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.
Flexible Customization Delivers a Crystal-Clear Business Advantage
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.
Streamlined Operations and Flowing Contracts Yield Big ROI
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–
"Our business is constantly evolving and the fact that our QuickBase application can change
and evolve with us is priceless."