ePrize has been an exciting growth story, especially here in Detroit. We started in 1999 by moving the consumer promotion world to digital. Thirteen years later, we manage 400% more national chance-to-win programs than any other firm in the industry, have over 365 people in five offices, recently completed two acquisitions, and see nothing but upside. 13 years later it still feels like we’re just getting started.
Here’s a quick video overview of our businesss if you want to take a look.
Like many startups, our mentality for the first 10 years was that we could do everything ourselves. In the sales group, that meant lots of spreadsheets, client info in notebooks, and home grown systems to manage our sales pipeline, forecasting, etc. In mid-2010 we said, “enough is enough,” and made our move to Salesforce.com.
Here are the top three ways that move made us a better company:
We’re a Metrics-Driven Sales Culture
It took a while to get our sales team on board with Salesforce, but we did and it’s working. The big shift for the team was logging prospecting and client meeting activity. It wasn’t about nitpicking on how a meeting went. It was about understanding pre-sales activity levels and how they correlate to sales. With these metrics, we can make decisions on how future sales look, and when we need to hire or ramp up new people faster. Not that it’s all because of Salesforce, but in 2011 we hired 80 new people and plan to add another 80 in 2012. We could not effectively manage our growth without Salesforce.
We Have Access to New Tools
There are amazing businesses out there with tools to improve data management, forecasting, and intelligence to find more customers. We use several, including Big Machines, InsideView, CRM Fusion, LinkPoint, DocuSign, and HubSpot. They all help us run a smarter and more efficient sales organization, and most of them would be useless or cumbersome to use if we didn’t have Salesforce.com as the platform.
It Inspired Us to Start a New Business Line
When we first signed on with Salesforce, we were debating if we wanted to do all the configuration and integration on our own, or hire an outside firm. We chose the former – not to save money, but for the chance to deeply understand Salesforce. In that process, we came up with an idea. Why don’t we apply our 11 years’ experience motivating consumer behavior using contests and promotions, and apply that idea inside of Salesforce to motivate salespeople? We started talking to our contacts at Salesforce, looking in the AppExchange, and talking to other customers about the idea for an easy to use contest app. We got great feedback and guidance. In the fall of 2011, we launched Sales Contest Builder.
Two of us attended Dreamforce 2010, shortly after our sales team went live with Salesforce. I remember standing at Dreamforce 2011 when I was struck by some of the points above. Here we were, just 12 months after starting with Salesforce, and look how far we have come:
- Five people at Dreamforce – three of whom are on our executive team and one who was a VIP guest of Marc Benioff
- Evaluating Service Cloud to run our service organization (which we now use) as well as Heroku to manage some of our client promotions
- Using Radian 6 to manage social monitoring campaigns for our clients
- Using five different apps bolted onto Salesforce, four of which we could never have used before
- Purchased a booth on the Cloud Expo floor
- Launched a new business line, which is 100% focused on helping companies get more out of Salesforce
It’s been a fun ride and we’ve learned a ton along the way. Better yet, it still feels like we’re just getting started.