To support the continued focus on account management and customer-centric business development, Hensel Phelps, a privately held construction company, enhanced the processes that drive its sales, marketing, and proposal development. The company deployed Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, unifying these activities on a single system. In addition to streamlining business processes in each of these areas, the solution provides new insight into business performance and return on investment in marketing and sales efforts.
Hensel Phelps is a privately held construction company headquartered in Greeley, Colorado. Providing development, construction, and facility management services, the company works with both domestic and international clients on a range of landmark projects, including construction for the Pentagon and many major airports.
Hensel Phelps recently evaluated its approach to new business and reengineered the processes that drive sales, marketing, and proposal development. The resulting initiative changed the way the company looks at business development. “We’ve shifted our focus to account management rather than opportunity management,” explains Jeff Darnell, Executive Director at Hensel Phelps. “Rather than chasing opportunities, we’re spending more time with our clients to identify opportunities within those existing accounts.”
New technology for a new approach
As it evaluated its business development processes, Hensel Phelps also took the opportunity to reevaluate the tools that supported key processes including sales, marketing, and proposal development. The company’s existing customer relationship management (CRM) and proposal automation system had become a particular obstacle to managing sales activities. Low user adoption of that application limited the accuracy and completeness of the sales pipeline information and historical data contained in the system. In addition, the old system did not have the capability to support related activities, such as marketing and brand management.
Hensel Phelps set out to find a new CRM solution that would support its new approach to account management by consolidating sales, marketing, and brand management functions onto a single system. The company quickly narrowed the choices to Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, ultimately choosing the latter.
“We’re not a typical sales organization,” says Darnell. “We felt that Microsoft Dynamics CRM better supports a business development model that relies on ‘seller-doers,’ such as operations managers and projects managers, as well as our marketing organization.”
In addition, the company felt that Microsoft Dynamics CRM would be more readily embraced by business users who were already familiar with Microsoft Outlook and Office, helping to alleviate the issues of low adoption that they had experienced with the previous system.
Painless deployment and upgrades
Working with its Microsoft partner, Hensel Phelps went live on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in only six months. The company originally deployed Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 to a pilot group, then upgraded to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 while completing the company-wide rollout. Darnell notes that the upgrade was “completely painless,” thanks in part to their Microsoft partner’s deep knowledge of the software and Hensel Phelps’ business processes and technology environment.
With the upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Hensel Phelps has added mobile capabilities to its CRM system. By making account information available to users in the field, the company ensures continuity of business development processes—and further encourages adoption by users who prefer Surface and other mobile devices over traditional laptops.
Connected systems deliver business insight
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online now handles processes related to business development, as well as processes specific to Hensel Phelps’s business. The company worked with a Microsoft CRM Partner to extend the solution to meet unique business requirements, for example, connecting CRM to a proposal management system built on Microsoft SharePoint Server and integrating third-party solutions for marketing automation, research, and analysis.
With sales and marketing information now residing in a single system, Hensel Phelps employees from executive management to the field have better insight into business performance and the success of proposal efforts. The company has made particular use of role-based dashboards that display key performance indicators or business metrics based on individual roles. People rely heavily on dashboards for insights ranging from a roll-up of high-level metrics across business lines to procurement efforts by district.
“Microsoft Dynamics CRM is not just a sales tool,” says Darnell. “It’s our integrated hub, bringing together branding, marketing, and sales, so that we can understand our performance as a company. In the past we relied on multiple spreadsheets, and I don’t think we ever really had a grasp of all our opportunities as a company. Now, that information is readily available.”
Streamlined proposal management
Although SharePoint Server handles the majority of the company’s proposal management, the process can be initiated using custom workflows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The solution forwards relevant account information from CRM to the proposal team, who then select and retrieve relevant marketing assets from SharePoint to automatically populate a Microsoft Word template, dramatically reducing the time and effort required to draft and complete a proposal. Completed proposals are associated with the related account in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, helping company leadership establish a more comprehensive view of the account.
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online sharing client information, SharePoint acting as a repository for key proposal elements, and automated proposal templates in Microsoft Word, the proposal team has become more efficient—a significant gain in an industry where projects costs run into the hundreds of millions, and proposals can cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce.
Marketing and campaign management
The solution has also enabled Hensel Phelps’ marketing team to systematize its efforts. Benefits include more rigorous nurture activities for new leads and opportunities, including contacts collected at trade shows and events. Marketing staff now automate campaigns related to a specific conference or trade show, including pre-event notifications and advertising, scheduling meetings during the conference, and follow-up activities after the event. The system tracks all interactions with prospects, as well as initiating the company’s six-step sales process, which has been built into the system.
Says Darnell, “In the past, notes and other details for an account were saved on someone’s personal hard drive. To get that information into the CRM system required people to rekey information, which no one wanted to do. Now we can collect all our information in Microsoft Dynamics CRM without the duplicate effort. As a result, more and better information gets into the system.”
Most importantly, the system helps Hensel Phelps understand the impacts of marketing efforts on sales and measure return on investment for specific activities, such as trade shows or campaigns. This newfound insight has enabled the company to adjust not only its future marketing strategy but also its future procurement strategy.