How to Use CRM Software

Managing a project can be complicated. Often, you’re juggling multiple employees and tasks, alongside deadlines and budgets. Technology can help you manage it all, but project management software is often geared toward large companies that have at least one dedicated project manager.

Many businesses don’t yet realize that advanced customer relationship management software is available to manage every project from start to finish. They already know CRMs as the platform that holds all their contact information and customer interaction history, but with the extended project management features of the latest CRMs, and integrations with other familiar tools, you can easily manage your projects using your CRM.

People Management

CRM solutions are usually linked directly to the customer relationship management process, and rightly so. A CRM is built to help you gain all the information you need to successfully build a strong, loyal customer base. But once you have that data in place, there’s no limit to what a good solution can help you do with it.

Those who have studied project management know that coordinating resources is a large part of moving things forward profitably. In addition to gathering information on your customers, a CRM also maintains a database of your own team members, including their roles within the organization. For that reason, CRMs have become a popular way to oversee team activities.

1CRM’s human resources module helps you gather all pertinent information on every team member, including contractors. You can upload a photo and HR documents, as well as track data like salary, standard cost per hour, contact information, leave, and dependents. This information will be available only to the team members who need it, but it can also make it easy to allocate resources as you note who will be on vacation at relevant times. You can also upload each team member’s resume to give managers something to review when they need workers for very specific skills.

Team Collaboration

The workforce is becoming increasingly more remote, which means the people you need in your project meetings may have to make a special trip into the office. If you remove the location restriction, you can free up your business to work with professionals across the globe. Instead of relying on periodic in-person meetings, a CRM’s collaboration tools can ensure everyone stays in touch. With 1CRM’s forums feature, for instance, team members can interact and post updates on their progress. They can also create action items and host GoToMeeting sessions with coworkers and clients.

Another feature you’ll find with 1CRM is a group calendar. From here, everyone in your organization can see what time everyone is available before scheduling a meeting. They can then invite all of the applicable people and even book meeting rooms directly from the app. Onscreen, mobile, and email reminders will make sure everyone’s notified when it’s time for a meeting to start.

Task Management

Increasingly, as you’re learning how to use CRM software, you’ll see task management as one of the offered features. You may see this and immediately think of your own daily to-do list, but this feature can actually come in handy when you’re managing a project. With 1CRM’s project tracking feature, you can create lists of project tasks and assign resources to each. When a team member logs in, that person will be able to see all of his own assigned tasks, including those that are due that particular day.

On the project management side of things, though, tracking allocated time and deadlines is essential. One of the most frustrating things about keeping a project on schedule is that unexpected emergencies can occur. Over time, you’ll find you can easily lose track of just how much time you’re losing on sick employees or more pressing tasks that require you to set the project aside. A good CRM will help you closely monitor just how much time you’re spending working on the project, as well as how much time you have remaining.

There’s another reason time tracking is important to project management. If you’re billing your own client hourly, you’ll need to be able to clearly show the hours your team has put into working on that specific account. 1CRM can easily track the work you’re doing for billing purposes, while also ensuring you stay on deadline and reach every milestone. This time-tracking feature will also help you if you’re paying employees or contractors hourly since the information can be used easily to generate timesheets and invoices within 1CRM.

Reporting Expenses

Expenses are an inevitable part of doing work, especially when you’re working on a large project. You may incur expenses like travel, meals, and office supplies, among other costs, that need to be billed to the client. Even if your business is paying for them, you might want to associate them with a specific project for your own internal tracking purposes.

A CRM project management module can help with all that, providing employees with the tools they’ll need to track and upload expenses while on the go. Using their favorite mobile devices, team members can snap photos of receipts and submit them with their expense reports. Since they don’t have to wait until they get back to the office, that means they’ll be paid faster.

Most importantly for project management purposes, though, is the fact that this information can be easily attached to a specific project. If you’re passing the expense on to your client, this association makes it easier. However, even if you aren’t directly asking for reimbursement for each of these costs, you’ll have a record of it in case questions arise later.

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Powering Client Interactions

One of the most beneficial uses of CRM project management is the very thing it was designed to do from the start. Your CRM powers your customer relationship management process, helping you track every interaction and have the data in one place, where every team member can see it. Often, you’ll view this in terms of nurturing sales leads or figuring out where to direct your marketing efforts. However, that same functionality can help when you’re working with clients on specific projects.

Today’s CRMs are built to put everything in one place, where employees can get to it. With 1CRM, you’ll have access to your email inbox from your dashboard, letting you see and respond to all your emails without leaving the app. Best of all, though, every interaction is tracked for later viewing. You’ll also be able to see what happened with the email on the other end. Did your client open that message? Forward it to someone else? Without this feature, if an issue later arises where your client blames you for a delay, you would only be able to show that you sent an email on a specific date, not that the client read it. By being able to show that the email was not only sent but opened, you’ll have more leverage when dealing with client-initiated delays.

Another way CRM solutions can help with your project management is through their communication features. As handy as calendars and forums are for internal collaboration purposes, a CRM can be even more useful when you’re scheduling meetings with clients. Using your CRM, you can not only schedule meetings and prompt clients with reminders when it’s time, but you’ll also be able to launch phone calls and video chats directly within the software, where every interaction can be tracked.

Day-to-Day Work Enhancement

When businesses decide to invest in CRM solutions, they too often focus on how to use CRM software to grow a strong customer base. However, one often-overlooked benefit of such a platform is that it helps your own team better do their own work. On the main dashboard of a tool like 1CRM, employees get an overview of all the information most pertinent to them, including emails, upcoming meetings, the current pipeline, and the status of current projects by user.

But 1CRM takes it beyond work-related information. Team members can customize their dashboard to include the day’s weather and current news, as well as updated stock market information. The RSS feed also allows users to add blog posts to their daily feed to ensure they’re always up to date on the latest happenings in your industry. This customizability not only keeps team members engaged, it also provides a portal through which they can do everything, rather than having to jump from one piece of software to another throughout the day. Perhaps most importantly of all, though, is the fact that they’ll find work more fun when they can check in on their stocks or keep up with the weather and news topics of specific interest to them while also updating their task list and scheduling meetings.

Customer relationship management solutions are no longer limited to tracking contacts. You can extend the functionality of your CRM by integrating with other tools, including Microsoft Office and WordPress. 1CRM features integrations with Stripe, Zapier, GoToMeeting, LinkedIn, and Skype, among many others. But even without these tools, a CRM project management solution like 1CRM will easily help you manage every project, from large to small. Get in touch with us today to find out how 1CRM can help with your next project.

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