How to Use a CRM for Project Management
Have a project but no project management tools to manage the tasks, people and resources involved? Project management is a major undertaking by yourself. You’ll need to split your time between meetings, managing people, acquiring resources, deadlines, etc. Overwhelming isn’t it?
The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described in a user or project manual, which is created at the beginning of the development process. The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget. The secondary — and more ambitious — challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and integrate them to meet predefined objectives.
Now at our disposal exists an array of automated analytical, artistic and productivity tools. Because of technology, the gap between generalist and specialist is closing and CRM automation is leading the way.
CRM Software for Project Management
Ever since we first began setting out of office responses for our email, automated processes are now becoming the preferred approach to streamlining workflows.
Automating elements of project management can help keep projects on-track, on-time and within budget. It begins early in the project with initiation and planning and ends with completion (hopefully on-time) and review, and with the program involved at each step in the process. Projects can be reviewed while the project is in progress though that can be left up to the discretion of the project manager.
An examination may include a comparison of approved project management processes with how the project is actually being managed. Each project should be assessed for the appropriate level of control needed: too much control is time consuming, too little control risks project going off projected timelines. If project control is not implemented correctly, the cost to the business should be clarified in terms of errors and fixes.
Traditionally, project management includes a number of elements: four to five project management process groups, and a control system. Regardless of the methodology or terminology used, the same basic project management processes or stages of development will be used. Major process groups generally include:
- Initiation – Determine a project is needed
- Planning – Laying out all aspects
- Execution – Launching the project
- Monitoring – Observing the progress
- Close out – Completing and reviewing
How Does CRM Assist with Project Management
Project management is greatly assisted by CRM software in many ways. The following list highlights a few, quick things:
- Helps business manage the customer lifecycle in one system
- Helps separate teams collaborate on client initiatives and deliverables through unified task management, project pipelines, budgeting, reporting, and reminders
- Connects customer feedback and input with ongoing projects
- Provides greater overall ROI for software subscription and purchase, as you typically you pay for one product instead of two
Continuing, CRM software and project management work well when coupled together. Three other elements of note can be found in the more robust software platforms that combine the two.
To keep a project focused, milestones provide the project team achievable goals in which to target. Within a CRM, reports can be generated at specific intervals and delivered to the project manager. In addition, the Dashboard can allow those with predetermined access to view progress as it happens.
Projects are broken down into smaller more manageable aspects called tasks. Tasks that comprise a bulk of the project can be automated and assigned a recurring status. As a result, the more menial and repetitive nature of certain tasks can be left to the program to perform. Thus, the larger role players can focus on the more involved tasks without delay.
In assigning the various roles in a project, the more participants within a project, the more complicated it becomes in managing everyone’s contributions. As the platform connects the team in various ways, project roles can be distinguished by using the tracking capabilities inherently found in CRM software.
Drawbacks of Using CRM Project Management
Though CRM and project management can work well together, some drawbacks may present themselves (though mostly in the most rarest of cases. Two such concerns to be aware of:
- CRM focuses on the long term whereas project management works on a by the project basis
- As the platform combines what used to be separate programs, some platforms may be considered expensive
Scenario for Using Project Management within a CRM Platform
Let’s outline a typical use of project management in a CRM. Once a lead gets entered into the CRM, processes are in place to cultivate that lead into an actual customer. Some customers require very little attention. Others, a little more. Depending on the customer’s industry and nature of business, their buying history may include attention to specific needs. This is where project management can come in.
Customer relationship management includes managing a customer’s expectation. With project management in place, attending to those specific needs, resolving unforeseen issues and accomplishing necessary tasks are more easily targeted. Once the project has been completed, the tracking data is compiled within the CRM so that referral marketing campaigns can be created.
As you can see, project management and CRM work well together. The flexible nature of an all in one program has help businesses grow much more quickly. With all the data captured and displayed within a single dashboard, all team members can track progress and make adjustments as need.
As technology develops, look for project management to increase its role within the CRM platform.