New Payroll Integrations Bring More Efficiencies to Unanet Customers
by Kim KosterCRM, Integrations, Press Releases, Product Releases, Unanet A/E News, Unanet News
Aug 24, 2021
Leading ERP and CRM Software Provider Announces Technology Partnerships with UKG and Others DULLES, Va., Aug. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — As part of its commitment to continually roll out modern software solutions for its customers in 2021, Unanet announced several new technology partnerships today that will be featured on its industry-leading Unanet Connect platform. New integrations with UKG, Paycom, Gusto and Paychex will help customers automate payroll processing with seamless data orchestration, workflow automation and improved team collaboration tools. “The power of automated payroll workflows significantly enhances work productivity for our customers and reduces costly HR hours spent reconciling data,” said Assad Jarrahian, chief product officer, Unanet. “We are partnering with the best in the business like UKG to equip our customers with an all-in-one flexible platform that integrates easily with business applications and payroll systems they are already using.” Unanet Connect provides government contractors, architects, engineers, and professional services firms with an open, modern platform for the seamless integration of information, actionable insights, and automation. Simply by shopping the marketplace, customers create a fully integrated digital ecosystem with the Unanet project-based SaaS ERP and CRM solutions at its center. Additional integration solutions include more than 100 pre-built connectors with applications such as SAP, BambooHR, Outlook, Flowtrac, Concur, and HubSpot, as well as payroll partners Paylocity, Proliant, TriNet and GovConPay. “Reliable integrations are key to providing the elevated digital experience that our customers depend on,” said Jarrahian. “We invested in these top performing partnerships so our customers can spend more time on strategic initiatives and move away from the outdated, time-consuming, and error-prone process of maintaining employee payroll information in disparate systems.” Earlier this year, Unanet announced a variety of new product enhancements to its ERP for GovCon and A/E customers, including new streamlined invoicing with online payment facilitation, analytics, and subcontractor management features. These features, along with the release of Unanet Connect, help customers innovate and scale infinitely with their goals for digital transformation. About UnanetUnanet is a leading provider of project-based ERP and CRM solutions purpose-built for Government Contractors, architecture, engineering, construction, and professional services. More than 3,200 project-driven organizations depend on Unanet to turn their information into actionable insights, drive better decision-making, and accelerate business growth. All backed by a people-centered team invested in the success of your projects, people, and financials. For more information, visit www.unanet.com.
What Is CRM for Architecture?
by Lucas HaydenA/E, CRM
Jun 01, 2021
As an architecture firm, customers and opportunities are always top of mind for your teams. With projects being the lifeblood of your firm, properly managing your customers and opportunities can make or break your success. This is where CRM comes in. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is simply the practice of managing how you interact with both current and potential customers. In this blog, we will review the importance of CRM for architecture firms, how a project-based CRM solution can automate the process, and what architects should look for when choosing a CRM solution. Why is CRM so Important? Architecture firms are in the business of projects. Because they sell projects and service rather than products, documenting client names, contacts, contact information and history is vital. Firms have long relied on repeat work from customers with whom they’ve had long standing relationships. As the competitive landscape has changed slightly, this is no longer the case. Firms can’t always count on the buddy system to guarantee work; they have to compete, which is where a CRM keeps them on their relational A-game. To do this successfully requires streamlined processes and clarity into all opportunities and customers. Some architecture firms are trying to achieve this level of insight with an endless array of emails, spreadsheets, Rolodex cards, and attachments that require constant consolidation and reconciliation. The more people keep separate siloes of data, the greater chance there is of crucial opportunity and customer data being incorrect or missing. There’s a better way. The Benefits of a Project-Based CRM Solution While the beloved Rolodex served the CRM needs of businesses before the days of software, modern architecture firms require modern solutions. Project-based CRM software provides a single source of truth for contact information, lead and opportunity pipeline management, and streamlines marketing efforts such as accessing historical project records for proposals and/or easily organizing email campaigns to clients, partners and prospects. Having a CRM that’s specifically built for projects is crucial because every project is unique. The details of the project, the team involved in executing the project, the relationships with Engineering and Construction firms—all of this and more needs to be tracked and it’s different with every project. A project-based CRM can do this. Let’s dive a little deeper into the main benefits of CRM for architecture firms can deliver several benefits. See Customer & Pipeline Information in Context of Projects Architecture firms are project-based, and their CRM solution should be, too. A project-based CRM solution allows firms to place the customer journey in context of a project, tracking it at every phase of the lifecycle. Projects don’t happen in a vacuum. Before starting a new project, project teams must assess required resources, the expected schedule, and where it fits into the existing list of projects. CRM software allows Project Managers and project teams to see the bird’s eye view of all current and future commitments and drill down into any opportunity as needed, allowing them to adjust their strategy. Take a look at this free guide, “The Business of Projects for Dummies,” to learn more. Gain Greater Insight & Decision-Making Capabilities A CRM for architecture houses accounts, contacts, telephone numbers, email addresses, and notes—the crucial data some firms are managing across multiple spreadsheets and bookmarked email threads—in one single solution for anyone to access. In just a few clicks, your business development and customer teams have a comprehensive view of contact history and information. No more pulling a contact name from an outdated spreadsheet only to later find that the contact left the company years ago. No more guessing the last time someone followed up with the prospect and what was discussed. Having real-time data places much-needed information at executives’ fingertips. The ability to know exactly where each deal stands and see the forecasted opportunities coming down the pipe is invaluable. Without this data, leaders are left to make important strategic decisions without the full picture. It’s much easier to steer the business into the future with a clear picture of the pipeline. Understand Customer Needs & Improve Relationships Project-based CRM goes beyond enabling better decision-making and increasing profit—though that is certainly one of the biggest benefits. A CRM solution can pave the way to teams improving their relationships with the customers and prospects they manage. It’s in the name, after all. Having the full set of meeting notes and emails for an account available anytime and anywhere makes it easier for Customer Success Managers to understand the full account history. They can see how the customer’s needs have shifted over time and make sure those needs are continuously being met—or course correct if they’re not. Architects know too well that truly understanding clients can mean the difference between retention or churn. Customer teams can compare accounts, notice that the pain points expressed by one customer are consistent across multiple customers, and introduce new opportunities to executives and business developers. What to Look for in a CRM for Architecture Firms Architecture firms are complex and unique, so finding a CRM tailored for them is crucial. So, what should architects be looking for in a solution? A Single Source of Truth Managing opportunities and existing contacts touches every aspect of the firm, and vice versa. The CRM solution should seamlessly integrate marketing, project management, business development and financial data into one location. The solution should meet project managers and executives where they are and be accessible from the devices—and tools like Outlook—that they already know and love. At any moment, executives should be able to keep a pulse on the entire organization and leverage the information they find to make smarter strategic decisions. Configurability & Scalability Firms must be able to trust that the CRM solution they choose will serve their unique business needs through crucial growth periods and beyond. The CRM system should be flexible and configurable enough for teams to have everything they need in the provided built-in tools. The firm should trust that the solution will grow with them instead of needing to migrate to and learn new systems each they make changes to their business model. Ideally, the CRM should also be able to integrate with financial solutions and other software. An integration enables project-specific marketing and financial data to quickly and securely sync and provide everything in one single source of truth. Proposal Management Ask any business development manager what one of their key priorities is, and they’ll likely say proposal creation and management. If proposals are a key part of a business, they must be a key part of the CRM tool the business uses. The CRM solution should provide the accurate data needed to consistently accelerate the proposal process, improve proposal data accuracy, and accurately track all certifications to include in proposals. Security It goes without saying just how crucial and sensitive prospect, customer, revenue, and pipeline information is. Customer contact information and profit figures that are kept in simple spreadsheets—or worse, scrawled on sticky notes—are at greater risk of being accidentally deleted or accessed by hackers who managed to guess a computer password. The CRM solution a firm chooses must have security top of mind. The best CRM solutions keep data secure and backed up. Administrators can set permissions and only allow the right people to access sensitive information. Responsive Support Firms shouldn’t just be handed a software and sent on their way—they need a support team backing the software. The CRM vendor should be a dedicated partner in the firm’s success, not someone who will restrict the value the firm gets out of the solution. The vendor should have several support options to meet the unique needs of the business. The best CRM for architecture firms in the world can’t provide value if it’s not supported. Check out the CRM by Cosential blog to learn even more about how to choose the right solution. Or, to learn more about how a project-based ERP solution can guide architecture and engineering firms into the future, download the Change Agent Playbook for A/E Firms.
Unanet’s New CRM For GovCon Technology Enables Complete Project Lifecycle Management From Pursuit Through Execution
by Kim KosterCRM, GovCon, Press Releases, Unanet News
Jun 01, 2021
From early market intelligence through project management, government contractors gain a seamless solution for winning more business and delivering best results. Dulles, VA, June 1, 2021 – Unanet, the leading SaaS project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provider, today released CRM for GovCon, a complete CRM solution from market intelligence through proposal delivery. Coupled with Unanet’s award-winning project-based ERP solution, GovCons now have a comprehensive, integrated solution to help them manage opportunities, customers and projects from initial pursuit through final invoicing. Unanet’s ERP solution already delivers best-in-class project management, insights and business analytics. Now, with CRM for GovCon, customers gain additional capabilities to help them win more business by finding key opportunities, creating winning proposals, and streamlining proposal management and delivery. With Unanet’s CRM and ERP, GovCons are empowered with industry-leading tools for business success. “Now GovCons can break out of siloed systems and have holistic project and client management functionality,” said Craig Halliday, CEO of Unanet. “When they can see the full view of their entire customer lifecycle, they are able to make smarter business decisions, operate more efficiently, and deliver better results overall.” Unlike traditional CRM tools, Unanet delivers early market intelligence data powered by GovTribe, which allows GovCons to strategically plan their pursuits by searching opportunities and identifying current solicitations, down to the specifics of dates, requirements, and estimated award value. Once project pursuits are researched through GovTribe, GovCons are able to track and work the opportunities and deliver award-winning proposals that reflect deep insight and past performance. After a project is awarded, GovCons can then manage it with Unanet ERP, while still linking back to the CRM data for detailed and fluid project management. “This partnership will provide a best-in-class, fully integrated market research capability for Unanet CRM customers,” said Nate Nash, CEO of GovTribe. “We see great value in the combined offering and look forward to better serving the government contracting community.” Unanet CRM for GovCon is the result of innovation stemming from the recent acquisition of the award-winning CRM software company, Cosential. By leveraging the sophisticated CRM technology, Unanet enriched its purpose-built system to meet customer needs and seamlessly integrate cutting-edge CRM solutions with Unanet ERP. “Unanet is continuously innovating so GovCons have better solutions than the bolt-on technologies offered by the de facto industry leaders,” continued Halliday. “This commitment to innovation and our customer-first service that consistently exceeds expectations have made us the clear choice for GovCons.” Unanet will be offering CRM for GovCon project webinars, tutorials and details online, and at its upcoming Champions user conference so GovCon customers can evaluate the solution in-depth. About Unanet Unanet is a leading provider of project-based ERP and CRM solutions purpose-built for Government Contractors, AEC, and Professional Services. More than 3,200 project-driven organizations depend on Unanet to turn their information into actionable insights, drive better decision-making, and accelerate business growth. All backed by a people-centered team invested in the success of your projects, people, and financials. For more information, visit www.unanet.com. About GovTribe GovTribe provides industry-leading market intelligence and capture tools for federal government contractors. We believe the tools and data required to compete in the federal market should be accessible, modern, and designed for real people. For more information, visit govtribe.com.
Modernized Design Meets Productivity with our Newest Navigation
by Kellye KingCosential, CRM
May 19, 2021
As a Business Developer, Seller-Doer, or Marketer in the AEC industry, your CRM is at the center of where projects are pursued and won, with research from Software Advice showing that over 70% of business professionals agree, there’s no doubt a CRM improves access to customer data. With your firm’s institutional knowledge and best practices, specific project records, and opportunities constantly growing, Unanet CRM by Cosential is an integral part of your day-to-day. So, when it comes to your experience as a user, it should be easy. You’re building relationships, responding to RFPs, and nurturing pursuits for the next big projects that are, sometimes, years in the making. We believe your platform should work with you in a meaningful way and remove the guesswork. An intuitive platform meets you in the moments you need it most and flows at the pace your business needs for success. We’re invested in building a rich experience for you, as our customer, and ensuring adoption of Unanet CRM by Cosential is easy with a streamlined approach across Mobile, Outlook, and now our Web application. “I love the new navigation in the web app because I’m constantly viewing opportunities and our pipeline, and now I can dive directly into Leads and Opportunities in a single click and even collapse the side panel altogether. This quickly gets me to where I need to be and gives me so much more real estate, making it easier to view my data across the page and find key information without needing to scroll.” – Misty Thurman, FSMPS, CPSM, CF APMP Business Development Director at BKL, Inc. A modernized navigation to enhance productivity in Unanet CRM by Cosential for Web is making its debut for you to have a simplified view, enjoy new search capabilities, and more at your fingertips. When setting out on our re-imagined interface, we started with one singular factor driving us forward: our customers. For the stretches when you’re not on-the-go, and dedicating time at your desk to grow or update key Contacts, jump into specific records while the pursuit is top of mind, or access reports to understand the big picture, your CRM should enable you to dig into your business and never stall your firm’s momentum. Unanet CRM by Cosential’s new navigation accomplishes that by bringing to the surface the core elements of what business developers, seller-doers, and marketers are executing on most often, making it easier to find what they’re looking for and complete daily tasks. “We’re focused on solving our customers’ specific challenges with a solution that’s tailormade for their needs. My goal is to ensure when customers come to our product, they feel like we understand them while they’re using it and know that we’ve thought about even the little details of their daily habits,” shares Julia Seltzer, Senior UX Designer at Unanet. Now in Unanet CRM by Cosential for Web, all customers benefit from: Streamlined left hand navigation highlighting key aspects of your day-to-day in Unanet CRM Access key modules in a single click without navigating away from your home screen. Enjoy cleaner organization with supplemental modules still at your fingertips. Easily clear visual space with a new collapsible sidebar and simply hover over icons to reveal familiar module names. Enhancements to Quick Search, making your data more accessible Narrow in on your results with over 5 different filters, such as Projects, Opportunities, and more. Pick up where you left off, with easy drop-down views of your most recently viewed records. New capabilities to jumpstart your day and make it easy to get work done Quickly create Call Logs, Contacts, Leads, and more in a single click. Know the details at a glance, with Personnel Records and Preferences nested for viewing with your profile photo. Dig into the details with advanced searches with finite lists or record searches. It just keeps getting better. “We know a great user experience with a key product can help transform our clients’ business and introducing our new navigation is the continued proof of a powerful combination: our dedication to building a product that meets the unique needs of AEC, and the partnership with our customers that continues to fuel our innovative approach,” shares Lisa Pitts, Product Manager at Unanet. We understand that user adoption is paramount to any platform’s success, making our new Navigation a major value to the way that users work inside of Unanet CRM by Cosential, as well as the first step in a completely revived experience coming to Unanet CRM by Cosential for Web. Interested in learning more about how our new look and key enhancements could bring to ease of use across AEC firms like yours?
Cosential Honored with 2021 CRM Excellence Award by CUSTOMER Magazine
by Carrie MahonCosential, CRM, Unanet News
May 18, 2021
DULLES, Va., May 18, 2021 – Cosential, a Unanet company and the leading project-based CRM platform for architecture, engineering and construction industries, was selected by CUSTOMER Magazine for its 2021 CRM Excellence Award. This distinction further demonstrates Cosential’s leadership and reinforces the company’s commitment to innovation and value-laden solutions for its users. Based on hard data, the CRM Excellence Awards rely on facts and statistics demonstrating the improvements that Cosential’s product has made in a client’s business. Winners were chosen on the basis of their product or service’s ability to help extend and expand the customer relationship to become all-encompassing, covering the entire enterprise and the entire lifetime of the customer. “The CRM Excellence Award honors Cosential for being a true CRM partner to its customers and clients,” said Rich Tehrani, TMC’s CEO and Group Editor-in-Chief. “Cosential has demonstrated to the editors of CUSTOMER magazine that it improved the processes of their clients’ businesses by streamlining and facilitating the flow of information,” added Tehrani. Cosential recently launched new software capabilities that deliver greater functionality and visibility into the business development experience, giving firms the ability to pursue and win more projects. Cosential offers a mobile app for iOS and Android, and Cosential for Outlook seamlessly integrates contact and opportunity management with email, allowing users to run on the power of their firm’s data while connecting to their contacts and leads, and maintaining their pipeline straight from their inbox. Cosential is part of the Unanet suite of SaaS, project-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and CRM solutions, which are purpose-built for the architecture, engineering, construction, professional services and government contracting industries. The Cosential CRM Excellence Award closely follows Unanet’s recent win as a gold Stevie award winner for its ERP solutions, and comes on the heels of recent industry rankings in G2’s Spring 2021 Reports, which named the company among the fastest implementation, highest user adoption, most implementable, easiest setup, best customer support, best relationship, easiest to use, and best usability. “This continuous recognition for our CRM and ERP solutions demonstrates that the industry is taking note of the innovation and value we are delivering to our customers,” said Craig Halliday, CEO of Unanet. “With integrated technology, we can give architecture, engineering, construction, and government contracting companies a complete set of purpose-built intelligent software to manage their entire business lifecycles, from pre-sales through invoicing.” About Unanet Unanet is a leading provider of project-based ERP and CRM solutions purpose-built for Government Contractors, AEC, and Professional Services. More than 3,200 project-driven organizations depend on Unanet to turn their information into actionable insights, drive better decision-making, and accelerate business growth. All backed by a people-centered team invested in the success of your projects, people, and financials. Learn more at www.unanet.com About CUSTOMER Since 1982, CUSTOMER magazine (formerly Customer Interaction Solutions) has been the voice of the call/contact center, CRM and teleservices industries. CUSTOMER has helped the industry germinate, grow, mature and prosper, and has served as the leading publication in helping these industries that have had such a positive impact on the world economy to continue to thrive. Through a combination of outstanding and cutting-edge original editorial, industry voices, in-depth lab reviews and the recognition of the innovative leaders in management and technology through our highly valued awards, CUSTOMER strives to continue to be the publication that holds the quality bar high for the industry. Please visit http://www.customer.tmcnet.com.
Expert Advice: How to Make the Right Go/No Go Decision
by Sarah LorekAEC, Construction, Cosential, CRM, Uncategorized
Mar 07, 2021
Is your firm wasting time and money pursuing projects that… You have no chance of winning? Don’t make good business sense? Don’t fit your firm’s strategic goals? You’re not alone. Tons of firms go after every single opportunity that comes their way, thinking that gives them the best chance of winning as many new projects as possible. That’s simply not the case. Every second your firm spends on the wrong pursuits — every phone call made, every email sent, every piece of marketing collateral produced — is time you’re not focused on opportunities that actually make sense for your firm. And spending hours and hours chasing projects your firm ultimately loses will demoralize and burn out your marketing and business development staff. Not exactly a recipe for success. That’s why it’s crucial to develop an effective Go/No Go process. Consistently making the right Go/No Go decisions will empower your firm to focus on high-probability, high-profit projects. [Free tool]: Make Go/No Go Decisions in Seconds Below, industry experts share their advice for developing a Go/No Go decision-making process that supports firm-wide success. 5 Expert Tips to Improve Your Go/No Go Decisions Keep the Big Picture in Mind for Projects Understand Where Your Firm is Today and How You Plan to Grow Commit to the Process Only Pursue Opportunities that Inspire Passion Seek Outside Information 1. Keep the Big Picture in Mind for Projects One thing many firms lack when creating a Go/No Go decision-making process is a strategic firmwide plan. Without knowing your goals and how you define success, it’s impossible to know which projects are worth pursuing. “You have a ‘Go/No Go’ process, and sometimes your senior folks actually follow it. But you lack a major tool that would make your ‘Go/No Go’ process truly efficient: a PLAN! “The ‘Go/No Go’ process is designed to help you say ‘no’ when ‘no’ is the appropriate answer. The hard part is determining when ‘no’ is the appropriate answer. With a Strategic Plan, Marketing Plan and/or Business Plan, this determination is much easier.” — Bernie Siben, CPSM, AEC marketing consultant 2. Understand Where Your Firm is Today and How You Plan to Grow Go/No Go decision-making is about determining which projects you’re most likely to win and putting your firm’s effort into those opportunities. But that’s only half the story. It’s also important to develop a strategic plan for growth and view Go/No Go decisions based on where you see your firm several years down the line. “The framework of a go/no-go tool must blend strategy and historical evidence. For instance, the firm must use criteria that helps define its success, coupled with a blend of factors that enable the firm’s strategic plan. “For example, Brand X Construction’s ‘sweet spot’ is defined at $7 million in project revenue. This is an important characteristic to understand, as it helps create a picture of the ideal customer or project. Notice this does not say ‘average project size.’ It is important to conduct a thorough study of where a firm excels and where it does not. “The strategic growth niches also help define categories that are worthwhile targets. Without them, the firm might acquiesce and simply engage in identical work. While it may be currently profitable, it may also be myopic and fail to include a balance of long-term strategy.” — Gregg M. Schoppman, consultant at FMI [Get the Guide]: Top 5 Ways to Win More Work with an AEC-Focused CRM 3. Commit to the Process Your firm will never follow any process 100 percent of the time. And that’s okay. There are certain circumstances you can never plan for. You need to respond to each situation appropriately, regardless of the rigid rules you’ve put in place. But be careful. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking every opportunity deserves special consideration. That’s just not true. In the vast majority of cases, you should follow the strategic Go/No Go process you put in place to give your firm the greatest chance of success. “Be wary of end runs around the go/no go process. Sometimes there are bona fide emergencies or other reasons to stray from the committee review process, but the odds of getting stuck with a losing, or expensive, project increase if the go/no go process requirements are too easily sidestepped. “One example is that a business unit may delay asking for a ‘go’ decision, then claim it is too late for management to say ‘no go.’ The theory may be that commitments have been made to the subcontractors or JV partners, or that estimators have already done so much work and would be demoralized if the plug is pulled. Effective management should not allow this ‘end run’ tactic to be rewarded.” — Tom Porter, JD, DBIA, EVP at Barton Malow Company 4. Only Pursue Opportunities that Inspire Passion You can’t afford to think of every single Go/No Go decision solely in terms of numbers. While metrics and data are crucial to success, your firm and your clients consist of people, and that means emotions and mental states play a role in every task and initiative. Before making a final decision, find out how your staff feels about pursuing and working on the potential project. Their excitement — or lack thereof — just might sway your choice. “Are you ALL in it to win it? Mentally, we are wired to believe we can do anything and sometimes we can climb seemingly impossible mountains. The whole team must recognize the ‘fire in the belly’—the passion and inner drive to take action—when pursuing the win. If everyone from leadership to seller/doer, PM to marketing professional has the fire, then: GO. If even one person has reservations about getting to the top of the mountain, you will likely not get to the top: NO GO.” — Frank Lippert, FSMPS, CPSM, partner at Go Strategies 5. Seek Outside Information Even if you have the ability to access and analyze mountains of data about a potential opportunity, there’s likely certain information you can’t learn on your own. Take some time to research what those outside of your firm have to say about the client you’re evaluating. “Working with unappreciative clients, will sap your time and energy from working with great clients and designing top projects. You must research both the company and its leaders online and through speaking with colleagues, contractors, and furniture suppliers.” — Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA, managing principal at Pollack Consulting Take an Objective Approach to Go/No Go Decisions By developing and implementing an effective Go/No Go decision-making process, you’ll empower your staff to focus on the opportunities that make sense for your firm. While your total pursuits will decrease, your hit rate will likely improve at a level that increases your total wins and/or profits. Want actionable tactics that can drive results? Get the calculator below! Download this 17-point, weighted-scoring tool to quickly and objectively determine which projects are worth pursuing. If you liked this article, you might also enjoy: [Blog post] How to Get Free Construction Leads [eBook] Top 5 Ways to Win More Work with an AEC-Focused CRM [Blog post] Quick Tips to Improve Your Go/No Go Assessment
Transform your address book with Unanet CRM by Cosential CallerID
by Kellye KingAEC, Cosential, CRM
Mar 01, 2021
Regardless of our role, business size, or even geolocation, so many of us – even in this moment – share one thing in common: we all likely have our smartphones in our pocket or securely nested by our computer monitor for quick access. According to Inc.com, on average, we tap, swipe, and click our smartphone 2,617 times a day. The moment your screen lights up from an unknown caller? Forget it. Numerous research studies shared with the FCC show 76% of phone calls go unanswered when the call comes from an unidentified or unfamiliar number. Business Development in AEC is all about building relationships, educating prospects on why your company is the best choice for them. It’s safe to say your smart phone is your lifeline because you’re on-the-go constantly. You are the expert on the state of your business, so you should never be caught off guard with an unknown call from a business contact due to pursuit data that’s not readily available on-hand. Momentum to capture the market is lost when you’re stockpiling contacts in disjointed systems. What happens when that business pursuit call goes unanswered? You need a solution made for how you spend your time – we know the fastest way to bring teams and their data together is to enable the way you execute project pursuits today. It just became more seamless with Unanet CRM by Cosential. Never miss a critical conversation, or be caught off-guard while on-the-go: Unanet CRM for Mobile’s latest feature, Unanet Caller ID, surfaces key Contact and Company information instantaneously to your phone while receiving a call tied to your pursuits. While you’re receiving an incoming call, Unanet CRM simultaneously searches and links the number from your Unanet CRM Contact List- surfacing back the Contact and Company name to you. “We’re continuing to deliver on our promise: Unanet CRM by Cosential delivers the right information to you at the right time. This new Cosential for Mobile feature is all about driving user experience which grows user adoption. Cosential truly becomes your single address book that is used by everyone in your firm.“ Akshay Mahajan, VP of Product at Unanet Accomplish even more while you’re on-the-go with Unanet CRM Caller ID: Seamlessly infuse your mobile address book with key contacts from Unanet CRM Automatically recognize name and company with each inbound call received No need to sync or download additional data
No Business Card? No Problem. Create Leads On-the-Go
by Kellye KingAEC, Business Development & Growth, Cosential, CRM
Jan 21, 2021
You need smart technology that fits in your pocket. According to JB Knowledge’s 2020 Technology Report, 92% of the construction industry uses a smartphone daily for work. Think about it, business developers and seller-doers are truly on-the-go while out nurturing prospects in meetings, or on calls – but how many of those Leads come with a business card, and if they do, which desk drawer are they getting stockpiled in after-the-fact? No one wants to lose out on key opportunity data from the various contacts they’re interacting with by holding that lead information hostage in an email thread, jacket pocket, or piling it onto their institutional knowledge center (that’s right – keeping it locked in their memory). But, they also don’t have time to stop and create additional tasks for themselves at the end of the day. Manual data entry isn’t a very scalable or efficient way to pursue business. Over time, Business Developers forget, miss out, and rarely find the information needed to be put to good use. Simply put – momentum to capture the market is lost when key pursuit data is stockpiled in disjointed systems. You need a solution made for how you spend your time – we know the fastest way to bring teams and their data together is to enable the way you execute project pursuits today. Firms need a solution that meets Business Developers in the moment of capturing critical milestones in a pursuit, so no time is wasted chasing the wrong business or being strapped in at a desk manually inputting old business card data. That’s why mobile matters when it comes to your CRM data, and Unanet CRM by Cosential’s take on User Experience is unmatched in the industry. In fact, since Unanet CRM by Cosential for Mobile’s debut in The New Business Development Experience, well over 20 enhancements have been dedicated to our mobile app alone, continuously up-leveling the on-the-go experience. Today, you can grow and enhance your Contacts, understand your connections and business insights, and now even create Leads right on the spot with Unanet CRM by Cosential for Mobile. No business card scan needed. “Mobile matters. AEC needs smart technology that fits in their pocket. Our dedication to building an unparalleled mobile experience in AEC for our users enables them to take technology to-go. Unanet CRM by Cosential’s approach to meeting Business Developers and Seller-Doers where they are, in the real-life context of how they spend their day has been proven as the right choice to drive user adoption.” Lisa Pitts, Product Manager at Unanet It just got easier to drive ahead with business pursuits while you’re on-the-go. With Unanet CRM for Mobile’s latest feature, you can take Leads to-go: Create leads without a business card scan. Search for a Lead while you’re on-the-go. Create Call Logs from a Lead straight from your phone. View a list of all Leads right in the palm of your hand. Learn how easy it is to drive ahead with business pursuits while you’re on-the-go with Unanet CRM for Mobile: download the Unanet CRM for Mobile Product Overview for iOS and Android.
It’s true, your new mobile app is here.
by Kellye KingAEC, Cosential, CRM
Oct 21, 2020
As a Business Developer, it’s safe to say your smart phone is your lifeline: according to a Nucleus Research report, 65% of companies using mobile CRM meet, or exceed, their sales quotas. Most projects come from your relationships, but where do those check-ins, decisions, and insights go? We know the fastest way to bring teams and their data together is to enable the way you execute project pursuits today, so when we introduced the new Unanet CRM by Cosential for Mobile on iOS with The New Business Development Experience to help you drive forward with pursuing and winning more business – we couldn’t stop there. Since it’s debut, our completely re-imagined mobile app has made it easy for Business Developers, Doer-Sellers, and professionals out in the field to manage contacts and feed teams critical milestone moments straight from their smart phone – and that was just the beginning. “I like it. Especially since we’re widening our range, and moving into other states – so, Unanet CRM for Mobile by Cosential is definitely something for our future that is definitely useful.” – Marketing Manager at a Leading Construction Firm. Since the time of its release, over 18 enhancements have been dedicated to Cosential’s new mobile app, continuously up-leveling your on-the-go experience. Now, the debut of Unanet CRM by Cosnetial’s Android app has arrived, making Unanet CRM by Cosential for Mobile accessible and easy for all Business Developers & Doer-Sellers out in the field to be equipped with strategic insights straight from their smartphones. Take business on-the-go with Unanet to: Grow and enhance your Contacts on the spot Understand your connections and business insights Uncover past records associated with any Contact Learn how easy it is to drive ahead with business pursuits while you’re on-the-go with Unanet CRM by Cosential for Mobile: download the Product Overview for iOS and Android. Access The Unanet CRM by Cosential for Mobile in the Apple Store, or Google Play.
Our engine now runs even better.
by Kellye KingAEC, Cosential, CRM, Security
Sep 16, 2020
When you invest in a software platform to drive your firm forward, this guiding principal should simplify the partnership each side enters: “do the right thing” – one of the core values that Unanet embodies for each other, Unanet CRM by Cosential, and our customers. That’s why it should come as no shock that over the past weekend we overhauled our entire system in upgrading our SQL Server – all within the blink of an eye, and with no disruption to our customers. What’s happening below the surface matters. You can’t always see enhancements or upgrades made to infrastructure – but I promise you will be able to feel them. The decision to upgrade our infrastructure aimed to make us even more secure and up-level our reliability in a proactive manner. This milestone is an important moment to celebrate. It enables us. Upgrading Unanet CRM’s infrastructure means improved database performance and better data insights – which allows us to make product decisions faster and ultimately pass those benefits directly to our customers. It protects you. Unanet just proactively improved the reliability and security of the platform you run your business on. This SQL provides a powerful level of encryption and dynamic data masking that clamps down at even the sheer possibility of an intruder benefiting from any type of breach. Better Performance meets best-in-class security: underneath the hood, Unanet CRM now has a much better engine, and we’re excited for the continued path of innovation this will have us pave with the best in the AEC industry.
Contact Management just got smarter.
by Kellye KingAEC, Cosential, CRM
Sep 15, 2020
You dedicate a significant portion of time to managing your contacts through follow–up emails, e-introductions, and even surfacing new contacts discovered throughout your pursuit of the next big project. Due to this, it’s safe to say the business contacts you’ve developed throughout the timespan at your firm has likely grown exponentially when you factor in your Outlook inbox. In fact, the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day is forecasted to grow to over 347 billion by the end of 2023 (Radicati Group). What happens when one of those contacts moves firms, introduces you to someone in a different region, or you find yourself needing to reach them on their direct line and not the conference number where you were introduced? You’ve likely heard the old adage “work smarter – not harder”, it just became a no-brainer to take advantage of the business data that’s in your email with Unanet CRM by Cosential for Outlook’s latest Contact Management feature; now helping you grow contacts and stay up-to-date with absolutely no effort. Your Contact Management feature in Unanet CRM for Outlook is now fueled with machine learning to take the heavy lifting from manually creating new business contacts to keep you driving forward with project pursuits. Unanet CRM works in the background while you’re in your inbox to smartly surface new contacts on your behalf and accurately identify information changes to existing key contacts straight from the email signature. In one single click you’re now notified that a Contact is being created and added to an existing or new Company in Unanet CRM. That’s right – one click, and you’re done. “I like to think of Unanet CRM for Outlook’s latest feature enhancement as an ‘Easy Button’ for user adoption. There is no downside to this – it really is delightful. If you have users new to CRM that don’t like entering data, or you are trying to excite your colleagues about your new CRM– this is for you. Unanet CRM can help you get meaningful data into your system of record easily without leaving your inbox.” Lisa Pitts, Product Manager at Unanet Unanet CRM for Outlook allows you to manage your contacts in one place and jumpstart growth by feeding your system of record up-to-date, accurate, information seamlessly– all within the context of your inbox. Never sweat the details again, ensure your contact data is up to date with these new smart contact management features working for you: Grow contacts with a single-click by automatically populating record details across email signatures and social media. Surface key contact details and auto-associations straight from email through machine learning. Plus, auto-update Contact records with changes while you work. Learn how easy it is to leverage Outlook and Unanet together to instantly access meaningful contact and pursuit data at your fingertips. Download the Unanet CRM by Cosential for Outlook Overview.
You Can Now Do Even More With Your Pipeline
by Kellye KingAEC, Business Development & Growth, CRM
Aug 14, 2020
As a Business Developer, you need a platform that makes it easy to breathe strategic insights throughout the entire lifecycle of your project pursuits — but where does that happen during the key juncture when a casual business connection you’ve been exchanging communication with develops into a full-blown opportunity for your firm? No surprises here, it’s likely your inbox. Email is a way of life. It’s so ingrained into daily habits that it’s hard to imagine how to nurture relationships and close business without it. The great thing is, with Unanet CRM by Cosential, you don’t have to. Since the recent debut of The New Business Development Experience – introducing entirely new ways to drive forward with business pursuits – we haven’t stopped meeting Business Developers in areas where their daily habits already thrive. “This is helpful. I’m an engineer, so this would be where I’m mostly involved. When you talk about the business development team… everyone who is an Engineer is in [Business]Development, so, in a sense we need to get a license for everyone here. [Unanet CRM for Outlook] tracks Leads and submittals that are related to Me.”–Strategy & BD Principal, at an award-winning geotechnical engineering firm. Unanet CRM for Outlook allows you to maintain your pipeline in one place and jumpstart growth by feeding your system of record up-to-date, accurate, information seamlessly– all within the context of your inbox. With over 15 dedicated enhancements to our Opportunity Management features, you can now do even more in your pipeline without ever leaving your email, including these new stand-out capabilities: Easily drag and drop Opportunities to closed stages to streamline your pipeline view. Quickly identify which pursuit needs your attention and create Call Logs bringing key stats straight to the Opportunity card. Bundle up critical connection insights by linking Opportunity, Client Owner, and Company details to Call Logs straight from an Opportunity card within Pipeline view. Learn how easy it is to leverage Outlook and Cosential together to instantly access meaningful contact and pursuit data at your fingertips. Download the Unanet CRM by Cosential for Outlook Overview.
The Importance of Remembering Your Employee’s Birthday
by Sarah LorekAEC, Architecture and Engineering, Construction, Cosential, CRM
Feb 18, 2020
In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie has his famous fourth principle: “Become genuinely interested in people.” And one way he did that was by remembering everyone’s birthday. Carnegie famously kept a birthday book where he wrote down people’s birthdays, and when their day came he would send them a telegram or a letter. “What a hit I made!” he declared. “I was frequently the only person on earth who remembered.” Remembering your employee’s birthday is a great way to show that you are interested in them.But we get it. It’s impossible to remember everything. You have 100+ employees on several projects going on simultaneously, so many of them being subcontractors that you haven’t worked within months, not to mention new people on the job that you don’t know all that well. And on top of all that you have to pick up your son from the mall, drop your daughter off at her friend’s house, and go grocery shopping before dinner. Wait, when was the last time you had a checkup at the dentist? Or went to yoga? And taxes . . . Geez! Did you file your taxes yet?!?! Look, we are certainly not judging. Instead, what we are doing is helping. In Unanet’s user-friendly modules you can keep track of both your employees’ and your clients’ birthday. In Contact Manager, along with their birthday, you can store all of your client’s necessary personal information: phone number, email, credentials, recent projects, and any other relevant information. In the Personnel module, you can do the same thing with your employees—all their contact information, project experience, certifications, leads, and so forth, so you never have to slap your head and say, “Did I forget your birthday? I’m so sorry!” Remember the last time you were at work on your birthday, walking with your head down looking at a file trying to perform some calculation in your head. The last thing on your mind was the fact that it was your birthday, and then all of a sudden someone says, “Hey! Happy birthday!” And what did you do? You looked up with a huge smile on your face. Doesn’t it feel nice? (Unless, of course, you would prefer not remembering your birthday. But that’s another story entirely . . .) Remembering your employee’s birthday is a great way to show that you care. It’s a way to show your employees that you have a relationship with them beyond the lead metrics and projected sales revenues, that they’re people, just like you. If you are in need of a solution for your data, proposals, or customer relations we would love to show you our CRM. Book your demo now! Feel free to also reach out to our sales team here or call 800-505-7089 ext. 1 with any questions you may have. Here are other articles that may be of interest to you: Here’s How to Get Free Construction Leads Transform your address book with Unanet CRM by Cosential CallerID. Expert Advice: How to Make the Right Go/No Go Decision
What Architects Should Look for In CRM Software
by Sarah LorekAEC, Cosential, CRM, ERP Software Best Practices, Uncategorized
Feb 13, 2019
Clients buy into ongoing relationships when they are sold on the experience your firm provides. How can you deliver at the highest levels on every project and gain an edge over your competition? Consider investing in an architecture CRM system to manage your business processes end-to-end. What is CRM? CRM is shorthand for customer relationship management. It’s more than just another software package or cloud-based service. Customer relationship management is a business strategy that helps architecture firms to increase revenues, reduce operating costs, build and nurture client loyalty, and improve bottom-line profitability. Think of CRM as an information hub. It gathers data from various sources including project budgets, conversation logs, project proposals, and invoices to give you a holistic real-time view of your clients and projects. Why architecture firms need CRM CRM helps you improve responsiveness and communication. Not only does it help improve direct communication with your client, but it also allows your employees to be more responsive to team members and be more proactive in completing tasks that make your projects run smoothly, completing them on time and within the budget. CRM allows you to measure the value of each client and each project. You’ll gain insight into how well you provide value to your clients. Together, this information helps you identify growth opportunities and develop strategies to expand relationships with your key clients. CRM in architecture not only helps you manage client relationships, but it also supports every component of business development from bidding and proposal delivery through project lifecycle management. 5 Features Every Architecture Firm CRM Must Include There are many CRM systems on the market. Some are specific to the architecture, engineering and construction industries while others are designed to work across a much wider variety of product and service industries. Here are the must-have features for an effective architecture CRM system. Project-based sales Configurability Go/No Go functionality Central database Relationship intelligence 1. Project-based sales You sell finished projects instead of physical products. Winning the next bid hinges on using information from the last project you completed. You may already use robust project management, PM, system and overlook this essential feature when selecting a CRM for architecture firms. When choosing a CRM, you can select a system that links to and integrates data from your existing PM tool, or use a CRM with project management features incorporated. Keep in mind the differences between the two. Project management focuses on short-term items including start and end dates, milestones and deliverables, workflow management, and task tracking. Customer relationship management focuses on long-term goals that support relationship building that leads to more business. Both PM and CRM support communication tools for contact management and emailing, scheduling and time tracking, and planning and analysis tools. An efficient project-based CRM gathers information from the systems and processes you already use to complete projects. It supports your proposal and bidding process with analytical tools to help you estimate budgets, completion timeframes, and logistics schedules to deliver more accurate project bids and proposals. 2. Configurability Configurability, including scalability, will ensure that your CRM will serve your business needs through crucial growth periods and beyond. When searching for the right CRM, remember that customizable and configurable are not the same thing. In software, customizing involves coding. In other words, you’ll need your IT person to custom code the fields, features, and functions you need. Configurable CRM systems allow non-IT users to change features and functionality through the built-in native tools in the system. Configurability does have limitations. You’ll need to consider whether the CRM system is designed for wholesale or retail product distribution, home or business service providers, or project-based service delivery. While a product-driven CRM may be fully configurable, it lacks the project-driven components that are essential for architecture firms. Additionally, ensure that your CRM is scalable and adaptable as your business processes change. One example of a scalable and configurable CRM feature is telephone dialing, call logging and recording, or message transcribing for mobile and desktop users. An effective CRM supports your staff through internal process changes without the need to migrate to and learn new systems each time you make small changes to your business model. 3. Go/No Go functionality Automating opportunity analysis supports intelligent business decisions. Early in the business development process, your CRM should be able to qualify or disqualify, leads and projects together and separately. To analyze new potential deals, you can configure the CRM to score a lead according to user inputs and reach a go/no-go decision. When bidding additional projects for existing clients, your CRM can pull details from previous projects, timelines, budgets, and customer experience data along with user input to yield a go/no-go on specific projects. 4. Central database Being able to find the data, documents, and information you need all in one place ensures a faster, more seamless workflow. The ability to search and sort, upload and download, retrieve and duplicate information, files, and data from a variety of locations is an essential feature of a robust customer relationship management system. CRM should bring together back-office documentation and client-facing information making them accessible in a few clicks. Also, your CRM should be able to extract data from one source and copy data into other functions to streamline workflows, task completion, and milestone delivery. A highly functional central database supports you in administrative processes such as onboarding new clients and finalizing completed projects. 5. Relationship intelligence Data without context doesn’t supply you with useful information. You need details that help you understand your clients and metrics that let you evaluate the impact on your bottom line. Relationship intelligence helps you achieve your most important business development and client-specific objectives. The most important function of the relationship intelligence feature in a CRM system is its ability to provide users with predictive information. It tells you if your firm’s relationship with a client is on track and profitable or if it’s at risk in any way. Automated relationship intelligence tracks interactions across multiple projects, can flag potential issues, and create a corrective action plan. With relationship intelligence, your team members know what needs to happen at every stage of a project and throughout the client life-cycle. Architecture CRM Meets Needs of Forward-Thinking Firms In summary, choosing a customer relationship management system is a critical decision for your company. Architecture firms sell experience and expertise. Being able to quickly and easily access past and on-going project information is crucial for writing winning architectural project proposals. Static, one size fits all solutions won’t get the job done. You need a robust CRM solution that allows you to configure your specific workflows, reporting, and analytical tools. Interested in winning more work with a CRM built specifically for architecture? Check out this free eBook. Architecture firms need go/no-go tools that help them quickly determine whether opportunities are worth pursuing, which projects get automatic approvals, and which ones require management input. A centralized hub for data facilitates better deal analysis and faster proposal creation. Architecture is a highly relationship-based industry. Therefore, make sure that the CRM architecture and design you choose supports your ability to determine how clients, internal project teams, and external partners impact your firm’s bottom line. If you like this article you may also like: What’s a CRM & Why It’s Important For Your Business
What exactly is CRM … And How Does It Help Construction Firms?
by Sarah LorekConstruction, Cosential, CRM
Nov 02, 2018
Defining CRM In construction, CRM stands for client relationship management. It refers to cloud-based software that places key relationship, communication, lead and opportunity data at users’ fingertips. The construction industry revolves around relationships. Clients often award expensive, high-profile projects based on how well they know and trust a firm. Each point of communication with a client will strengthen or weaken that trust. That’s why it’s crucial for client-facing staff to know the full picture of their firm’s relationship with a client, including: Who the client is. Who works for the client. What projects they’ve done with the client in the past. What projects they’ve done that resemble the one they’re attempting to win. What opportunities they have chased with the client, and how successful they have been (client hit-rate). How often their firm communicates with the client, and what they’ve said. And much more. Unfortunately, many construction firms rely on tools like Outlook and Excel to track this information, resulting in employees working from multiple, disparate documents … none of which provide an accurate, up-to-date picture of the firm’s current relationships. Without a clear understanding of previous conversations, employees often repeat questions or make contradictory promises, which can damage a firm’s reputation with clients and partners. A construction-centric CRM can eliminate this issue by making accurate, up-to-date, and actionable relationships easily accessible. (Learn how Unanet CRM by Cosential — the CRM and Proposal Automation solution purpose-built for construction — can benefit your firm.) CRMs offer measurable results that tools like Excel and Outlook simply can’t achieve. According to Software Advice: 74 percent of CRM users said their system offered improved access to customer data. 47 percent said it had a significant impact on customer retention. 47 percent said it had an impact on customer satisfaction. The kicker? This study analyzed generic CRMs designed for companies that sell products. Construction firms, which sell experience by demonstrating how the skills and knowledge used in previous projects can benefit future clients, have different needs. Firms that invest in a solution purpose-built for their unique challenges and business development processes can expect greater results. Why construction-centric CRM matters In most industries, sales & business development is a two-stage process. In the first stage, the organization identifies a lead. In the second stage, the lead becomes an opportunity. The sales rep then aims to close the deal before delivering a product. But construction firms sell their experience and ultimately projects. For general contractors, this is a three-stage process. Leads or rumors become opportunities, which require proposals, bids or submittals before they can become projects. Finally, the firm uses that project data to win more projects. For sub-contractors, the process is a bit different. Firms form relationships that lead to bids that eventually become projects. The firm then uses project data to win more bid invites. With such a stark difference in the way construction firms and product-based companies win deals, it’s clear that construction firms need a CRM purpose-built to serve their needs. But what capabilities are most important for a construction-centric CRM? 7 things to look for when purchasing a CRM in construction: Network mapping Central database Industry-specific integrations Proposal and resume automation Hit rate-improving analytics Go/No Go functionality Mobile functionality 1. Network mapping Construction Executive warns that, when it comes to awarding a project, “multiple people can impact a decision.” That’s why construction firms must develop relationships “with everyone from top to bottom. A general rule of thumb is that every person at the prospect’s home or business is important, from the administrative staff to the president, as well as spouse and other family members.” That’s a lot to keep up with. And your firm and the prospect aren’t the only organizations involved in the deal. You also need to keep partners in mind — especially when it comes to joint ventures. Juggling all these moving parts can get very complicated, very fast. To keep up with everyone involved, your CRM should allow you to map out and document your entire network, including: Clients Prospects Personnel Owners Owner’s reps Subconsultants Contractors Subcontractors Tracking down to the individual level is key. For example, imagine an employee leaves your firm. If they end up working for an architecture firm you work with or another construction firm you partner with in joint ventures, will your CRM recognize him or her as single person? For most CRMs, the answer is no. Instead you would be forced to create a new record for your previous employee to associate with their new firm and mark the original record inactive. But with a construction-centric CRM, you can simply associate your former employee’s contact record with their new firm and not lose any rich details or history that is vital to your network. Put simply: All CRMs can handle contact management, but construction firms need a solution that can handle their unique use cases. In addition to managing the contacts themselves, it’s also important to document communications between your firm and your network to empower greater internal collaboration. “Our marketing and business development often teamed up with project managers to get new projects,” said Lisa Pitts, senior implementation specialist at Cosential, referring to her time as a marketer and business developer in construction firms like Satterfield & Pontikes Construction and Helps Phelps Construction Co. “Knowing who is talking to whom and when is key to a successful procurement.” 2. Central database Marketers and business developers in construction often live in several spreadsheets, wondering whether they’ve missed out on a great opportunity because of a forgotten lead — as Travis Wilson, director of marketing at Layton Construction, knows all too well. “My team was struggling to collect information, and then, when they finally collected what they needed, it didn’t always make it into a central repository,” he explained. “We were using this constantly growing spreadsheet to try and keep track of all the data we had, but over time, it just became overwhelming. We were constantly saying to ourselves, ‘There’s got to be a better way.” Now that he uses Unanet CRM, he no longer has this problem. In fact, the information he and his team need is so easy to access, he uses the CRM to quickly onboard new employees. “We used to struggle with a few people holding key institutional knowledge in their heads. I’ve been here for 13 years, and I have a few team members who are long-term employees. We know a lot about our projects, but as we grow and bring in new people, they don’t have the historical knowledge we do,” Travis said. “With Unanet, they can get a clear idea of the history behind our projects. It definitely gets them up to speed quicker and makes them less reliant on our veteran employees.” 3. Industry-specific integrations Integrations are incredibly important when it comes to CRMs, but many vendors don’t handle them well. In fact, 49 percent of CRM users said integrating with other systems is a challenge. And once again, this figure is based on generic CRMs and users from all industries. That means your chances of successfully integrating a generic CRM with construction-specific systems is slim. (Think financial systems, like Vista by Viewpoint, or project management systems, like Procore Project Management.) But a CRM created for construction will provide integrations with these services and more. That eliminates duplicate data entry and addresses any data integrity concerns. 4. Proposal and resume automation One of the reasons integrations are so important is they put project data at marketers’ fingertips, allowing them to generate proposals and resumes without the typical headache … a change they would welcome with open arms. “The thing about building proposals is it always comes down to the last minute,” Lisa said. “It’s really high pressure, and everybody gets frantic. Anything that saves time — that keeps you from having to dig or chase someone down for information — is huge.” By pulling key project and resume data from your financial system or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software into your CRM, marketers can use the time they save hunting down and updating this information to better tailor proposals to the client’s key issues, leading to a greater success rate. “Project managers can get irritated at marketers who ask the same question 20 times because they don’t know where they put their response or they want to double check that it’s right,” Lisa explained. “Once marketers have a single source of truth for the information, that problem is solved.” And knowing the project data is accurate because the CRM pulls it from the system of record is invaluable. “Having that accurate data feeding from one source is key,” Lisa said. “Any incorrect information will bring your score down and may prevent you from getting shortlisted or winning the job.” 5. Hit rate-improving analytics In 2015, the Southern Illinois University Master of Marketing Research program partnered with SMPS to uncover which metrics matter most to success in architecture, engineering and construction. One of the most important, as you might expect, is the hit rate. By understanding where your most profitable projects come from, you can create a more effective pursuit strategy that increases your hit rate. According to PSMJ, “In the past, the process was fraught with hunches and incomplete data. At present and in the future, there is no need for hunches or lack of data.” Thanks to construction-focused CRMs, they’re right. To understand where your firm has the biggest opportunities to increase revenue, a CRM should allow you to analyze: The locations where you usually win work. This will help you develop a better understanding of your ideal customers and target regions where your firm thrives. Which relationships help you win more work. Measure which partnerships lead to the most wins. Maybe when you partner with organization A and compete against firm B, you win 90 percent of the time, but when you partner with organization C and compete against firm D, you lose 85 percent of the time. This information can help you determine whether pursuing an opportunity is likely to lead to a new project or become a wasted investment. Which lead sources most often lead to projects. You may already have some idea of which leads are most effective. For example, maybe you know conference leads perform well. But do you know if that’s true for all conferences or just some? Pinpoint your best lead sources at a granular level to decide which leads are worth pursuing. Which types of projects are most profitable. This analysis isn’t related to hit rate, but it’s crucial to understand. You may have certain project types or market sectors that frequently lead to wins, but if they’re not profitable, they’re not worth pursuing. 6. Go/No Go functionality A construction-centric CRM will provide tons of data to help you create an effective Go/No Go process, allowing your team to invest in high-probability opportunities and avoid wasting resources … a goal many in AEC overlook. According to Scott D. Butcher, FSMPS, CPSM, vice president and CMO of JDB Engineering, too many firms put marketers “on wild goose chases because of poor go/no-go decision-making for clients and proposals.” Fortunately, a construction-centric CRM will simplify this process, providing the data needed to answer key questions, such as: Is this a high-profile project? Does the project align with our core values? Do we have an existing, positive relationship with the owner? Is this owner collaborative and appreciative of our values? Will this result in an enduring relationship? Do we have the right team available for this project? (Want more help with your Go/No Go decision? Use this template from SMPS.) 7. Mobile functionality 81 percent of CRM users said they access their CRM using multiple types of devices. Even if you think you won’t need mobile access, it’s good to have the option. Your best sales people are not behind a desk. Mobile accessibility allows your business developers and seller-doers to capture key lead information while on the go. And that’s crucial for ensuring important information isn’t forgotten. Your CRM should also allow you to do the following on your mobile device: Automatically log phone calls. Enter notes using voice to text. List and search your projects. Organize, search and filter contacts, companies, projects, call and opportunities. Receive enabled push notifications. Access driving directions to any address in your system. Review your upcoming and past due call logs. The #1 CRM in Construction Unanet CRM by Cosential empowers firms to: Improve their marketing and business development processes and communication. Access key project, personnel and client information anywhere, anytime. Win projects based on their existing relationships and proven experience Ditch frustrating and time-consuming spreadsheets. Leverage their entire network to win more projects. Integrate with crucial industry-specific solutions. Quickly generate bids, resumes and proposals. Analyze opportunities to improve their hit rate. Develop a strategic Go/No Go process. Want to find out if Cosential is right for your firm? See it in action.
What’s a CRM & Why It’s Important For Your Business
by Sarah LorekAEC, Cosential, CRM, Uncategorized
Feb 20, 2017
There are plenty who have heard those three letters “CRM” and aren’t sure what the acronym stands for. Quite often at events our staff asks or gets asked, what the acronym means and it’s a testament to the more recent awareness and adoption within AEC firms that many people to this day cannot define it. That’s okay; you’re not alone. CRM in concept is arguably one of the newest types of software to be implemented within AEC firms and the timing, while arguably late against other verticals, certainly aligns with younger generations joining and taking the helm. CRM by common definition means “Customer Relationship Management”. The earliest adopters are the organizations who have sold products, software, or “stuff” for decades. They operate in a world of high-volume conversations, pitches, and attempts to win over most of their perspective TAM, or Total Available Market. AEC firms that sell projects over products are adopting CRM’s for core reasons such as having one source of truth for contact information, lead and opportunity pipeline management, and streamlining marketing efforts such as accessing historical project records for proposals and/or easily organizing email campaigns to clients, partners and prospects. Arnold Neustadter first marketed this practice in 1958 with his rotating index file cardholder we all know as the Rolodex. That type of tool reigned arguably well from its conception to the 1980s when Robert and Kate Kestnbaum pioneered database marketing. In 2007 the CRM took off fueled by the SaaS market and while you may have not known the acronym of CRM until recently it’s highly unlikely you have not heard of Salesforce, arguably the most popular and traditional CRM used by product and software-based companies to date. If we were immortal, only loyal to one employer, had immaculate memories, and of course telepathic there would be no demand for a CRM. Perhaps in a galaxy far away this is the case but here on Earth, that’s not the case. At a business level, the information gained through years of relationships and transactions is the lifeblood of a company. Documenting client names, contacts, contact information, and history is vital. So here we are, human. We are forgetful tend to change jobs from time to time. Combing through a departed employee’s laptop to recoup business intelligence is a familiar sight, but not needed for businesses capitalizing on technology such as a CRM. The “tribal knowledge” of a company’s relationships can and should be documented within a modern, easy-to-use forum so much that when CRM is done right it’s the source of truth for your staff. What Do Most CRM’s do? The elevator pitch for a CRM is that it’s a software system businesses used to document the existence of prospects, customers, and house anything and everything associated with them. Expect a CRM to house accounts, and all the contacts with their respective telephone numbers, email addresses, notes, and conversations. Most CRM’s have a component that automatically logs every email between companies, showing who sent what and when with complete transparency. At a minimum, all CRM’s allow users to log their own notes related to an account, contacts, and sales pipeline. It’s the sales pipeline that business leaders focus on. Having a single pain-of-glass view showing what deals are in work, closed, and forecasted aligned with the ability to quantify or dig into activities is vital for leaders and executives. That is what affects major business decisions and what feeds information back to owners, boards or investors. Life without a CRM Every business with ambitions to stay alive must have an aggregate view of performance. Traditionally those without a CRM live within an endless array of emails, spreadsheets, and attachments with a poor soul tasked to consolidate the data frequently. It’s that simple, but it’s not. In such a world like this the more people contributing data the higher the odds of it either being vastly inaccurate and extremely subjective in format and content. Redefining the “C” in CRM: Fortunately, the first letter of the acronym CRM is flexible. The official definition is Customer Relationship Management. But do you think of your projects as customers? Do you vest into having customer support lines, or a venue for customers to make returns, submit trouble tickets? For AEC firms the answer is obviously not. Unanet has redefined this “C” for years in marketing to AEC firms as a “Client Relationship Management”, tool and a taking a step further with “Company Relationship Management”. When you consider how AEC firms manage not just clients, but partners, suppliers, and prospects, a CRM truly allows a firm to have a fantastic grasp on all relationships that matter. What if you could automate a process to reward your subcontractors with a gift or a shout-out for receiving the highest average customer satisfaction score from your most recent client? What if you could do that without lifting a finger? Relationships drive your business. One day you may be competing head to head with a firm and the very next day, teaming with them to win a big project. The relationships you manage with Architects, Engineers, General Contractors, Sub Contractors AND clients are equally important. One squeaky wheel can derail an entire project. Interested in learning more about how Unanet can help your firm stay on top of your personnel records? We would love to show you, request a demonstration today. Feel free to also reach out to our sales team here or 800-505-7089 ext. 1 with any questions you may have.