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For five years Monk's firm failed at managing new project opportunities or tracking customers throughout their life cycle. All they had done was build some homegrown stuff to track certain client information, such as technical specs, that were necessary for doing their job. After that, they had nothing.
"When we started everything was being tracked in my head. Which soon proved to be a non-scalable system," Monk admitted. Prior to 2007, Monk didn't even know there were tools to track sales prospects or there was a term CRM - Customer Relationship Management.
He initially implemented Salesforce in 2008, but switched to Zoho at the beginning of 2011. Monk did an exhaustive comparison of the features between Salesforce and Zoho, and came to the conclusion that the two were matched in terms of features. What they didn't match on was cost. It was the reason Monk left Salesforce. The super high costs were far too prohibitive for him to get his whole staff to use it. Zoho CRM was about 1/5th to 1/6th the cost of Salesforce.
Monk wishes he had gone to Zoho sooner because now he's getting more people using the CRM system in an intimate way. Because of the high price of Salesforce, he simply couldn't afford to get everyone in his company using the product.
It wasn't too hard to exit Salesforce and bring data over thanks to some templates provided by Zoho. Ultimately, Monk thought Zoho's performance was much faster than Salesforce especially in the ability to edit records. With Zoho you don't actually go into the edit mode for the whole record if you just want to make a simple change.
Monk takes full advantage of Zoho's Marketing Campaigns feature which gives him the ability to track results from a specific marketing effort, such as direct mail pieces and email campaigns. For example, in one case he saw that he brought in more than $120,000 from a specific $1,000 direct mail campaign. Prior to using the Marketing Campaigns feature, he had no way to determine ROI.
An analysis of your current sales and marketing process or lack thereof will make it very clear as to what’s missing, said Monk. Putting into place a CRM solution like Zoho has made our business more productive in terms of tracking information, opportunities, and learning, in every possible way. It's a learning process though. Take it a day at a time, or a chunk at a time. It’s very easy to use from the get go and to continually use it, Monk explained.
"Don’t let the end goal of a mature product be the barrier to get in the door. Cause you’ll reap benefits from day one,” Monk advises, "Every small business can benefit from a CRM solution no matter what. We’re seeing new opportunities to use the software every week."