The growing use of customer relationship management (CRM) tools by businesses big and small has created a cliche for the digital age: if you want your business to succeed, you’re going to need a CRM.
As banal as it is, that statement rings true. Relationships with your customers are crucial, and the tool you use to manage these is just as important.
Let’s take that thought a step further. Many businesses quickly realize that a CRM alone, working in a silo, isn’t enough to get to the next level. A CRM with billing, connected to the other aspects of the business, would be much better.
Here are some of the reasons why a CRM with integrated billing is a good idea:
Efficiency and Cash Flow
Every business owner knows that cashflow is king. You could argue that the more efficient your billing is, the healthier your cashflow position can become.
Whether you’re running a multinational corporation or a one-man operation out of your garage, you need the money to power your business and ensure it keeps running smoothly.
When the CRM and billing systems are not integrated, small businesses can find themselves losing track of billable items and unpaid invoices. We’ve all been there: expenses fall through the tracks, employees forget to log timesheets, invoices are not followed up on, discounts are too liberally offered…
These inefficiencies can add up to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in lost revenue. They can be the difference between a profitable business and a costly one—particularly when you’re a small business.
Tracking Every Billable Dollar (don’t lose the money you’ve already earned)
Let’s delve deeper into those missed billable items. Businesses often miss out on the revenues they should have generated and it’s not due to incompetence, sometimes there’s just too much information to track manually. It’s one of the reasons we created WORKetc.
A robust CRM system helps you consolidate all of your business data in one central app, making it easier to keep track of information without having to slog through a ton of disconnected emails, spreadsheets, and notes.
If your CRM can track projects and support tickets on top of that, you’ve got a full-on business management suite. We’d know because we developed our own.
An integrated CRM with billing features and project management (and a help desk) lets you take things several steps further. You can automatically capture all revenue activities across your entire business using only one central app.
We use our system to track every dollar we make—be it in sales, projects, or support—so everything is billed accurately and on time.
Save Time, Make Money
Having a single system handle CRM, projects, support, and billing also means that you don’t have to risk any potentially costly mistakes due to double-entry or miscounting.
Let’s say you run a digital marketing agency.
All of your employees are required to keep very close track of the time they spend doing work for your company’s clients. After all, you want to make sure that your clients are getting the amount of work they’re paying for.
If you use a separate time tracker for your agency’s projects, you’ll have to transfer the data from that app to your billing app in order to generate invoices for your clients.
It would be great if the two readily integrate since it should take only a few seconds, if not instantly like with WORKetc. We’d be looking at manual entry lasting at least a few hours otherwise!
A CRM with built-in billing and project management makes these scenarios very uncommon.
Since everything is handled by just one central system, your employees’ timesheet data can easily be accessed by the billing module to generate accurate invoices. You don’t waste any time at all.
There’s no need to switch from one app to another when you’re doing invoices, either.
Essentially, you want to ensure your business management apps will play nice with your billing app so you can cut down on your operational costs – if you can replace half a dozen or so separate apps with one centralized business management system, why wouldn’t you?
Keep Clients Happy, Help Them Better and Faster
Your business isn’t just about you, it’s also about your customers. A CRM that includes billing functionality won’t only help your business get paid faster, it will also help you understand your customers better and build more meaningful relationships with them.
Let’s say a customer calls your support team asking about an overdue fee in their latest invoice. Support can quickly check your integrated system’s billing module to see whether or not the overdue fee is, in fact, correct.
There’s virtually no time spent looking for the information they need to help your clients.
Similarly, sales and marketing can quickly see what services or products your clients bought from you in the past, letting them tailor marketing materials and sales pitches to address the client’s needs.
Customers might not like being sold to, but they certainly value being assisted in solving real problems.
Let’s say you’re a digital agency. When you’re rolling out an update for the scope of your SEO services, for example, your sales team can quickly generate a list of current clients who might be interested in the improved service and get on the case straight away.
Essentially, when you have a CRM with billing features everybody in your organization—from sales and support to management and billing—has access to the right information at the right time.
Teams with integrated systems, like CRMs with billing and project management, don’t have to spend hours and hours learning how to use separate pieces of software which, chances are, will have wildly different user interfaces and workflows.
And when a technical problem occurs? You turn to one support team, not a bunch of different people for each system. No more ‘it’s not an issue from our end’ conversations with tech support…
So What Are You Going to Do?
A CRM with billing makes sure you’re getting paid for every moment’s worth of revenue that you deserve, keep your business efficient, and set you up for success.
It centralizes two of the core functions that keep your business going: customer relationships and cash flow.
If you’re not spending time getting different tools to work together, you have more time to spend on what actually matters to your business, your product, your service, and your customers.
We developed WORKetc to address these issues and more. We support many different types of businesses and our customers love us. If you want to find out why and what we can do for you please get in touch or schedule a demo!
Talk to a real person, talk to a business owner who has had the same concerns you do. We know what it’s like; we’ve solved it for hundreds of businesses and can do the same for you.
Integrated time tracking is key to good billing. Developers underestimate nearly every time.
Part of their routine underestimation is the assumption that work will arrive with all the info needed for the job; none of the work will have changes; and with their skill, the job is easy and will require little time.
I start conversations with developers with a support ticket or project number and say track your time, starting now. Then the discussions of the best approach to reach client goals (immediate and future) becomes part of the job. The time to send reminders of the information needed gets included in the job (also good documentation when clients need days or weeks of reminders, then at the 11th hour wonder why the job isn’t finished). Client review time, with the Q&As that arise, including “what if we do this” too questions and the “go ahead and add that” statements that invariably increase the scope of work…all of this time gets recorded, and the scope of work gets adjusted, as the work is being done. Finally, internal proofing, including pre- and post-live proofing gets recorded. As does the documentation of things like client instructions, saving a great deal of time and money down the road.
Milestones are included in projects giving great tools for measuring progress and forecasting completion. These tools help keep projects from going off the rails.
I can no longer imagine keeping track of all these facets of jobs in a number of isolated silos. That’s the key beauty of WORK[etc] – one great big flexible, integrated, customizable silo covering everything.
Keeping track of our technicians time spent on tickets is crucial to the success of our business. It’s so easy for them to forget. We have set up statuses on our tickets where the techs can tell management when they have completed the work. The statuses of the tickets let us check that time spent has been actually recorded. From there, billing is a peice of cake because we use WorkEtc and it’s all integrated.
Even without the billing aspect, the timekeeping is a big plus. Being able to easy see how many ‘man-hours’ have been put into a specific project (or sub-project) is really helpful. And of course, having a good CRM really helps.
I run a weekly report for how many tickets we received within each active month and the time between creation and closure. We all track our time against the ones we work on. Marking billable hours under such activities as Business Process Engineering or Application Consulting. It is a critical aspect of how our company stays proving top of the line service. When we deliver the reports our customer’s, some of which are on programs such as Quickbooks, have no problem implementing them into their system.
CRM with Billing was a key factor in selecting WorkETC. Having one place to track time and other billable items AND send out invoices just makes sense. Because of this functionality we complete our end-of-month billing quicker, usually the first day of the following month, and consequentially get paid quicker.
Keeping track of time spent on projects alongside an expense and invoicing tool has b=meant that we can keep a close eye on projects, ensuring that they are not exceeding time and budget restrictions. It has also enabled us to keep a better hold on the work we are currently undertaking, so that we know when and if we will reach a pinch point in our ability to commit to further work.