A sales CRM (customer relationship manager) system can tell you how much work you can expect to come in the next week, month or quarter. It gives roofing contractors the ability to define sales processes and measure the stages of each potential contract. Sales CRM programs also give you reliable reporting to make the right decisions and predict the future. Wouldn’t you rather “know” than “guess?” Making sales predictable so that you have enough work for your crews to do is important, but if you don’t have a sales CRM in place you’re also leaving a lot of potential money on the table. Leads are slipping through the cracks due to mismanagement. Did you know that the first company to contact a lead has a 238 percent higher conversation rate than the second to contact? Companies on average take 19 hours to respond via email and 61 hours to respond by phone, according to a recent study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Given these overwhelming circumstances, there are some key questions you need to be asking: Do you know that following up is important? What are you doing about it? Do you know that if you take managing leads seriously that you’ll smoke your competition?

The problem is salespeople and estimators are telling you one thing, but the reality is they’re doing another. This means that you aren’t in control and you need to keep a closer eye on your projects. Without a good sales CRM, you’ll find that you’re unable to see trends at a glance and see who and what’s really performing well. That makes it very difficult, if not nearly impossible to answer the following key questions directly impacting your company’s day-to-day: How can your sales manager manage his team objectively without knowing what your closing ratio is? How do you know where to spend your marketing dollars, or is it just a guessing game? What can you anticipate in future sales without understanding your pipeline? Are you thinking that you can buy that next big piece of equipment, building or two more service trucks based on hope? It’s better to really know.

Think of it this way, would you hand-weld an entire TPO roof just because you happen to already own a heat gun, or would you rather do the field laps with a robot? A sales CRM is like the robot. A heat gun is like most database software.

In a sales CRM, one must be able to insert and measure their identifiable key performance indicators, or in layman’s terms, each step of the sales steps. Sales managers also need to be paying attention to reports like sales pipeline, closing ratios, selling cycle, achievement against goals for sales and bid volume, lead source tracking on a per-salesperson, per-division basis. If you’re not keeping track then how can you hold your team accountable to performing the right activities to close more deals? It’s better to “know” than to “guess.”

So, is a CRM all about the sales manager after all? No, CRM’s can be user-friendly even for roofers and can actually help sales people sell. Sales reports are a huge pain in the neck for salespeople because they get paid to produce revenue. But if the system can actually help them sell more and keep them focused on the right priorities, everyone wins.

So, if you knew your competition was following up with every lead and tracked every step of the sales process, would you want to compete against that guy?