“Why would we use Dynamics CRM to manage construction project leads?” We’ve fielded this question many times when engaging with clients and prospects in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction firms. It’s a good question. The fact is, data providers like Dodge have the capability to have folks search and follow up on leads via a web interface. That said, our clients have had some compelling reasons to manage these through Dynamics CRM—with the capability to optionally see the source record in the data provider’s system.
In fact, the reasons for managing these leads via CRM are so compelling that we have built this capability directly into our CRM for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction and our CRM for Building Product Manufacturers industry products. This shows up as part of a Relationship 360 where we see the Projects, Jobs, Project Firms, and Project Bidders, all of which are related back to the core entities of CRM. Also, this is available for clients to populate with data they have in other data sources, which may include an internal spreadsheet or database if they are not actively using a 3rd party data source.
The specific benefits will vary from organization to organization, but below you will find some of the most common advantages to managing construction project leads using Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
All Your Leads and Relationship Detail in One Place
In general practice, leads don’t just come from formalized 3rd party providers. Many do, but good, quality, leads also come from other sources via relationships that have been built up over time and often come in through email, or a conversation, or at an event. These should be managed side-by-side with any leads that come in from a 3rd party provider—as well as offer the benefits of tracking where the lead came from in order to maintain that relationship moving forward.
When it comes to lead information that does come from an external source, there is the chance of erroneous data. With the data in your CRM, you are able to better cleanse the information so it is accurate and usable. Beyond this, the team is able to add personal context about the project, relationship, or situation—which will be shared with the team and searchable in the future.
Using CRM as the consolidation point means that not only is the information available centrally, but the CRM-connected tools make access and collaboration easy. This includes accessing via Outlook and mobile devices and document collaboration using Office 365 groups or SharePoint. This aspect even opens up this collaboration to non-CRM users to participate in review of key documents, proposal building, and visibility to the shared calendar for the pursuit.
Coordinate Your Follow-up with the Right Activity
The HCRM for AEC and BPM products for Microsoft Dynamics help drive consistency to make sure that team members know who has the action and that deadlines are met. This includes several areas:
Business Process Engine – From lead, to proposal, shortlist, and close, the process engine helps guide team members through the tasks that are applicable at the current stage for this type of project. When you open up a record, you understand what stage it is in and what the next actions are—regardless of whether it is a long-cycle or short-cycle deal.
Project Service Automation – Earlier this year Microsoft added project service automation as an optional component to CRM for AEC or HCRM for BPM. From building out a proposal with both products and/or services, to planning the project, to staffing, execution and project management.
Configurable Workflow (Not code) – This is all about tailoring the automation to the way your business operates. Your firm’s processes and best practices help drive success, and unlike many other systems or custom applications, this is something that can be put into your “language”. Configuring the names and types of fields and driving automation such as task assignment and reminder setting are all in your organization’s control without needing to hire a developer.
Reminders & Notifications – In concert with the process engine and configurable workflow, reminders and notifications are key to helping make sure no deadline is missed. This also ties in with the previously-mentioned Outlook integration, keeping appointments, tasks, and emails consistent regardless of where you access them from—and without having to log into yet another system.
Reporting – Beyond the operational usage of the platform, managing all project leads through the HCRM for AEC or HCRM for BPM platform allows for powerful reporting. Understand where deals are being won or which competitors are giving you trouble by leveraging the reporting tools available as part of a CRM deployment including, lists, reports, and Power BI.
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