By Beth Bateman, SMPS San Diego Chapter President, 2016–17
Marketing Director, SMR-ISD Consulting Structural Engineers
What’s your CRM (Client Relationship Management system)?
That was the question Kamala Kuresman of NV5 posed to a group of principals attending SMPS San Diego’s Second Principals Roundtable last week at PRAVA Construction Services.
The principals at the Roundtable represented a diverse set of firms in terms of size, number of office locations, and services offered. Surprisingly, only four of the firms said they have a CRM, with the most popular being Deltek Vision and Cosential. Several principals said they have developed their own in-house systems in Word or Excel to track proposals and some marketing and business development efforts, but not necessarily to use as a client relationship tool. The principals questioned the value of having an expensive CRM system because of the lengthy amount of time it takes to input data and keep it current. As a result of the discussion, chapter leaders at the meeting said they will discuss SMPS programs for the upcoming year to address the pros and cons of various CRM systems currently on the market.
The second half of the Roundtable was moderated by Roger Ball, President and CEO of Rick Engineering, who focused the discussion on California Senate Bill 496. The bill, which becomes law on January 1, 2018, provides some relief to design professionals by bringing indemnity on public and private projects to more reasonable and insurable levels. Under current law, a design professional can end up being 100% responsible for another party’s legal fees even if that design professional did nothing wrong.
Roger, who has worked for several years to bring this legislation into law, provided the group with the history of the existing law and heretofore unsuccessful efforts to have it overturned. There are many nuances to the new law which A/E/C professionals should understand before signing any contracts.
SMPS San Diego’s Principals Roundtable was formed earlier this year in response to an expressed need for A/E/C principals to discuss marketing and business development issues affecting their firms. The Roundtables are held four times a year at the offices of different sponsoring firms. Attendance is limited 12–15 principals who are SMPS members or have an SMPS member on staff.
The next Roundtable will be held on Nov. 7. Watch the SMPS San Diego website and weekly e-blasts for more information about the topics to be discussed.