Like a lot of contractors, Jake Zahnow swears by his customer relationship management system. “It’s critical to our business,” said Zahnow, president of WindowPro. “We use it for cradle to grave marketing. The only thing we don’t use it for is accounting.”
But even contractors like Zahnow may not know the best way to mine all the data CRMs have to offer—and why it matters, said Tim Musch, business development director at MarketSharp, maker of a contractor-specific CRM. “Sometimes, contractors’ eyes glaze over when they hear the word ‘data,’” he said. “But the best way to put distance between your and the crowd is to do an outstanding job with data. How you gather, manage, and use that data will determine whether you win or lose.”
Here are five key CRM data points Musch put together as part of Masonite’s Preferred Remodeler Program—and how you can turn them into profits:
1. Contact. This is information from any encounter your have with potential clients, such as at a home show. Client data should include all the basic information you’d find on a business card. Name (get both names if it’s a couple), company they work for, phone numbers, address—and most importantly, email addresses, for online marketing. You can add other information to this area such as school or their birthdate. All of this data can later be used to nurture leads. For example, you could use your CRM to create a marketing campaign that offers a special discount for all employees of a specific company.
2. Scheduling. This data point encompasses everything around the scheduling of appointments and jobs. A major goal with this data is to convert as many raw inquiries as possible into set appointments. And then turn those appointments into jobs. Follow this data to discover how well your salespeople are turning appointments into sales. This data can also track production on jobs and crews. This information could be used to see where crews are working at certain times and avoid bottlenecks by scheduling jobs in the same area.
3. Transactions. This data should be segmented into actual clients and potential clients. With actual clients, you’ll want to collect what they purchased for each project, how much they paid, and, crucially, what feedback you received, which can be leveraged into online reviews. Prospects include all people who inquired about your services or products in some way but never actually pulled the trigger. The goal here is to nurture these prospects into customers. Remember, existing customers can be prospects as well. Each one starts at a different place in the nurturing process. But with the right information, your CRM can help turn prospects into clients. Once a job is completed, your CRM could automatically generate a one-question survey asking how likely the client is to recommend you to friends and neighbors. Low scores mean you need follow up. High scores can be converted into online reviews.
4. Marketing. CRMs can collect invaluable information about products or services existing clients have shown interest in for the future. They can also be connected with marketing campaigns so that you can be immediately notified via text when someone responds. Research shows that quick responses are more likely to convert leads, especially online. Even if the conversion isn’t immediate, CRM nurturing sequences can produce results over time. In fact, only about 30% of sales calls result in actual sales. But another 60% will buy a similar product or service within the next year. Using marketing data, you can be sure they buy from you. For example, you could filter your CRM to find all clients who have shown a future interest in windows. Then send a marketing campaign directly aimed at that audience.
5. Key Performance Indicators. Can you answer these questions: How many inquiries are you getting? How many of those turn into appointments? What percentage of appointments turn into conversions? What percentage of demos turn into sales? What’s your cost per lead? Which products sell best? Which salespeople are most successful? Which ad source is most effective? And what’s your cost per sale? Using your CRM and KPIs, you can answer all of those questions. Some CRMs also feature built-in lead warming tools, such as an email in advance of an appointment with a picture of the salesperson, so that a lead is primed for a sale. Slice and dice KPI data to discover which salesperson is most successful at converting demos into sales. Then train poor performers on how to turn a spark of interest into a raging fire of desire.