5 things that my business could never have done without Wandsoft's CRM solution
A blog post by Susan HayesCulleton, the Positive Economist.
In order to run my business, I used to have to log on to, or remember to check, the following: a website editing platform; an online email marketing service; sundry spreadsheets on my computer, keeping track of: contacts; invoices issued (which were PDF versions of Word documents) and invoices outstanding; payments received... And that's even before I had an online shop that needed to process payments. Most startups have few resources with which to actually begin and tend to buy various cost effective, or free, services as and when you need them.
I remember vividly the point where I really should have invested in the CRM: I was looking at a heap of business cards from 40 different networking events. There was this feeling of grim resolve at having to follow up individually with each of them. Wouldn't it be wonderful to simply enter them into a kind of intelligent Rolodex and be able to send them a newsletter at regular intervals - all with a click of a button? Instead, I was stuck with a spreadsheet and having to copy-paste each individual email address whenever I wanted to get in touch.
Nowadays I only have the Wandsoft CRM. It has become my business dashboard, a one-stop shop that allows me to seamlessly integrate all the different facets of my business. The only way I can describe it is a paradigm change.
1. Our custom Wandsoft CRM allows us to house contact details in one place and to â€œslice and diceâ€ the database according to interests and other criteria.
We can send relevant content at relevant times to our specific databases, via a custom-designed, professional-looking HTML newsletter, instead of having to painstakingly contact each person separately on LinkedIn, with the LinkedIn branding all over our message.
There is also a clear benefit to our contacts, too, since once they opt in to receive communication from us, they can read it from the comfort of their own inbox, instead of having to log on to LinkedIn to read our newsletter.
And we get detailed email analytics reports on open and click-through rates: that's an essential KPI in our business, helping us to uncover what our audience is truly interested in.
2. The Wandsoft CRM also allows us to manage the company finances better, more efficiently and with a lot more data.
It's a wonderful package that enables us to automatically issue sales invoices directly from within the system, to control unpaid invoices and send automatic reminders when an invoice is outstanding.
With one click of a button, I can ask for a payments report, broken down according to payment terms (30 or 90 days). Again, one click of a button allows me to print out all the data that my accountant needs on one spreadsheet: sales invoices and their totals, it's all there.
I used to have to manually generate invoices, putting in the name and address, changing the date, etc. With this system, I just click a button to choose between VAT-able and non VAT-able, I can add comments e.g. Purchase Order numbers, the dates of training or titles of programmes in a dedicated space if needed- and voilÃ !
3. The CRM is also integrated with our e-commerce platform (we use RealEx).
If somebody buys one of my books from our online shop, their credit card details are secure thanks to RealEx, and then our CRM seamlessly works with the RealEx platform, extracting contact details for delivery and editing receipts, without us having to do anything.
The process is very smooth: our CRM, upon receipt of the order information from RealEx, creates a professional branded dispatch note for each order, with the number of book copies ordered. I don't even need to look at this, since the person who fulfills the order has access to the CRM. They can simply print out the order receipt, immediately know how many items they need to pack, and where to send them. Dispatching an order takes a few minutes, if even that.
Wandsoft's tagline is "simplifying business", and it has certainly done that for us. It's all automated and out of my hands, leaving me free to concentrate on other business matters. If I was unavailable for six months for some reason and a thousand people bought the book, it would all run smoothly even in my absence.
4. If an online transaction is abandoned for some reason, the CRM lets me know about it.
If relevant I can reach out to the customer, to check whether they encountered a problem. I was recently able to call a customer (since their contact details are in the CRM), because the CRM sent me an alert that the transaction hadn't proceeded.
It turns out the customer was asked for credit card verification, but couldn't remember their 3D secure at the time. They still wanted to go forward with the purchase and I was able to process it on the phone.
5. Event management capability
The event management capability is one function that we haven't had a need for yet in HayesCulleton. But back when I was an employee, my employer also used Wandsoft, and their event management interface is a marvel of simplicity. Create an event, and you can process registration and bookings in the same system.
The return makes the investment more than worth it. In other words, the question is not whether I can afford my Wandsoft CRM - but whether I can afford not to have it, and what would my business do without it.
Susan HayesCulleton, the Positive Economist, is MD of international financial training company Hayes Culleton Ltd. For her free entrepreneurship podcast, sign up for her monthly newsletter.