After 30 years working in the professional services industry and, in 2013, facing redundancy, Lawrie Chandler set up wealth boutique, Edale Enterprises.
Edale Enterprises was founded with a focus on providing a range of investment-related services for businesses and private clients. Initially Lawrie and his team managed their client list by using spreadsheets. When the business began to grow, they soon realised they needed a more manageable, convenient and secure way to keep their data safe.
It was during a discussion with a Growth Hub advisor, and subsequent online research, that Lawrie came to realise how CRM software might be able to help. ‘I understood the value in adopting CRM software and how it could allow us to keep our data in a more organised and secure way,’ Lawrie says.
‘I think everybody's guilty of actually just having a scrap of paper here, or a database consisting of spreadsheets and, as a result, it's kind of fragmented.’
Rather than depending on a variety of solutions for storing his data, Lawrie knew he needed a more co-ordinated approach which would help his team analyse their client data.
‘We needed a clever way of helping us pull together all the information we needed and saw CRM software as something which could provide us with a way of connecting the dots.’
When researching the right CRM software for Edale Enterprises, Lawrie went online to look at what was on offer.
He explains: ‘After comparing various types of software, we decided to invest in something that was more expensive than we initially needed, because we realised we wanted the flexibility for our software to cope with company growth.’
Lawrie’s main aim was to create a central repository for keeping track of the company’s client information but, through research, he and his team understood their chosen software could do other things too.
‘Our CRM software came bundled with a lot more different things we were able to use, such as social media management. This meant we could use that to engage with our existing clients. It’s really worked well when it comes to joining up parts of the business.
‘I didn’t look at the software we chose as a cost, but actually an investment,’ he says. ‘It was a pretty big investment.’
Since adoption, Lawrie has utilised his CRM software to capture and analyse clients’ data, providing updates to investment portfolios and more.
Another requirement when choosing the right CRM was to ensure compatibility with other software already integrated across the business.
‘We’d already purchased a telephone system and we've got video conferencing and other software too, so I really wanted a CRM system that worked in line with everything else we had.
‘We were drawn towards the kind of CRM software that our software provider offered for that reason. They’ve also given us a lot of support since, and access to a package with the ability to deep dive straight in and put new projects together with ease.’
By using CRM software which syncs with their current setup, the team at Edale Enterprises are now able to enter everything into their CRM system and enable records of telephone calls and emails to automatically feed through to relevant teams across the business – something Lawrie believes has had a positive impact on how the business is run.
‘I think there's been a bit of a change in psychology for us. ‘It’s actually helped us to rethink how we can encourage the business to grow by making the most of the processes CRM supports,’ he says.
‘Because we've made the investment in CRM software, we can actually now look at doing more things with it across different teams, including marketing. We're gradually moving away from other systems, which we were just using in isolation. Our teams are now more heavily invested in CRM and what it has to offer,’ he explains.
Recognsing the benefits CRM software can bring, Lawrie has exciting plans for Edale Enterprise’s next stage of digital adoption.
‘We’re continuing to utilise our CRM software in a way where we'll progress to a more integrated operation, and all that hinges off the data we store within our CRM software. That's the ambition.’
As for what the team at Edale Enterprises can do now compared to before, Lawrie is quick to highlight the positives.
‘We now have a lot more tracking information between the team and our clients, all from a central repository, that captures who's been speaking to who, what they’ve been speaking to them about and so much more.
‘We’ve also saved on administrative tasks with regards to having to dive into emails and cut and paste data that's moving from one place to another, making our lives a lot easier.
‘It also allows us to do everything we used to, while saving on paper wastage and increasing our productivity’ Lawrie adds.
‘Instead of just scrambling around trying to find a folder and searching for a piece of paper somewhere, we can just look on the CRM system we all use.’
Lawrie believes the adoption of CRM software has also given Edale Enterprises scope to offer their clients a broader range of services than before, continuing: ‘Now, we have a lot more intelligence , once we've completed a project, we can actually use the data our CRM software has gathered to do more things.
‘If we've got a client that's using us for financial services, maybe there’ll be some marketing we can offer that sits on top of that. We can then go and use the same database to offer something else which may be beneficial to our clients and the business.’
To anybody considering adopting CRM software, Lawrie says: ‘I think CRM is one of those things that, by implementing it, takes care of a lot of the negatives many businesses can suffer. It actually has a lot of positives when it comes to winning new business and moving forward to the next step as far as business growth is concerned.
‘Right now, CRM is helping us to take away the negatives and help us build a stronger foundation so that we’ll have more positives.
‘If you're a small to medium-sized business, getting everybody to embrace it and be familiar with it and be part of the digital change can only be a positive step.’