John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks

Disrupting a market and turning into an enabler for SME development – hats off to John Cheney …

Workbooks is a cloud-based SaaS CRM platform that helps rising firms run their enterprise and interact extra successfully with clients. They provide inexpensive options for SMEs. They’ve a value level that’s usually 50-70% decrease than different CRM suppliers like Salesforce or Microsoft, in order that they’re enabling companies to scale in a sensible and manageable method.

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 spot within the market that you may fill?    

Earlier than Workbooks, I based a cloud-based e mail safety enterprise. As we grew, like many SMEs, we invested in numerous IT techniques: we used Salesforce as our platform for gross sales, however then a separate platform for advertising automation, finance, buyer providers, and so forth. Operating a enterprise utilizing many various techniques provides pointless complexity and is dear. So, I noticed a chance to develop a CRM and enterprise functions platform primarily for mid-sized firms like ours.

The purpose was to permit firms to construct higher companies and take away the burden of managing a number of, siloed options. Together with conventional CRM, I wished Workbooks to offer instruments equivalent to order processing and buyer assist that might be a part of up the customer-facing facet 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 firms that couldn’t essentially afford enterprise functions however wanted extra functionality than easy and disjointed accounting, advertising, or gross sales instruments.

What’s Workbooks’ USP?

Apart from the CRM service, we additionally supply a Shared Success strategy to new tasks, which is a promoting level distinctive to Workbooks. Many firms take a technology-first strategy to choosing the proper CRM, however that may be a quick monitor to failure. As an alternative, firms ought to begin by figuring out the enterprise outcomes they wish to obtain with the intention to determine purposeful objectives.

Our Shared Success strategy 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 clients’ CRM tasks in 3 ways:

  1. We assist clients to grasp what they want from CRM software program to realize their enterprise objectives with a co-funded workshop.
  2. We co-fund implementation to offer clients a made-to-measure CRM for an off-the-shelf value.
  3. We provide a co-funded buyer success programme so clients can future-proof their enterprise processes with a CRM that grows with them.

What’s the essential downside you resolve in your clients?

Our CRM platform helps SMEs develop income, improve buyer expertise, cut back operational prices, and enhance decision-making by becoming a member of up your entire enterprise. Our core CRM providers lengthen past gross sales, advertising, and buyer providers to incorporate advertising 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 have now been rated primary for buyer satisfaction by G2 for the previous six years.

What are your model values?

Our clients’ success is our success – which begins with our clients as people. Our overarching strategy is to concentrate on the folks we work with, and the way we can assist them be higher at what they do. Enterprise success will comply with.

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 speculate the time into making certain 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 enterprise?

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, be certain we ship the outcomes our clients expect. The others are: ‘dedicated’, ‘artistic’, ‘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 enterprise, what do you do to go the additional mile to point out your workforce you respect them?

Now we have a sixth unofficial firm worth, which is cake. It’s vital to have a good time milestones collectively, whether or not that’s profitable a giant deal or a birthday. We even have quarterly ‘city halls’, the place I’ll present a enterprise replace to your entire firm, and as a part of that course of, we recognise the achievements of key people. We name them our Workbooks heroes.

By way of your messaging do you suppose you discuss on to your shoppers in a transparent style?

Being sincere, speaking on to our prospects in a transparent style isn’t at all times straightforward. Now we have a various buyer base, and we have to talk clearly to everybody, from manufacturing to skilled providers corporations. We’re engaged on it, however even then, every enterprise may have barely totally different wants. What’s most vital is that we perceive them.

What’s your tackle inflation and rates of interest – are you going to move that on to your clients or let your margins take successful and reward buyer loyalty in these more durable occasions?

Lots of our clients 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 listing value.

Greater than 75% of our clients are on multi-year contracts, so there hasn’t been any value inflation of their Workbooks licenses. Nonetheless, prices are at all times reassessed at renewal time, and pricing might should be tailored to inflation.

How usually do you assess the information you pull in and tackle your KPIs and why?

I’ve a set of dashboards displaying knowledge from throughout the enterprise that I have a look at every single day. We use the information 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 move.

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

Is tech enjoying a a lot bigger half in your day-to-day operating of your organization?

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

What’s your perspective 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 providers.

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

I like cooking, and I take pleasure in a glass of wine. Typically on the similar time. Ideally on the similar time, truly.

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

The brief reply is sure, I consider within the 12 week work technique. Nonetheless, that is truly one among three issues we do at Workbooks. At a excessive stage, we have now a 3 yr marketing strategy, which is extra strategic; a 12 month monetary plan, which is rather more detailed and contains budgets and KPIs; after which a 3 month plan, which focuses on our extra quick goals 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 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 inside the subsequent 12 months?

Worldwide enlargement is a key focus for us transferring ahead. In 2018, we opened an workplace in Connecticut to assist our development in North America, the place we not too long ago received our greatest contract to this point. Throughout the subsequent 12 months, we hope to develop our workforce in America by one other 5 folks.

We even have plans to open a 3rd workplace, which shall be in Europe, and we wish to launch a brand new product to assist our clients handle tasks extra successfully.


Cherry Martin

Cherry is Affiliate Editor of Enterprise Issues with accountability 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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