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CRM: Is it Just an Acronym?

Customer Relationship ManagementWhen I first entered the construction industry years ago, I questioned how relevant a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software program was to this market. In the traditional sense of CRM – it is a database tool used to track customer information. In the construction industry, what can I really track? How many times did a prospect visit our web site? Who did I send the company overview brochure to? Does any of that really point to building a stronger “relationship” though? Isn’t that the core of what CRM is supposed to do?

Faith Technologies recently launched a new CRM program that tracks all of the traditional buckets of information – addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and any touches by an employee. What I have learned though is in building a stronger relationship with the client, CRM is a tool used to better understand our organization’s past relationship – and in turn, bring value to that prospect or client. When is the last time we priced a project for that client? When is the last time that general contractor was partnered with that architect? I just got a bid invite for Project ABC – I wonder if any of our other 13 office locations are looking at this project?

I have come full circle on my belief in the value CRM can bring to organizations – especially those within the construction industry. It allows each of our employees’ access to all available information on an existing or potential customer so they can use previous experience to provide solutions and value to them. As equally important, within our organization CRM provides management the data and information to make strategic business decisions. Will CRM cure all of your customer engagement challenges? No. However, it is a useful tool – what you do with it is up to you.