John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks

Disrupting a market and changing 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 interact extra successfully with prospects. 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 sensible and manageable manner.

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

What made you begin Workbooks? Did you wish to rock the established order, was it a problem or a niche 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 numerous IT methods: 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 methods provides pointless complexity and is pricey. So, I noticed a possibility 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 offer instruments akin to order processing and buyer assist that would be a part of up the customer-facing aspect of the enterprise and simply combine with accounting methods.

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 and marketing, 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 wish to obtain with the intention to determine practical 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 spend money on the success of our prospects’ CRM initiatives in 3 ways:

  1. We assist prospects to know what they want from CRM software program to realize their enterprise targets with a co-funded workshop.
  2. We co-fund implementation to offer prospects a made-to-measure CRM for an off-the-shelf value.
  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 most important drawback you resolve 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 the complete enterprise. Our core CRM companies lengthen 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 now we 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 method is to concentrate on 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 choice 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 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 staff tradition integral to your corporation?

I believe staff tradition must be integral to any enterprise. Now we have our 5 firm values on the wall at Workbooks HQ. An important is ‘buyer first’, which is about how we, as a enterprise, be certain that we ship the outcomes our prospects predict. The others are: ‘dedicated’, ‘artistic’, ‘determine alternatives and issues’, and ‘aggressive’ – we prefer to win! However all of those firm values depend on us working nicely as a staff.

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

Now we have a sixth unofficial firm worth, which is cake. It’s vital 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.

By way of your messaging do you assume you discuss on to your customers in a transparent vogue?

Being trustworthy, speaking on to our prospects in a transparent vogue 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 companies. We’re engaged on it, however even then, every enterprise may 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 successful and reward buyer loyalty in these harder instances?

A lot of our prospects are already protected as a result of they’ve signed a multi-year contract with us. The worth 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 prospects 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 have to 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 information from throughout the enterprise that I take a look at daily. We use the information to repeatedly overview and assess our efficiency in opposition to 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 movement.

We use this information to measure our funds efficiency. How are we doing in opposition to the place we thought we have been going to be? Do now we have 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 wish to determine potential points for patrons 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 working 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 way over we used to. On the entire although, expertise has at all times performed an vital half within the day-to-day working of our enterprise.

What’s your angle 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 in opposition to them that we are able to differentiate our companies.

It may be a lonely and pressured place to be because the lead choice 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. Generally on the identical time. Ideally on the identical time, really.

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

The quick reply is sure, I imagine within the 12 week work methodology. Nonetheless, that is really one in all three issues we do at Workbooks. At a excessive stage, now we have a 3 12 months marketing strategy, which is extra strategic; a 12 month monetary plan, which is rather more detailed and consists of budgets and KPIs; after which a 3 month plan, which focuses on our extra speedy aims and what we try to ship.

What’s Workbooks’ eco technique?

We’re taking steps to cut 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 places of work 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 facility consumption of our {hardware}.

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

Worldwide growth 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 just lately gained our largest contract up to now. 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 probably 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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