Sacrificing Headcount to Pay for Salesforce
WyreStorm’s Chief Operating Officer, Don Seguin, decided to wash his hands of Salesforce once and for all after trying to implement a customer-facing knowledge base.
The Salesforce sales rep had convinced Don that the Salesforce platform could support a knowledge base, but the result wasn’t what Don or Torin Lippman, Technical Support Manager at WyreStorm, wanted or expected.
“We were very clear in wanting a knowledge base that was open to our customers, but they sold us what was basically an internal knowledge base,” says Torin. “When we repeated that we needed it customer-facing, they told us it would cost extra.”
This wasn’t the first time Salesforce disappointed the WyreStorm team. Don and Torin frequently struggled to get the support they needed.
“The biggest issue we kept running into was Salesforce not getting back to us,” says Torin. “I can think of a hundred times where I lost a day on a project because I was waiting for a callback.”
Salesforce’s licensing structure also limited Don and Torin’s ability to get support efficiently. Only two team members had the authorization to contact Salesforce support under their agreement, which meant that every question or problem had to get funneled through them.
Even the way that Salesforce structures its tech support was problematic for the team at Wyrestorm. Salesforce divides support into multiple tiers, with higher costs for higher tiers.
“You’d get shuffled around from level-one tech support, to level two or three. Then some other tech guy would jump in. And you had to pay extra to get those levels,” says Don.
At the same time, Don and Torin were becoming increasingly frustrated with the piecemeal nature of Salesforce features. Every time they wanted to add a new one, it necessitated a five-hour meeting with Salesforce reps to figure out if they could do it and how much it cost.
“It was a painful process,” says Torin.
By that point, WyreStorm was already paying almost six figures for Salesforce, partly due to the way Salesforce structures its licensing. If Don and Torin wanted to give a couple of team members access to a certain feature or function, they’d have to upgrade the entire organization to an enterprise license.
“We only had three people in Salesforce creating support tickets, but we had to pay for premium support for 57 seats,” says Don.
Costs also prevented WyreStorm from using Salesforce for marketing.
“To keep Salesforce viable in terms of cost, we had to use multiple third-party tools and fragment our business across different software just to save a buck,” says Torin.
Don and Torin were also disheartened by the disparity between Salesforce press releases and the on-the-ground reality.
“Every time I read about Salesforce acquiring a new company, I would think, ‘Great! I would love to have access to that functionality.’ But then I’d wonder how much it was going to cost,” says Torin.
Over time, the costs of Salesforce became so expensive for Wyrestorm, Don was having to choose between Salesforce and expanding the sales team.
“It doesn’t make sense to have to choose between hiring three new people or paying for Salesforce,” says Don. “I’d much rather put three more people to work than pay almost $100,000 a year for a CRM I have to convince people to use.”
While Salesforce costs were increasing for WyreStorm, sales team adoption was going in the other direction. Don estimates that only 30% of the sales team was using Salesforce regularly, partly because it gave them little visibility into their performance.
“Sales teams are motivated to use a CRM when they can see their metrics,” says Don. “With Salesforce, you almost need a programming degree to pull that information out.”
Torin sums up the situation: “If you have an IT background, Salesforce is great because you have all these sub-menus and all this power. But most of our team didn’t want or need that — yet we were paying a lot for it.”
Aligning Sales, Marketing, and Service for 75% Less With HubSpot CRM
Don and Torin started researching other options.
They narrowed their list to four or five alternate solutions but found that while most products could do some things well, few could do everything well.
“Some didn’t have ticketing capabilities. Others didn’t do quoting well. Others couldn’t support a product library or built-in lists. HubSpot was the only one we found that could tie together sales, marketing, and service at our price point,” says Torin.
Now that WyreStorm has HubSpot in place with Sales Hub, Marketing Hub, and Service Hub, it has everything it needs without having to sacrifice headcount to pay for it.
Continuity Across Departments
The biggest benefit for WyreStorm is a new continuity among sales, marketing, and service.
“Today, our departments work together flawlessly,” says Don. “A salesperson can log an opportunity in HubSpot and see that opportunity turn into an actual deal. This benefits the salesperson, the tech team, the executive team, and everyone else by breaking down information barriers.”
Teams can now pull together cross-functional data without having to extract it from separate tools and compile it into spreadsheets.
“We can create reports that tie opportunities to tickets on a single platform, for example,” says Torin. “It wasn’t impossible to do this with Salesforce, but it sure wasn’t easy.”
Reduced Costs With Flexible Licensing
Subscription costs have also been reduced thanks to HubSpot’s flexible licensing model where WyreStorm only pays for what it needs.
Don explains: “With HubSpot, you can slice and dice and pay for this person and not that person. We don’t have to do it for everyone across the board, which makes it much more cost-effective. You can even license-free users, depending on their role.”
And now that WyreStorm has consolidated sales, marketing, and service on HubSpot, it no longer needs to pay for additional marketing and service tools because everything is built in. In fact, Don estimates that they’ve eliminated five pieces of software that they were using in addition to Salesforce.
Reaching New Levels of User Adoption
Because HubSpot is easy to use — and allowed the sales teams to see their performance metrics easily — WyreStorm is reaching new levels of user adoption. Don and Torin also spend much less time fielding user requests for help because the platform is so easy to use.
And instead of every tech issue getting routed through two license holders (as with Salesforce), all users can access HubSpot support directly.
“The HubSpot interface is more intuitive and digestible for non-IT people,” says Torin. “And every single user has access to the chat function that they can use to get help if they need it, which is faster and easier for them and me.”
Improvements to data visibility and reporting have also played a role in increased user compliance. While using Salesforce, the WyreStorm team found that users would complete the bare minimum of form fields because they either didn’t know how to complete the remaining fields or didn’t understand the benefits of doing so. But that’s changed with the HubSpot CRM.
“With HubSpot, users are inclined to put in as much information as possible because they see the benefit of inputting that extra information,” says Torin. “They can also do it faster and easier.”
Improved Forecasting for Inventory Control
The HubSpot CRM platform has also helped address issues related to sales forecasting, where sales were lost due to product unavailability.
“If a dealer decides to buy a product, and we don’t have it ready, they’re going to go somewhere else. With HubSpot, our supply chain department can look at upcoming opportunities to get ahead of the game. If we see that five dealers are going to be placing orders for X amount of product in three months, for example, we can plan for that and make sure we can fill those orders so we don’t lose the sale.”
Improved Engagement With Dealers
In addition to getting dealers the inventory they need when they need it, HubSpot is also keeping dealers engaged through an innovative combination of email marketing and salesperson outreach.
When salespeople see particularly relevant topics covered in upcoming email newsletters, for example, they proactively reach out to dealers to give them a heads up. As a result, dealers spend more time reading the newsletter.
A recent campaign illustrates the success of this approach. The email detailed three major technologies within the AV industry, and WyreStorm salespeople talked it up to dealers before it went out.
“It was a, ‘Hey, you won’t want to miss this,’ type of thing,” says Don. “The approach worked really well, and we had a very large click-through rate.”
Not incidentally, WyreStorm can now measure these metrics thanks to the HubSpot CRM. “We can see what they’re opening, how long they’re reading, and what they’re clicking on,” says Don. “And we can cater our emails to foster that behavior.”
Improved Technical Support
The frustration of waiting to hear back from tech support is also a thing of the past.
“I chat with HubSpot multiple times a day, and I don’t ever recall waiting on an answer,” says Torin.
HubSpot even responds when the answer isn’t exactly what Torin wants to hear — which is a level of professional service that Torin appreciates and respects.
He explains: “I always get an answer, even if it’s to say that I can’t do something the way I want to do it. If it’s a limitation of the feature, they let me know how other customers have gotten around it, or they suggest other products we could integrate to get what I need. I can’t say I’ve had a bad experience with support yet.”
Benefitting From New Features at No Extra Cost
When Don and Torin get news of HubSpot developments, they wait with great anticipation, knowing they will benefit without inevitably having to pay extra.
“I get newsletters from HubSpot where I see them acquiring this or developing that,” says Torin. “A couple of weeks later, that feature will be integrated and ready for me to use. I usually find that I don’t have to pay extra for it or even tell anyone to add it to my account.”
Development Is Driven by the Customer
Don and Torin also enjoy having a voice in HubSpot CRM development. If there’s something they need that they don’t have, they work with their customer success manager to bring it to the HubSpot development team.
“We’ve seen some actual improvements from that process. It’s not just, ‘Yeah, we’ll work on it,’ and then nothing happens,” says Don. “If you don’t have a feature, that doesn’t mean you can’t have that feature. It just means you need to let them know you need that feature.”
Torin agrees, noting that having this level of influence isn’t typical, especially for companies the size of WyreStorm.
$300K Increase in Revenue
As a result of having continuity and alignment across sales, marketing, and service, WyreStorm has increased its revenue by an average of $300,000 since switching to HubSpot CRM.
At the same time, Don estimates WyreStorm has reduced its CRM costs by 75%, largely due to more flexible seat licensing and the elimination of at least five additional software tools.
Because the platform is so easy to use — and users understand its value and see its benefits — the user adoption rate of 30% with Salesforce has risen to 95% with HubSpot CRM.
Given these outstanding results, Don and Torin have zero regrets about migrating from Salesforce to HubSpot.
“With HubSpot, you get more features for less money,” says Torin. “There’s nothing we could do in Salesforce that we can’t do in HubSpot.”
Don agrees: “We were able to maintain our exact processes with HubSpot. But the difference is that people actually want to use it.”