When businesses first open their (virtual) doors, most rely on a home-brewed system to manage contacts.
Many startups bootstrap with crude databases and spreadsheets. Some even wing it with pen and paper for the first few weeks or months.
However, most growing startups begin life with a custom backend or infrastructure built internally.
There's usually a fair slab of extra work involved (and an added layer of frustration). You find yourself exporting data from one place and importing somewhere else. Each of your team members use their own process and filing convention. Not to mention the challenge of maintaining code.
But as the company grows, little hitches that were **just** annoyances - like manually downloading and uploading contacts every day - morph into serious bottlenecks. Your irritating time-suck become a genuine threat to the productivity of your business.
Legacy tech burdens attach themselves to your fast-growth startup like a ball on a chain. The sales team misses leads, employees get frustrated, and work becomes inefficient.
How to Find a Simple and Effective CRM and Stop Missing Leads
Railsware, a fast-growing software development company, knew they needed to break away from a home-brewed backend in mid-2017. A website redesign was the first step.
During this process, Railsware’s Managing Director, Sergey Korolev, wanted to find a more efficient way to process the sales and jobs inquiries that ran through the site - without having to build or write code.
Occasionally, leads or applicants were slipping through the cracks in the system. For a fast-growing business like Railsware, one missed customer was one too many. For a software development business, the lifetime value of that lead is too significant - Railsware couldn’t afford to miss it.
Sergey explains the technology step-change he was looking for in a new customer relationship management system:
"My goal was to avoid building infrastructure on the backend. Before we had the new website, the major goal of our backend was just to receive form submissions, process them, and send some emails."
These seem like relatively simple tasks, but if a form was throwing an error or an email wasn’t sending correctly, the Railsware team would have to dive deep into the backend to understand what went wrong and why.
Sergey and his team needed a few critical things to move away from this cluttered backend:
- A reliable client relationship manager (CRM) to house their contacts
- Customizable forms to collect contacts
- A way to connect the forms with the CRM
Railsware's search led them to Pipedrive.
Pipedrive offered a number of benefits that mattered to Sergey.
Apart from the simplicity of the CRM with its easy-to-use visual interface and drag and drop functionality - Pipedrive could help the business in multiple ways.
The pipeline design has built-in features to shuttle Railsware's job candidates and customers through their specific hiring stages.
You can see just how easy it is to manage any workflow with Pipedrive’s visual interface in action in this explainer video:
Automate Sales and HR Contacts
To simplify lead collection for both the sales and HR teams, Railsware uses two form generators:
Railsware’s lead generation contact form is simple and straightforward - perfect for a potential customer who wants to make contact quickly. Typeform's customization helps Railsware tell more of their company's story - a huge advantage to help the team entice more applicants.
The Railsware team had their form apps and CRM ready to go.
But Sergey needed something better than a copy/paste or manual entry for these apps to efficiently send information to each other.
Before the website redesign, the Railsware team manually entered contacts into a spreadsheet or CRM - an administrative bootstrap most startups need early in their growth stage.
This kind of time-consuming manual work is very prone to error (especially when tedious data entry is involved). Sergey knew the redesign presented the perfect opportunity to make this process more effective. He opted to ditch manual work for automated workflows with Zapier.
Now, when form responses come in, Sergey's Zap (Zapier's word for automated workflows) automatically creates contacts in Pipedrive, and instantly creates deals for each response, too.
Sergey explains just how helpful the Zapier automation proved to streamline the team’s Pipedrive workflow:
"Before, finding the best quality leads was a problem. Sometimes we missed leads because someone didn't add this person to the spreadsheet. Now, if it's done automatically, it's the right way all the time."
Give these Zaps a try for yourself and you can automatically create contacts and deals in Pipedrive instantly.
Create Projects and Conversations from Pipedrive
With the right information flowing to Pipedrive every time, Sergey experimented with more automated workflows: By connecting Pipedrive to apps like Trello and Slack, the Railsware team manages projects and shares information automatically - nobody is required to do any of the manual work.
Once the applicant reaches the skills test stage in Pipedrive, another Zap triggers, creating a card in project manager, Trello.
In Trello, the hiring team monitors the assessment, and because Zapier adds the applicant's information from Pipedrive to the card, they can easily access everything about the applicant they need as they administer the next step.
Even if you don't use Trello, you can create projects and tasks from Pipedrive in your preferred app.
When an interested customer takes the time to fill out a "Contact Us" form, timing matters. They're hooked and the sales team needs to bring them in fast. The quicker that initial contact, the more likely they are to qualify that lead.
In an effort to speed up their initial contact, Sergey connected Pipedrive to team chat tool, Slack. When new contacts are created in Pipedrive, Zapier sends a message to Railsware's sales team with the lead's name, email address, phone number, and what service they're interested in. Armed with all this information immediately, the sales team closes deals faster and offers a better experience for their clients.
Send your team notifications from Pipedrive as they come in and watch those sales soar in real time.
Follow Railsware’s Lead and Automate Your Sales Process
Railsware paired the simplicity of Pipedrive with the customization power of Zapier to automate as much of their manual work as possible.
Railsware found immediate improvements.
Sending contact information wherever they need it (project tools, team chat, etc.) and instantly creating contacts cut down on errors and allowed Railsware’s sales and HR teams to focus on their strategic work, rather than drowning in a sea of repetitive tasks.
Railsware happened to be in the middle of a redesign when they examined their workflows, but you don't have rebuild your site to add some efficiency back into your day-to-day.
Sergey sums it up perfectly:
"You start with something small and then you try to improve your solution, bit by bit, make it better and better."
All images are courtesy of Railsware. Also, a huge thanks from Pipedrive and Zapier to Sergey and the Railsware team for sharing their success story to help you grow ;)
What's your story? Tell us how you use Zapier to do more.