CRMs effectively organize contact, company, and sales opportunities information, as well as every interaction that takes place through the multitude of customer communication channels, including your website, email, phone calls, social media, and others. It is more critical than ever for marketing and sales teams to function as a cohesive unit, and CRM systems are the perfect solution to achieve that goal.
Most importantly, modern CRM solutions support the complex workflows of oilfield sales. CRM systems keep your team on task and in sync, facilitating more effective use of time and eliminating many tasks that take up time without adding value (such as searching through email archives for the most recent communication with a lead or tracking down the marketing representative who was last in contact with a key prospect for information needed to close the deal).
Oilfield Service CRM Requirements
Oilfield Service and Equipment Rentals companies have specific marketing and sales processes. The oil and Gas industry traditionally uses conventional relation-based sales. There are two major business models of the oilfield service business: localization and specialization.
Localization is based on the location of the business unit. The service area usually covers 8-12 hours driving radius. The company provides everything (or as much as possible) for their local clients. In many cases, we see transportation, rental, and service sister-companies working together under the same management team and ownership. It is way easier to sell more to the existing clients with whom you already have a working history and a good business relationship.
Specialization on specific service and/or equipment is another popular oilfield service, business model. In this case, the company starts from a narrow product offering at one location and expands the service to other areas.
Both approaches have similar sales tactics. The operating area has 200-800 target contacts, with whom the company wants to build and develop relationships. Usually, up to two salespersons per sales area can efficiently communicate with prospects. Some companies use Field Technicians as Sales Representatives.
VP of Business Development (Chief Sales Officer) needs a powerful tool to manage salesforce. Traditional CRM systems focus on B2C or B2B with thousands of contacts. On one hand, these CRM systems have lots of features and functions never used by oilfield companies; on the other hand, users request CRM customization for the oilfield. In many cases, CRM should be integrated with operation and accounting (ERP) software. It then becomes expensive.
Why did we decide to build our own CRM for Oilfield?
Customer relationship management (CRM) is more than initiating contact with potential leads. It involves nurturing contacts and building relationships, understanding client needs, and tracking their history. Making this information accessible for collaborative teams (sales, operations, accounting) is the logical next step.
Our clients asked us to recommend them a suitable CRM solution. We tested some of the most popular CRM software packages on the market. Certain CRM systems are easier to use out of the box, with simple navigation and standard workflows, while others offer a deeper and more complicated level of customization. Some are dirt cheap while others can be quite expensive once you start moving up tiers, scaling up your sales workforce, or adding premium functionality. We have implemented three different CRM systems during the last four years in our company and understood that not every CRM meets our growing needs. We realized that it would be easier to build simple CRM for Oilfield Service within riger® instead of integrating it with other solutions.
Let us explain the key factors for CRM selection, and why riger® Oilfield CRM is the best choice for energy service and rental companies.
It is important to determine which features are included with your subscription and which require third-party add-ons. It is also worth looking at the software you already use to see if it is compatible with the CRM software you are considering. Maybe you already have email marketing software that you love or you want to connect your cloud storage service, lead management tool, or customer service management platform. As we have mentioned, you will want to be able to connect your email account and perhaps your calendar, too.
Another excellent example of a value-add integration with CRM would be your oilfield operations, dispatching, and ticketing platform. Next to your salesforce, field, and operations professionals have the most direct contact with your customers, and the information they gather during even a short conversation can be like gold to a salesperson. Problems with one product line or location can mean upsell opportunities to another.
Integration today takes two basic forms. The easiest is if the CRM system or the system to which you are trying to connect supports the other as a “native” integration. This means that the company in question has a pre-built integration module that you can select, download, and implement as needed. You will have the best luck with big-name targets here, as many companies’ pre-build integrations for companies such as NetSuite or Salesforce, for example.
The other method is if both systems support an open application programming interface (API), usually one based on Representational State Transfer (REST). With an API, you can have your in-house IT staff or an out-of-house contract programmer build a custom integration for you. That option provides the most flexibility and customization, but can also add significant cost depending on the level of your coding talent.
From our experience, any CRM and riger® integration requires a minimum of two steps synchronizations: prices and items (services, equipment, materials) from riger® to CRM and quotes and bids from CRM to riger®. It is easier and more convenient to have everything in one system. Moreover, this is very cost-effective for our clients.
Price can be a significant factor when evaluating CRM software, but the analysis should focus on more than just the upfront costs. Most of the CRM software we looked at offers per-user pricing, but it is important to check what is included in that price and which features you need.
Training can eat up a chunk of the budget as can upgrades and ongoing support. Consider how much it would cost to integrate the software with the existing systems and whether or not you would need additional hardware. That mobile implementation looks slick on the vendor’s website, but will it still look that slick once you have designed the customized CRM forms your business will use every day? Does it mean the sales or customer service teams need new smartphones or maybe even tablets? These costs can quickly add up.
Smaller teams cannot afford to invest in software that asks a lot upfront; you need something that will be up and running in a day in most cases. Read the support documentation and you will get an idea of setup complexity and any issues you might bump into with the software you already have. Use the free evaluation period to try out important features: import data, add information manually, connect accounts, and assign tasks to other users. Take note of how helpful the software is and whether or not it creates more work. Keep track of how often you have to consult the help system to complete a basic task.
Customer data is an extremely valuable commodity, especially now that customers are more reluctant to part with it. Security it is not just about maintaining privacy; it is about protecting profitable relationships that directly impact your bottom line.
Integration plays a role here, but it is mostly about research. Make sure your chosen CRM software can integrate with as much of your current IT security software as possible, such as your identity management system, for example, so your employees can take advantage of the single sign-on authentication. But even more important is doing your homework. This means digging deep into the vendor’s service level agreement (SLA) and ascertaining exactly where your data resides, who is responsible for its safety, and what happens if there is a problem.
Oilfield CRM by riger®
is an integrated part of Oilfield Service ERP under the same Master Service Agreement (MSA) and uses the same security settings: individual and group user roles, single and two-factor authorization, administrator management tools, and others.
CRM Reporting and Analytics
Once you have been using CRM software to manage your leads and deals, you can see how successful you have been and where you are falling short. Look for CRM software with reporting capabilities that can be customized so you can see how your sales team is performing and which customers are responding. Look for a tool that lets you export reports if you need to present high-level data to the company stakeholders.
Next, take that API or native integration and plug it into whatever business intelligence (BI) tool your organization likes best. That’s because BI can turn that humdrum CSV or PDF file reporting data into live data visualization. This can keep you, your sales team, and anyone else with access to the CRM data completely current on the sales statistics, demographic information, product popularity, and any number of other metrics. Additionally, only today’s BI tools let you combine data from multiple sources.
Oilfield CRM by riger® has build-in reports and dashboards and API connection with Microsoft PowerBI®. Marketing, sales, operations, finance, equipment technical data can be effectively presented in the management reports and dashboards on desktops and mobile devices.
Ease of Use and Support
CRM software must be intuitive, or you will never use it. Make a note of how many clicks it takes to conduct a basic task and how easy it is to find the features you need. Beyond this, CRM software should be able to manage user errors. For example, if you try to conduct a task on the wrong screen or input the wrong data, then the best software will identify your error and suggest the right way to do it. On the other hand, poorly designed software will either let your error go unnoticed or will pop up an unhelpful error message.
Finally, when you run into problems, whether it is a software bug or a problem using a feature, you will need the responsive support team. Verify the type of support included with your subscription and their hours. If available, check through the support documentation, FAQs, and other self-service tools (options include blog entries, public knowledge bases, and even online training videos). If there aren’t any self-service options, then note that you’ll have to contact support whenever you get stuck. That said, you should contact support while you’re trying out software and make a note of the response times. Ask many questions, this will also help you familiarize yourself with the product. CRM software is complicated, but support shouldn’t be.
Watch out for gaps in the support plan. Many of these solutions, especially the SaaS entries, have tiered, subscription-based pricing. That often means different levels of support depending on the subscription you choose. If your business process requires access to the CRM on weekends, for example, then make sure you have access to the support during those hours.
Oilfield CRM by riger®
is covered by our famous world-class support: free riger® knowledge base
for every user, online Digital Oilfield Academy
to educate new users, group and individual training, fast highly-evaluated support via phone, email, and web portal
CRM for Oilfield: Now and Next
User experience (UX) has become more important than ever and being able to efficiently manage a businesses’ relationship with the customers through the entire process is a key consideration. For small to midsize businesses (SMBs) trying to emulate CRM functionality on a large and unwieldy spreadsheet could lead to a lot of confusion and redundancy. CRM solutions are easier to use than spreadsheets, they also do more than containing user and contact information because they can dynamically create calendar events and set reminders.
Taking the time to analyze not only what a prospective CRM can do, but also what you need any CRM to do in your particular sales cycle is key, and not just to get the best price on your investment. CRM has suffered from adoption problems in many companies that simply buy these tools and bolt them onto an existing sales workflow. Do that, and your salespeople and even their managers will see the system as another hurdle they need to overcome on their never-ending quest for a commission rather than a powerful tool to help them fulfill that quest more quickly.
As CRM software has grown more sophisticated, it has branched out into many different directions. There are plenty of options for implementing your CRM in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model or for deploying it on-premises by using your own server. Cloud-based CRM is rapidly growing in popularity because it means you can quickly get up to speed and not worry about managing software on your own servers, which adds complexity and cost.
It is tempting to forgo this homework and simply pay for one of the big, all-inclusive CRM software packages just to have access to every feature you might ever need. But that approach will almost certainly wind up costing you more in both time and money, while probably delivering less flexibility than you would expect. This is because large CRM software packages are often platforms rather than tools. This means those myriad features they advertise are really the products to be integrated with a host of third-party solution providers, not options you can simply turn on. Third-party integration means not only added licensing dollars but also new integration costs.
A better approach is to understand how your sales should and want to use the software. Think about the tools your team is currently using and what processes they follow. Figure out how those tasks map to the CRM software you are evaluating. Consider what the most common tasks are. For example, if the users have to dig through menus and submenus every time they want to log a call or email, then the tool will complicate their jobs instead of simplifying it. More and more CRM tools are combining the email and sales experience into a single smart inbox or centralized dashboard view to manage all or most daily communications and tasks, without leaving the CRM tool.
Choosing the right CRM software for your business can dramatically improve your teams’ collaboration and productivity, increase sales, and heighten customer satisfaction.
Stay strong Oilfield!