What an Integrated CRM Can Do for Your Service Firm

ChelseaWilliams
By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Feb 6 2023 read
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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.

91% of businesses with 10 or more employees use a CRM, but less than 30% of managers say the software helps them execute on strategies. 

The reason for this effectiveness disparity is likely twofold:

  1. Teams are undertrained on CRM platforms and not using them to their full capacity.
  2. The chosen platforms are limited databases that do not unite client work functions.

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.

Limitations of a Typical CRM

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:

  • Tie projects, tasks, time or invoices back to a client record
  • Support upselling by making complete sale history visible to other departments
  • Connect client journey stages without multiple third-party integrations
  • Provide automations that free up time to strengthen client relationships 

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.

READ NEXT: Customer Relationship Management Strategies for Your Service Business

Benefits of Integrating a CRM With Client Work Management 

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A unique client work management solution is far more practical than a flat, outdated CRM.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.

A streamlined sales cycle 

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:

  • Easily assign and reassign leads
  • Visualize the full sales funnel at any given time
  • Help leaders estimate upcoming revenue based on current pipeline
  • See a complete communication history rather than fragmented notes

See how the sales cycle works in Accelo.

READ NEXT: What To Enter in a CRM During Discovery

Efficient project management

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. 

Attentive customer support

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.

Accurate client billing

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. 

Meaningful and accessible reports

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.

 

Choosing a Robust CRM 

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.

Start a free trial or attend a demo to find out why Accelo’s unique mix of six products makes the platform ideal for businesses like yours. 

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About the Author

ChelseaWilliams

Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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