When Raindance Communications was founded in 1997, its primary focus was delivering video streaming services. As technology, telecommuting, and industry needs evolved, so did Raindance. Today, the company offers integrated Web and audio conferencing services, allowing users to quickly and easily arrange virtual meetings and share data via the Internet. Raindance, based in Louisville, Colorado, grew from 20 employees to more than 200, and, went public in July 2000. The company now serves more than 1,750 customers in a wide range of vertical markets.
As Raindance's business expanded, its senior management team recognized that they needed an application that would go beyond the current contact management capabilities of its post-sale database. On the sales side, the company wanted to streamline its forecasting and reporting and needed an application that would enable quick, accurate, and real-time revenue projections. Remote access to critical sales data anytime, anywhere was also important to the company. On the marketing side, it was also necessary to have a solution that could assist the company with tracking the success rate of its lead generation programs, especially in light of the current economic climate. Market watchers were speculating the possibility of a global recession during the third quarter of 2001, and companies like Raindance began to shift marketing resources from advertising campaigns to more cost-effective and broad-reaching efforts such as lead generation programs. As Raindance was preparing to launch an aggressive lead generation program to help support the sales process and continue to build brand awareness, it realized that it did not have an effective system in place to measure the ROI associated with these efforts. Raindance also needed to track the key messages that were most successful at penetrating the marketplace. "We needed an application that could read the pulse of the current and future state of our marketing programs and provide us with metrics to directly correlate leads generated and revenues accrued by specific marketing programs," explained Mark Calkins, vice president of marketing at Raindance. The company began its due diligence process to find a user-friendly sales force automation (SFA) application that would offer a fast deployment, the ability to track and provide ongoing metrics of lead generation activities, and an instant view into the sales pipeline. After evaluating various customer relationship management (CRM) and SFA applications, Raindance decided that a solution hosted by an application service provider would best meet its needs. "We didn't want to buy servers and hire a lot of IT people to install and manage them," said Bill Davison, vice president of sales at Raindance. "We wanted something we could roll out quickly without investing in infrastructure and services."
After months of due diligence, Raindance narrowed its search to three Web-based SFA/CRM applications. The company selected Salesnet because its solution offered the features and benefits Raindance required from both a sales and marketing perspective. From a sales perspective, Salesnet's proprietary Process Builder technology enabled Raindance to automate and track information from the seven stages of its sales process. Salesnet also offered unlimited custom-definable fields to help Raindance support its sales process - a feature unavailable from competing online applications. The flexibility of Salesnet's Report Writer, combined with the custom-definable fields, enabled Raindance's sales organization to provide annuity-based forecasting for each customer and prospective customer based on projected values entered into Salesnet for the upcoming 12 months.
On the marketing side, Salesnet was ideally suited to help the company measure lead generation results because of the complete customizability of the Report Writer. With Salesnet, Raindance's marketing department could run the reports it needed at any time and could quickly determine the initiatives that were turning prospects into revenue-generating clients. This helped to ensure that all marketing resources were being used optimally to support the sales pipeline and the company's path to profitability.
Raindance's initial rollout to 50 members of its sales and marketing organization only took a few weeks. "It was so easy to implement, we were able to get our sales team up and running faster than we ever imagined," said Davison. "Because Salesnet is automated, intuitive and easy to use, the sales department became re-energized because they were able to cut down on the time and effort spent tracking and managing sales leads." Both Davison and Calkins were also impressed by Salesnet's custom reports and the company instantly began to track every lead that was entered or uploaded into Salesnet. Salespeople were following up with leads promptly, and marketing efforts were in place to continue the momentum. And, with their custom-built reports, Calkins could determine how many deals closed from each lead generation source. "I have critical data that enables me to decide which lead generation programs are successful, and which should be eliminated," said Calkins. "With Salesnet, I can make the right business decisions to redirect or increase our marketing resources to better align with the objectives of our sales organization."
Raindance noticed the positive impact of Salesnet's SFA solution almost immediately. Salesnet eliminated many time-consuming and manual tasks, like qualifying leads, and enabled Raindance's sales organization to increase their its overall sales effectiveness and productivity by 20 percent. The transition to Salesnet also meant that Raindance's sales activities would now be automated, saving Raindance sales reps hours of extraneous work.
Currently, Raindance has 65 members of its sales and marketing team up and running on Salesnet and plans to increase its user base with each new hire. "We know we'll continue to reap more benefits and savings as our company grows," says Davison. "The capabilities and functionality are very impressive and are exactly what we needed."
Because of Raindance's Salesnet deployment, the sales and marketing departments communicate much more effectively and can now generate critical reports instantly. "Each department wanted personalized, customized reports, and with Salesnet it is very easy to generate them," said Davison. "Other client/server applications would require weeks of coding, but with Salesnet, it's as easy as a click of a button. We get our data in seconds, and we have the easy access to the right information at the tip of our fingers in order to make smart business decisions."