Pipedrive & Zoho complicated
No lead visibility
No customer context
Long sales journey
How Freshsales helped?
Better lead visibility
Track sales journey
Better customer engagement
Easy to scale
Most used features:
When Explara decided to pivot its business model from being a ticketing platform to an all-in-one event management platform, it realized that neither Pipedrive nor Zoho could serve its growing needs. “When we moved away from the ticketing system, our relationship with our customers went beyond just being transactional, to liaising with them for the long-term. It meant that we had to build a customer journey, we had to understand what our customers want, we had to measure how our campaigns are performing and based on these inputs, we had to sell the end-to-end software we were building,” recalls Santosh Panda, co-founder, Explara. The team’s challenge with Pipedrive was that the it was merely used as a platform to store and edit lead data. The team also found Zoho to be too noisy and complicated. “There were several challenges; some of the integrations were broken, the reporting feature was not great, tasks feature was integrated with project management, so it was confusing to understand and so on,” says Panda.
Soon after, in 2017, Explara discovered Freshsales CRM. As Panda puts it, the team was looking for a CRM which would explain in clear steps how it should be used and Freshsales turned out to be an ideal fit for the company. “Freshsales has a simple and intuitive UI. Every team member at Explara was able to adapt to it easily and kick off operations in no time,” says Panda.
Today, Explara acts as a holistic event management platform, which offers a host of solutions to its customers. From enabling them to build their own feature-rich mobile app and DIY online merchandise selling solution, to providing invoicing software, stay and travel booking software and PoS application, it does it all.
From an India perspective, Explara largely focuses on an outbound sales model primarily because they have an extensive database which has been nurtured over the years. “We already have an SDR process in place here and we have a lot more insight into the customer,” adds Panda. Outside India, in the APAC region, for example, the team largely relies on cold calling and cold emailing, and hence the customer journey is much longer.
This is one of the areas where Freshsales proved to be useful for Explara. “Once we begin engaging with the customer, we add them as a lead in Freshsales because it’s going to be at least three to four months before the customer comes back to us and says we are interested in your software, we want a demo, we’d like to setup a meeting or so,” explains Panda.
Another area where Freshsales served as the right tool for Explara was in driving sales campaigns. With understanding customer needs and establishing long-term relationships with them being the primary goal, sales campaigns helped the company measure whether the emails it was sending were relevant to the customers or not.
Lead Scoring: Panda calls it the missing component in other CRMs. Today, lead scoring is a part of individual KPIs of the sales team at Explara. Not only does the scoring help the company identify high-value and highly relevant leads, but when a certain number of leads have a high score and the leads are not moving to the next stage, it will be evident that the team hasn’t engaged with them enough or effectively. “If the lead score is not increasing, we’ll know that we haven’t called them or created a campaign around them,” he says. Lead scoring, in a way, has helped Explara increase the number of deal closures, especially in the last six months. “On an average, we have closed around 40% more deals compared to earlier, when the leads were just sitting and we had no insight into how we should engage with them.”
Sales Campaigns: This feature helps the team at Explara understand whether customers are interested in its software and if it is putting out the right messaging. It also gives insights into open and click rates, bounce rates and more. “It brings in a visibility factor. Let’s say there are a set of leads in my funnel and I shoot a campaign to them. If I’m not getting a response, I know that we are not making sense to them, so we need to go out and bring another new set of leads,” explains Panda.
“Right now, I have at least 60 high-revenue leads, with an ARR of US $10,000 to US $15,000. In the old CRM, I would have no visibility or maybe our engagement would be more on the lines of task management. But, with Freshsales,when I engage with them through a sales campaign, I’ll know how many opened the email, how many are interested in my business and even set up more meetings with them.”
Task Management: When people within the company move, it acts as another tool to provide context into past engagement history with customers, thereby making the lives of the sales team easier.
So far, Explara has only gone after associations and memberships, and a couple of event management companies in the APAC region. But, in the coming years, the company plans to aggressively increase its footprint by going after the large-scale corporates, who do events. “The customers we plan to reach out to are going to be very tech-savvy. That means, we need a CRM which can evolve in terms of integrations because we will be deriving ample insights from various other tools, which will help us drive more targeted marketing,” explains Panda.
The 70+ marketplace integrations and 12 native integrations in Freshsales, Panda believes, will offer more flexibility to the team and help them drive sales, marketing, and support, more effectively with customers.