John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks

Disrupting a market and turning into an enabler for SME progress – hats off to John Cheney …

Workbooks is a cloud-based SaaS CRM platform that helps rising firms run their enterprise and interact extra successfully with prospects. They provide inexpensive options for SMEs. They’ve a worth level that’s sometimes 50-70% decrease than different CRM suppliers like Salesforce or Microsoft, in order that they’re enabling companies to scale in a practical and manageable method.

John Cheney, CEO, talks to Enterprise Issues and shares his story …

What made you begin Workbooks? Did you need to rock the established order, was it a problem or a spot within the market that you may fill?    

Earlier than Workbooks, I based a cloud-based e-mail safety enterprise. As we grew, like many SMEs, we invested in numerous IT techniques: we used Salesforce as our platform for gross sales, however then a separate platform for advertising automation, finance, buyer companies, and so forth. Operating a enterprise utilizing many alternative techniques provides pointless complexity and is dear. So, I noticed a chance to develop a CRM and enterprise purposes platform primarily for mid-sized firms like ours.

The intention was to permit firms to construct higher companies and take away the burden of managing a number of, siloed options. Together with conventional CRM, I needed Workbooks to supply instruments comparable to order processing and buyer assist that might be a part of up the customer-facing aspect of the enterprise and simply combine with accounting techniques.

In order that was the imaginative and prescient: to create a enterprise software platform for rising firms that couldn’t essentially afford enterprise purposes however wanted extra functionality than easy and disjointed accounting, advertising, or gross sales instruments.

What’s Workbooks’ USP?

Other than the CRM service, we additionally provide a Shared Success strategy to new initiatives, which is a promoting level distinctive to Workbooks. Many firms take a technology-first strategy to selecting the best CRM, however that may be a quick monitor to failure. As an alternative, firms ought to begin by figuring out the enterprise outcomes they need to obtain to be able to determine useful targets.

Our Shared Success strategy helps companies outline and prioritise their enterprise outcomes, perceive their necessities for CRM, and set clear expectations for implementing it. We spend money on the success of our prospects’ CRM initiatives in 3 ways:

  1. We assist prospects to grasp what they want from CRM software program to realize their enterprise targets with a co-funded workshop.
  2. We co-fund implementation to provide prospects a made-to-measure CRM for an off-the-shelf worth.
  3. We provide a co-funded buyer success programme so prospects can future-proof their enterprise processes with a CRM that grows with them.

What’s the fundamental drawback you clear up to your prospects?

Our CRM platform helps SMEs develop income, improve buyer expertise, cut back operational prices, and enhance decision-making by becoming a member of up the complete enterprise. Our core CRM companies prolong past gross sales, advertising, and buyer companies to incorporate advertising automation, occasion administration, order administration and fulfilment, invoicing, and provider administration functionalities for SMEs. We work consultatively with companies to ship a CRM and workflow that addresses their distinctive challenges. In doing so, we’re proud to say we now have been rated primary for buyer satisfaction by G2 for the previous six years.

What are your model values?

Our prospects’ success is our success – which begins with our prospects as people. Our overarching strategy is to deal with the folks we work with, and the way we will help them be higher at what they do. Enterprise success will observe.

Do your values outline your resolution making course of?

When serving to a buyer with their CRM implementation, it’s essential to us that the people we’re working with perceive it. We’re prepared to take a position the time into making certain they’re utilizing the instruments efficiently, as a result of we all know, long run, in the event that they’re profitable, they’ll proceed to spend money on the Workbooks platform.

Is workforce tradition integral to your small business?

I believe workforce tradition must be integral to any enterprise. Now we have our 5 firm values on the wall at Workbooks HQ. A very powerful is ‘buyer first’, which is about how we, as a enterprise, make certain we ship the outcomes our prospects expect. The others are: ‘dedicated’, ‘artistic’, ‘determine alternatives and issues’, and ‘aggressive’ – we wish to win! However all of those firm values depend on us working effectively as a workforce.

If workforce tradition is integral to your small business, what do you do to go the additional mile to indicate your workforce you respect them?

Now we have a sixth unofficial firm worth, which is cake. It’s essential to have a good time milestones collectively, whether or not that’s successful an enormous deal or a birthday. We even have quarterly ‘city halls’, the place I’ll present a enterprise replace to the complete firm, and as a part of that course of, we recognise the achievements of key people. We name them our Workbooks heroes.

When it comes to your messaging do you suppose you speak on to your customers in a transparent trend?

Being trustworthy, speaking on to our prospects in a transparent trend isn’t at all times straightforward. Now we have a various buyer base, and we have to talk clearly to everybody, from manufacturing to skilled companies corporations. We’re engaged on it, however even then, every enterprise can have barely completely different wants. What’s most essential is that we perceive them.

What’s your tackle inflation and rates of interest – are you going to go that on to your prospects or let your margins take successful and reward buyer loyalty in these more durable instances?

Lots of our prospects are already protected as a result of they’ve signed a multi-year contract with us. The value of the product stays the identical throughout that contract interval, no matter what goes on with our public listing worth.

Greater than 75% of our prospects are on multi-year contracts, so there hasn’t been any worth inflation of their Workbooks licenses. Nevertheless, prices are at all times reassessed at renewal time, and pricing might should be tailored to inflation.

How typically do you assess the info you pull in and deal with your KPIs and why?

I’ve a set of dashboards displaying information from throughout the enterprise that I have a look at each day. We use the info to repeatedly evaluation and assess our efficiency towards KPIs. We have a look at top-line income, gross sales efficiency, buyer satisfaction, buyer well being, buyer retention charges, after which key monetary metrics, like billings and money circulate.

We use this information to measure our finances efficiency. How are we doing towards the place we thought we had been going to be? Do we now have any customer-related points that want resolving? This final one is a very essential a part of what we do with the info day by day – we need to determine potential points for patrons as early as attainable and perceive the explanations for them.

Is tech enjoying a a lot bigger half in your day-to-day operating of your organization?

We make incremental and continuous enhancements to our expertise stack, and, like many companies, we use some applied sciences like video conferencing instruments excess of we used to. On the entire although, expertise has at all times performed an essential half within the day-to-day operating of our enterprise.

What’s your perspective to your opponents?

I’m grateful to our opponents. I believe they add actual worth to us. Our largest opponents, like Salesforce, have helped create the market we function in, and it’s towards them that we are able to differentiate our companies.

It may be a lonely and pressured place to be because the lead resolution maker of the enterprise. What do you do to loosen up, recharge and hone your focus?

I like cooking, and I take pleasure in a glass of wine. Typically on the identical time. Ideally on the identical time, truly.

Do you consider within the 12 week work technique or do you make for much longer planning methods? 

The brief reply is sure, I consider within the 12 week work technique. Nevertheless, that is truly one in all three issues we do at Workbooks. At a excessive degree, we now have a 3 12 months marketing strategy, which is extra strategic; a 12 month monetary plan, which is rather more detailed and contains budgets and KPIs; after which a 3 month plan, which focuses on our extra rapid aims and what we try to ship.

What’s Workbooks’ eco technique?

We’re taking steps to scale back our carbon footprint the place we are able to. For instance, we partake within the Cycle to Work Scheme and are nearly to introduce an electrical automotive scheme. The electrical automotive factors are being put in at our workplaces as we communicate. We’re additionally methods to run our enterprise in a extra environmentally pleasant method. For instance, we’re working with our suppliers to scale back the facility consumption of our {hardware}.

What three issues do you hope to have in place throughout the subsequent 12 months?

Worldwide enlargement is a key focus for us shifting ahead. In 2018, we opened an workplace in Connecticut to assist our progress in North America, the place we not too long ago received our greatest contract to this point. Throughout the subsequent 12 months, we hope to develop our workforce in America by one other 5 folks.

We even have plans to open a 3rd workplace, which will probably be in Europe, and we need to launch a brand new product to assist our prospects handle initiatives extra successfully.

Cherry Martin

Cherry is Affiliate Editor of Enterprise Issues with accountability for planning and writing future options, interviews and extra in-depth items for what’s now the UK’s largest print and on-line supply of present enterprise information.

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