Randy Nordgren isn’t new to the crowded world of sales software. As a sales and marketing leader for 3 companies, he’s led multiple teams from grind to growth. Founding HR Covered was a new challenge in the Canadian market, but selecting a CRM was easier than he thought it would be.
“I’m too old for outsourcing every minor integration at such a high cost,” Nordgren jokes. “I can’t live that way anymore. I don’t want a million add-ons from the Salesforce marketplace or to hire an expensive consultant. I needed an all-in-one solution.”
CRM ‘analysis paralysis’ plagues many founders at this stage of growth. Their sales team is growing––and the holes in their reporting methods become more obvious with every new sale. They hack through manual sales tools, shuffle through exports and freemium software to pull together insights. They struggle to find the middle ground between high-cost CRM options and spreadsheets.
Randy and his leadership team were able to strike that balance—without a battle royale, and in a matter of a few short weeks. After implementing Close their soaring into their next phase of growth as a consulting innovator.
Here’s a deeper dive into their research journey and how they plan to integrate and scale with Close.
Aligning your growth phase with your CRM
HR Covered is a human services consulting company that provides HR policy and services to small Canadian companies in their early growth stage: too small to afford hiring an HR team member internally but too large to go without dedicated HR completely.
Too often, these SMBs run more risk than they realize by toughing out this HR no-man’s-land. They might balk at outside consultant prices, but when legal or financial disaster strikes, they’re in an even tougher spot.
“HR doesn’t have to be expensive,” Nordgren says, “but doing HR wrong is expensive. Small businesses need to make sure they’re in full compliance before they have to hire expensive lawyers to fix compliance issues for them.”
That’s exactly where HR Covered steps in. Have a tricky termination? They’ll guide you to the best course of action. Need to reduce your liability? They’ll help you do so.
HR Covered runs alongside your HR software like Gusto or Zenefits, but they get your custom documentation set up and in place. They provide HR expertise over the phone or in email, and go through a full 30-day onboarding to ensure you’re fully compliant right away. Your dedicated HR expert also administers your employee training for new team members.
If your team has grown enough to need HR support but you aren’t ready for enterprise-level investment, HR Covered fills the gap and focuses on customers just like you for between $99-$199 per month.
Their mission is clear:
We’re creating an affordable option to have the best HR experts at your fingertips. Cost should never come into consideration when you’re talking about these essential business steps.
Sounds familiar to the team here at Close: this is exactly the way we approach sales software for small businesses, too. That’s why Close is a perfect fit for scaling, ambitious teams in a phase of fast growth who don’t need to be burdened by high-cost, enterprise-level CRMs.
Comparing SMB CRMs
HR Covered needed a lightweight, flexible solution for their straightforward workflow. As a team, they knew their main use cases would be sales communication, quality assurance, lead storage, and transparency for all of their reps. Collaboration and best-practice features were key.
Their team of eight sales reps needed to be able to cruise ahead with outbound and inbound efforts, while focusing on outreach.
We’ve gone through dozens of CRMs as a leadership team, mainly using Salesforce previously. But for HR Covered, we mainly needed telephony, texting, a Gmail connection, and easy integrations to our other apps. Pipedrive came up, and we considered Nextiva. We even thought about Salesforce for a very light, almost just a ‘skin’ implementation. But I was super skeptical it could have been implemented in such a light way.
“In the end, Salesprocess.io was a big decision factor because they showed us a demo of Close and how to set it all up. Close fits our model of growth.”
Nick Kozmin and his Toronto-based team at Salesprocess.io helped coach Randy and his team in the early days of their business venture. They helped Randy and the other HR Covered leaders spin up a Close trial and encouraged them to start stress testing it against their needs.
After just two weeks of a trial in Close, the HR Covered team agreed they found the right CRM.
The fact that it’s a complete unified communication system is the biggest component for us. Email, texting, telephony––I’ve worked for companies where we had to buy options for all of these and then integrate them. This is the #1 reason we think Close is dynamite. CRMs are not made to be dialers and vice versa, but you guys proved them wrong.
The HR Covered workflow and growth plan
HR Covered plans to use Close as a linchpin in their tech stack to centralize sales communication and data from their other daily apps. With a clear mission as a team, they know collaboration is key to their ability to expand in the Canadian HR market.
- Business Plan with an annual discount
- Eight seats
- Completed a first trial
- Now have a second instance with discounted seats to store confidential HR expert communication for their onboarded customers
- Vertical team structure
Close’s integration with the rest of their tech stack is what makes the workflow run smoothly:
From ‘lead in’ to ‘booked opportunity’ to ‘sale’, it’s all a straight line. One critical path. We don’t have accounts and clients and contacts––it all just works together as one opportunity and syncs all activity into leads. We use Accuity to sync opportunities in Close, which pushes an announcement in our sales channel in Slack to celebrate a won deal.
Close acts as the hub for all HR Covered’s sales systems: reps log into Close and see everything on their plate for the day, the dynamic data on their sequences, and opportunity data from Accuity. It’s all in one on a simple timeline UI, and they don’t need to open other apps like Gmail.
Reps use the Power Dialer to crank through their outreach and tasks each day while also increasing their connection and close rates. They use the Close + Zoom integration for video sales calls and use Zapier to bring their warm Google Ads and Facebook leads directly into Close.
“Our reps all think Close is intuitive compared to other CRMs––especially Salesforce,” says Nordgren. “And most of them (and our leaders) come from Salesforce backgrounds in their past jobs.”
HR Covered also builds coaching opportunities into their workflow to ensure they’re always helping their reps improve performance and increase their chances of closing new deals. They use Close’s built-in features, designed to help sales leaders coach reps naturally without disrupting their flow:
- They set up their funnels using Smart Views and trained reps to understand what they mean
- Call coaching (especially barging) is incredibly helpful, especially because their Chief Growth Officer has a sales coaching background and knows how essential this is to reps
Cost savings and accelerating growth with Close
HR Covered is gearing up for another sprint of scaling in 2021 with Close at the core of their workflow. Randy and his leadership team are focused on scaling their team and automating as much of their tech stack as possible.
"Close is our #1 tool for our growth this year. Sales enablement, sequences, and the Power Dialer––they let us grow and scale because we can move through contacts faster."
“Having one solution has saved us money so far, and we haven’t had to hire any outside Salesforce or CRM consultants,” Nordgren says. “It’s tough to quantify exactly the money we haven’t had to spend, but we know that’s added to our bottom line.”
Customer Success you won’t get anywhere else
For small businesses that still have limited resources, one of the most important things to consider in your hunt for any kind of sales or operations software is the support you’ll receive as a customer. A dedicated success team is essential to any consulting company that wants to provide real, meaningful support to its users.
Randy and his team have felt that from day 1 of their Close trial.
“If there’s anything you take out of our story, it’s the amazing work from Lydhia and the Customer Success team at Close,” Nordgren says. “We’re not tech-heads, we don’t have IT.”
Whenever we’ve tried to implement a more complex step in our CRM, 999 out of 1,000 companies would have told us to make a Zap ourselves. Nothing’s worse than trying to get software to work and gangling through a help file––but the Close Customer Success team does it for us. This level of customer support speaks our language. I’m absolutely blown away.