With offices in Chennai, India and San Jose, Calif., Contus is a mobility, cloud and Web solutions company that delivers products and services to more than 600 clients in over 40 countries.
The company employs a team of 145 skilled programmers, designers and technology engineers that develop web apps for use on open source platforms such as Magento, Joomia and Wordpress.
Since its inception in 2008, Contus has grown at a rate of 150 percent each year. This has presented quite a challenge for Co-Founder and Managing Director Sriram Manoharan, who has 10 years of experience in software development, tech support and IT infrastructure services.
Improved conversion rates by 30 percent
Increased monthly revenue by $60,000-$70,000
Significantly improved workflow customzation and reporting capabilities
“Our rate of growth means that we need technology that can adapt and grow with our company so we can continue to meet the needs of our customers,” Manoharan says.
Contus uses inbound marketing as its primary marketing tool, which means the company requires an incredibly efficient and effective customer relationship management (CRM) system to quickly follow up with and convert leads.
The previous system Contus used was difficult to use and lacked the reporting capabilities the company needed. In June 2013, the company switched to Vtiger CRM software, and has since seen a marked improvement in workflow efficiency, lead conversion rates and reporting capabilities.
To reach their target buyers, which are primarily developers at small to midsize businesses, Contus uses an inbound marketing strategy that combines ad retargeting, social media and search engine marketing. When a user arrives on the company’s website, they can engage in a live chat with an agent, fill out a form with their contact information or call the company directly to learn more about one of the 55 or so apps featured on the site.
While approximately 90 percent of Contus’ business comes from selling apps the company has already created, its developers also create specific apps for customers that come to them with certain requirements based upon their company’s individual needs.
“If somebody wants to stream media on their website, for example, it would take them a couple of months to develop an app to do so,” Manoharan explains. “Contus solves that problem by developing apps that a user can install and start using in a couple of minutes. We save web developers across the globe a lot of time and effort.”
Manoharan says Contus’ previous CRM system was very difficult to customize, which made it hard to have a streamlined process in place for handling each lead. “I have a very unique sales process, just like every organization does, so I need a system that makes this process easy to execute,” he says.
“The previous system wasn’t at all flexible, the features were very limited and we couldn’t adjust the flow. For example, if I wanted to save the source of the lead—e.g. Facebook, chat, email, etc.—I need to be able to have custom tabs and columns in the system. With the old system, we couldn’t customize anything ourselves. Every time we wanted to make even the most minor modification, we had to talk to [the vendor’s] support team, and it turned into a long, frustrating process.”
Manoharan began searching for a new CRM system in early 2013. He evaluated some of the bigger, higher-end CRM systems on the market, but found them to be too complex and expensive. Then he came across Vtiger.
“I was looking for a CRM system that was flexible, easy to customize and had a nice reporting system at a reasonable price,” he says. “Vtiger fit perfectly in that space.”
The decision to purchase Vtiger was made in June 2013. Before implementation, Manoharan spent a week going through the system to familiarize himself with it. He then created workflows for the daily processes Contus would need before moving the entire team over to the software.
Implementation was very quick, taking just two to three hours. All data was exported from the old system in CSV format and imported into the new system, with just a few minor modifications. It took Contus staff approximately two weeks to become acclimated to the new system. Manoharan trained his sales manager and team leader, and they in turn trained the rest of the employees individually in training sessions that lasted a few hours each.
Contus uses Vtiger to manage the entire sales process. When a lead comes in, a member of the sales team simply clicks on “add lead” within the system, then enters the information that the lead has provided (name, company, etc.).
Once the lead is saved, it’s moved into the opportunity stage. Employees can then sort leads by opportunity type and make an initial attempt at following up with them to gauge their level of interest.
The record of a lead created in Vtiger
If the lead responds positively, it’s moved into the pipeline, and a sales team member will follow up several times until the lead has been closed. If the lead is more complicated, e.g. a customer requires an app that Contus doesn’t already feature, it’s moved to the solution team, where employees work to come up with a more technical solution to meet the client’s needs.
Throughout this process, all outreach, including calls and emails, are logged in Vtiger. As the lead moves through the pipeline, its status is changed to reflect where it stands. At the end of the cycle, every lead opportunity is categorized as either won or lost.
When Manoharan arrives at the office each morning, he logs into the system to see which leads came in the previous day, how they were processed and where they currently are in the pipeline. Then he’ll look at the pipeline of “hot” leads (those that are worth $50,000 or more) to see how they were handled to ensure everything is on the right track and employees are following the correct workflow.
Vtiger’s home page and dashboard allows users to view information such as top opportunities, leads by status and the sales pipeline
“In Vtiger, everything is 100 percent customizable, so I can set up the workflow any way that I want,” he says. “Every detail is stored, and I can view these details exactly how I want to. This means that if employees miss a step or don’t do something correctly, we know about it immediately, so the most important leads are never wasted.”
Vtiger provides the ability to easily create custom dropdown fields
Whenever a “hot” lead comes in, both Manoharan and his sales manager instantly receive an email alert with the lead details. They can then go into the system to view the lead and make sure it is being handled by the appropriate employee to increase the chance of closing it.
“The intelligence from the data really helps us determine which leads are more valuable than others,” Manoharan says. “We won’t have hot leads handled by someone who just joined six months ago—we’ll give them to someone who is more efficient at closing.”
Vtiger can be configured to send an email when a "hot" lead comes in
This level of visibility within Vtiger is much greater than Contus’ previous system. Manoharan can view details such as the number of leads per product, what stage each lead is in, what type of feedback the customer has about the product and customer FAQ’s.
With Vtiger, Contus is now able to track 100 percent of the leads that come in, which has led to a 30 percent increase in conversion rates in just three months. Before Vtiger, Contus was pulling in approximately $130,000-$140,000 per month. Now, this figure is approximately $190,000-$200,000 per month.
“It’s all about focus,” Manoharan explains. “We don’t waste time on unnecessary leads and we focus more on leads that we can actually win.”
Another big benefit of Vtiger is the operating cost. Manoharan says Contus pays just $12 per user for Vtiger, whereas comparable CRM systems typically run anywhere from $60 to $70 per user.
Finally, Vtiger’s reporting capabilities are significantly better than the previous system Contus used—Manoharan estimates that the old system had just 5 to 10 percent of the reporting capabilities Vtiger does.
In the past, each Contus salesperson kept their own separate documents with their individual data, and had to spend hours going through them at the end of each month in order to create a detailed report of the leads they worked with. “It was a cumbersome task,” Manoharan says.
Once Contus moved to Vtiger, however, all of these issues were resolved in a single day. Manoharan can now pull reports on the lead pipeline, individual products, leads that were lost (including the reason why), and so forth.
“We can pull any kind of records we want out of the system,” he says. “I have close to 60 reports configured in Vtiger, 10 of which I use every day. Others I use weekly, monthly, etc. I need data and numbers in order to make decisions about what’s best for the company, and Vtiger helps me do that.”