Welcome to today’s blog! Last time, I focused on Centralize and Leverage Project Data. Be sure to check that one out if you have not already.
Today, I am continuing to dive deeper into many of the challenges we see in the AEC industry and looking specifically at Customer Relationship Management. At the end of the day, customers are the ones that pay our bills, grow our companies, and ultimately keep us in existence.
Think about a business without Customers. Exactly! So, why don’t more Architecture, Engineering, and Construction companies take this more seriously? The reality is that most firms we speak with don’t have a holistic strategy for identifying, developing, nurturing, and growing Customer Relationships.
Let’s take a closer look.
Why Is Customer Relationship Management So Important?
Think about your business. Why do you win against your competition? What separates you from all the other firms out there competing against you? Whenever I ask this question, the most frequent responses include:
- Our people
- Our project experience
- Our firm’s reputation
- The quality of our work
- Our customers trust us
So, out of those responses, what is the most common answer we hear that sets firms apart? It always revolves around “our relationships,” or our customer’s satisfaction based on the relationships that we have developed. Unless your business model is bid low and often, winning (or losing) projects comes down to the strength of your relationships and customer interaction.
Additionally, individuals or firms cannot forge strong relationships overnight. It takes years to establish trust, and you must continually prove yourself with every project. Connections can also be quick to sour. Firms must do everything they can to nurture existing relationships and grow their newer ones.
Lastly, companies also need to keep in mind the other areas of customer influence. Experience, reputation for meeting deadlines, doing quality work, and building trust entice a client to select your firm for that next big undertaking.
Creating or Improving Customer Relationships
Strengthening Your Existing Customer Relationships
Strong relationships can be weakened or broken in many ways, and your competition continually chipping away at you can be a significant factor in this. The competition is constantly in the client’s ear, promising they can do better or provide services for less money. Further, new competitors come from places you may never have expected, as many firms expand into new markets. Complacency is a killer, and it is now more critical than ever for your firm to be responsive to its clients and continually win more business.
Keeping in regular, timely communication with your clients and prospects and ultimately staying on top of upcoming projects is how you maintain an edge. Executives need visibility to see where they are with projects at a high level, ensuring their best clients are taken care of.
Sales teams need a system that keeps them organized and helps them focus their efforts on winning new business. Internal communication needs to be tight so that everyone is in sync. Firms leverage technology and win more because they know who needs to take action and when.
These companies are always getting out in front of their competition. Too many times, I hear about jobs that are lost because something “slipped through the cracks.” Losing jobs due to communication or insight problems should never happen if you hope to build and maintain strong relationships.
Building Strong New Relationships
Let’s look at things from another direction, one where your firm is the one trying to break into new markets or territories, and you need to build new relationships. What will give you an edge over those firms that already have a long history with a potential new client?
First, you have to establish your Ideal Customer Profile or Ideal Project Profile, which we at TrebleHook call the “Right Projects.” We will hit on this in an upcoming blog in more detail. But, these are the customers and projects that you have the highest propensity to win, differentiate, drive profitability, etc.
Once you have the ideal targets, you must demonstrate that you are both capable and professional, “on the ball,” and more attentive to their needs than others. Firms that are growing are leveraging technology to gain a competitive advantage by outshining complacent firms that are not investing in their future.
How TrebleHook Helps AEC Firms Maintain and Grow Relationships
Automated workflows in TrebleHook keep necessary personnel informed promptly. Having timely communication keeps everyone in the loop, saves a ton of time by eliminating manual or redundant tasks, and reduces the amount of lost or delayed information. Automated reminders ensure that your clients get consistent and repeatable communication from the various project teams in your business. Above all, clients receive better service and a faster response time from your firm.
Ability to Collect More Data
Firms can leverage collected data to manage customer relationships while maintaining and growing them. TrebleHook makes it easy to add contact information, customer data, and project data from your phone, email, internal files, and external sources. Out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Outlook and G-Suite is also a key benefit. Adding more critical data helps to give firms a competitive edge to win more work with existing and new clients.
Power to Centralize Collected Data
Many firms have a problem because they collect data but have no single place to store it, so it winds up scattered everywhere. The lack of organization of collected data causes it to diminish in value. Built on Salesforce’s CRM system, TrebleHook is your hub for all the information you collect.
With TrebleHook, individuals in your organization can easily find and leverage organized data to serve your clients better. And best of all, TrebleHook integrates with virtually any other software platform in your business, making it easy to bring all your company’s data into one place.
After collecting data and having it in a central location, you can easily view and consume the data on individual TrebleHook dashboards and run reports in seconds. Salespeople know where and when to focus their efforts and what phone calls to make, while executives can make data-driven decisions in the business’s best interest.
Now for the icing on the cake. You have more data accumulated that is all in one place and visible to everyone. You can efficiently run reports in seconds from your dashboard. Now you can start to analyze your data to answer critical questions:
- Who are my best clients?
- What are my hit rates are under various scenarios?
- Why do I win, and why do I lose?
- Where am I most profitable?
- Should I spend time chasing a specific client or project in the first place?
Now you are pursuing the right clients and projects, focusing your efforts in the right direction, and everyone is on the same page driving superior client communication and service. That is an example of how you can leverage technology to enhance customer relationship management. Now let’s go win!
TrebleHook’s three-pronged approach to Project Pursuit, helping Executives, Business Developers, and Marketers, breaking down each component every couple of weeks:
- Centralize and Leverage Project Data
- Enhance Customer Relationship Management
- Pursue and Win the Right Projects
Are you looking to get started with TrebleHook? Get in touch with us.