Principals Tackle Major Issues at Roundtable

By Beth Bate­man, SMPS San Diego Chap­ter Pres­i­dent, 2016–17
Mar­ket­ing Direc­tor, SMR-ISD Con­sult­ing Struc­tur­al Engi­neers

Prin­ci­pals Round­table @ PRAVA Con­struc­tion Ser­vices

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.

Prin­ci­pals Round­table @ PRAVA Con­struc­tion Ser­vices

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.





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