HOW FRESHSALES HELPED
MOST USED FEATURES
W-o-W Productivity Increase
Increase in Revenue
Reduction in Sales Cycle
When we ask Rob Schmidt, the Outsource CTO of Offset Solar about his team’s experience with Freshsales CRM, he draws an interesting analogy. “We moved from using a horse or a buggy to now using a car. Our sales team is far beyond ecstatic with Freshsales. If there’s any challenge at all, it’s like asking for an AC in the car. Not necessary but good-to-have,” says Schmidt.
Offset Solar began using Freshsales in 2017, when the employee strength was lesser than ten. Today, over 100 employees work with the company across Washington, Illinois, and Idaho, 66 of whom use the customer relationship management (CRM) software. In fact, Schmidt shares that streamlining processes with Freshsales has helped the company cut its sales cycle by 66%, and increase revenues by 400% in the last two years.
While these are the end results, the company’s adoption story is quite interesting. It all began with Schmidt, who single-handedly setup Freshsales within the company’s sales cycle, even as Offset Solar was trying to identify a workable business model to grow.
Headquartered in Washington, Offset Solar distributes and installs solar panels in homes. As part of the social initiative, the company in partnership with Solar Aid, facilitates the distribution of 50 solar lamps to communities in Uganda, Malawi, and Zambia for each instance that a homeowner goes solar.
Offset Solar’s business model works in a manner where it takes care of the entire process, from sun analysis and consultation, to permitting and activation of solar panels for homeowners. While it initially relied on door-to-door sales, Schmidt brought in a digital component into the process, cutting down field sales to less than 1%, with other marketing efforts largely driven through Facebook and Google advertisements. “Today, we’re onboarding around 28 customers a week, which roughly translates to USD 1 million in sales every week,” adds Schmidt.
Prior to using a CRM, the company relied on spreadsheets to store lead data and follow up on deals. “Once the leads come in, our salespeople would call the prospect, set up appointments, and take the deal forward. As our lead funnel widened, the sales team couldn’t manage the lead flow and keep track of the progress we were making with each prospect,” recalls Schmidt.
That’s when the team began scouting for a CRM. “We tried Zoho and then moved to a solar-specific CRM called Solar Sales Tracker. Both were not scalable solutions,” says Schmidt. The team was looking for a solution which was affordable, had an open API, allowed automations, and scaled with the company’s growth.
“I found Freshsales through Google Ads and one of the biggest attractions of the CRM was that I could set it up 100% by myself,” says Schmidt, adding, “It’s not like Salesforce, for which I have to spend an exorbitant amount for just the implementation .” What also caught his eye was the suite of products that came along with Freshsales, like Freshdesk,the helpdesk software, and Freshcaller, the call-center software. “The beautiful thing about Freshsales, is that it has been able to adapt to our business process, even as we keep iterating,” says Schmidt.
“Prior to using Freshsales, our processes were largely manual. There was a huge risk of deals falling through the cracks. The amount of time we took from analysis to installation was a mess, and we honestly faced a lot of customer-related issues. Today, I can’t tell you how often I hear employees from different departments telling me-Wow! You save me hours every week!”
Once a lead is added into Freshsales, Offset Solar uses the Zapier integration to avoid duplicates. Parallelly, the lead addition triggers a workflow that sends an email, making an API request to the company’s call center, after which an automated text message is sent to the prospect. “The next thing we do is to send them a link to book an appointment with us on a calendar. The link also helps us gather further information about the prospect, to create a proposal,” adds Schmidt.
Once they meet certain criteria such as qualifying for one of the loan products, they become hot leads, and within the first ten minutes, if not sooner, a dedicated team reaches out to them to gather further information about their needs. They then schedule an appointment with them to perform a recce of their property. Following this, the prospect gets added into the deal stage, where the design team builds custom proposals based on the sun analysis and recce. They use the information to build a custom system which will suit their homes. After this, the salesmen log in, download the proposal, review the notes and visit the prospect, and make a sale. Once the deal is won, the company’s welcome call team gathers the information necessary to secure a loan, the finance team processes the loan, the site survey team visits the site and ensures the custom panels suit the prospect’s needs, and the audit teams makes changes to the design, if necessary.
Schmidt reports that the company uses Freshsales at practically every step of this process. Anything from updating customer data to triggering internal notifications when a customer reaches a certain deal stage, is handled through Freshsales.
“I view our company like a manufacturing plant. My goal is to alleviate constraints, keep the entire organization up to date on how each deal is progressing, reduce the number of manual tasks they have to perform, and improve transparency and workflow.”
In fact, the sales team at Offset Solar even uses the mobile app quite extensively. “The team that does door-to-door sales specifically uses the mobile app to add leads, update customer data, or upload files on the go,” he adds.
Today, after almost two years of being an active user of Freshsales, Schmidt is happy with the results they have seen. He shares that even though this team has taken a more hands-on approach to following processes set within the CRM, he still logs into Freshsales every day to find more ways to automate tasks and build a better business process. “We now have a high-level view of the process, and can see how each team is performing. Our employee efficiency has increased by, I would say, a thousand percent. They’re not wasting time on duplicating work, not living out of spreadsheets, or using multiple trackers to access customer information. We’re able to deliver a much better customer experience on all fronts,” shares Schmidt in an amicable parting note.