This is Part 2 of data management best practices blog series based on insights and real-world examples from Insightly customers.

Managing data: Why customer data is increasingly important (Part 1)

Managing data: How to accelerate revenue growth with data (Part 3)

As covered in the first post of the effective data use series, companies across all industries are increasingly motivated to leverage customer data.

Despite data’s importance, effectively using it can be complicated—especially for midsize companies that lack the resources of larger enterprises.

Today we’ll explore three common roadblocks to effective data use and how technology is leveling the playing field for midsize companies. We’ll also look at Insightly customers who have managed to overcome these common roadblocks.

1. Growth rate that outpaces existing IT infrastructure

“Our 5-year plan calls for 3X growth in our customer count and top-line performance.”

On paper, this type of statement sure sounds great. After all, who doesn’t want to experience rapid growth? While rapid growth can be a very good thing, growing too fast can have unintended consequences — especially on a company’s IT infrastructure.

Here are two high-growth companies, Insightly customers, that achieved the best of both worlds by adopting a CRM that could keep pace with expansion.

4over, LLC overcomes data roadblocks by centralizing all of its customer relationship data into a searchable ecosystem.

With a local presence in more than 100 geographic markets, 4over is respected as one of North America’s premier wholesale print companies. The company sells a number of different printed products through a network of third party resellers, marketing firms, and graphic designers.

With an ever-increasing amount of relationship, project, and pipeline data flowing into the company, 4over’s existing infrastructure could no longer support its growth trajectory.

“We’ve grown into a medium-sized organization and needed a more efficient way to track customer information beyond simple spreadsheets,” says Rita Ward, Overseer of Outbound Telesales at 4over. “We needed a reliable way to track who was working on what in real-time to avoid missed deadlines and miscommunication.”

By centralizing all of its customer information into a searchable, cloud-based CRM system, 4over has elevated its record keeping across the entire organization. Telesales, for example, tracks conversations with prospective customers, enabling the team to increase the effectiveness of outreach campaigns. Business development reps use the CRM to capture key correspondence and emails from any web-enabled device, streamlining customer engagement efforts and accelerating growth.

Continue reading about 4over’s success story.

Annexus Health overcomes data roadblocks by focusing on currency and recency of pipeline intelligence.

Research from the National Cancer Institute estimates that more than 1.7 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer in 2018, leaving many families in desperate need of affordable cancer care. The assistPoint platform, from Annexus Health, is a web-based software application that simplifies the process of matching patients to financial and nursing support programs.

With 250+ cancer centers already using assistPoint and thousands more in the pipeline, Annexus Health reached a pivotal point in its data management journey.

“We’re working with hundreds of cancer center organizations, each of which has multiple points of contact along with countless other data points,” says Kerry Bradley, Co-Founder of Annexus Health. “As the organization advances in its use of assistPoint, the number of linked contacts and interactions with each organization increases.”

Adopting a CRM that provides out-of-the-box integrations to other vital business systems has allowed Annexus Health to manage a rapidly expanding contact list without encountering stale data. “Google Docs, Microsoft OneDrive, and Power BI are some of the integrations we rely on,” says Bradley.

An integration to the company’s support ticketing software feeds real-time customer service data into the CRM without manual effort. “This keeps everyone in the loop, and it helps us avoid data silos in our business,” says Bradley.

Learn how Annexus Health is leveraging data to serve more cancer centers.

2. Disintegrated systems

Companies don’t typically intend to create data silos. In most cases, they form organically over long periods of time. In today’s marketplace of countless SaaS tools, there’s an app for just about every need. Each newly deployed tool brings incremental efficiency, but, without attention to system design, it can also lead to massive datasets that few users know about.

Let’s explore how two midsize companies solved the disintegration trap.

The Red Pen overcomes data roadblocks by tracking the student journey in a centralized source of truth.

Since 2011, more than 2,400 students from across the globe have trusted The Red Pen’s mentoring services. The company’s impressive track record makes it the go-to educational consulting firm for students hoping to study abroad.

With a world of students to serve, The Red Pen needed a better way to collect, organize, and track student relationship information.

“We had a lot of data, but we didn’t have an efficient way to organize it,” says Namita Mehta, Partner at The Red Pen.

Moving to a centralized customer database to track each student interaction eliminates confusion and delivers much-needed transparency to the team. Integrated inboxes combined with web-to-lead forms accelerate the organization’s ability to collect more student engagement data with less effort.

As students advance through the pipeline, won opportunities are converted into projects within the organization’s CRM, preserving a historical record of each relationship and eliminating the need for overlapping business systems. “Notes and emails stay intact throughout the entire customer journey,” says Mehta.

Continue reading about how The Red Pen harnesses data to engage more students.

Skidmore Group overcomes data roadblocks by gaining user adoption.

With a corporate history dating back to 1946, the Skidmore Group has evolved into a diversified holding firm that has built more than twenty successful brands.

Kitchen Art Design, one of the companies in Skidmore Group’s portfolio, needed a way to overcome scattered customer, project, and pipeline data.

“Customer information was spread across folders, handwritten notes, and inboxes. This made it difficult to understand customers and communicate with them,” says Rody van Vianen, Manager of Business Improvement at Skidmore Group.

To ensure a long-term solution to the problem, the team needed a CRM that was intuitive for a wide spectrum of users. “Our main consideration was ease of use,” says van Vianen.

Selecting an easy-to-use CRM has led to a strong adoption rate, better data, and fewer silos. Design consultants were the first group to adopt the CRM for enhanced sales pipeline management. Back office staff and production teams also use the system to track important details, such as customer payment and on-time delivery.

Implementing an intuitive CRM has delivered so much efficiency for Kitchen Art Design that the Skidmore Group now uses it to track investment opportunities, deals, and other information at the parent company level.

Learn more about Skidmore Group’s approach to data management.

3. Cumbersome legacy CRMs

A quick web search returns dozens of CRM products. Comparing the many features, benefits, and pricing levels can be overwhelming, leading some companies to base their decisions purely on brand recognition. While name recognition is one factor to consider, it’s not everything. More important is the CRM’s ability to adapt to your specific business model.

Here’s how DynEd and O2X improved their business processes by switching CRMs.

DynEd overcomes data roadblocks by implementing manageable CRM processes.

An impressive 25 million students have learned English by using software from DynEd International, Inc. The company’s approach incorporates a unique blend of AI-powered technology, tutors, and internationally recognized testing standards.

With millions of records to keep organized from customers, educational institutions, and business partners, the company’s legacy CRM had become unmanageable.

“Customer information would regularly be incomplete, which impacted the sales process,” says Edda Cortez, Lead Americas Sales Administrator at DynEd. A major cause of friction was the CRM’s clunky and complicated conversion workflow, which caused many team members to abandon the system altogether.

Migrating to an intuitive, easily customizable CRM has allowed DynEd to scale its sales processes. For starters, the team built highly customized, multi-stage pipelines to align with its exact sales management workflow. Reports and dashboards provide additional clarity to the deal tracking process.

“Once opportunities advance to a certain stage in the pipeline, there’s a stronger likelihood that the deal will close,” says Cortez. “This allows us to build more reliable forecasts and make smarter business decisions.”

Read more about how DynEd scaled its sales processes.

O2X overcomes data roadblocks with workflow automation

O2X is at the forefront of human performance education. With a client list that includes the US Navy, FBI, State Department, and many police and fire departments, O2X is known for elevating the performance of tactical athletes.

Seeking to elevate the efficiency of its own business processes, the O2X team needed to overcome its legacy CRM’s shortcomings.

“The system’s limited functionality did not meet our needs, which explained why so few of us actually used it,” says John Hall, Operations Manager at O2X.

The team switched to Insightly CRM, which made an immediate impact on productivity. Inbox integration, in particular, saved the team countless hours of manual data entry.

“The Insightly Sidebar allows users to quickly save contacts and correspondence without leaving their inboxes,” says Hall.

Workflow automation delivers additional efficiency, eliminating time-intensive administrative tasks. “Workflow rules, activity sets, tasks, email notifications, and project pipelines keep everything on track,” says Hall.

See how O2X uses workflow automation for other processes.

Next up, accelerating growth with data

The next, and final, article in this series will spotlight innovative ways that medium-size companies harness data to accelerate revenue growth, boost profits, and solidify customer loyalty.

As always, be sure to check out Insightly’s collection of customer stories.

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