John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks

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 have interaction extra successfully with prospects. They provide reasonably priced options for SMEs. They’ve a worth level that’s sometimes 50-70% decrease than different CRM suppliers like Salesforce or Microsoft, so 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 could possibly fill?    

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

The goal 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 wished Workbooks to supply instruments reminiscent of order processing and buyer help that would be a part of up the customer-facing facet 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 functions however wanted extra functionality than easy and disjointed accounting, advertising and marketing, or gross sales instruments.

What’s Workbooks’ USP?

Except for 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 choosing the proper CRM, however that may be a quick observe to failure. As a substitute, firms ought to begin by figuring out the enterprise outcomes they need to obtain with a purpose 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 put money into the success of our prospects’ CRM initiatives in 3 ways:

  1. We assist prospects to grasp what they want from CRM software program to attain their enterprise targets with a co-funded workshop.
  2. We co-fund implementation to present 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 predominant drawback you clear up on 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 your complete enterprise. Our core CRM companies prolong past gross sales, advertising and marketing, and buyer companies to incorporate advertising and marketing 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’ve got 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 give attention to the individuals we work with, and the way we can assist 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 take a position the time into guaranteeing 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 staff tradition integral to your enterprise?

I feel staff tradition must be integral to any enterprise. We’ve our 5 firm values on the wall at Workbooks HQ. Crucial is ‘buyer first’, which is about how we, as a enterprise, ensure that we ship the outcomes our prospects predict. The others are: ‘dedicated’, ‘inventive’, ‘determine alternatives and issues’, and ‘aggressive’ – we wish to win! However all of those firm values depend on us working effectively as a staff.

If staff tradition is integral to your enterprise, what do you do to go the additional mile to indicate your staff you admire them?

We’ve a sixth unofficial firm worth, which is cake. It’s vital 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 your 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 shoppers in a transparent style?

Being trustworthy, speaking on to our prospects in a transparent style isn’t all the time simple. We’ve 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 could have barely completely different wants. What’s most vital is that we perceive them.

What’s your tackle inflation and rates of interest – are you going to cross that on to your prospects or let your margins take a success 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 record 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 all the time reassessed at renewal time, and pricing could should be tailored to inflation.

How usually do you assess the information you pull in and handle your KPIs and why?

I’ve a set of dashboards displaying knowledge from throughout the enterprise that I take a look at each day. We use the information to repeatedly evaluation and assess our efficiency towards KPIs. We take 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 knowledge to measure our funds efficiency. How are we doing towards the place we thought we have been going to be? Do we’ve got any customer-related points that want resolving? This final one is a very vital a part of what we do with the information every day – we need to determine potential points for purchasers as early as potential 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 all the time performed an vital 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 get pleasure from a glass of wine. Typically on the similar time. Ideally on the similar time, really.

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

The quick reply is sure, I consider within the 12 week work methodology. Nevertheless, that is really one in all three issues we do at Workbooks. At a excessive degree, we’ve got a 3 yr 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 fast aims and what we are attempting to ship.

What’s Workbooks’ eco technique?

We’re taking steps to cut 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 automobile scheme. The electrical automobile 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 cut back the ability 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 help our progress in North America, the place we lately received our largest contract so far. Throughout the subsequent 12 months, we hope to develop our staff in America by one other 5 individuals.

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

Cherry Martin

Cherry is Affiliate Editor of Enterprise Issues with duty 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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