of our boards belong to a different team within the company. The first board is for Sales. Prospects eventually move to Leads, Leads move to Contracts, etc. Jobs Sold then move to the Production board and Jobs Finished move to the Admin board. It’s very linear, so it’s easy for us to organize hundreds of jobs with relative ease.
Most CRMs allow for some automation like this, but JobNimbus is really a mile above. We have automations for almost every process in our workflow. When a sales rep moves a job to production, production is notified and a work order goes out automatically. When a job is finished, the PM gets the link that generates our Certificate of Completion pre-loaded with the customer’s information. And the list goes on. As of this moment, I have 68 automations in JobNimbus alone!
As I’ve emphasized so many times throughout these blogs, these automations create time savings and lead to consistency. We don’t forget to do things on any job and we do it the same way each time. This saves me the headache of constantly hunting down information from my team and has allowed me to have a smaller administrative staff to manage the workload.
It’s nearly impossible to take your company to the seven-figure level without making every facet of your business efficiently organized. Every business is different, but there’s no doubt that every business can benefit from a CRM system that keeps you focused on workflows from a customer-based perspective. I trust JobNimbus with my company, and I’d be happy to show you how it can work for your company, too!