You asked for it and we listened. In this column, we ask operators of all sizes and from all walks of the industry a question about their business and report their answers so you can assess how your own company compares to your peers. If you would like to participate, please email Rob Smentek at firstname.lastname@example.org for next issue’s question.
TOPIC: Do you use customer relationship management (CRM) software? What platform do you use? What has been the biggest advantage?
Using a CRM will significantly improve your ability to measure sales activities, gather marketing data, and keep detailed records of client relationships. We use Zoho CRM, which has been a great option for us. We love that Zoho can be customized to match our sales process, and we’ve benefited from its flexible reporting and analytics. A CRM has made it possible to maintain a clean database of client information so we can easily track our clients’ progress through the sales funnel toward their next purchase.
Michelle Biernbaum, Marketing Supervisor
BEST Transportation in St. Louis, Mo.
We changed to the HubSpot sales and marketing platform a year ago, which is more user-friendly than our previous one. We use it to track all leads, monitor metrics for all opportunities that our salespeople are working on, and to keep in touch with our clients.
It is also a great marketing tool. We can create landing pages for our website and make dynamic changes, get analytics from email blasts of the open and click-through rates, and create dynamic lists based on the type of client they are. HubSpot is a great tool, but you must spend a lot of time setting it up properly and training staff to get the best results.
Rhonda Brewster, President
Mosaic Global Transportation in San Jose, Calif.
While Salesforce is very expensive and complicated, it is the best CRM on the market, in my opinion. It integrates with everything.
Gary Buffo, President
Pure Luxury Transportation in Petaluma, Calif.
GCT struggled to find just the right CRM software for our daily needs. We tested out many different programs, but the biggest drawbacks were dramatically slowing our system down and the amount of time the software would take to fully implement.
To give each option a fair shot, we tried a different program every 7-14 days, depending on when the free trial would end. Nothing seemed to work. Finally, I came across Streak-CRM for Gmail, which allows you to run your entire sales process directly in your inbox. My interest was piqued because I no longer had to enter information in multiple programs or log in to another program just to use it.
Some additional features that have been game-changers are the follow-up reminders and email tracking. When your team is working shifts, it is critical to schedule those follow-ups no matter who is working. I also thoroughly enjoy how easy it is to navigate. At any time, I can just open my inbox and check the status of all quotes and proposals. I can also see the dollar amount of “won” sales and even see the “loss” sales. We use the losses to see if we could have improved on our proposal or our approach moving forward. There are so many tracking features for reporting that you can customize whatever works best for your team. After three months using Streak-CRM for Gmail, I would definitely agree that it is a fantastic option for anyone utilizing G Suite for their business.
Ashley Richey Goldston, General Manager Affiliate Relations
Going Coastal Transportation in Charleston, S.C.
We use PipeDrive, which is a great CRM tool available at a reasonable price. It has multiple features with access controls. PipeDrive also has a mobile app version so we can see the entire life cycle of the customer acquisition process even while on the move.
Aditya Loomba, Joint Managing Director
ECOS Mobility & Hospitality in Delhi, India
We use Insightly, which we initially tried because it was free and integrates with G Suite, which is what our business runs on; since then, we’ve outgrown the free version. Insightly is pretty simple and straightforward, and the new reporting features are very good.
Jason Messinger, President
BBZ Limousine & Livery Service in Bergenfield, N.J.
Our reservation software does a great job at maintaining our customer database; however, we use a customized version of Zoho for our relationships with all of our customers. This allows us to follow up with them to make sure the service we are offering has been reaching their expectations and plant the seed for future sales. This is also a great program to use for all of our affiliate relationships. If you choose the right CRM tool, it will offer many other options you can integrate to support your customer success.
Gus Oris, CEO
Executive Transportation in Minneapolis, Minn.
About a year ago, we were looking into the quotations we had sent out but were not booked by our customers. Over the period of a year, we discovered an enormous amount of possible, but not realized, revenue. My next thought was to compare the possible revenue with the spending for marketing. We found that we are better at investing in customers that we already have than potential clients. No sooner said than done, we added a sales tool to our reservation software (2S LimouERP) and found the support that we needed. Now we systematically generate reminders for quotations that have been sent out, follow up after a certain period of time, and document responses and categorize the reasons why it’s not been booked. The results have been a higher turnover rate, no more forgotten quotes, no more missed chances, and last not least, happy customers because they love to be wooed.
Ralf Rehder, President
Action Worldwide Limousines in Hamburg, Germany
In my 20 years in sales, I have always used Salesforce for its many capabilities, and I find it fits perfectly with Hyryde’s focus on customer service. It not only keeps the team on top of account activities using diarised tools, but also gives us an accurate forecast for the weeks and months ahead, with a bespoke dashboard that is easy to set up. Most importantly, customer notes are up to date, ensuring all information is captured and elite account management and service is provided.
Matthew Ruff, Sales & Marketing Director
HYRYDE/Powered by Reliance in London, U.K.
My sales and marketing team uses two programs that we already have in house: Outlook and Excel. We have discussed exploring some of the specific CRM programs that are out there, and are interested to read about what others are using. A number of our software programs have quasi-CRMs in them, and we can use them in our processes. Most times, they are more for historical data than future business, and it’s something we’ve suggested they build up for integration into our software to improve the sales process.
In my opinion, as long as what each company is doing is orderly and works for them, that is what matters most. Of course, we can also all learn from one another, and I will definitely be one of those who wants to learn from others on this topic.
Tracy Salinger, President & CEO
Unique Limousine in Harrisburg, Pa.
We started using LimoAnywhere last year. Brandon and the team at LA have really been wonderful to work with. They are always helpful anytime you call in and need assistance. The biggest advantage to me is having everything in one place, schedule, billing, etc. It’s a pretty amazing tool, and I’m always learning new features.
Quentin Shackelford, Owner
AllClassLimo.com in Wichita, Kansas
We utilize Salesforce as our CRM. It is a robust and beneficial tool, and provides a database that we parse through with our entire business development team. We find it to be fantastic for organizing our leads and working as a team to solidify our business growth.
Jeffrey Shanker, Chief Strategist
Black Tie Transportation in Winston-Salem, N.C.
We’ve loved hearing your answers to our benchmarking questions—but we always welcome suggestions for future topics, too!
Send an email to email@example.com you just might see your query answered in an upcoming issue.