Customer relationship management boils down to how companies interact with their customers. It’s a strategic, and often complex process that will influence the success of a business. So, we know that having an excellent and centralized CRM is vital to ensure the smooth operation of any company.
Many CRMs simply act as a database and customer interaction tracker, storing details of prospects as well as current customers, their purchases and marketing history etc. Whilst these aspects of a CRM are essential for marketing and sales, organization, and automation, many fall short when it comes to project management.
Project management software allows the user to plan, initiate, and execute the processes in projects in order to meet set goals within deadlines. Progress is tracked and updated and can be viewed at a glance.
Often project and service-based companies find it tough to see the overall lifecycle of a customer, because not everyone has access to the same set of information. When a CRM and project management tool are separate, it’s frustrating having to move from one platform to the other. It’s time-consuming and creates a larger margin for error and miscommunication within the team (not to mention potentially giving the customer the incorrect information)
What are the benefits of having an integrated CRM and Project Management system?
When housed under the same roof, the benefits of having an integrated CRM and project management system are obvious.
Your team all have access to the same information about the customer including any historical, current, and upcoming projects. When your team are well informed, there is much less room for error when handling a customer query.
Access to a project’s progress allows for transparent operations, as well as accountability within the team. Task responsibility is assigned and tracked so everyone can see where a project is in its timeline. The project status is clear, risks defined, and project engagement and responsibilities remain active.
Having everything in one place also allows for best practice. When everything is standardized across the team, including processes, the customer experience will be optimized.
What’s the best way to manage a project?
There are numerous ways to manage a project and organizations will adopt their own method and project lifecycle, and you’ll find several examples of what others deem best practice.
A project needs to be broken down into stages. Depending on where you look and what industry you’re in, you’ll find the number of stages and their definitions slightly differ. So, in broad terms, we’ve broken it down below.
- Planning & organizing
- Monitoring & controlling
We’ve compiled our favorite best practice advice from across the web below.
Ensure your technical work scheduling standards are up to scratch
Technical work delivery estimations are often the main cause for delays and errors in projects. Your project manager may not understand the ins and outs of the technical processes at play, and so it’s vital this is taken into consideration when planning a project. It’s always best to allow more time than you think is needed and keep your team and customer up to date with any setbacks.
Don’t add unrealistic milestones
It’s tempting to want to set yourself apart from the competition by promising fast delivery on a project but managing your client’s expectations and looking after your team are imperative when seeing a project to fruition. As mentioned above, it’s better to overestimate timeframes and delight the customer when the project is delivered before the deadline. Over promising and under delivering (all whilst your team are working ten to the dozen) is likely to kill your business. Remain realistic throughout.
Appoint a risk response team
Risk management is often overlooked or underestimated but risks are an inherent part of any project. Of course, it would be great to avoid risks altogether, but having a contingency plan in place should the worst-case scenario crop up is key to navigating further delays and/or errors, as the team will be able to resolve the issue as soon as it arises.
Ensure effective communication
This is much easier when your team are all working from a centralized CRM and project management system. The easiest way to ensure everyone knows what is going on is to give them access to the same information. An effective project manager will monitor progress and keep the team updated as well as ask for updates alongside the digital tracking as this will keep the team engaged, identify any issues that may be underlying, and increase the likelihood of the project coming to fruition successfully.
Plan for change requests and scope creep
We all know a project can continue to grow or evolve depending on the client, and a plan should be set in place for these change requests. Depending on the size of the change, this may mean the timeframe has to be extended, the budget may need to increase, the team may even need to increase so it’s important to bear this in mind and document any and all change requests that come through. Managing the client’s expectation here is vital, as often a client may not fully understand what a project entails. So be sure to be realistic with the client about how these changes will impact the project.
Jarvis CRM has project management included to ensure the effective running of your business. Find out more and request a demo.
Phone: +1 877-501-8038