The key to success is manageable data argues Elton Boocock, Managing Director at Business Pilot. We report.
For many window companies contemplating investing in a CRM (customer relationship management tool) the first question is: do I need one?
And it’s an obvious question, because, in all likelihood, you have a system in place that manages the flow of enquiries, quotes and projects. In many companies, this system is kept on an Excel spreadsheet which, Managing Director at Business Pilot Elton Boocock believes, is not optimised to proactively work in your favour.
“Excel requires your input to make stuff happen,” he says. “A CRM gives you more data, more information, and makes that data manageable, by doing the hard work for you in the background. It captures everything you could possibly capture in your spreadsheets but it slices and dices it, to make that information understandable and usable.”
Right at the top of business owners’ concerns at present is the threat of recession and the effect this will have on the sales of home improvement products. Keeping a track of every lead and understanding why they are won or lost will be key to taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.
“We’re going into a much tougher set of trading conditions,” Elton says. “The Covid boom made effective lead management less important – if you lost a lead by failing to manage it properly it didn’t matter because another was on its way. Leads now count again. Excel isn’t designed to be a lead management tool. It’s not designed to collect information about prospects, prompt your team to follow up when they need to, support the conversion process, and understand what’s working and what isn’t.”
With Business Pilot, each lead is captured once, and all communication – internal or external – is linked to that lead. It can be assigned to a team member, who can be prompted to follow it up, and standard communications can be automated.
“Feedback we’ve had from Business Pilot users demonstrates that this function alone is highly valued,” Elton says. “There are so many processes operating all at once in a window company, and it is easy for leads to go off the boil if they are not monitored. With Business Pilot, this happens in the background, which not only keeps the lead active, but it saves time carrying out repetitive admin tasks.”
Elton says that companies with CRMs win on average 29% more business than those without them. But this efficiency runs throughout a project’s life. Everything is visible on Business Pilot – where a lead or job is, who’s working on it, are there any blockers, where your product order is, when you’ll invoice, if you’ve registered the installation, to job profitability. Everything is there at your fingertips.
And Business Pilot has been designed to work natively with the cloud, so that all information is available anywhere on any device through a secure login.
“It’s not just about business knowledge,” Elton says. “Business Pilot has also been designed to work with other software tools, to help you automate regular tasks, reduce the risk of error, and increase your profitability. For example, we have Affinity Partner status with FENSA, which allows installers to register their installations at the click of a button.
“And there are integrations with Tommy Trinder, Xero accounting software, and Windowlink Focus – all designed to speed up processes, increase accuracy and improve cash flow.”
As the market conditions become tougher, having this oversight of all the functions in your company could give you the operational advantage you need to keep generating business.
“There are many advantages to using an integrated CRM tool like Business Pilot,” Elton says. “Primarily, you are no longer slave to the spreadsheet, but the time clawed back allows you to concentrate on other aspects of running a successful window company.
“And the insights you gain – leads won and lost, operational efficiencies, and profit margins – are all available at your fingertips, which will help you succeed even during the most difficult trading periods.”