Using Zendesk Sell (formally Base CRM) for a Seasonal Business

Posted by David Chism | Thu, Nov 20, 2014

 Using Zendesk Sell (formally Base CRM) for a Seasonal Business
Update: Novem­ber 2018: Base has joined with Zen­desk Sup­port. Their new name is Zen­desk Sell. Their pric­ing struc­ture has changed as well. It spans from $19, $49, $99 and $199 per user. I use the words Base CRM in the arti­cle below, writ­ten in 2014. This fall (2014), I helped a sea­son­al Christ­mas light­ing com­pa­ny set­up and man­age a Cus­tomer Rela­tion­ship Man­age­ment (CRM) that I use and like: Base CRM. I have been work­ing with them since 2008. In pre­vi­ous years, the com­pa­ny used sev­er­al dif­fer­ent meth­ods to man­age leads and sales rang­ing from Google Apps, Drop­box, High­rise CRM, Zoho and a few oth­ers. Yet there was real­ly noth­ing that real­ly quite worked well until we imple­ment­ed Base. Each year the com­pa­ny’s leads have grown mak­ing it that much more cru­cial to track and man­age the sales process. Here are a cou­ple of the high­lights of how a sea­son­al busi­ness is using a CRM and why it is work­ing so well.

Web Leads

All web leads now come direct­ly into the LEADS sec­tion of Base CRM. The sales man­ag­er receives a noti­fi­ca­tion as well. The web leads form was cus­tom built with­in Base to get the detailed infor­ma­tion we need. This saves time not hav­ing to re-enter con­tact infor­ma­tion.

Lead to Deal

Once the web lead has been reviewed, we then quick­ly move the lead into the DEALS sec­tion and assign it to a sales­per­son who is noti­fied by email.

Auto­mat­ed Task 

One of the real­ly strong fea­tures of Base CRM is the auto­mat­ed task. This has been set­up so that all aspects of the sales cycle have a next step and will receive the prop­er noti­fi­ca­tions. Exam­ple: when a LEAD is moved to a DEAL (Esti­mate), it goes to the first stage of the DEAL which might be Appoint­ment Set.” Then the auto­mat­ed task kick in such as: Call to con­firm appoint­ment at 8AM tomor­row.” (that per­son will be remind­ed by email to fol­low up on that task. Also when a deal is won, I have them set­up with all the next steps in the process that are assigned to all the right peo­ple: Deposit, Sched­ul­ing of Job, Take­down Sched­uled, Con­firm­ing Instal­la­tion etc.

Email Fea­tures

Instead of bounc­ing between our email and cal­en­dar pro­grams, this Christ­mas busi­ness can now rely 100% on Base CRM for com­mu­ni­cat­ing with leads and cus­tomers. One can send any email he’d like or choose from a list of tem­plate emails for each stage of the sales cycle. For exam­ple, when we get a new lead, we like to send them a wel­come email that is per­son­al let­ting them know we are review­ing their infor­ma­tion and will be in touch short­ly. One still has to do a few clicks to get this email sent, but it real­ly only takes a few sec­onds. I’m sure this will be even more auto­mat­ed in the future. For now, the email fea­tures in Base make it one of the best CRMs on the market. 

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 2.38.59 PM

Deal Stages

We have cus­tomized each sec­tion of the deal stage. This allows the sales man­ag­er to know where a sales­per­son is at any giv­en time. He/​she can quick­ly fol­low up with his staff to make sure things are mov­ing along. Because this is such a sea­son­al and fast pace busi­ness, it is easy for deals to be missed. Base helps keep things mov­ing along with the stages, noti­fi­ca­tions and auto­mat­ed task. The ball is not eas­i­ly dropped. One can be noti­fied in sev­er­al dif­fer­ent ways: email, desk­top pop ups or on their mobile device.  DEAL STAGES

Goals and Reporting

We have not used the Goal fea­ture in Base this year. Main­ly because I’m get­ting the team used to using a CRM. I did not want to over­whelm them with too many fea­tures. I just want the con­tacts infor­ma­tion in the pro­gram, pro­pos­als uploaded and email com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Although we are not using Goals, the reports in Base will be help­ful at the end of the sea­son. We will be able to tell how many leads we received from all our sources (not just web) and how much was sold, lost or nev­er went any­where. Reports in Base are very cus­tomized and can tell you a lot about your com­pa­ny’s sales and mar­ket­ing. [cap­tion id=“attachment_2539” align=“aligncenter” width=“550”]REPORTING IN BASE One of many reports in Base.[/caption]


Many of the Christ­mas cus­tomers con­tin­ue from year to year. So we were able to go back over the past 10 years and update past DEALS. Base CRM uses an Account” fea­ture. So we can click on a cus­tomer and see how much mon­ey they have spent over the years and all their past and cur­rent DEALS (esti­mates).

Accounts in BaseDoc­u­ment Storage

I nor­mal­ly like to use Google Dri­ve for my file stor­age. You can do this with Base CRM in the Deals sec­tion too. Yet for this sea­son­al busi­ness, we’ve used Base’s built in fil­ing sys­tem instead. We upload all the paper­work, maps of the dis­plays, invoic­es and so on right into each spe­cif­ic deal. One real­ly neat fea­ture is this can be done from any mobile device run­ning the Base CRM App: iPads, Androids etc. You can take a pic­ture of some­thing, scan a doc­u­ment and upload it to a spe­cif­ic deal. This is a fab­u­lous feature. Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 4.13.22 PM

Base CRM Mobile Features 

I’ve writ­ten in past blogs that Base CRM is per­haps one of the best CRMs on the mar­ket for the mobile user. Sales­force, Zoho amongst oth­ers is very pow­er­ful for those sit­ting at a desk, but Base real­ly does shine for sea­son­al busi­ness­es and con­trac­tors who are in and out of the office. One can pret­ty much do almost 100% of their sales using a smart­phone or tablet. There are only a few key fea­tures that are on the desk­top only, such as the email tem­plates. Yet one of my favorite mobile fea­tures is the Geo-Map­ping. On an esti­mate call, a sales­per­son can click the map­ping icon to show off where the jobs are being sold and pro­duced. [cap­tion id=“attachment_2546” align=“aligncenter” width=“550”]mapping feature in base You can zoom in clos­er to see more details.[/caption] There is more you can do with Base CRM, but I want­ed to share a few high­lights on how one com­pa­ny is uti­liz­ing a CRM to help keep them orga­nized and on track in their busi­ness. It is worth the effort if you are not using a CRM. Give Base a try today and let me know what you think. You can start with a free account, yet the key fea­tures you will need start at either $15 a month per user or $45.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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