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  • Writer's pictureTristan Wilson

If it ain’t broke, then break it

TL;DR: At Edgevanta, we changed from Excel to a CRM despite my hesitations. Like the shift from Excel to estimating software, it wasn’t easy. We’d never go back.

Before we brought on a sales and customer success leader earlier this year, I was doing most of that work myself. Edgevanta was a team comprised of myself and all software engineers. In the early days, I used Excel and Google Docs to manage my existing/potential client meeting notes, pipeline, follow ups, etc. It wasn’t bulletproof but I didn’t know any better and it was easy to get started. In retrospect, for the first few months, it was perfectly fine because we didn’t have many sales or product feedback to report anyways.

Once our new Chief Sales Officer came on board, he stressed the importance that, even this early on, we needed to put the pillars in place to scale with a consistent, repeatable, systematic approach to managing our revenue and client retention efforts. So, we bought and implemented a modern Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. I take pride in our frugality as a company. I was still a little hesitant given the steep licensing fees for a nimble company of our size and thought we could eke it out for a while in Excel. Turns out I was dead wrong.

In the first week after initial set up, I had all the data I needed about sales and client activity right at my fingertips. And I didn’t have to go digging in my Google Drive for it.

Our trend analysis, transparency, team communication, and client service has improved. This is partly because the system is automated, integrated with other key programs (e.g. Slack, Jira), and gives us the data we need. I get reports sent to me twice per week and I don’t have to ask for them. I cannot imagine going back.

Highway construction bidding requires lots of tribal knowledge, gut, data, and analysis. Like many other traditional industries, construction has experienced a wave of “platform technology” over the past decade to facilitate and enhance processes, communication, and analysis. 

I remember when estimates were put together in Excel. Then, in came estimating software like B2W, HCSS HeavyBid, and InEight, which streamlined the estimating process. Life without this software seems like a distant memory. The transition wasn’t easy, and it probably took longer than it needed to reach mass adoption. 

This is a similar gap we’re trying to solve for at Edgevanta on improving Bidding & Backlog Management. This was a pain I felt as an estimator, division manager, and family business leader. When it comes to bid tab forecasting, analyzing competitor backlog, and managing internal resources, the process today can be extremely manual. It is often done in Excel. Each division or department of the company becomes further siloed and data isn’t shared or is difficult to access. It’s not uncommon for a company’s bidding strategy to be housed in the brain of 1-2 seasoned executives. There’s a better way to win more work at the right price. We can relieve some of that pressure that margin picker feels on bid day by arming them with the data they need to make the right decision. And we’re excited to be solving this problem for you.

Thanks for reading!

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