Reduced to its basics, customer relationship management (CRM) software stores data on your existing and potential customers, then gives you specialized tools to leverage that data to effectively manage your sales and marketing programs. How they do this – and how easy they are to use – varies greatly from product to product. That’s why it is important to take the time to review your choices, get input from internal and external experts and, if possible, use the software before you commit.
Our workbook “Finding the Best Apps for Your Business” is a useful, step-by-step guide to identifying, reviewing and selecting software, including a CRM. Before you begin that process, however, we thought a brief overview of the subject – and a revue of some currently available products - would be useful. So, here it is.
To simplify the process a little, we’ve divided CRMs into two groups: General CRMs and those designed specifically for contractors and/or in-home customer support. To assemble our list, we combed the web, talked to experts and reviewed trade publications. The lists represent software products that we saw over and over again in this process.
Please be aware that we are not recommending any of these products, simply providing a list to get your research started. The final selection must be yours and must be based on the specific needs of your company, your marketing requirements and your specific sales process. Products are listed in alphabetical order.
General CRM Software:
As mentioned, these are CRM packages that are designed specifically to help you manage your sales and marketing pipeline – turning leads into prospects, creating new customers and keeping existing customers informed, so you are top-of-mind when they are ready for more work. These products are not designed specifically for contractors and do not offer additional functionality for in-home sales.
HubSpot CRM. Although they tout its simplicity and automation, the really cool thing about this CRM is that the basic functions are free. The system helps sales people log activity, manage the pipeline and effectively handle leads. You can pay for additional functions like blog creation tools, SEO, mobile marketing, Email automation, etc.
Marketing 360. In addition to general CRM, they market a version aimed at contractors. However, there is no information on their website that describes any functionality specific to the industry. Features include lead management, lead nurturing, contact management and social media marketing.
Salesforce. If there is an 800 pound gorilla in CRM, this is it. With more than 150,000 customers, Salesforce is the world’s leading CRM. In addition to providing software for sales, customer service, marketing and commerce, you can find or create apps to accomplish specific business goals.
Pipedrive. While most CRMs brag about the vast number of features their software offers, Pipedrive (which refers to your sales pipeline, not a piping system) is focused on helping sales people become more productive without the frills and extras they consider unnecessary. If your focus is strictly on selling, you might want to check it out.
CRMs Designed for Contractors:
Some of these packages go far beyond CRM functionality to include home improvement business management tools like estimating, time sheets, project management, scheduling, payment processing and, of course, financing. As above, the products are listed in alphabetical order.
Builder Prime. A CRM and more that can help add efficiency in the office and in the field. Helps contractors and home improvement pros manage customers, projects, work orders, costing, contracts, billing, scheduling, inventories and a lot more. The system is designed to help you win more jobs.
Buildertrend. In addition to customer relationship management, this software helps automate scheduling, change orders, document management, purchase orders, and more. It’s cloud-based, so it supports PCs, tablets and smartphones.
JobProgress. Specifically designed for home improvement contractors, the system includes workflow management, CRM, estimating, scheduling, operations management and business development. Integration with the GreenSky Loan Program financing app is in development.
MarketSharp. This CRM was created with remodelers and Home Improvement contractors in mind. It offers an appointment calendar, job scheduling, estimating, project management and powerful reporting capabilities.
ServiceTitan. Aimed squarely at home service companies, including HVAC, the system tracks booking rates, estimates sold and other key KPIs. In the field, it syncs job data with the office, builds invoices and integrates directly with the GreenSky Loan Program financing app.
Keep in mind, these are just a few examples of the CRM applications that are available and we do not recommend any of them specifically. To get some guidance, check out our workbook entitled “Finding the Best Apps for Your Business”. It suggests a procedure to determine which software will meet your specific needs.