When we started Sprint Education back in 2007 as two fresh-faced brothers from Tewkesbury, we knew very little about business. Sure, we understood the education sector, marketing and design techniques, and the intricacies of the technology required to launch a digital agency, but when it came to general business knowledge we didn’t have a clue.
We learnt very quickly that deciding on the optimum feng shui position for our solitary office desk and filing cabinet in our Dad’s dining room (our very first “office”) was of little importance to Sprint Education’s success. Within a matter of weeks the decisions we faced became far more real; with the main issue being finding the best way to log and manage our customer relationships, correspondence, and quote/sales data.
It meant that we were forced to make a decision on which CRM system would be best for our business.
At the time I didn’t even know what CRM stood for (I now know it’s ‘Customer Relationship Management’), yet all the business forums I read scared me with horror stories of how the wrong CRM could be disastrous to a business.
As a knee-jerk reaction we quickly knocked up a crude Excel spread-sheet and an Access database and then buried our heads in the sand hoping that was the end of it; after all we now had a second office desk and even a potted plant to position in our new “office” (we'd upgraded to our Dad’s garage). However, one year on, the constraints of this makeshift database started to rear their ugly heads once again.
Reaching a Crossroads
Like many businesses we had reached a crossroads. We knew we needed a more powerful CRM to take Sprint Education to the next level, but we couldn’t decide if we should buy a generic (and expensive) off-the-shelf system, or use our own coding and development skills to build something for our unique requirements.
After much deliberation Guy plucked up the courage to insist that if we truly wanted to succeed Sprint Education would need a CRM that integrated seamlessly with the intricacies of marketing to the education sector, and the only way to achieve this was to roll up our sleeves, top up our coffee mugs, and get cracking on developing the software ourselves.
At the time this seemed like a risky decision. After all, who were we to think we could create a CRM system better than anyone else? However, looking back, I think it was not just a brave decision, but also a game changer for Sprint Education.
If we had stuck with Excel or Access the business would have been unsustainable after reaching the 500 plus customer mark, whilst an off the shelf CRM would have stunted our growth due to a fall in productivity and quality. We would simply not have been able to manage the intricacies required to produce marketing strategies for thousands of clients.
Trusting in our own CRM system turned out to be the key turning point in Sprint Education’s history. (Check out the screen shot of the first Sprint CRM MK1 circa 2008. It may look dated now but at the time it was a revelation).
As it was my responsibility to oversee all sales, marketing, and customer relationships at Sprint Education, having a CRM built for my specific needs was tremendously powerful. Within 1 year our turnover grew by approximately 325% thanks to the implementation of our own CRM.
That Lightning Bolt Moment
Over the next few years we noticed more and more of our clients were asking us how we managed our customer relationships, and if we would consider building them a CRM specifically for organisations that sell to the education sector.
Then one day in a local coffee house when discussing how some of our clients seemed to struggle to follow-up their sales leads properly we knew what had to be done. Read the background story here.
We knew we could build a darn good CRM system for our clients, but to take their businesses to the next level we decided the software needed to go beyond any normal system. In fact the CRM element had to integrate with 4 other key components that are essential for any business that completely, mainly, or partly sells to the education sector.
The 5 key components.
1. CRM system built for education businesses
2. Access to our database of UK schools and teachers
3. Email broadcasting system
4. An automated sales funnel
5. A platform to build 1-2-1 relationships with teachers
However, before launching it to our clients we knew it had to be tested in-house for a long period so we were 100% convinced that the software was top-notch.
This meant a huge shift in how we operated daily. Essentially we were committing ourselves to making redundant our old CRM system, and migrating our sales, marketing, and customer relationship management to a whole new system. I remember quivering in my boots that day in July 2014 as we turned off our old CRM and went live with Campus, but boy-o-boy what a difference it made!
Our old CRM had been illustrious, and had served us faithfully for 6 long years, but within just 6 months Campus had transformed how we functioned as a business.
Routine processes were streamlined, service levels were enriched, referrals of our services rocketed by 88%, and it attributed to a 24% increase in like-for-like sales in the period July – January. It even played a fundamental role in us winning Marketing Campaign of the Year 2014.
The Leap of Faith
Now, with Campus almost ready to launch, and having spoken with many clients who are interested in Campus, there is occasionally a sense of apprehension from businesses when contemplating the migration from their old CRM to a new one; the same nervous feeling I had felt back in July 2014.
All I can do is draw upon my own personal experience of this, and look back with elation that we were bold enough to take the leap of faith with 100% commitment and open-mindedness.
Take a closer look at Campus, see what it has to offer your business, and trust in the fact that the creators of this software have built the software from the ground-up whilst focusing solely on how it can transform businesses that sell to the education sector.
Marketing to Schools