One of the hottest areas in construction technology for residential builders as of late seems to be CRM (customer-relationship management). Following last week’s news of a shift for one of the software providers in this category, others in the market are making headlines of their own with some new capabilities around sales and marketing automation.

Sales Simplicity Software,, Chandler, Ariz., announced it now offers its users cross-platform integration with Microsoft Exchange Server, as well as other mission-critical tools for builders, such as Outlook for calendar tasks and appointments.

The software provider believes the new CRM features will give builders immediate benefit through the use of single-platform, dashboard-driven campaign management tools linked directly to new-home inventory, dynamic pricing, lot availability, marketing outreach, and sales events. Seeing as how Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook have become such commonly used tools for builders, it seems like a natural extension to have sales and marketing tools tied in directly with such applications.

It speaks to an ongoing trend across homebuilding, where companies are looking for new ways to reach prospective clients, as well as connect with exciting clients in ways never before thought to be possible.

For example, social media continues to be a major source for such outreach. Sales Simplicity has already linked up its system with popular social media technologies like Facebook and Twitter, capitalizing on the ongoing trend where builders are reaching both current and prospective clients using these technologies.

“Our slogan has always been ‘beyond CRM’ and these new features certainly bear that out. Sales Simplicity has taken a powerful CRM feature set and integrated it with our sales automation, content management, and reporting systems. You cannot ask for more selling power and control at your fingertips than you get with Sales Simplicity,” says Barry Forbes, president, Sales Simplicity Software.

Circling back to the social media trend, we have seen this invade more than just the CRM realm in construction. Such technologies have made the idea of having information instantly accessible at all times, meaning buyers are demanding the same type of instantaneous communication with builders.

Today, project-management systems targeted at custom builders and remodelers rely heavy on the communication features in order to win over and retain clients. The ability to capture every email, document, photo, and correspondence with a client helps builders maintain a high level of communication.

Project management software provider BuildTools,, Minneapolis, Minn., for example, has found success in the custom builder and remodeling market, providing a specialized project-management system that builds off such elements, including communication and documentation.

Keeping in constant communication with your clients is absolutely essential to success. Technology providers are paying attention to the macro trends in the consumer world and hoping to help you apply such concepts to your operations as well.