Cloud based software has been around for a number of years now, but only really hitting mainstream over the last 12-18 months. As it has gained momentum, we are getting a much larger number of requests for cloud ‘Customer Relationship Management’ (CRM) systems that may be suitable for a growing business.
With the large number of systems now on the market, where is the best place to start? If you are on a really tight budget, you’re going to have to shop around to find the ‘best fit’. But, for businesses who value the power and competitive edge a quality CRM can add to your sales and operational teams, it would be difficult to look beyond Salesforce.
We rarely recommend a single product, and we have no financial gain in doing so, but earlier this year we migrated one of our clients, Business Brokers Queensland (BBQ), into a semi-customised Salesforce platform, and it has transformed the capabilities of the business and established an extremely solid and flexible platform for growth.
Business Brokers Queensland is, as the name implies, a business broker that handles the sales of small to medium businesses – anything from a corner store to a manufacturing business with price points from less than $100,000 to in excess of $10M. The company is rightly proud of a very high completion success rate, and puts this down to its unique internal structure. Unlike many other brokers, where staff are largely on commission, at BBQ all staff are on a salary, with just a small success component. According to Managing Director Shane Dingley, this makes the entire business sales process more collaborative and ultimately more successful.
BBQ were outgrowing their internal systems – customer and sales data was held in a number of different formats, in Sharepoint, Access, Outlook and Excel, making it hard for team members to access all the information they needed. Having worked with the KND team previously, Shane knew that KND would be a good partner to have on board in choosing and implementing a CRM solution.
BBQ’s Shane Dingley takes up the story:
“I knew that KND had no previous experience of working with Salesforce and, in considering who would partner us on this project, we did also talk to a Salesforce specialist. What was more important was that I was already familiar with KND’s collaborative approach to projects, and I knew that was what we needed to be able to choose and implement the right system for us. The KND relationship allowed us to control cost but also to stay flexible as we learnt more about the strengths and limitations of the platform.”
Unlike many other CRM’s that shoehorn your processes into their system, Salesforce provides an expert core plus customisable ‘objects’ where you can build specific database and process solutions to suit your business – without even having to write a single line of code. If you do need to write extremely custom solutions, you can move down that path as well using the ‘Force’ platform.
Similar to iPhone ‘Apps’, Salesforce has an AppExchange, where you can purchase plugin tools (free or paid) that may already suit your additional requirements.
In the case of Business Brokers Queensland, for this first adoption phase, we took the ‘Zero Code’ approach, to reduce development risk and increase speed to market. Working closely with Shane, we designed a custom object model that suited their existing business processes and brought all internal systems together – instead of multiple records in different systems, client and supplier information now resides in one place, with no duplication.
The end result was a collection of existing Salesforce objects and BBQ objects that combine into a powerful solution.
Shane reports that the new system, which has been in place for three months now, is helping everyone be a lot more productive, and is particularly impressed with the ‘Out-of-the-box’ reporting tools that give instant performance measurements to the business in real-time. He is also pleased that the system is very intuitive and easy to use, meaning not much time has been required for team training.
The next phase of the project is automation of routine tasks and the connection of third party systems, which is also a straightforward task, as many ‘Cloud’ applications already provide bolt-on tools to connect to Salesforce.
Yes, Salesforce isn’t a cheap CRM Solution (although Shane points out it is less expensive than many leading CRM systems for small-medium businesses), but in our opinion, it represents outstanding value for the right business and definitely worth investigating.
If you would like to know more and see whether Salesforce may be a good fit for your business, please give us a call.
KND can provide a range of services, starting with a ‘CRM Requirements and Gap Analysis’, through to design, custom Salesforce setup, data migration and consulting.