Brenda Alderete is the Audio Team Coordinator at madelife, a launchpad for artists and entrepreneurs, founded on mentorship, collaboration, and continuous iteration.
“Boulder has this huge culture surrounding accelerator programs for businesses,” Alderete said. “There are a lot of tech accelerator programs and business incubator programs, but we want to be the absolute best!”
As one of the core people responsible for developing creative entrepreneurs, Aldrete values the importance of communication between departments, and effectively tracking incoming program participants and prospects. As such, she was eager to find a new communication solution after she noticed an inefficiency:
“There was a glaring weakness in our current tracking process and it was really hampering our ability to do what we do best, which is to support and grow amazing creative talent,” she said. “It was clear that our CRM process needed a major overhaul…”
madelife was founded three years ago and operates with the goal of supporting and promoting artists and creative entrepreneurs. They accomplish this by molding programs to suit the creative culture of Boulder, Colorado and assist those creative people pursuing their goals and dreams.
One of the primary entities for madelife is an individualized 12-week mentorship called the Creative Accelerator Program. The program caters to individuals who want to build portfolios and pursue careers in graphic design, videography, photography, and music. Half of madelife’s 6000 square foot facility is dedicated to showcasing the artistic creations that come out of the program.
At the heart of Alderete’s job is organized communication between her department and prospective program participants—the precise area in which she found a glaring CRM inefficiency.
The Challenge: Information falling through the cracks
When Alderete joined madelife’s team, the Creative Accelerator Program was just emerging from its infancy and communicating seamlessly with prospective program participants was paramount. “Every department within the Creative Accelerator Program—graphic design, videography, photography, and music—has a head coordinator,” she said. “It is my job to develop the individualized programs that we offer our participants, and communicate the value of each program to prospective participants.”
madelife was using Vtiger CRM to manage leads and coordinate outreach to interested potentials. However, this platform proved to be a major issue. “The CRM interface was absolutely hideous, not to mention outdated. And in terms of being user-friendly, it was not up to par,” Aldrete said. “The biggest problem was a flaw in the note-taking feature. After I followed-up with potentials, many of the important notes I made were getting deleted.”
These notes were an essential aspect of Alderete’s communication with interested participants. Rather than the boosting Alderete’s ability to deliver quality service to its prospective clients, Vtiger CRM was actually hampering her efforts.
Alderete soon began to explore other CRM options.
Searching for the right fit
Alderete wanted a CRM that could configure her intakes chronologically starting from most recent, as well as a straightforward place where she could see client information like names, which departments they were interested in, and any important contact information in one place.
Additionally, Alderete needed a CRM she could easily add information and update the lead status, lead source, and the date the prospective participant contacted madelife, as well as an accessible note section to keep things tightly organized.
Lastly, the “look-and-feel” was vital. “Aesthetically, I had real issues with the interface of Vtiger CRM. I wanted something that was more visually appealing and user-friendly.”
Implementing Zoho CRM
Aldrete discovered Zoho CRM early in her search, and after trying the free trail and familiarizing herself with Zoho’s interface, she recommended that madelife make the switch to Zoho CRM. In roughly 30 minutes, madelife’s IT department set up the company’s website to funnel lead information into the CRM. Alderete then imported her leads and emphasized, “the whole implementation process was extremely easy across the board.”
After making the switch to Zoho it was clear to madelife that this move was long overdue. “To say the least, the old CRM was ugly,” said Alderete. “It was not savvy, it was not fast, and it wasn’t practical. For me, I need as little difficulty as possible in doing a job that is already difficult in itself. Zoho enables this ease with flying colors.”
Zoho CRM has now been an integral part of madelife’s business for over two years now. “On a day-to-day basis, Zoho helps me stay organized and up-to-date with everything,” she said. “It’s so nice to engage with an uncomplicated interface and Zoho makes it easy for someone in my position to stay motivated and stick to the upkeep of our leads and contacts.
What would you say to other customers about Zoho CRM?
“Zoho is clean, to the point, and easy-to-use. I don’t like systems that are daunting, especially when they lack functionality. I love the simplicity of Zoho. That being said, Zoho CRM has the capabilities to be as complex as you need it to be. I would absolutely recommend Zoho to anyone.”
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