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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.