For many Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) firms, the economic downturn of 2008 caused pain. Business was scarce and firms had to find ways to increase efficiency and cut costs. The need for CRM increased to help bring in new business. But what happens when there's more than enough business? Do you even need a CRM when you’re in a growth period?
We think so. Here are our top four reasons why:
1. Evidence-based Forecasting - At many firms, the revenue forecast is a combination of backlog and Business Developments’ best guess about the volume of incoming work. Unfortunately, these conjectures aren't always accurate. It's hard to know with a high degree of certainty which jobs your firm will win. CRM gives you visibility into your operations, which can inform your forecasting. When you track hit rate by personnel over time, patterns tend to emerge. For example, if you know that in the past, Business Developer A delivered 60% of the jobs he thinks he can win, while Business Developer B manages to get 75%, you can create a more accurate revenue projection. CRM also enables you to gather your hit rate probability on different market sectors or clients. Greater forecasting accuracy enables you to base projections on evidence instead of guesses.
2. Streamlined Hiring and On-boarding - When business is good, you might need to hire more technical staff to accommodate all the new work. CRM provides evidence-based forecasting, which allows your firm to see which market sectors are growing and hire the right personnel ahead of time. In addition, you'll have a complete list of previous staff members and their expertise. If your firm wants to rehire past employees to accommodate growing markets or to prepare for an influx of work, all of their experience and resumes will remain in your CRM so your firm can make the right hires. CRM is also an invaluable on-boarding tool for firms who need to hire new marketers and business development professionals. Instead of new hires spending their first six months piecing together the details of your firm's personnel and project history, the CRM system will put all the relevant data at their fingertips.
3. Expedited Marketing Processes - Many competitive firms can mine their data and turn proposals around faster because they've made the investment in CRM and proposal automation. This change in the market has increased client expectations. As a result, RFP times have shortened. At many organizations, marketing resources are already stretched paper-thin. An influx of new business can only exacerbate their already heavy workloads. Proposal automation, an easy quick search, and custom reports will save countless hours of data mining, empowering marketers to focus on crafting strategic submittals tailored to each audience.
4. Efficient Business Development Management - When your firm gets a lead and multiple Business Developers say they have a relationship with the prospective client, how will you know who to send? Your CRM should include relationship tracking so that you can leverage your staff’s strongest relationships. Or if your firm has geographically dispersed offices, CRM offers information about the activities at each office. This kind of visibility helps prevent embarrassing mistakes, like two offices bidding on the same project, or redundant phone calls to clients or prospects. With CRM, your business development team can run more efficiently and win more work.
Many firms looked to CRM and Proposal Automation to achieve maximum efficiency when the economy was weaker, but ignoring their benefits in a growth period is increasingly risky. The AEC industry has embraced technology to improve their processes and reach their goals. Have you?
To learn more about what Cosential's CRM and Proposal Automation can do for you, schedule a demo today!