To build a fast growing company like SpamExperts, CMO Nils Decker needed a CRM tool that converted his technology-only company into a sales-driven company.
Back in 2005, two university friends of Nils Decker launched SpamExperts, a company that had built a new technology for filtering out spam.
While they had a great technology, they had no plans to build revenue as they didn’t know who their customers should be. That’s why the founders asked Nils Decker to join their company as CMO to determine who they should be their target market. By 2008, SpamExperts had found their niche: ISPs and webhosting providers.
Decker’s challenge was to turn this technology into a company that was driven by sales. To do that he would need customers. To get customers he would need prospects. To convert prospects to customers would require management of that relationship. At the beginning, all Decker had to manage contacts was a spreadsheet. It didn’t take long before he realized a spreadsheet is useless when you want to follow up and keep track of people.
We need CRM…stat
Decker knew he needed a CRM solution, but didn’t know which one. He started with an open source solution, Vtiger, which “sort of” worked, said Decker. He complained it wasn’t smooth, was hard to define workflows, and most importantly there was no support. There was no one to call if he had a question.
Analysis of a new CRM application quickly turned towards more professional solutions. Decker and his team isolated the competition to just Salesforce and Zoho.
Criteria for CRM solution
The SpamExperts team took a look at the CRM applications based on Decker’s criteria:
- Wanted a cloud-based solution
- Great support
- Integration with Google Apps
- Calendar integration
- Easy mobile access
While many CRM applications were cloud-based, it really came down to great support, integration with Google Apps, and easy mobile access. The final criteria, cost, is what ultimately got Decker to choose Zoho CRM for his company.
Unique Use Case of Zoho:
While they toyed with other CRM applications, they are finally rolling with Zoho CRM as of one year ago.
Decker admits he’s not yet an advanced user as he’s mostly using the application for its most basic needs: calendaring plus interactions with potential and current customers.
To evolve from just a technology provider to a commercial email security vendor, the sales staff was forced to adopt a commercial CRM solution, and Decker is very pleased with the results.
“Business results from Zoho CRM, things have become a lot faster,” said Decker. “It has made our sales cycle significantly shorter. I would estimate between 30 to 40 percent.”
Advice for others
“If you want to grow as a business you have to outsource certain services. And having an Excel spreadsheet is not a professional way of dealing with your customers,” said Decker of others trying to grow a startup like he did with SpamExperts.
As soon as you start making money with those customers a spreadsheet can’t accurately track what’s going on, like how big a certain account is for you, said Decker.
“Zoho CRM will simplify your business processes, give you much shorter lead times, and actually allow you to grow your sales team,” Decker said. “Out of my 10 hour workday, I use Zoho CRM about 8 hours nonstop. It will really make it a lot easier for you to create a proper sales organization rather than just having a technology focus, or product focus, or development focus.”
Listen to my entire interview with Decker on Soundcloud.
How it started: Nils reached us through our Facebook Page with a question. Here’s what he said: