The lifeblood of any company is sales. The day it stops making sales it stops making money. The day the company stops making money, its days are numbered. So it’s not surprising that companies spend heavily on tools like SalesForce, SAP, and other CRM’s. But even with these tools, companies both large and small face the same fundamental problems when it comes to sales. Solving these problems is what Buzzflow aims to do.
What is Buzzflow?
When we asked that question from Surajee Ratnayake – Co-founder & COO of Buzzflow, his answer was “Sri Lanka is used to doing sales in a very traditional way. What we do is we come with the tools to help sales teams in Sri Lanka go from 1.0 to 2.0.” That’s the essence of Buzzflow, which currently takes the form of a CRM.
Buzzflow focuses on helping teams visualize every step of the sales process. To that end, it allows teams to create sales pipelines that visualize every step from obtaining a lead to closing a sale. This is the foundation. Building on top of this, it offers a series of tools. These help sales teams collaborate, manage contacts, generate reports, and more to ensure every step of the pipeline works smoothly.
“The wonderful thing about technology is that it opens up possibilities that didn’t exist before,” says Suren Pinto – Cofounder & CEO of Buzzflow. He goes onto share that Sri Lankan companies have talented sales individuals that produce visible results for the senior management. But what makes companies in the West successful is supplementing these talented individuals with technology and processes.
This was a lesson they had learned after investing in their own CRM for their company WaveNET. Following this lesson, they chose to build Buzzflow for Sri Lankan companies both large and small.
The origin story of Buzzflow
In case you’re lost, WaveNET is a company that builds solutions for telecom operators across the world. As it grew, the company found it challenging to manage its sales. Under extreme circumstances, these could take 8 months to close. So WaveNET invested in one of the top CRM systems in the world.
“We went through the training process with a world renowned company. It was a lengthy process and the sales teams were happy,” said Surajee looking back. But once implemented, they found that the sales teams were only using 5% of its capabilities. The teams only used it to ensure their sales meetings went smoothly.
From this heavy investment, Suren and Surajee learned that this problem wasn’t unique to them. Many other businesses had this problem. “Sometimes taking a CRM from a developed country works. But what’s needed in this part of the world is a simple but effective system,” states Surajee.
Thus, they decided to build Buzzflow as a solution for sales teams for both large and small businesses. Initially, they had targeted the system at a small business with teams of 2 – 4 people. They loved the system. It solved their problems. It helped them make more sales.
But then Suren & Surajee made a discovery. “The bigger businesses also had the same problems. It’s amazing how Excel is the default tool to run their sales meetings. It’s not a bad tool but you can do so much better,” states Suren. With this discovery, they realized that Buzzflow can easily scale up to meet the needs of large businesses in different industries.
Designing a CRM that salespeople love to use
“Even if you go all the way up to the CEO, it’s the sales guy that matters. You got to win him. So we’ve made it our mission to make that guy is happy. We deliver to that guy,” states Suren. He goes onto explain that if the salesperson is happy then they’re naturally more productive. He also added, “And if he’s more productive then the manager is going to see it. The system is designed to make sure he sees it.”
The salespeople and managers. Their considerations were of the utmost priority when designing and building Buzzflow. Thus, at its core, this is a CRM that’s configurable. “Over the years with our interactions with our customers, we know what it takes to make a sale. So we built it in such a way that if you need a tailor-made process in the system, it can be configured the way you want it,” explained Surajee.
But that’s something Buzzflow already knew. Following their first versions, they realized that most salespeople aren’t in front of PCs at their desks. Rather they’re (ideally) constantly on the move chasing leads and closing sales at meetings. For this, they’d use notebooks or a notebook app on their phones. They needed something mobile.
“When he’s at a meeting he wants to take down a few key points. He needs to check the data he needs to communicate to the customer. So that means we need to make data entry simple. We had to change the paradigm and create something specifically designed with big text boxes. It’s not so much browsing and configuring the system,” describes Suren about the process of designing the Buzzflow mobile app.
Meanwhile, with managers, it’s completely different. They’re at their desk looking at reports and analyzing them. So the experiences they had to offer were completely different from what they originally envisioned. To make this a reality was an iterative process where they learned from each version they released. “You put something out there and get feedback,” says Suren describing the journey.
Where Buzzflow is today & plans to be tomorrow
At the current stage of the journey, Buzzflow has over 100 customers. Sales teams from companies both large and small utilize it. Small pest control companies, which originally saw teams send a series of emails from sites now only take a single picture that’s instantly shared with everyone. Large finance companies utilize its data-driven approach to serving a variety of customer segments.
This success has been reflected in the rapid growth of the company. For proof, one only needs to look around their new office in the heart of Bambalapitiya. Yet, Surajee modestly shrugs off the material examples of their growth saying, “I would not call it our growth. It’s the success of our customers. We are here today because we do our level best to make our customers happy.”