Graham-Pelton Consulting, Inc., a professional services company, is experiencing high growth and is also expanding into additional geographical regions. The firm recognized the need to implement a Client Relationship Management system that would keep pace with its growing client base, and help them manage the day-to-day flow of prospects, clients, and contacts. They were using a library of Word documents for their lead forms and several Excel spreadsheets to track their existing prospects and clients. Graham-Pelton was in need of a centralized database and someone to help them collect and manage their existing data.
In January 2008, Graham-Pelton engaged DB Pros to assist in converting their current processes into a more automated fashion by using CRM software.
The existing information flow was through Word documents and Excel files stored on a server; and email communications. Once a Lead Form was filled out in Word, it was then emailed to key employees to make sales team selections and analyze the prospect further. That information was then expected to be updated using the Word form. Once the team was assigned, the information from the Word form was then replicated in an Excel spreadsheet to track all prospects.
This process was extremely cumbersome, time consuming and there were numerous duplicate entry points. It also made follow-up with leads time-consuming.
Analysis of the Challenge:
Due to the use of files that were unrelated and unattached to one another, duplicate entry was a big issue for the firm. Another challenge was the requirement to manually track and edit information on prospects and clients for the management team to review and make appropriate decisions.
Graham-Pelton also had a requirement for a more efficient method for assigning resources to client projects, which took hours each month to complete. And their monthly process to submit expense reports was cumbersome and lengthy. Each employee was required to submit a separate expense report (Excel template) for each client they worked with.
DB Pros came in to assess the company’s current situation and determine the best route to move forward. It was determined that a centralized database system that all employees could access was the best solution for them. DB Pros also took their data (Word documents and Excel files) and converted them into a table structure to better manage the information prior to importing into the database system.
DB Pros conducted a system selection process, reviewing several CRM applications available in the marketplace. The field was narrowed down to three systems, and the key management team members, along with DB Pros, were involved in viewing a demo of each of the three systems together. Once the demos were completed and some contemplation amongst the management team, they decided to go forward with purchasing NetSuite as their CRM solution. NetSuite provided them everything they were looking for and more – including an accounting module.
While working with NetSuite’s implementation team through their Managed Implementation approach, DB Pros and Graham-Pelton were able to get the system customized in order to manage the firm’s day-to-day activities and improve their existing business processes. This includes field and screen layouts, reports, dashboard views, user/role setup and securities, data import, and some scripts to enhance the user experience. Once testing of all of the customizations was complete, GPC underwent training on the system through NetSuite’s trainers.
After about nine months of hard work, Graham-Pelton was able to begin utilizing NetSuite on a daily basis. The current usage of the system is just the beginning – the accounting module has not been implemented yet, but will be in the future. And there are still tweaks being made to match the user needs with how the system works.
By using NetSuite, all duplicate entry has been eliminated. Expense reports and time tracking for each employee has been streamlined through NetSuite to make it easier and faster to submit those reports. All prospect and client information is being tracked and reported on quickly and efficiently.
Over time, NetSuite will greatly enhance each employee’s time by allowing them to do other things they may not have been able to do otherwise. It will also allow the firm to do more with less – complete marketing campaigns and track the results of them; send email blasts out to their contacts; allow the CEO to see the business statistics from his Dashboard; and many more benefits.