The Benefits of Combining CRM with Project Management

Written by – Ishtiyaq Nabi

Organizations worldwide aspire to deliver the best experience to their customers. They invest in efficient Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to maintain a centralized repository of customer information. A thorough analysis of customer interaction and information helps businesses drive customer experience and retention.

However, do you think that investment in CRM alone can guarantee you success in managing customer expectations and needs? Organizations have, of late, realized that they must also manage projects, budgets, and resources efficiently to meet customer needs in a timely manner. That’s where it becomes important to combine CRM with project management.

Through this blog post, we discuss the advantages of combining CRM with project management.

What Is CRM Software?

Customer relationship management software primarily focuses on managing interactions with customers to nurture relationships and drive sales and CSAT scores. It is used to store, organize, and analyze customer information and interaction. CRM software also helps businesses in tracking customers’ investment behavior and identifying new areas of opportunities.

What Is Project Management Software?

Project management software is designed specifically to help project managers and team leaders to accomplish business goals. PM software enables managers to delegate tasks to team members, oversee the progress of projects, and review analytics reports. This helps organizations improve project outcomes by taking appropriate actions to handle, manage, and execute projects.

Benefits of Integrating CRM With a Project Management Tool

So, how can customer relationship management be helpful in project management? Well, the purpose of project management is to ensure that tasks/projects – either internal or customer projects – are completed on time. Efficient management of projects means you are perfectly positioned to win customer trust and maintain enriching relationships with your customers/clients. That’s where integrating CRM with project management tools can play a significant role.

The combined power of CRM project management tools can help you manage your projects in the most effortless manner. Your sales teams can gain real-time insights into customer needs and feedback and, accordingly, devise more effective strategies. These strategies help your delivery teams meet customer needs on time. Project delivery teams can use CRM data for efficient planning and management. All these play a major role in delivering the right products/services to customers and maintaining long-lasting relationships with them.

Eliminate Organizational Silos

It is no surprise that the lack of effective communication across teams creates organizational silos. A minor flaw in communication across teams can create the issue of data inaccessibility. All the projects should have direct access to real-time data. This can be achieved only through establishing seamless communication across teams.

If your team members communicate easily, they can capably remove organizational silos and data inaccessibility. You can easily eliminate silos by combining CRM software and project management software. Combining these will ensure that your sales teams, marketing teams, and project delivery teams are on the same page. This not only fosters better decision-making but also allows sales teams to monitor customer journeys closely to identify new opportunities.

By integrating CRM with a project management tool, you can also connect customer feedback to your project. Change in the scope of a project can be a deal-breaker if the project delivery team is unaware of it. Thus, it is important that you keep your project delivery team informed about any change in requirements or scope. When you integrate CRM with your project management tool, it allows your customers to share feedback with all stakeholders. This keeps your project teams comprehensively updated on customer feedback so that they can work accordingly.

Bridge the Gap Between Sales and Project Delivery

Your sales teams and project delivery teams consistently need to work in close collaboration. If there is a communication gap among these teams, it can drastically impact project deliverables. You can maintain distance from such unfavorable outcomes by integrating CRM with PM tools. By integrating CRM with project management tools, you can bridge such gaps across sales and service delivery.

Let’s try to understand the significance of this through a real-world scenario. Customers often modify their requirements, which are usually governed by external factors. This compels sales teams to look out for new areas of opportunity and offer additional functionalities in the product. Consequently, sales teams often make a few changes to the agreed deliverables. In such instances, it becomes quite important to keep project delivery teams informed on the latest updates and modifications. With an integrated CRM in your project management tool, your sales teams can communicate with project delivery teams whenever needed. And your service delivery teams will have complete visibility into changing business requirements. This allows them to strategize and plan accordingly.

Complete visibility into changing scope helps project managers make appropriate resourcing decisions. Resource planning is quite critical for project success. While allocating too many resources to a project can impact costs, insufficient resource allocation can hamper the project deliverables. A PMI survey also confirms that insufficient resource allocation is among the major factors that put projects at risk. Therefore, it is important to equip your project managers with the right information for accurate resource planning. This can be accomplished through the combined power of CRM tools and PM software.

Increase Wins by Enhancing the Quoting and Proposal Process

The age of digitalization, especially since the advent of the pandemic, has compelled organizations to simplify their quoting-proposal processes. Since the advent of the pandemic, most organizations have limited their in-person interactions with clients and leads. This impacts the entire quoting and proposal processes, ultimately hampering the customer acquisition initiatives. So, these unprecedented conditions have compelled organizations to enhance the end-to-end quoting and proposal process.

You can improve your proposal process with an integrated CRM in your project management tool. With the blended potential of CRM project management, your organization enjoys an added edge for winning new contracts. It lets you respond quickly and accurately to all Requests for Quotes (RFQs), and it gives your sales and service delivery teams ample time to comprehend the requirements and to work collaboratively. The sales and service delivery teams can contemplate RFQs simultaneously to quickly formulate a comprehensive plan around service contracts, project deliverables, costs, etc.

CRM software modules allow you to maintain a detailed record of RFQs and categorize different types of customer requirements. Furthermore, your solution and service delivery teams can view the requirements from different perspectives to understand them comprehensively. Subsequently, you can establish budgets, keeping in mind the details of deliverables. Establishing seamless communication across different teams through CRM also helps in defining the SLAs of contracts and project phases. Thus, you can easily enhance the end-to-end quoting and proposal process by leveraging the combined potential of CRM and PM tools.

Bring Agility to Project Management

Organizations worldwide aspire to become more agile, and this can be achieved by inducing agility in internal processes and projects. You need to embrace change as quickly and adeptly as possible to stay competitive in the digital business world. Along similar lines, your project teams should also be prepared to respond quickly to changes in stakeholders’ needs, technology evolution, etc.

As the majority of business projects are of dynamic nature, you must work towards bringing more agility to project management. By combining your CRM with your PM solution, you can accomplish this goal quite competently. Combining CRM and PM allows you to bring your teams – sales and project delivery – closer,  so they can manage changes in project scope or customer requirements more efficiently.

When your sales teams interact with customers, they often find new opportunities to upsell or cross-sell your products and services. This motivates sales teams to modify the existing set of offerings, leading to scope creep. In this situation, it becomes quite important to inform your project delivery teams about changes. The integrated CRM and PM applications can help by enabling real-time visibility into scope creep for your service delivery teams. Improved visibility helps teams make better decisions regarding how to complete projects without delays or cost overruns.

Shorten the Bid-to-Bill Process

Organizations across all verticals feel the need to complete projects on time and generate accurate, error-free invoices. Project managers are aiming to find new ways to shorten account receivable cycles; shorter cycles can increase cash flow and enhance business growth. However, these improvements can be achieved only if all project managers and stakeholders have complete visibility into real-time project data. By integrating your CRM with project management, you can allow these stakeholders to leverage real-time visibility.

The integration of CRM with your project management tool allows you to automate common workflows across teams involved in a project. This not only reduces the administrative overheads but also paves the way for effective communication. You can simply harvest data from all the applications to create a centralized repository of project data, including resources, billing workflows, costs, etc. You can further create simplified processes to execute complex billing rules, which helps in creating more accurate, error-free invoices.

Similarly, your CRM project management tool can be used to simplify expense approval processes. A complex expense approval process can hamper project deliverables and often leads to delays. Therefore, organizations aim to simplify the overall approval process. Some CRM functionalities allow you to manage time tracking, billable hours, workload management, and so on, in a competent way. When you combine these features with your project management tools, it becomes easy for project stakeholders to shorten the entire bid-to-bill process.