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 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 practical and manageable means.

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 spot within the market that you may 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 providers, and so forth. Working a enterprise utilizing many alternative techniques 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 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 wished Workbooks to supply instruments resembling order processing and buyer assist that might be part of up the customer-facing aspect of the enterprise and simply combine with accounting techniques.

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 strategy to new tasks, 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 monitor to failure. As a substitute, corporations ought to begin by figuring out the enterprise outcomes they wish to obtain in an effort to determine practical objectives.

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 spend money on the success of our clients’ CRM tasks in 3 ways:

  1. We assist clients to know what they want from CRM software program to attain their enterprise objectives with a co-funded workshop.
  2. We co-fund implementation to present 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 to 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 your complete enterprise. Our core CRM providers lengthen past gross sales, advertising and marketing, and buyer providers 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 clients’ success is our success – which begins with our clients as people. Our overarching strategy is to deal with the folks we work with, and the way we may help them be higher at what they do. Enterprise success will observe.

Do your values outline your determination 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 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 spend money on the Workbooks platform.

Is group tradition integral to what you are promoting?

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

If group tradition is integral to what you are promoting, what do you do to go the additional mile to indicate your group you respect them?

We have now a sixth unofficial firm worth, which is cake. It’s necessary to have fun 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 sincere, speaking on to our prospects in a transparent style isn’t at all times simple. We have now a various buyer base, and we have to talk clearly to everybody, from manufacturing to skilled providers companies. We’re engaged on it, however even then, every enterprise could have barely totally different wants. What’s most necessary is that we perceive them.

What’s your tackle inflation and rates of interest – are you going to go that on to your clients or let your margins take a success and reward buyer loyalty in these more durable instances?

Lots 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 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 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 tackle your KPIs and why?

I’ve a set of dashboards displaying information from throughout the enterprise that I have a look at on daily basis. We use the information to repeatedly overview 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 circulation.

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 we’ve got any customer-related points that want resolving? This final one is a very necessary a part of what we do with the information day by 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 operating 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 excess of we used to. On the entire although, expertise has at all times performed an necessary half within the day-to-day operating of our enterprise.

What’s your angle to your rivals?

I’m grateful to our rivals. I feel they add actual worth to us. Our largest rivals, like Salesforce, have helped create the market we function in, and it’s in opposition to them that we are able to differentiate our providers.

It may be a lonely and pressured place to be because the lead determination maker of the enterprise. What do you do to chill out, 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, really.

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

The brief reply is sure, I imagine within the 12 week work technique. Nevertheless, that is really one in every of 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 way more detailed and consists of budgets and KPIs; after which a 3 month plan, which focuses on our extra instant 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 are able to. 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 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 not too long ago gained our largest contract thus far. Throughout the subsequent 12 months, we hope to develop our group in America by one other 5 folks.

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