John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks

Disrupting a market and turning into an enabler for SME progress – 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 worth 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 sensible and manageable method.

John Cheney, CEO, talks to Enterprise Issues and shares his story …

What made you begin Workbooks? Did you need to rock the established order, was it a problem or a spot within the market that you could possibly fill?    

Earlier than Workbooks, I based a cloud-based e mail safety enterprise. As we grew, like many SMEs, we invested in varied IT programs: 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 alternative programs provides pointless complexity and is pricey. So, I noticed a chance to develop a CRM and enterprise functions platform primarily for mid-sized firms like ours.

The intention 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 needed Workbooks to supply instruments reminiscent of order processing and buyer assist that would be part of up the customer-facing aspect of the enterprise and simply combine with accounting programs.

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 and marketing, or gross sales instruments.

What’s Workbooks’ USP?

Other than 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 selecting the best CRM, however that may be a quick monitor to failure. As an alternative, firms ought to begin by figuring out the enterprise outcomes they need to obtain with a view to determine practical targets.

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 put money into the success of our clients’ CRM tasks in 3 ways:

  1. We assist clients to know what they want from CRM software program to realize their enterprise targets with a co-funded workshop.
  2. We co-fund implementation to present clients a made-to-measure CRM for an off-the-shelf worth.
  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 predominant drawback you resolve on 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 all the 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 got 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 deal with the folks we work with, and the way we may also help them be higher at what they do. Enterprise success will observe.

Do your values outline your determination 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 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 put money into the Workbooks platform.

Is group tradition integral to your corporation?

I believe group tradition must be integral to any enterprise. We have now our 5 firm values on the wall at Workbooks HQ. An important is ‘buyer first’, which is about how we, as a enterprise, ensure we ship the outcomes our clients 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 nicely as a group.

If group tradition is integral to your corporation, what do you do to go the additional mile to point out your group you recognize them?

We have now a sixth unofficial firm worth, which is cake. It’s essential to have fun 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 all the 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 customers in a transparent style?

Being trustworthy, speaking on to our prospects in a transparent style isn’t all the time simple. We have now a various buyer base, and we have to talk clearly to everybody, from manufacturing to skilled companies companies. We’re engaged on it, however even then, every enterprise can have barely completely different wants. What’s most essential 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 a success and reward buyer loyalty in these more durable occasions?

A lot 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 worth.

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

How typically do you assess the information you pull in and deal with your KPIs and why?

I’ve a set of dashboards displaying knowledge from throughout the enterprise that I take a look at on daily basis. We use the information to repeatedly overview and assess our efficiency in opposition to KPIs. We take 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 circulate.

We use this knowledge to measure our price range efficiency. How are we doing in opposition to the place we thought we have been going to be? Do we’ve got any customer-related points that want resolving? This final one is a very essential a part of what we do with the information every day – we need to determine potential points for patrons 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 know-how stack, and, like many companies, we use some applied sciences like video conferencing instruments excess of we used to. On the entire although, know-how has all the time performed an essential half within the day-to-day operating 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 are able to differentiate our companies.

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

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

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 truly one in every of three issues we do at Workbooks. At a excessive degree, we’ve got a 3 yr marketing strategy, which is extra strategic; a 12 month monetary plan, which is way more detailed and contains budgets and KPIs; after which a 3 month plan, which focuses on our extra fast goals and what we are attempting to ship.

What’s Workbooks’ eco technique?

We’re taking steps to cut back our carbon footprint the place we are able to. For instance, we partake within the Cycle to Work Scheme and are nearly to introduce an electrical automotive scheme. The electrical automotive factors are being put in at our workplaces as we communicate. 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 throughout 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 progress in North America, the place we just lately received our greatest contract to this point. Inside the subsequent 12 months, we hope to develop our group in America by one other 5 folks.

We even have plans to open a 3rd workplace, which might 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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