Every “services” business that is required to manage client projects, must have a holistic view of customer lifecycle. Important aspects include: tracking leads, managing sales activities, creating new projects and managing existing deliverables associated with clients.
Traditionally, organisations have taken a siloed approach to business management. This has led to designing of applications that are capable of handing only one function of the business. These applications are not “designed” to connect the dots between closely associated business functions because they start with a fundamentally flawed premise of business apps. So, many interlinked departments such as Project Management, HR and CRM need manual data entry to close the gap.
Benefits of Project Management and CRM apps
Project management is quite straightforward — the app is supposed to streamline the process of delivering tasks from start to finish, leading to completion of project. Project management software helps companies keep track of resources, manage personnel, arrange meetings, and keep up with deadlines, among other things. CRM apps help companies build and maintain relationships with potential and existing customers. A good CRM app combines customer relations, marketing, and sales functions. The ultimate goal is to increase the revenue from the clients via various modes of account expansion.
Features of Project Management and CRM apps
Very few vendors provide an integrated CRM and project management software. Primarily because these two types of apps offer distinct set of advantages. Let’s look at some unique features CRM software offers that project management programs don’t:
- Managing sales pipeline
- Tracking Q&A
- Tracking interactions
- Follow-up tracking support
- Tracking customer referrals
- Tools to offer quotes or proposals
- Managing client engagement
Here are the things project management apps offer that CRM apps don’t:
- Tracking goals and meeting deadlines
- Tools for more effective collaboration and communication between team members
- Managing project portfolio
- Managing finances and budget
- Tools to plan the project
- Gantt charts
- Generating reports
If we look at the two sets of features that CRM and project management apps offer, it’d be clear that there’s little overlap between the two. The main difference between CRM and project management software is the timeline. CRM is a perpetually ongoing process to any business. Project management, on the other hand, happens with specific timeline (with some exceptions). So, at first, it might make sense to keep the two separate. But, that’s wrong! Let’s now look at the reasons.
Why Opt for an Integrated CRM and Project Management System
In a typical business setting project managers, marketers and customer support teams have to continuously exchange information between departments. If this exchange of information would rely on the individual apps built for specfic function, this can become inefficient and error-prone.
Integrating CRM and project management systems thus eliminates silos and gives visibility to these departments that exchange information. Let’s consider a scenario, a marketing agency company is building websites for its clients. The data for this project, such as budget, progress, deadlines, are kept in a project management database. The other needed data about customer orders, sales, contact info and such are kept in a different CRM system. And different people will have access to these systems. The sales reps will have access to the CRM system, while only the project managers and relevant team members might have access to the project management system. So, if the sales team wants to plan for cross-selling a solution (example: SEO service) to the clients who are at the end of development project, they will have to be constantly in touch with the Project team to track the progress of various projects and create sales activities accordingly. But, wouldn’t it be great if all the departments would have access to key information at a central location! Smoothly moving from a won deal to delivery of the project in the same app without re-entering any data and avoiding data loss.
Key advantages of integrating CRM and Project Management apps
The above example illustrates why it’s important to combine the two systems. Now let’s look at the the breakdown of the advantages that an integrated system can offer any company:
- Increase collaboration between separate teams
- Unify task completion based on client initiatives
- Better manage the workforce by having access to deadlines and reminders
- Gather customer related data for better customer service
- Connect customer feedback to project managers
- Cost effectiveness by eliminating additional fees associated with managing separate systems
- Manage customer lifestyle in a single system
- Higher ROI
Ultimately, a business can focus on business growth by retaining data in one place.