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Finally, a CRM for Professional Service Firms

Finally, a CRM for Professional Service Firms!

Nov 10, 2020 | By Steven Burns, FAIA | 0 Comments

Topics: CRM, Client Management, Featured

 

Why Your Firms Needs A Client Relationship Management (CRM) Software

If you’re an architect, engineer, accountant, lawyer or business consultant the lifeblood of your firm are your clients. How you get new clients and how you treat existing ones makes all the difference in your professional success.

Traditionally, CRM has always stood for “customer relationship management,” and there are amazing platforms on the market, like Salesforce, Zoho and Hubspot, which have created state-of-the-art tools to help businesses manage their customers. Unfortunately, these platforms don’t understand the difference between businesses that sell products to customers and professional service firms that provide highly-skilled services to clients. In that one sentence is a world of difference and why so many service professionals have no real systems in place to properly manage their clients.

With the introduction of BQE CORE CRM, service professionals finally have a robust CRM that understands their unique needs and no longer have to work with tools that really don’t fit the purpose.

Let’s break down the ways the BQE CORE CRM system works:

CAMPAIGNS

As a professional, pretty much everything you do can be considered “marketing.” Hopefully, your firm has a bonafide Marketing Plan and (just as important), an appropriate budget. Common marketing efforts that require budgets relate to maintaining your website, promoting social media and attending conferences and tradeshows. But the time and money spent to deal with responding to Requests for Proposals (RFP) or Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) also fall under marketing and need to be tracked. Ultimately, everything we’re talking about here should have one common purpose - bringing in future clients or expanding your existing business opportunities. Everything can be considered a “campaign”.

My guess is that currently you have no way to measure the results of your campaigns. If you engaged in a social media campaign or attended a conference, have you been able to track the total costs that were associated with these efforts? If you are responding to an RFP, have you been tracking all the time spent? Do you even have an RFP template available that allows you to be more efficient and consistent in how your firm responds? Are you tracking business leads that may have come from a variety of marketing campaigns? In the end, you should expect to see the return on investment (ROI) for every marketing campaign so you can decide if this is worth repeating in the future. What types of efforts result in wins and which efforts (and their costs), aren’t worth pursuing? That is where BQE CORE CRM can help. So much of what happens in the BQE CORE platform is about measuring effort and seeing real-time Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), so you can make smart decisions and not operate blindly.

LEADS SHOULD BECOME PROSPECTS

You probably have a contact management system. This could be as simple as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Contacts. These tools are great if you’re just looking up phone numbers, writing emails, finding out one’s address or other miscellaneous information. But when you want to understand everything about a contact you do business with, you will want to use a product like BQE CORE. Here you can manage every aspect of every person you do business with; from your employees, to your clients and vendors. And now with BQE CORE CRM, you can also manage your Leads and Prospects.

Let’s start with Leads. These are people that you have somehow come into contact with. Perhaps you met them at a party or a conference. Either way - having them in a Lead database means you can include them in marketing campaigns. You may want to invite them to a company party or send them some updated marketing collateral. Managing all your leads to make sure they are being cultivated requires a real process and this is where BQE CORE CRM comes into play. 

How do you quickly identify the 350 people who attended that industry conference you attended last year? How do you craft an email that feels personal to each one and share with them a PDF or link to a special landing page that you believe they would want to know about? How do you manage which ones to follow-up with and when it’s best to do this? How do you measure the costs invested in these campaigns against the eventual new work you win? Once again, this is why you need BQE CORE CRM.

You will know when your Campaign and Lead management is working by the fact that you have been converting your leads into prospects. Prospects are people or businesses that have achieved the potential of becoming a paying client. At this point, you will be engaging with them in a more serious way. Having a CRM process that manages every touch-point with the prospect ensures that you will increase the probability of turning them into clients.

OPPORTUNITIES

One of the most important components of a Prospect is what is called an Opportunity. This is where you can plan the value of the future project, update the probability and monitor the forecasted value for all of your current opportunities. Equally important is monitoring the various types of opportunities you have which also gives you a picture of hot market areas.

Associated with managing opportunities is creating proposals, providing quotes, and tracking notes, to-dos and follow ups. There are so many small day-to-day things that need to be monitored to ensure that no opportunity is left to flounder (not the fish). With BQE CORE CRM you finally have a platform that ensures every Follow-Up is assigned and monitored, and no To-Dos are forgotten.

Eventually, you will be converting these opportunities into projects, engagements or matters (depending on your industry). BQE CORE CRM provides the one-click experience whereupon winning an opportunity, it becomes active as a project for your teams to commence work and the full history of your work to-date for this opportunity can be shared with the team. If it’s important for the project team to have access to the signed contract or have visibility into the communications between the partner-in-charge and the client during early negotiations, these can be made visible to the appropriate team members.

DASHBOARDS AND REPORTS

With BQE CORE CRM, you also have dashboards that allow you to track the status of all every aspect of your marketing department. There are also around 30 different reports that can be scheduled and delivered to the appropriate people in your firm to keep them apprised of all the marketing activities and results.

Here’s a list of some of the key features found in the BQE CORE CRM platform:

  • Lead and Prospect Management
  • Marketing Campaign Management
  • Sales Goal Management
  • Opportunity Tracking
  • Quote and Proposal 
  • Customizable Sales & Marketing Resource Library
  • Unlimited eMail Templates
  • To-Do, Notes and Follow-up Management
  • Sales Pipeline Funnel and Forecasting
The Author

Steven Burns, FAIA

Steven Burns, FAIA, spent 14 years managing his firm Burns + Beyerl Architects. After creating ArchiOffice®, the smart office and project management solution for architectural firms, Steve brought his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is perfecting the business strategy and product development.

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