John Paterson, CEO of Really Simple Systems, tells us how they help businesses build long-lasting relationships, save time and make more sales with the simple CRM software.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
John Paterson: We’re all fine, thanks!
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Really Simple Systems.
John Paterson: I’ve spent my life running software companies and ended up doing a series of Venture Capital backed turnarounds. After the last one of those, I decided to start my own company.
During the course of my career, I have installed many CRM systems. I ran a CRM company at one stage, where the main issue was rolling the business out and getting people to use it. Many systems at this time were too slow and complicated, and users could not be bothered to use them. Hence, Really Simple Systems was created to make the CRM system easy to use so that people can actually use it.
How does Really Simple Systems market its product/services online?
John Paterson: Most people find us through search engines. We are also listed in blogs such as “Best Small Business CRM.” We also run paid advertising campaigns through sites like Capterra.
Further, we run regular webinars where we highlight many of the capabilities of the CRM. These webinars help those interested in the CRM and current customers.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
John Paterson: Many of our customers downgraded their systems or simply went out of business. Some people asked for their systems to be frozen, which we did for them. New sign-ups continued to come in, and it was noticeable that as different countries went through the various waves of the pandemic, sign-ups dropped and then came back. Customers in the travel and hospitality industries were unsurprisingly the worst hit. However, people’s businesses are coming out of the pandemic, and we are seeing customers upgrading as they bring back staff.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
John Paterson: We use our own CRM for our email marketing, which is ideal to have a marketing tool within the CRM to create that workflow in reaching out to our customers. We also use other software like Hootsuite for social media, BigMarker for our webinars, and Google for…well, lots! I am sure there are a few we are not mentioning, but I don’t want to waste your time.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
John Paterson: There are a zillion CRM systems out there, too many to count. Salesforce used to be a big competitor, but they focus on larger customers than our market. We get a lot of “Salesforce refugees” (customers leaving Salesforce) because it is too expensive both in terms of license costs and maintenance. Hubspot seems popular at the moment, as they have a very basic but free CRM system and then hope that customers will upgrade to their marketing tools, but then it suddenly gets costly. We stay in the game by providing good software that does what it says on the tin, plus great support that makes our customers the happiest of CRM users!
Your final thoughts?
John Paterson: Fashions in CRM come and go; remember Social CRM? But the essential task of a CRM system remains the same, keeping track of prospects and customers, making sales, handling support tickets, and getting the newsletters out. We have customers who have been with us since we started 16 years ago. In the end, people want reliable software that is easy to use with great support whenever they need it.