Pure Water Tech (PWT) had a golden opportunity to capitalize on a new water filtration technology, but its high-cost customer relationship management (CRM) system was too inflexible to accommodate an aggressive sales plan. After replacing Salesforce.com with a more flexible QuickBase CRM application, PWT saved up to $100,000 annually and improved the productivity of its sales team by over 50 hours per day.
Three and a half years ago, PWT struck gold when it seized an opportunity to market the PW1RTM, a proprietary water filtration system that reduced the costs associated with in-office water coolers while helping rid the environment of plastic water bottles. While PWT's technology advantage was growing the business quickly, it was the company's commitment to customer satisfaction that drove the business to succeed. PWT manages all customer relationships, from the free trial to the finance and lease contracts. The result? PWT enjoys an 85% success rate in converting free-trial customers to real-world contracts.
According to Mike Nelson, PWT's chief operating officer, Salesforce.com was expensive and did not give the company the functionality it needed to manipulate data. What's more, PWT needed sales management software that could easily be shared with the growing base of 130 distributors nationwide and 13 international distributors.
"With Salesforce I had one template, and everything needed to fit in that itty-bitty box, which is not the way the business world works. We needed a product that allowed us to adapt and grow," said Nelson.
PWT was already using QuickBooks for accounting when it decided to explore QuickBase as a replacement for Salesforce. Nelson liked the affordability of QuickBase, as well as the ability to manipulate data throughout all the different work flows. And, since PWT and many other dealers were already using QuickBooks, the QuickBase functionality would be intuitive and ensure a smooth transition.
"I couldn't afford to have a hiccup in our system. Our business is sales and I needed to make sure everything flowed smoothly. If not, sales could be impacted at a very high cost to my bottom line," said Nelson.
PWT started off by customizing a QuickBase sales management template, eventually turning it into a comprehensive online CRM application used to manage the complete sales process. It is a tight two- to three-week sales cycle from the time a lead is identified until a contract is signed. Because 99% of customers start with a seven-day free trial, it is essential to track these customers so they can be converted to contracts before their free trials end.
With QuickBase, sales and telemarketing staff have centralized access to up-to-date customer history, service calls and installation schedules. Local, regional and national managers use the application to monitor inventory and ensure that contracts and installations are fulfilled on schedule. Technician and installation resources are queued when a new contract is created. In addition, customer renewals are automatically triggered with an automated email reminder, so no sales opportunities go untapped.
The transition to QuickBase from Salesforce sales management software could not have been easier. Nelson simply exported the Salesforce data into an Excel spreadsheet (CSV file) and then imported it into QuickBase, a process he says took only about three hours and required very little technical skills.
Nelson finally has an online CRM application that benefits his dealers too. He can easily email the QuickBase application stripped of proprietary customer data to his distributors, so they too can use it for CRM.
"Being able to dump my application into an email and send it to a dealership like ours in North Dakota that also leases and services PW1R's puts all of us months ahead and gives us a huge competitive advantage," said Nelson.
The transition from Salesforce to QuickBase is paying off nicely for Nelson and PWT. With all customer and sales information centralized in an online CRM tool, the company has been able to reduce the amount of paper and printing needed to share information, all while giving employees direct, real-time access to information. As a result, PWT has reduced its administrative requirements from eight staffers down to two — a 75% reduction.
Since data needs to be entered into the system only once, sales personnel can spend more time in the field and less time inputting and managing data. Nelson estimates his company has regained approximately one hour of sales time every day for each of its 52 sales representatives.
The financial benefits of QuickBase have also paid off. PWT was spending approximately $55 per user each month on Salesforce and now spends a mere $12 per user for QuickBase (this amount includes extra storage and other data back up costs that PWT has selected with their plan). Overall savings for the company is $3,000 monthly. Combined with the administrative costs saved since switching to QuickBase, Nelson estimates that QuickBase saves PTW $50,000– 100,000 yearly.
"Our business is constantly evolving and the fact that our QuickBase application can change and evolve with us is priceless."
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