CRMs: Generating More Leads, Sales and Happy Customers for Contractors

HandshakeWho doesn’t want to generate more leads, close more sales and create an environment of happy customers? We all do! Because the life-cycle of any given project can be drawn out over months or years, your goal should be to build solid relationships with your customers. When you keep your customers happy, you can keep projects flowing with repeat business. This is where a CRM comes into play.

What is a CRM?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) allows you to take charge of customer relationships in an organized way. A CRM is a robust database system that enables businesses to organize and automate sales, marketing, customer service and support processes.

There are many ways to manage customer relationships. An Excel spreadsheet is a very simplistic version of a CRM, and perhaps when you first started your business, this is what you used to track customers through the sales process.

But in today’s complicated and competitive environment, contractors need to be highly tuned into their prospects and customers’ needs to generate more leads, win more jobs and yes, keep them happy.

While many construction executives recognize the power behind a CRM system, it has been difficult to find one that actually fits construction-specific needs. Search for “Construction CRM” on Google, and you’ll get dozens (or more) CRM possibilities. But now there is a better way.

Introducing the ComputerEase CRM Module

CRM for ContractorsConstruction management teams no longer have to try to make off-the-shelf CRM solutions work “well enough” for their needs. We recently introduced the ComputerEase CRM module. This is a fully-integrated CRM system that allows you to track, manage and nurture your prospects from the first contact to when they accept your bid … and beyond.

What is unique to our CRM module is that it combines all the features you would expect from a robust CRM system into our existing construction accounting software package. Since the CRM is part of ComputerEase, the double-entry problem is completely eliminated. Once you secure a job, ComputerEase will move the data from the CRM to the rest of the system, including points of contact and any relevant job information.

ComputerEase gives you a deeper picture of estimating, job costing, work-in-progress and other key information you need to make business decisions with confidence. You can also strategically choose to share some of this data with your customers, so they, too, can plan to complete future projects with more efficiency and profitability. This is value that you can offer that many other contractors wouldn’t think to provide, and over time you become an indispensable partner for future construction projects.

This CRM module is truly designed specifically for what construction firms need to generate more leads, sell more jobs and keep their customers happy. Learn more about the ComputerEase CRM module.

Is your CPA doing everything they can for you? 7 Questions to Ask

HelpThe construction industry is a difficult one – full of strategic planning, tight deadlines, demanding customers and lean margins. In some projects, just 2-3 percent can be the difference between profit and loss.

However, construction companies that navigate this industry expertly have learned to surround themselves with others who understand the business – especially their CPA firm. You look for subcontractors who have experience in a particular type of work; your CPA firm shouldn’t be any different. Don’t settle for just any old number-cruncher. To be on target in this business, you need a CPA that understands construction.

Certainly, no matter what business you are in, your relationship with your CPA firm should be active year-round, not just during tax season. But there are other factors that are unique to the construction industry that can help make you more efficient and more profitable.

How do you determine whether or not your CPA firm is meeting all of your needs? Here are 7 questions to ask:

  1. Does your CPA simply prepare your information? Your CPA firm should be doing much more than the bare minimum quarterly tax paperwork. They should be analyzing the data and providing you with information that your team can use to make educated decisions moving forward.
  2. Does your CPA add value to your internal accounting department? Your accounting department is your eyes and ears on your jobs and the overall financial well-being of your company. Those job costing numbers need to be accurate, which is something that our construction accounting software specializes in. Your CPA firm should be willing to share valuable insight with your accounting staff to help them see the bigger picture. This, too, will go a long way to providing you with the information you need to make higher-level decisions with confidence.
  3. acctdeskcomputerDoes your CPA firm conduct or have access to benchmarking? Here in the Cincinnati area, the CPA firm VonLehman conducts an annual construction survey, analyzes the data and then shares the information with others. This report helps construction firms benchmark how they are doing in comparison to the rest of the regional construction industry. If you are located in a large metro area like Cincinnati and your CPA firm specializes in assisting construction clients, they probably have access to information to help you benchmark where you stand.
  4. Does your CPA have a proactive approach to bonding? As a construction firm, you need specific information to present to your surety company to secure the bonding capacity you need. Your CPA can proactively help you through this process by reworking your financial statements and restructuring your debt to give the surety the specific information they need. Being proactive allows you the opportunity to bid on a large project when the right one comes along.
  5. Has your CPA firm talked to you about your succession plan? Developing a succession plan is a long process, and your CPA should be helping you through it. Furthermore, a succession plan is more than your legacy. The surety and financial lenders will want to know your succession plan, too. This gives them the assurance that if anything happens to you, your company’s projects will be completed.
  6. Does your CPA help you understand your financial statements? When you work with the right CPA firm, not only will the numbers be accurate, but you will understand where they come from. Intelligent overviews of your financial statements are crucial when meeting with surety or banking representatives.
  7. Does your CPA understand work-in-progress reports? Job costing isn’t an after-the-fact item; it is an ongoing task. When you review your work-in-progress report on a monthly basis, you see what happened in the last 30 days and can make any needed adjustments immediately. The right CPA firm will also hone in on over- and under-billings and work with you to get the project back on track.

The right CPA firm will proactively analyze pertinent information and provide you with the data you need to make business decisions with confidence. Any CPA can crunch numbers, but wouldn’t you prefer a firm that can be an active participant in your business? To discover more ways your CPA firm can be helping you, view our “What Your CPA Should be Doing for You” webinar.

If you want your CPA firm to work with ComputerEase to provide the best possible accounting services to your company – or if you are a CPA with the same goal in mind – find out how our CPA Partnership Program can help!