Advertas, a marketing, strategy, and sales support agency, routinely manages its clients’ CRM systems and outreach campaigns. One such client had been on Salesforce for many years, but changing business requirements caused them to task Advertas with re-examining the landscape of CRM providers. Advertas carefully collected information on major players in the market, including the incumbent, and mapped those across a matrix of required functionality and price points. After a thorough selection process, Freshsales was the top choice as an ideal CRM for agency. Today, Advertas, together with their client, is one of the most active users of the platform, implementing end-to-end demand generation, marketing automation, and sales and customer support.
Salesforce has a reputation for being laden with features only required in very large enterprises and the price tag to match big corporate budgets. These overburdened systems cause both training and customizations to be lengthy and processes to be intricate, often requiring specialized consultants for implementation. As Laura Cuttill, Practice Lead for Advertas comments, “Systems are only as good as their adoption and usage rates. I could spend a fortune to implement a host of features and a completely customizable solution, but if my marketing and sales teams don’t enjoy using the tool, business insights and productivity suffer.”
Topping the list of effective CRM tools, particularly for small and mid-tier businesses, is the ease of setup and an intuitive interface with fewer clicks and scrolls. It should allow teams to be immediately productive from Day 1, enable integrations with multiple tools, and come at an affordable price point. In the Advertas matrix of CRM competitors, Freshsales met or exceeded all of the requirements. As Cuttill elaborates:
“When we first bumped into Freshsales, we noticed that this agency CRM software is incredibly easy to use, very intuitive and affordable for the range of features it offers on the platform. That counts for a lot in our nature of work. We are always doing things fast and furious and we don’t have the time to stop and learn a new piece of software. We hardly even had to access the documentation. Everything was right where it is supposed to be.”
The Story of Advertas
Advertas is a Texas-based agency which provides marketing, strategy and sales support to technology companies. Geophysical Insights, a software provider of seismic interpretation in oil and gas exploration, retains Advertas as their agency of record and complete outsourced marketing department. Cuttill oversees all the marketing operations. “We’ve had the pleasure of serving Geophysical Insights since its inception in 2011. The company has flourished from a startup to a major market player over the past seven years, and at every stage they have found it more beneficial to leverage our services exclusively. They don’t maintain any internal marketing teams aside from us. We are charged with developing their brand and leads, and managing it in the best possible way,” she explains.
For years, Advertas managed instances of Salesforce for agency CRM and Parature for customer support on behalf of Geophysical Insights. “The acquisition of Parature by Microsoft, and subsequent sunsetting of the product was what precipitated the search for a new solution. It had to be incredibly scalable as the business was experiencing a significant growth curve. Our challenge was really to not only examine what we needed today, but to plan for what would be needed next year and in five years,” she explains.
This launched a search for the best-in-class support platform that could also integrate with the CRM for agency tool for demand generation and digital marketing efforts. “We set off on a thorough examination of the landscape of providers, mapping features to both current and future needs,” she recalls. The list included players like HubSpot, Zoho, Pipedrive, Marketo and others.
The Brush with Freshsales
Advertas initially became acquainted with the Freshworks family of products through a prior client engagement with Freshdesk, the support platform. It was through that experience that the team decided to include Freshworks in their analysis.
Today, Advertas uses Freshsales on a 70-30 split. 70 percent of it is used for marketing automation, emailing, acquiring and following up with leads from the Geophysical Insights website, and sales campaigns, whereas 30 percent of it is used for analyzing its deals pipeline, forecasting revenue and more.
“The onboarding and implementation was also very easy. Every time we onboard a salesperson onto the Freshsales platform, we would sit with them for around 30 minutes, with 20 minutes spent on introducing them to our business and processes, and 10 minutes on explaining how we want them to use Freshsales. It’s that simple!”
Features they love the most
Bulk Emailing: This is a must-have and most-used feature by Advertas. Advertas often organizes events for clients, such as webinars and seminars. The events are promoted through targeted emails to relevant customers and prospects. Freshsales allows the customer to send 1,000 bulk emails per day per user.
Advertas builds and curates a substantial opt-in email list for Geophysical Insights, in excess of 10,000 contacts globally, necessitating an alternate sending service for larger email campaigns. For these, Advertas requested the ability to send from Freshsales using the Amazon Simple Email Service, maintaining the sync with Outlook. In order to satisfy these two conditions, the IMAP had to be connected with one mail service provider and SMTP with another mail service provider. Freshsales had that flexibility to allow for it and implemented it within a week.
Sales Campaigns: The company uses this feature to create personalized outbound campaigns for its customers. For example, every time a potential customer visits the Geophysical Insights website and downloads a whitepaper, Freshsales automatically captures the customer data, following which he/she is entered into a drip campaign wherein they receive a series of emails overthe next week or two, from thank you messages to request for meetings.
“Now that we know who they are, every time they sign up for a webinar or perform any activity on the website, all the information is automatically tracked and presented at a single glance on that customer’s account in the Freshsales platform. This is a beautiful feature.”
Integrations: Freshsales CRM seamlessly integrates with a host of commonly used business apps such as Zapier, Google for Work, HubSpot and MailChimp, and native apps like Freshdesk and Freshchat. Advertas uses our Zapier integration to track event registrations and Freshdesk for support services. “The Freshdesk integration has been outstanding. We are big believers in making things automatically happen because if it relies on a human to do it, it is subject to errors and sometimes a time delay. In a digital marketing sense, timeliness of follow up is key. The more we can do that with our integrations, the more value we can get from our data.”
A Peek into the Future
Going forward, Advertas’ targets generating more leads, creating more workflow automation to bring down the amount of time spent on a lead, and focussing on driving more business for Geophysical Insights. “Geophysical Insights is launching a new website which will be focused on driving more interaction and engagement with its customers,” says Cuttill, further adding that the team wants to add more logic to the website interface and drive more targeted marketing campaigns for its events and webinars.
“This is where Freshsales support will come into play – to drive these customizations. The Freshsales support team is very available, very responsive and there are multiple channels through which customers can approach them; chat, email and phone. I am consistently impressed with how Freshsales works with us like an extension of our own staff.”