• May 1, 2007
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

IT Meets CRM for ROI

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Javelina Software fixes problems for other businesses--it develops, markets, and sells software products to help simplify systems for network administrators. But it had some operational issues of its own. The company's clientele is diverse and its own databases were as well. "Our foremost issue was lack of a unified database--we were using several disparate systems: one for tracking customers, one for tracking enhancement requests and bug reports, another to track leads and downloads, and so on," says Dave Ritchie, president of Javelina. "These multiple systems were causing a lot of duplication of effort just trying to keep them in synch. "Because our tools are useful to anyone with a large or distributed network, our customer base is quite varied," Ritchie says. "We have customers around the globe in all kinds of industries, from banking and insurance to healthcare and education." Javelina also had difficulty accessing local systems used by its distributed personnel. Its workforce, 80 percent of them remote workers, had trouble accessing core databases. The company also lacked a system for generating and sending marketing materials: It was a matter of exporting email lists and hand massaging them to create targeted campaigns. A company-wide employee survey revealed that an integrated CRM system would resolve most of the existing issues. "We began searching for an appropriate system the very next week," Ritchie says, but that was more than two years ago. "We tried several different products and finally settled on Soffront for various reasons: price, Web access, ease of customization, and local hosting, among other things." The implementation began in early 2006. "Javelina had some very complex workflow requirements," recalls Manu Das, president of Soffront. "We worked with them to set up workflow using the Soffront CRM visual workflow manager." The implementation allowed Javelina to streamline and automate the lead capture and distribution process, allowing easy segmentation of leads and prospects for targeted campaigns. "The new system made the sales funnels more visible and offered analytics that were never available before," Das says. The customer support aspect offered seamless capture and escalation of customer issues for timely and effective resolutions, all while maintaining complete visibility into the process. The work took less than two months. "The only major bump we experienced was finding or creating tools to extract the data from our legacy systems and save it to a usable format," Ritchie says. "Of course, getting the workforce used to a new system didn't happen overnight. But once we switched over, the positives of the new system far outweighed the teething pains." Now the sales staff spends more time talking to customers. Tech support can easily document bugs and share them with remote developers. "And marketing has taken on a whole new meaning," Ritchie says. "Our marketing team just sent out targeted emails to nearly 20,000 leads and customers with the click of a few buttons. This same effort one year ago took weeks of preparation and reached less than 5,000 people." Ritchie expects more success from Javelina's use of Soffront. "There are lots of features in Soffront, and we are still today discovering new uses for the database." The Payoff Javelina Software used Soffront CRM to:
  • quadruple its marketing coverage;
  • institute one corporatewide database with increased customer information;
  • save eight to 16 hours per person, per week by reducing manual data entry and streamlining workflow; and
  • solve remote employee access issues.
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