Customer relationship management goes high tech
At first glance, it would be easy to mistake enterprise software Squadzip for a social media website, as it has all the trimmings—likes, comments, profile pages—of a news feed.
It’s a design done deliberately by the platform’s developer, Digital Space Explorer, to help companies manage more efficiently their sales and operations teams with one simple, easy-to-use tool.
“Imagine your social media feed data instantly organized, so information about a certain customer is searchable, retrievable,” says Roman Mercado, Digital Space Explorer cofounder and CEO.
Mercado says he and the company’s other cofounder and CTO, Joaquin Barandino, came up with the idea after seeing how tedious existing customer relationship management (CRM) software could be.
“The biggest product category in the world for sales teams is CRM. Last year, there was a revenue of $36.9 billion worldwide. They’re proven [to be efficient], but what we’ve learned is they’re not for everyone. It takes a lot of compliance; for one, data entry traditionally goes through forms, and so many reps look at this as extra work. It’s also expensive and it takes months to a year to implement,” Mercado says.
The expense of using a CRM tool usually drives other companies to simply use free chat apps for coordination; easy to use, definitely, but discussions are disorganized, which makes it time-consuming for one to read through previous messages, should a certain topic need revisiting.
Seeing these problems, Mercado and Barandino came up with a special tool for Squadzip to easily aggregate all the data on the platform.
These are called “ziptags,” which work much like hashtags on social media.
The ziptags can be used for people, places, company names and even key performance
“So if I tag a company in a certain meeting [in my post], I can just click on that zip tag to see every single post about that company in a single thread,” Roman says.
(To demonstrate how easy it is to use Squadzip, Mercado makes a “report” of our interview by simply taking a selfie, and then creating a ziptag for this writer and the Inquirer, which he uploads as if he were posting on Facebook. Instantly, a “profile page” is created under this writer’s name on the platform.)
For sales managers, such feature allows them to easily monitor not just where their reps are, but exactly what they are doing, giving location reports more context.
Internet connection isn’t even an issue, he adds, since Squadzip allows a user to post even when they are offline.
The post’s exact time and location is logged, using GPS or cellular triangulation, and is automatically uploaded once the user goes back online.
“This is very useful for companies that work in remote locations,” Mercado says.
But what would make Squadzip more delightful to use, especially for sales or operations heads, would be its data analytics component.
Depending on how the software is configured for a certain company’s needs (everything is customizable), Squadzip features a dashboard that aggregates the data and gives managers and business owners a clear view of how things are running.
There are graphs, for example, of the different customers a company is able to reach, heat maps that show where their best-selling locations are, rankings of sales reps’ performance. Need to report in spreadsheet format? No worries, Squadzip can whip one up for you with just the click of a button.
“This is how we feel businesses should communicate,” Mercado says.
Now four years old, Mercado and Barandino came up with Squadzip after first working on a different product—a health care-related social platform.
A different opportunity, however, presented itself when their first client asked them to build a platform for their sales needs.
“The opportunity was to build a platform for them that could earn us some much-needed cash to start our company,” Mercado says.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) also plays a big role in Squadzip’s continued success, as its multiple redundant servers hosts the platform on its cloud, Barandino adds.
“We needed to scale, and AWS helped us to do so much faster because we didn’t have to worry about downtime,” Barandino says. “We also didn’t have to hire to many technical people.”
From a team of two, Digital Space Explorer is now a team of 20, which is still poised to grow by the end of the year, Mercado says. Their clientele, composed of around 50 companies, mostly come from health care, construction and agriculture industries.
Squadzip’s services range from P999 to P2,199 per user per month, depending on a company’s needs.
A free 30-day trial of the software is available, along with implementation workshops, to help companies learn the ins and outs of Squadzip.
“Most software companies give a list of features which you can check before purchasing. I feel this practice is a bit outdated; it’s like buying a car based solely on what’s written on the brochure,” Mercado says.
More than just helping companies manage their workforce and sales data, Squadzip also saves businesses both time and money since sales reps need not clock in at the office to file their attendance for the day.
The platform can easily track their daily movements based on the posts—or reports—that they upload.
At the end of the day, Squadzip is all about making things easier for everyone.
“The image of enterprise software is one that’s one a desktop and is slow. We’re hoping to be one platform that can change that image,” Mercado says. “We want people to see that enterprise software can be fun and easy to use, much like the apps that we use during our free time. It doesn’t have to be this clunky experience which we’re forced to endure because of work.”
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