Most security dealers we talk with use different software tools for specific purposes. For example, they might use Outlook for prospecting and emailing quotes, Quickbooks for company accounting and possibly service/installation management, and another tool for CRM. Why?
Usually it’s a combination of things – in our industry, true “enterprise” software that handles EVERYTHING is difficult to find and can be prohibitively expensive for small and mid-sized dealers. Sometimes specialized software is purchased “ad hoc” as a company grows, without much thought given to the value of having things tied together.
For example, take a quoting software tool. Because it’s specialized, it can have both nice functionality, and a reasonable price. So the online demo video you saw looked great – cool functions, quick setup, lots of power, nice graphical interface. You’re sold–you buy it, and start generating quotes for your prospects.
All is well until a prospect accepts one of your proposals. Then, things get clunky. You quoted a security system with 10 different component parts—each with a different part number, cost, price, etc. Now, you need to enter both the prospect/new customer information AND those 10 component details into your workflow software. In addition, you need to schedule it, and soon, while the iron is still hot.
The issue is simple: integration. In any competitive business, winning new customers is only half the battle—the other half is executing efficiently on the newly won jobs. If you have disparate, non-integrated software tools, your workflow and technician scheduling will be clunky at best, and Rube Goldberg-like at worst. So many things can go wrong in handing off and data entry from one system to the next. And it will often feel like things are “out of control”, because there is no steady system to take a new customer from inception and manage that customer for life. Balls will be dropped, business lost.
Look for full “life cycle” software to help you manage your jobs, customers and your business. It may not be perfect, and it could be a little pricey, but you need to view it in terms of creating a well-oiled machine that is therefore more profitable for you and better for your customers. Keeping your prospects and your customers in the same software will help you better manage both – and even if you don’t win a prospect over today, if you trickle useful tips and advice consistently to them via email, some will call you down the road looking to sign up.
Quoting the prospect, then converting that detailed quote into a schedule-based work order with a mouse click is a beautiful thing. You CAN opt for a third-party quoting tool also, but make sure it integrates with your core CRM software, and that prospect information is easily transferrable. Our customers use our quotes module both because it’s inexpensive, and it saves them TONS of work, in the form of double entry and risky handoffs where things can fall between the cracks.
Are you frustrated by using different systems? Give me a call at 847-405-9517, Ext 2