Cyber-Duck is a digital agency based in London that specializes in user-experience, SaaS projects, and online marketing. Tom Hicks, Cyber-Duck's Online Marketing Manager, explains how the company uses Highrise below.
A CRM became a business requirement for Cyber-Duck in 2009 after Excel contact databases became messy and over-complicated. New members of the team found them difficult to decipher after years of new columns and redundant colour coding, and with the volume of enquiries we were receiving and proposals we were sending out it became difficult to keep track of new business.
During 2009 we were happily using Basecamp and knew that 37signals had another product which may suit our circumstances, but we wanted to consider all the options available to us. We set about trialling several other CRM systems for small businesses like ours, and found some great options out there, but they all had one thing in common – they were over-complicated.
What we needed was something that would give us the required functionality without all the unnecessary extras. There were 2 reasons behind this; firstly, training becomes much easier if a system is simple and indicative; secondly we wanted to ensure we were getting value for money. If a product has features which remain redundant, then you are paying for something you don’t need.
From our research, Highrise appeared to be the only solution to tick all of our boxes. It is intuitive and can be picked up with little or no training. We like the fact that we can manage and tag all contacts including staff, suppliers, associates' clients, and potential clients. The ability to browse by multiple tags (our tags shown at right) is especially impressive.
The latest ‘activity stream’ allows management to have a quick (and collaborative) overview of the current status of new deals without delving too far into the system. This is important to us because historically, internal communication about new business was difficult due to the large amount of information available and the lack of data centralisation. The ‘deals’ feature also allows a quick overview of projects which have recently been won or lost. This is great for building up a picture of cash flow for the coming months.
We’ve also found that the ‘follow up’ feature has been very useful for the sales team, as it gives them a gentle reminder of when will be a good time to follow up leads. Highrise simply works well for us; it has enough features to do what we need it to do, but 37signals don’t feel the need to continuously add more things we would be unlikely to use. It’s also quite cost efficient as pricing scales as the business does.
My tips for other Highrise customers:
Tip #1 – Exploit tags - Tags may be something you see all over the web, but don’t underestimate their power in the context of a CRM. Make sure you get all users to conform to the same tagging system, this means that when you need to find an expert in SEO or a list of your previous clients, you’ll be able to get them in the click of a button.
Tip #2 – Keep deals up to date – The whole point of a CRM is that it’s a centralised repository of information; so it’s important that you keep all your deals as up to date as you can. This means that when someone goes in to find out something about a deal, they will be presented with all they could ever ask for; thus saving time and streamlining both your day and theirs.
Tip #3 – Don’t forget the follow ups – Highrise gives you the chance to create simple follow up alerts (Tasks) for any employee. This is particularly great for sales as it allows you to set times to follow up your leads and be reminded exactly when you need to do this. Just like that, forgetting to follow up is no longer a problem!