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 worth 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 method.

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 would fill?    

Earlier than Workbooks, I based a cloud-based electronic 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 various techniques provides pointless complexity and is dear. So, I noticed a chance to develop a CRM and enterprise purposes platform primarily for mid-sized corporations like ours.

The purpose 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 similar to order processing and buyer assist that would be 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 corporations 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?

Except for the CRM service, we additionally provide a Shared Success strategy to new initiatives, which is a promoting level distinctive to Workbooks. Many corporations take a technology-first strategy to choosing the proper 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 as a way to establish practical 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 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 offer clients a made-to-measure CRM for an off-the-shelf worth.
  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 in your clients?

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 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’ve got 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 strategy is to give attention to the individuals we work with, and the way we may 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 prepared 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 group tradition integral to what you are promoting?

I feel group tradition must be integral to any enterprise. Now we have our 5 firm values on the wall at Workbooks HQ. Crucial is ‘buyer first’, which is about how we, as a enterprise, make certain we ship the outcomes our clients expect. The others are: ‘dedicated’, ‘inventive’, ‘establish alternatives and issues’, and ‘aggressive’ – we prefer to win! However all of those firm values depend on us working properly as a group.

If group tradition is integral to what you are promoting, what do you do to go the additional mile to point out your group you recognize them?

Now we have a sixth unofficial firm worth, which is cake. It’s essential to rejoice 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 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 assume you speak on to your customers in a transparent trend?

Being trustworthy, speaking on to our prospects in a transparent trend isn’t all the time 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 could have barely totally different wants. What’s most essential is that we perceive them.

What’s your tackle inflation and rates of interest – are you going to move that on to your clients or let your margins take successful and reward buyer loyalty in these harder 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 record worth.

Greater than 75% of our clients 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 have to be tailored to inflation.

How usually do you assess the information 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 daily. We use the information to repeatedly evaluate and assess our efficiency in opposition to 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 movement.

We use this knowledge to measure our finances efficiency. How are we doing in opposition to 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 essential a part of what we do with the information each day – we wish to establish potential points for patrons as early as potential 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 know-how stack, and, like many companies, we use some applied sciences like video conferencing instruments excess of we used to. On the entire although, know-how has all the time performed an essential half within the day-to-day operating of our enterprise.

What’s your angle 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 in opposition to 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 chill out, recharge and hone your focus?

I like cooking, and I get pleasure from a glass of wine. Typically on the identical time. Ideally on the identical time, really.

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 really one in all three issues we do at Workbooks. At a excessive stage, we’ve got 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 speedy 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 automobile scheme. The electrical automobile factors are being put in at our places of work as we converse. 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 growth is a key focus for us transferring ahead. In 2018, we opened an workplace in Connecticut to assist our progress in North America, the place we just lately received our greatest contract to this point. Inside the subsequent 12 months, we hope to develop our group in America by one other 5 individuals.

We even have plans to open a 3rd workplace, which might be in Europe, and we want 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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