How Chargebee grew hand-in-hand with Freshsales CRM
Chargebee implemented Freshsales CRM at a time when it was building out its sales and marketing team and revamping its sales process. Today, as Chargebee looks to expand into more markets and build a more customer-centric business, Freshsales is playing an integral role in helping it to overhaul the system and change its instances from time-to-time without over complicating the process
Chargebee is a recurring billing platform for subscription-based SaaS and ecommerce businesses. Today, the seven-year old business is backed by a string of notable investors such as Tiger Global Management, Insight Venture Partners and Accel Partners, and has processed over $65 million in invoices by early stage companies, for free. It also boasts of serving 7000+ customers in over 50 countries.
Reel back three years, and the story was quite different.
Tracing Chargebee’s market journey
In 2015, Chargebee was still in its growth phase and in its final stages of customer acquisition through discounting; so much so that acquisition superseded revenues. “At that time, the focus was on getting more customers on board,” says Germain Brion, Vice President of Sales, Chargebee. But, a year later, the team realized that it was undervaluing its product against competitors, in turn leading customers to underestimate the product’s capabilities.
In a way, this realization became a turning point of sorts for Chargebee, because it paved the way for implementation of major changes in pricing, in order to cater to a wider pool of customers. It also led to building a stronger and more robust sales and marketing team. “Initially, sales was an offshoot of support and we had just three account executives on the team. This became a challenge because we had a fantastic inbound lead generation engine which brought in a lot of leads every day, but we didn’t really have a structure or process in place to segment and approach these leads,” explains Brion. How are leads being segmented based on their profiles, industry, and geography? What are the deal stages? How is each lead being prioritized? These were some questions that came up during the revamp.
“The first step we took was to restructure our sales process, set monthly targets for our team, and put process-based objectives in place,” says Brion. As the sales process began taking shape, Chargebee began scouting for a CRM that would up its sales game.
Partnering with Freshsales CRM
“We initially had Salesforce CRM but didn’t really use it. The instance was incredibly complicated, because it allows for so much customization that you end up doing nothing,” opines Brion, further stating that, “When we explored Freshsales CRM, the first thing I remember saying is, okay, the interface is clean and simple.”
Given that sales teams are likely to spend close to eight to ten hours a day in the CRM, Brion felt the CRM they use has to be simple to use and intuitive. “Our sales team has scaled ten times in the last two years, and we plan to go from 30 to 90 people in the next 12 months. So, in order to manage this kind of sale, we needed a solution like Freshsales CRM,” he says.
Brion also believes that flexibility is a must in a CRM, and limited customization is certainly not a bug. “In fact, for a business in which the sales motions are pretty straightforward, limited customizations will hugely benefit the account executives,” he adds.
Features they loved
360-degree view of customers: Firstly, Chargebee gets a holistic insight into how the prospect reached out to them; through chat, through campaigns or other means. Additionally, with the Freshdesk integration, there’s a sync between its sales and support team, and every conversation with a prospect or customer is captured into Freshsales CRM. Hence, when sales agents at Chargebee need to strike a conversation with their prospects/ customers, they have context into their needs/interests.
Lead Prioritization: From a productivity perspective, with Freshsales CRM, the teams know which are the high-priority leads to go after and attend to those immediately. “When there is a must-win or a strategic lead that comes through, and we’re able to attend to that lead immediately and get his/her attention, it results in a higher conversion rate.” explains Arundhati Balachandran, Director of Sales, Chargebee.
Discussion on Deals: By integrating Freshsales CRM with Freshconnect, the teams at Chargebee can discuss with other teams within the company on specific deals. “There are so many deals in the pipeline and sometimes you tend to miss context into those deals. With the discussion feature, we can simply tag our colleagues across departments and functions, and discuss deal tactics, for example,” explains Koushik Chander, Senior Account Executive, Chargebee.
Tasks: Considering that at any given point, the teams are working on multiple deals, adding tasks helps them stay on top of critical deals, ensuring they they send timely follow-ups, give prospects all the information they need for decision-making on time, and more.
In-Built Phone: The SDR teams at Chargebee use the phone feature extensively. They make at least 40 to 50 calls a day. And, the in-built phone feature in Freshsales CRM makes the process very easy. The user just needs to click on the number, pick a region and make a call. “In fact, even the recording feature is very useful because it means I don’t have to go back to the customer/prospect time and again to verify something,” shares Priya, Sales Consultant, Chargebee.
Sales Campaigns: Everyday, Chargebee gets numerous leads and personally looking at each and every lead and emailing them becomes time consuming. To tackle this challenge, Chargebee has a set process in place to reach out to them. It sends four personalized emails to each lead. Once the process is over, it puts them into a sales campaign. “There have been several instances when the leads have responded to us. It makes our lives easy because we don’t have to manually send an email to each and every lead that comes in,” adds Priya.
Reports & Dashboards: “This is a valuable feature. I can generate and analyze multiple reports; deals created, deals expected to close this quarter, revenue forecasts and more,” says Koushik.
“Two years ago, we couldn’t measure our conversion rates. We didn’t know which leads went from sign-up, to demo, to closing. Our account executives didn’t know where our leads are coming from, how each deal is progressing, at which stage the deals are dropping off, where they should focus their efforts better and more. We were able to do all this with Freshsales CRM. And these metrics have helped our MRE, SDR and other teams beat all records in Chargebee history on the number of leads enriched, number of demos booked, pipelines created, deals closed and more.” – Germain Brion, VP – Sales, Chargebee
The Road Ahead
In the coming years, Chargebee plans to drive more customer-centricity into the business. Along with driving expansions in the United States, Europe and Australia, the company plans to bring more specialization into the teams. “Now, we have enough data about our leads, and with Freshsales CRM, we have the ability to measure in greater detail, analyze which regions and sectors we are getting the most sign-ups from, and the lead journey from start to finish. We can use this data to build specialized sales teams,” says Brion. For example, if an ecommerce business has revenue of around $10 million to $20 million, Chargebee can get a specialized sales team to focus on this prospect, and be as close to the customer as possible from day one.
“With Freshsales CRM, we have just the right amount of flexibility, to be able to overhaul the system and change our process on a regular basis. We’re now in a cycle where every six to nine months, we change our entire Freshsales CRM instance. And, we’re able to cycle through those iterations very easily. As a growing company, I think that is critical.” Germain Brion, VP – Sales, Chargebee.
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