Business software usage was on the rise in 2021 and 2022, and we believe that’s largely a good thing. However, data around how people use some of the most popular types of software reveals a concerning pattern.
The reason for this effectiveness disparity is likely twofold:
Unused and underutilized software leads to missed profit potential, but the second reason — having a platform that’s not capable of what you need — is what we’ll focus on in this article.
If you think of a CRM as merely a modern-day Rolodex, its applications are limited. Isolated client records are only useful if your team seeks them out and makes an effort to keep them updated.
Not only is maintaining a singular-function platform a time-consuming chore, but it’s not supportive of your service delivery nor, ironically, client relationships.
A typical CRM that’s primarily a database doesn’t:
These drawbacks can become expensive, as the limitations of a given CRM can make you more likely to seek out supplemental platforms that connect back to your client records. Statista reports that organizations were using an average of 110 SaaS applications in 2021! With each software add-on, your costs increase and your employee training requirements get more complex.
The more cost-effective solution is to house your client data in a CRM that’s multifunctional: a platform that’s built to support the nuanced workings of client-based businesses.
A unique client work management solution is far more practical than a flat, outdated CRM. Your project managers, account managers and technical support staff can have quick access to the same live client data during every conversation. This alignment is priceless, helping to minimize potential confusion and give your clients a seamless experience with your firm.
Let’s review some of the advantages each department will discover when every facet of client work is integrated with your CRM.
To be consistently successful in selling your services, your team needs access to much more than basic demographic details about each lead and prospect.
With an integrated CRM, they’ll be able to:
See how the sales cycle works in Accelo.
READ NEXT: What To Enter in a CRM During Discovery
Connecting projects to sales and billing via a built-in CRM opens the door to increased internal efficiency. For example, when your team can convert a quote to a project and have all facets of that project attached to the same client record as the sale, they can spend less time on project planning and more time contributing to measurable outcomes.
This software-driven process improvement results in high-quality, on-time delivery that clients appreciate.
Learn how one marketing technology consulting firm achieved a 90% increase in client commitment while integrating project management with a CRM in Accelo.
How many platforms does your team have to access to comb through and respond to client requests? Imagine the time savings and reduced stress of having that number be just one.
A CRM integrated with customer support functions like a shared request inbox allows your team to handle ad-hoc requests quickly. Automated time tracking can instill your leadership with the confidence that all billable time spent attending to clients is properly accounted for and billed.
Discover how to automate ticketing with Accelo.
The benefits of a platform that’s more robust than your average CRM extend to client billing functions. If each client record contains all information about work performed and requests completed, you can auto-generate billing and know that your clients will receive detailed invoices.
Ideally, you’ll be able to use the same platform to automatically manage retainers, increasing your recurring revenue without paying for additional software.
After automating billing in Accelo, this QuickBooks and NetSuite consulting firm never gets questioned about an invoice.
Tracking KPIs is key to understanding how well your business is achieving its goals. Using a standalone reporting tool requires lots of data exporting and increases the risk of errors.
If automated reporting is native to your CRM, you’ll have real-time data at your fingertips without the hassle it takes to compile reports every month. Core metrics around profitability, time and utilization can be critical for making smart decisions about the future of your business.
See how one tax consultancy experienced the profit potential of generating meaningful, accurate reports with Accelo.
Get prepared to adopt a more fitting platform with these helpful steps for CRM implementation.
Intentionally managing how your business stores information about clients can impact many key metrics, including sales close rate, monthly recurring revenue and average online ratings. We recommend that every service business have a carefully selected CRM.
There are plenty of CRM platforms to choose from, including options specialized for architecture, consulting and other service industries. However, it’s important to keep in mind that very few offer the option to use custom automations to intricately connect client data to any or all of the elements of client work.