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 corporations run their enterprise and have interaction extra successfully with clients. They provide reasonably priced options for SMEs. They’ve a value level that’s usually 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 manner.

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 would fill?    

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

The goal was to permit corporations 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 equivalent to order processing and buyer help that might be a part of up the customer-facing aspect of the enterprise and simply combine with accounting programs.

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

What’s Workbooks’ USP?

Apart from the CRM service, we additionally supply a Shared Success method to new initiatives, which is a promoting level distinctive to Workbooks. Many corporations take a technology-first method to selecting the best CRM, however that may be a quick observe to failure. As an alternative, corporations ought to begin by figuring out the enterprise outcomes they need to obtain to be able to establish purposeful targets.

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

  1. We assist clients 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 clients a made-to-measure CRM for an off-the-shelf value.
  3. We provide a co-funded buyer success programme so clients can future-proof their enterprise processes with a CRM that grows with them.

What’s the essential drawback you remedy to your clients?

Our CRM platform helps SMEs develop income, improve buyer expertise, scale back operational prices, and enhance decision-making by becoming a member of up the whole enterprise. Our core CRM companies lengthen 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 have now been rated primary for buyer satisfaction by G2 for the previous six years.

What are your model values?

Our clients’ success is our success – which begins with our clients as people. Our overarching method is to concentrate on the individuals we work with, and the way we will help them be higher at what they do. Enterprise success will comply with.

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 keen to speculate 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 put money into the Workbooks platform.

Is crew tradition integral to your small business?

I feel crew 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, ensure we ship the outcomes our clients predict. The others are: ‘dedicated’, ‘inventive’, ‘establish alternatives and issues’, and ‘aggressive’ – we wish to win! However all of those firm values depend on us working nicely as a crew.

If crew tradition is integral to your small business, what do you do to go the additional mile to indicate your crew you recognize 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 a giant deal or a birthday. We even have quarterly ‘city halls’, the place I’ll present a enterprise replace to the whole 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 assume you discuss on to your customers in a transparent vogue?

Being sincere, speaking on to our prospects in a transparent vogue isn’t at all times simple. 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 may 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 cross that on to your clients or let your margins take successful and reward buyer loyalty in these more durable occasions?

A lot of our clients 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 checklist value.

Greater than 75% of our clients are on multi-year contracts, so there hasn’t been any value inflation of their Workbooks licenses. Nonetheless, prices are at all times reassessed at renewal time, and pricing could must be tailored to inflation.

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

I’ve a set of dashboards displaying knowledge from throughout the enterprise that I have a look at day-after-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 circulation.

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

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

We make incremental and continuous enhancements to our know-how stack, and, like many companies, we use some applied sciences like video conferencing instruments way over we used to. On the entire although, know-how 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 feel 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 will 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 imagine within the 12 week work technique or do you make for much longer planning methods? 

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

What’s Workbooks’ eco technique?

We’re taking steps to scale back our carbon footprint the place we will. 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 places of work as we communicate. We’re additionally taking a look at 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 growth is a key focus for us transferring ahead. In 2018, we opened an workplace in Connecticut to help our progress in North America, the place we not too long ago gained our greatest contract thus far. Inside the subsequent 12 months, we hope to develop our crew in America by one other 5 individuals.

We even have plans to open a 3rd workplace, which will likely be in Europe, and we wish to launch a brand new product to assist our clients 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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