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 have interaction extra successfully with prospects. They provide inexpensive options for SMEs. They’ve a value level that’s sometimes 50-70% decrease than different CRM suppliers like Salesforce or Microsoft, so that they’re enabling companies to scale in a practical and manageable manner.

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 niche within the market that you would 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 companies, and so forth. Operating a enterprise utilizing many various techniques provides pointless complexity and is dear. So, I noticed a possibility to develop a CRM and enterprise purposes 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 help that would 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 software platform for rising corporations that couldn’t essentially afford enterprise purposes however wanted extra functionality than easy and disjointed accounting, advertising and marketing, or gross sales instruments.

What’s Workbooks’ USP?

Other than the CRM service, we additionally provide a Shared Success method to new initiatives, which is a promoting level distinctive to Workbooks. Many corporations take a technology-first method to choosing the proper CRM, however that may be a quick observe to failure. As a substitute, corporations ought to begin by figuring out the enterprise outcomes they wish to obtain with a view to determine practical objectives.

Our Shared Success method 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 prospects’ CRM initiatives in 3 ways:

  1. We assist prospects 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 provide prospects a made-to-measure CRM for an off-the-shelf value.
  3. We provide a co-funded buyer success programme so prospects can future-proof their enterprise processes with a CRM that grows with them.

What’s the primary downside you resolve to your prospects?

Our CRM platform helps SMEs develop income, improve buyer expertise, cut back operational prices, and enhance decision-making by becoming a member of up the whole enterprise. Our core CRM companies prolong past gross sales, advertising and marketing, and buyer companies 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 been rated primary for buyer satisfaction by G2 for the previous six years.

What are your model values?

Our prospects’ success is our success – which begins with our prospects as people. Our overarching method is to deal with the individuals we work with, and the way we will help them be higher at what they do. Enterprise success will observe.

Do your values outline your choice making course of?

When serving to a buyer with their CRM implementation, it’s crucial to us that the people we’re working with perceive it. We’re keen 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 workforce tradition integral to your corporation?

I believe workforce tradition must be integral to any enterprise. Now we have our 5 firm values on the wall at Workbooks HQ. A very powerful is ‘buyer first’, which is about how we, as a enterprise, make certain we ship the outcomes our prospects predict. The others are: ‘dedicated’, ‘inventive’, ‘determine alternatives and issues’, and ‘aggressive’ – we wish to win! However all of those firm values depend on us working effectively as a workforce.

If workforce tradition is integral to your corporation, what do you do to go the additional mile to indicate your workforce you recognize them?

Now we have a sixth unofficial firm worth, which is cake. It’s vital to rejoice 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 the whole 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 customers in a transparent trend?

Being trustworthy, speaking on to our prospects in a transparent trend isn’t all the time simple. Now we have a various buyer base, and we have to talk clearly to everybody, from manufacturing to skilled companies corporations. We’re engaged on it, however even then, every enterprise can have barely completely different wants. What’s most vital is that we perceive them.

What’s your tackle inflation and rates of interest – are you going to cross that on to your prospects or let your margins take a success and reward buyer loyalty in these harder occasions?

Lots of our prospects 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 record value.

Greater than 75% of our prospects are on multi-year contracts, so there hasn’t been any value inflation of their Workbooks licenses. Nevertheless, prices are all the time reassessed at renewal time, and pricing could have to be tailored to inflation.

How usually do you assess the info 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 daily. We use the info 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 movement.

We use this information to measure our funds efficiency. How are we doing in opposition to the place we thought we had been going to be? Do we’ve any customer-related points that want resolving? This final one is a very vital a part of what we do with the info each day – we wish to determine potential points for purchasers as early as potential and perceive the explanations for them.

Is tech taking part in a a lot bigger half in your day-to-day working of your organization?

We make incremental and continuous enhancements to our know-how stack, and, like many companies, we use some applied sciences like video conferencing instruments way over we used to. On the entire although, know-how has all the time performed an vital half within the day-to-day working of our enterprise.

What’s your angle to your rivals?

I’m grateful to our rivals. I believe 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 will differentiate our companies.

It may be a lonely and pressured place to be because the lead choice maker of the enterprise. What do you do to loosen up, recharge and hone your focus?

I like cooking, and I take pleasure in a glass of wine. Generally on the identical time. Ideally on the identical time, really.

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

The brief reply is sure, I imagine within the 12 week work methodology. Nevertheless, that is really one among three issues we do at Workbooks. At a excessive degree, we’ve a 3 12 months marketing strategy, which is extra strategic; a 12 month monetary plan, which is rather more detailed and consists of budgets and KPIs; after which a 3 month plan, which focuses on our extra fast aims and what we try to ship.

What’s Workbooks’ eco technique?

We’re taking steps to cut back our carbon footprint the place we will. 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 places of work as we converse. We’re additionally taking a look at 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 enlargement is a key focus for us transferring ahead. In 2018, we opened an workplace in Connecticut to help our progress in North America, the place we just lately received our greatest contract up to now. Throughout the subsequent 12 months, we hope to develop our workforce in America by one other 5 individuals.

We even have plans to open a 3rd workplace, which shall be in Europe, and we need to launch a brand new product to assist our prospects handle initiatives 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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