It's a fact that architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals don't forge typical customer relationships. Engineers and construction managers are often on-site rather than in an office. Architects are in an office but the output involved in their jobs often makes it easy for them to overlook the many other aspects involved with running a business. Add working with multiple clients and potential projects all on different schedules into the mix and you see how marketing for AEC professionals can be challenging. That's why a customer relationship management (CRM) solution is a must-have for AEC firms: It enables maintaining solid customer relationships while helping to acquire the new leads crucial for success.
Most established AEC firms are already using a combination of Microsoft Outlook and Excel to collect data on projects or customers. What often happens is those various emails and spreadsheets tend to become "silos" of information. Maintaining customer relationships becomes difficult when AEC firms have much of their most valuable customer data locked away in multiple emails and spreadsheets across many different devices owned by multiple employees.
This is why a CRM solution—preferably cloud-based and accessible from any Internet-connected device—is so important for AEC firms. Rather than languishing in disparate silos, notes about your customer's personal preferences and the date/time of your last call about the project can be instantly recalled and easily shared with anyone in the organization. This also enables the marketing personnel to plan outreach campaigns and effectively communicate with both existing and new/potential customers. CRM unlocks the power of integrated marketing automation by knowing when you send out a communication, which customers have opened your email, and which links they clicked on so you know exactly what your customers want. Sending your marketing emails from a centrally-located customer data stored in a cloud-based system increases everyone's efficiency.
Once an AEC firm has committed to implementing a Customer Relationship solution, the worst mistake they can make is to just use it for tracking typical to-do items or leads. The real value is the ability to focus on customer commitments and desired business outcomes. It takes more than buying a subscription and hooking it up to your Microsoft Outlook to see any real return on your investment. To maximize your CRM investment, you should:
- Identify your objectives – Increasing customer satisfaction and streamlining business processes are goals made much easier if a CRM solution is implemented properly. Knowing what problem(s) you are trying to solve is critical
- Segment your customer behaviors – Interacting with a supplier will be different than a customer prospect. By designing a distinct experience for each segment, you can customize communications to match the customer's perspective. This is critical if you are also planning to implement a marketing automation solution
- Commit to standardized success metrics –Making good decisions about how much time/effort to invest in a prospect, vendor, or customer is possible only when everyone in your firm agrees on a single set of success metrics
- Go the next step – Once you have a CRM solution in place you open the door to many capabilities that just were not possible before or took a lot of data collection/tidying including advanced marketing automation, analysis of results, and real time dashboards. None of this is possible when information is siloed within different data stores across your company
When done well, a customer relationship management solution can enable intelligent, data-driven customer engagements that builds customer relationships based on trust and loyalty. There are numerous options for cloud-based CRM solutions and it helps to partner with firms experienced in deploying solutions specifically for AEC clients. Amaxra is proud to be a platinum sponsor of the Seattle Chapter of SMPS for three years running and has a proven track record of guiding key business processes that result in improved management of customer relationships with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM.
Reach out to Heidi Archer, our Director of Business Development, at email@example.com to learn more about capturing even more value from your CRM or schedule a free demo to see what a CRM Solution can do for you.