How California SaaS startup Shortlist cut cost by 50% and sustained growth with Freshsales

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SaaS company Shortlist’s COO Joey Frasier was looking for a SaaS CRM to nurture customers of his growing startup and build a solid B2B business model. His first CRM— Streak— didn’t meet his expectations of a qualitative CRM. So he moved Shortlist to Freshsales, and automated business activities via integrations to other apps. In six months, Freshsales helped reduce costs by 50% and sustained business growth of the startup.

Shortlist—manage external workforce

Officially launched in 2016, Shortlist is a SaaS startup headquartered in San Francisco, California. Shortlist helps companies find and manage their complete external workforce (freelancers, contractors and vendors) by providing a single platform to source, on-board, manage, review/rate and pay them.


Joey Frasier
Co-founder and COO 

Joey told us how Freshsales enabled his sales team to automate practices, save time, and reduce costs in their 6-month journey.

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Challenges with Streak CRM: Lack of structure and control

Before Shortlist grew to a team of  10+ employees, it was co-founders Joey Frasier and Martin Konrad who managed the SaaS startup on all fronts.

They were initially using Streak CRM. Being a browser extension that integrates right into Gmail, it appeared simple and effortless to begin with:

Streak was a lightweight and flexible CRM. It was great for Martin and I to use during the beta phase of our product. It was something quick to step into with our existing Gmail.

But as Shortlist’s customer base started to grow, Streak became very limiting to their use. Being a CRM for Gmail, it’s not compatible with other domains and although simplified, it lacked structure in effectively organizing and managing data.

Streak fell short of meeting Shortlist’s needs, and a more robust SaaS CRM was necessary to handle business growth and enrich customer relationships:

Unfortunately, the lack of structure made it really difficult—almost impossible— to continue using Streak. Managing data with limited control and visibility was a challenge.

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Choosing Freshsales over Salesforce

With two new sales reps to power inbound and outbound leads, Joey was on the lookout for a SaaS CRM that met their business needs:

We wanted a CRM that’s structured and gives us control—at the same time be simple and lightweight for our small team.

When it came to finalizing a SaaS CRM, Joey made a business choice between Freshsales and Salesforce.

While the ultimate choice was Freshsales, it’s stand against Salesforce in Shortlist’s case is particularly noteworthy here.

Why?

Because Joey dismissed free Salesforce licenses despite being regarded as “a leading CRM”:

Although I’ve used Salesforce before and could’ve had it for free, I didn’t want to hire a full-time CRM admin to implement it. It wouldn’t have been the right choice for my team.

Freshsales met Shortlist expectations of a more structured CRM through its core modules, email, integrations, and reporting.

Freshsales UI is elegant, and it’s UX gives us the structure we wanted. On-boarding was extremely helpful and painless—compared to my experience at Salesforce which took three weeks just to negotiate. Our team got up and running with Freshsales unbelievably quickly.

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Upselling with Freshsales-Segment integration

Joey and his reps are able to follow customer activity—see what page they visit, and track their actions— on the Shortlist platform through Segment integration. The data collected in Segment is automatically pushed to Freshsales.

Segment integration has enabled our sales reps to easily identify upsell candidates in Freshsales. We’re able to capture customer interaction with our product, and make it actionable. This proactively drives new sales.

Shortlist’s SaaS product is available in two models—Transactional (manual payment to vendors) and Professional (automated payments).

Now, when a Transactional user makes a manual payment, sales reps are able to view this activity in Freshsales under the lead/contact page. This integration allows them to identify upsell opportunities through customer activity.

By associating such identified customers with tags through custom fields, they’re able to plan targeted upsell campaigns; thereby, effectively using the integration.

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Generating leads with Smartforms

Previously, it was an ordeal to record new website leads, but with Smartforms the team has reaped major benefits. Freshsales has provided Shortlist a comprehensive solution to manage website leads:

With Freshsales Smartforms we’re able to generate over a thousand website leads a month without any manual intervention, which is a huge benefit.

Smartforms not only creates new leads and captures form details inside Freshsales, but it also tracks their website actions. Based on engagement level, leads are assigned lead scores.

Using lead scoring to contact hot new leads faster, Shortlist sales reps have reduced sales cycle length by 20%.

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Sustaining business growth with Freshsales

Joey and his team at Shortlist are broad users of Freshsales. Since switching from Streak to Freshsales, they’ve incorporated more structure to their sales process and acquired more control.

For a startup like Shortlist that’s still gaining traction, Joey says they’re able to sustain a 30% month-over-month growth, and reduce costs by 50%.

Being a startup, we wanted to use the best tool and not an old cumbersome one. Freshsales automated multiple business interactions through integrations, and helped organize our sales process. A next-gen CRM like Freshsales was the one for our team.

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