Design Your CRM to Be a Reflection of Your Business Agenda

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Using Zoho CRM, an outsourced sales staff shows its clients how every dollar is being used to gather leads and close sales.

The business:

Katie Berkovich is the founder and a sales executive for Contax Growth Strategies, a two-year-old consulting firm that provides outsourced sales professionals to growth stage companies. They help start ups get big enough so they can hire their own sales staff.

Contax consists of six sales executives that work on a part time basis for multiple clients. Since they’re distributed all around the country, they need collaborative cloud-based resources.

The situation:

Ever since Berkovich graduated college, she has extensively used Salesforce.com and Oracle Siebel.

Berkovich’s knowledge in CRM made her realize she couldn’t start a business with the tools she knew. The other options were simply too expensive. Salesforce required an annual contract for every rep, and Oracle Siebel required a certain number of reps to just get started. Contax has a flux of sales reps and clients coming and going. She really couldn’t commit to any specific level nor that much cash up front.

“Sometimes when you’re starting a business, $500 can be truly expensive,” Berkovich said.

Berkovich went about looking for alternatives and started searching on Google. Zoho came up in the results and there was a free trial that allowed her to test the application. Given her knowledge with CRM she knew exactly what she wanted and soon discovered Zoho could do everything she wanted it to do.

While Berkovich has a strong background in CRM, that’s not always the case with her clients. She finds herself often introducing them to CRM as their contacts are often stuck in a standard contact manager, such as Excel, ACT, or Outlook. In some cases a client only has a stack of business cards.

How they’re using Zoho

Contax’s primary use of Zoho is as a sales automation tool. When they first set up Zoho CRM it was very important that it was set up to track and report on sales activity so everyone to see, especially their clients. Berkovich immediately built in pipeline reporting so everyone could view the results of their efforts.

At any time, Berkovich can log into the system and see what’s happening with her team.

“I was checking in the midday activity report and I would look and see that Rep A called on these two accounts, they spent X number of hours on these accounts. They generated three leads on this one. Two leads on that one. What happened to them? Oh, I can see they were passed on to this other rep. I can now see this rep is closing them. And we had five things added to the pipeline today as a team,” Berkovich explained.

Since installing the pipeline system Contax has also installed Zoho time tracking, invoicing, and email. With all those applications working in sync they’re able to show their clients the hours spent and what activity that happened during that time.

“It’s really important for us to go back to a client and say, ‘This is what happened this week with your money,’” Berkovich said. “Trust is a big thing.”

Contax’s goal is to measure efficiency. They use Zoho to see which efforts yield the best results and adapt accordingly.

Advice for others

“Invest the time in learning how Zoho works. Don’t just ask someone else to set it up for you,” advises Berkovich. “It’s very important that the person running the business knows how to develop customized reports themselves.”

Berkovich says that she herself and her whole team have learned enough about Zoho that anyone can create a customized report. They leaned heavily on Zoho’s help section and the video tutorials. They’ve been invaluable and as a result they’ve yet to have to contact Zoho support.

It’s really important to be ingrained in the application because “CRM really should be designed as a reflection of the business agenda,” Berkovich said.

Listen to the full 14 minute interview here.