Adopting new technologies is not the strong suit for most homebuilders. Although Customer Relations Management (CRM) systems started in the 1980s, many home builders do not take advantage of CRM software. Time to leave the excel spreadsheet or legal pad behind and launch your home building company into 2021.

The technology surrounding CRM systems has exploded in the last five years. This acceleration has made CRM’s easy to install, inexpensive, and versatile. You’ve probably heard of CRM providers like Salesforce, Hubspot, Mindspring, and Zoho. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Whatever the case Power Marketing, can help you evaluate which CRM system is right for you.

Please note: Some CRM providers refer to themselves as Marketing Automation platforms. There is a difference between the two. CRMs capture, track, and help manage information on past, present, and potential customers. Marketing Automation software integrates with CRMs to develop automated messaging, tasks, and evaluation of contacts in the CRM. The keyword is “automated.” In a nutshell, marketing automation creates personalized experiences/messaging based on the contact’s place in the sales funnel.

WHY DO I NEED A CRM?

In the simplest form, CRM’s organize your contacts. Organizing is the most basic function of any CRM. But, supplementing these features are other elements. Most CRM systems will track and store every email conversation, phone call, or meeting you have with a prospect or customer. For example, last year I had multiple meetings with a home builder in the Michigan area to create a search engine optimization strategy as well as redesigning their website.  Everything was going great, then the pandemic hit, and the project came to a halt.  Then in February of this year, the home builder reached out to me again with a phone call.  While I was on the phone with her, I was able to type in the company’s name and see all the email conversations, price quotes, proposals, and meeting notes thanks to the CRM.  It made the customer feel important and was a big step in closing the deal.

Please keep in mind; a standard CRM system will automate most, if not all, of this tracking. This information is available to anyone in your organization, depending on how you set up permissions. Have an issue with a customer? Anyone from an admin to the CEO can quickly find the client status in the CRM.

Similarly, if an employee leaves your company, all of their client’s information is safely stored in the CRM. Whether the departure is voluntary or not, CRMs provide a detailed record of contact information, email conversations, and sales pipeline.

PIPELINE STAGES

CRM systems also allow you to track your sales in one place. But, it also gives you metrics to help improve your sales process.  Average deal size, the average number of days to close, close rate, and deal total per salesperson are just a few of the automated reports. You can also create deal stages based on your potential customer’s level of interest. Some standard deal stages for home builders are connected, proposal,  won, lost, and non-responsive.

These designations also allow you to “nudge” potential customers if they are stuck in a segment of your sales process.  For example, monthly you can go through potential clients in the Non-Responsive stage, send them an email or give them a call to keep your name in front of them.  Or if someone is in the Connected stage, send them images of recently completed homes.

EASY TO USE APPS

In this age of mobile devices, any quality CRM will provide a mobile app.  For home builders, this makes your life easier.  In my experience, home builders are very busy and often out in the field.  They are typically out checking on projects, looking for new opportunities, or meeting with vendors.  A solid app will give you the same access to your CRM from your smartphone or tablet as your desktop.  This feature is invaluable when you have last-minute meetings, or you are at a trade show.  Pre-pandemic, I was at a trade show when I saw a booth for a company I’d met with six months earlier.  The potential client had “gone dark.”  I pulled out my iPhone, looked up the company, saw the contact name and a recap of our last meeting.  I walked up to the booth, introduced myself to my contact, and told them, “we spoke about website development last year.   You probably don’t remember the conversation, but how is the project going?  Having that info at your fingertips gives you a leg up. (CRM tip: some CRM systems will automatically upload business cards into your database through your smartphone camera).

GREAT REPORTING and ANALYTICS

Mainstream CRM systems typically have dashboards allowing you to review all the significant metrics in one place.  Any good manager or business owner wants an overview of the core elements.  These elements include pipeline, salesperson activity, revenue forecast, and daily activities.  Some CRM systems already have these reports in their library of templates.  If they don’t, you can typically create a customized report.

COST and SUPPORT

The mainstream CRM systems range from free to $150/month for starter packages.  These costs don’t include installation.  The top CRM’s have simple integrations with most websites, and these integrations should limit the cost for installation.

Support should also be a consideration when selecting a CRM.  If you are working with a marketing agency, the agency should know how to talk you through minor issues.  But, if significant problems arise, you will need to go directly to the CRM provider.  Most providers will have a chat feature, a library of common questions, or a user community to ask questions.  The options are helpful, but nothing beats talking directly to a human about your issues.  Make sure the CRM you select offers a quality helpline.

Contact Power Marketing if you would like a free analysis of the best CRM system for you.

If you missed Part 1 & 2, make sure and catch up with the series!

I’m a Homebuilder With a Website. Now What?

My Home Builder Website has Content. Now What? (Part Two of Four)

Next Month:  I Have A CRM.  Now What?