As a small business owner in the trades, you have a company that generates an abundance of data. Every customer communication, interaction, and service call leaves a trail of insightful data. Now, consider business metrics such as sales, new revenue, and technician performance—it’s a lot to wrap your head around.
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To truly gain a clear, 360-degree view of your business performance, this data needs to communicate and inform every business decision, not exist in silos. Many in the trades use software to analyze these data points, typically with customer relationship management (CRM) software.
But not all CRM systems offer the same functionality. The right CRM gives you a competitive advantage in the industry, whether you work in HVAC, plumbing, electrical, or another skilled trade. However, if your current technology feels clunky and your team members avoid it like the plague, it may be time to change CRM software.
This blog will help you explore:
What is CRM software?
Why do businesses utilize CRM software?
Reason to switch CRM
Top CRM features
Tips for switching CRM software
How ServiceTitan can help
What is CRM Software?
Customer relationship management software helps businesses streamline efficiencies, enhance customer relations and communication, automate marketing efforts, improve customer retention, optimize sales, and monitor and track top KPIs. Put simply, CRM software seamlessly combines your customer data across multiple channels into a central hub.
Additionally, CRM systems enable internal communication between teams, monitor contact management for every customer, optimize workflows, track employee performance, and more.
Now a multi-billion industry, the CRM market has come a long way. In the early days, businesses had to physically install CRM software on their servers. Modern CRM platforms—such as Sales Force, Zoho, and ServiceTitan—utilize cloud-based technology, eliminating clunky hardware, and enabling users to access the software remotely on mobile devices.
If you find yourself Googling “what’s the best CRM software,” understand there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, determine your top-use cases and choose CRM software that best serves your needs.
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Why Do Businesses Use CRM software?
In short, businesses adopt CRM software to optimize efficiencies, grow sales, and ultimately impact their bottom lines.
Research shows that more than half of companies adopt a CRM solution within the first five years of opening, with more than 40% partnering with a CRM provider in the first two years.
Businesses use CRM technology to solve a variety of needs, including:
Enhance the customer experience: CRM stores all customer information and interactions in a central database so you can easily view service history, notes from previous jobs, and customer communications. While interacting with a customer—in the office or in the field—you’ll have their complete record at your fingertips.
Streamline business operations: A CRM acts like a supercomputer, optimizing key business functions, eliminating error-prone manual data entry, improving communication and customer support, automating tasks, and uncovering data insights.
Grow sales and boost profitability: Sales teams use CRM software to grow their pipeline, build individualized customer profiles, and nurture leads from prospect to new customer. Keeping your sales data in one central location uncovers financial insights and makes it easier to deliver the right message at the right time.
Automate marketing: Leverage powerful data to fully understand the ROI of your marketing campaigns. CRM software automates email marketing, tracks campaign performance, and lets marketers optimize business processes in real time.
Track key metrics and KPIs: CRM technology lets business owners track their most important KPIs, including sales, revenue, customer acquisition, marketing automation, and technician performance.
Top Reasons to Change CRM Software
Small businesses switch software for several reasons, including underutilization, high CRM costs, and a poor user experience. Consider switching to a new CRM if your company or small business experiences the following pain points:
Lack of features: One study found that over 40% of businesses ditched their old CRM software because it lacked the right features. In today’s rapidly changing world, technology can quickly feel antiquated. If your current CRM fails to offer the features you need, or fails to add new features on a regular cadence, consider switching to a new CRM.
Underutilization: If your techs, sales reps, or CSRs avoid using your CRM, it’s time for a change. It likely means your current platform is clunky and difficult to navigate. Remember, your CRM should make work easier, and there’s no reason to pay for an underutilized system.
Poor customer service: Technical problems shouldn’t get in the way of running your business. In fact, Rob Carr, president of Mel Carr Electric in Albany, N.Y., says he left his old CRM for ServiceTitan because of the sub-par customer service.“We were with (another software solution) for two years,” he says. “We were working with their customer support on the regular, trying to give feedback updates and all that stuff. We … kept getting promises that just were never delivered upon.”
Better pricing: While it may seem obvious, many businesses switch CRM platforms because they can save money and simultaneously gain new features. This can include the elimination of some third-party software you don’t need with the new CRM.
Key Features of Best-in-Class CRM Software
You’ll quickly realize the myriad options available, including customer relationship software for small businesses. Some CRM software serves individual industries and trades.
Typically, best-in-class CRM tools provide the following features:
Excellent user experience: CRM software needs to offer a simple, intuitive user experience for every employee. A clunky, confusing system typically causes underutilization.
Cloud-based software: A cloud-based CRM not only cuts down on bulky hardware, it eliminates the need to store data servers onsite. With a cloud-based system, your team can access the CRM from anywhere, making it an ideal solution for techs in the field. Another benefit of the cloud: feature updates happen automatically.
Helpful integrations: Leading CRM platforms integrate with popular applications, including financial tools such as QuickBooks, as well as call center, dispatching, marketing, social media, and payment applications.
Insightful data and metrics: Capturing customer and sales data gives you a start, but to truly reap the benefits of CRM, your system should offer robust data and analytics reporting. You can't optimize sales processes or grow your business without understanding what works and what doesn't. Track your most important KPIs, such as revenue, sales upgrades, field service metrics, and more.
Exceptional customer support and implementation: As with any major tech purchase, ensure your CRM provider takes customer support seriously. Does the provider offer 24/7 support? Do they offer live chat, email, and phone support?
Also, make sure to ask about implementation. Will the CRM provider lead the implementation process and train your team? Ensuring a seamless implementation will help your team hit the ground running.
Tips for Changing to a New CRM Platform
When you evaluate customer relationship management systems, it’s important to first decide what best fits your needs. Remember, there’s no “best CRM software.” You’re searching for the best CRM to support your unique business needs and goals.
Anytime a business makes significant technological changes there can be pushback or apprehension. Your employees likely feel comfortable using the current CRM, and of course, implementing new software takes time, and requires additional training and ongoing support.
Make sure to clearly articulate the reasoning behind the CRM switch, as well as the added benefits, efficiencies, and feature upgrades. Ensuring company-wide buy-in, from leadership to your technicians, will promote a smooth implementation.
Consider the following tips for changing CRM software:
Establish CRM goals: Make sure to consult all business units across your organization, including sales, marketing, customer support, and operations, to understand their main use cases.
List must-have features: Most businesses change CRM platforms because they lack the right features. List must-have and nice-to-have features, such as cloud-based storage, integrations, robust data and metrics, and easy-to-reach support.
Inquire about implementation: Ask about the average time it takes to fully implement the new CRM software. Does the provider have an implementation team to train your team members? Otherwise, you will need to provide training.
Review service and support: Ensure the CRM provider has a consistent track record of providing exceptional customer service. Don’t be afraid to speak with current customers or ask for references.
Check review sites: As you narrow down your list of potential CRM platforms, make sure to check customer testimonials on legitimate reviews sites like G2 and Capterra. It’s a quick way to view unbiased opinions and compare similar technology.
Establish a project manager: CRM implementation is a sizable task, so you need a dedicated project manager to run point for your organization. The project manager will work closely with your new CRM provider’s implementation team to ensure a seamless transition.
A CRM Built for the Trades
ServiceTitan’s end-to-end software solution streamlines operations in the office, and in the field, for a more polished and professional approach. Our cloud-based, end-to-end customer relationship management software includes:
On-site quoting, estimates, and payments
Digital sales presentations with photos and video
Accounting integrations with Sage Intacct and QuickBooks
Regular software updates and feature additions
Let us show you that we’re right for your home services business.
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and substantially elevate the trajectory of their business. Our comprehensive, cloud-based platform is used by thousands of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, garage door, and chimney sweep shops across the country—and has increased their revenue by an average of 25% in just their first year with us.