The story of WES: How BluRoot turned a simple need to update a CRM field into a scalable solution with over 400 users
- SolutionAuto-filling of Zoho CRM fields
BluRoot is a Zoho premium partner based in Toronto, Canada, offering consulting services on Zoho’s cloud software to businesses. Over the years, they've used their Zoho expertise to build Zoho CRM extensions and specialized CRM solutions for insurance and mortgage brokers.
Being Zoho partners, BluRoot worked with scores of Zoho CRM customers, and found that many times they wanted to update fields with information from other existing fields in Zoho CRM.
It was a very common problem that clients brought to them, saying, "this field that's in my Contacts module, I want it to also appear in Deals." But as straightforward as that sounds, BluRoot found that there was no straightforward way to get it done!
So every time this request was made, they had to take the time to write code to accomplish it. And then, if the client changed their mind, BluRoot found themselves writing the same Deluge function over and over again.
BluRoot was looking for a better way to do this—and that's where the idea for the WES extension for Zoho CRM came from.
The solution: WES for Zoho CRM
BluRoot decided to build a nice front end with a simple editor, so that the clients themselves could add fields when they wanted. As they got feedback from clients, they used this input to iterate and make the WES extension evolve to a point where it enabled advanced field mapping by allowing clients to take a field's data and add it to another field, or even pick a field and have it shared with all related list records, and more.
This helped BluRoot's clients take control of their CRM and move data around it easily, without the need for a developer.
This wasn't BluRoot's first stint using Sigma to build an extension, so it took them around two months to get the first version of WES done on the platform. This included everything—developing the widgets and all the front-end and back-end work that needed to be done.
But BluRoot didn't stop there! As feedback poured in, BluRoot iterated and did sprints every two weeks to a month, to do additions to the initial WES extension. And they've done three or four of those already since their initial release in May 2022.
We asked Tom Hall, co-founder of BluRoot, to tell us about his team's experience working with Zoho—and here's what he had to say.
BluRoot's experience with Zoho
"Yeah, I'll start with the building side of things. And that one was really good. We had a Cliq channel with the right people on it, where we asked questions and we got responses very quickly. So that was very positive and no complaints there in terms of building it."
BluRoot had opted for the Launchpad program that we offer to partners who have recently launched an extension on Marketplace. In line with that, we did a number of promotions for their extension in our newsletters, on social channels, etc.
Here's what BluRoot had to say about this co-marketing experience.
"The co-marketing has been excellent. The sheer volume and reach Marketplace's marketing has is great! In terms of actually promoting the product, it has been very good. You've done a lot of stuff, like these different carousel-type social posts, newsletters, an article; in terms of the content, I think it's been very very good."
Interacting with the partnership team
"The partnership team has been excellent. I'd say probably the best part of the whole experience was working with the partnership team; they were great. Just doing all the things, in terms of featuring us in newsletters, doing articles, doing a lot of different support to help market for us. It has been exceptional."
BluRoot feels that the partnership team understands where they were coming from as partners, had a keen understanding of what BluRoot needed, and were able to deliver on it.
"They have a very good understanding of what needs to get done, and they do a good job executing it."
User base: BluRoot has had 400+ installations for the WES extension, and approximately half of them are paying users.
Revenue: Listing the WES extension on Zoho Marketplace has helped BluRoot in two big ways; the first being to acquire many customers without taking the slow, laborious route, and the second being BluRoot taking a step towards getting steady revenue each month, so they can make plans to invest in R&D and human resources.
"So you think about all 400 downloads—there's no way we could take on 400 clients at a time, but now 400 people can download our tool and use it. Also, we've always made a push towards getting more predictable revenue. Instead of, you know, as a service—we're only ever as good as who's available to hire us. And listing on the marketplace has been huge step towards that. It's a steady revenue stream that continues to grow. So Marketplace has been a huge part of our strategy as an organization, and it will continue to be."
BluRoot's pointers for other partners
1. When you list your first extension on Marketplace, there might be a few speed bumps that you'll have to work through. But the effort is worth it, and it gets easier; once you understand exactly how the platform is set up, it becomes very straightforward to use. So, work hard to push through these speed bumps.
2. Think about what you are really good at and how you can turn that into a scalable solution. That's a big thing about the Marketplace, you can serve hundreds of customers with one solution!
3. Once you've built your solution, just talk to the partnership folks; they're helpful and will really help promote and market your solution and make sure that it's a meaningful part of your business that can contribute to your business' revenue.
Summing it up
Building and listing a solution on Marketplace does require time. But was it worth it for BluRoot?
"Yes, listing on Zoho Marketplace is an investment; but that investment pays off very, very quickly. If we look back and think if we'd make that investment in Zoho Marketplace again? We'd do it a hundred times over. The revenue, how we're able to help people, and the big difference it makes for our business was well worth it."