Case Study: Columbus
When Columbus restructured their sales organization, Vainu became an essential part of the new strategy for creating targeted campaigns for their ideal customers and enriching data in HubSpot CRM.
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Data Updates, Company Profiles, Workflow Triggers
In 2019, Columbus sought smarter, data-driven ways to identify and reach out to companies matching their ideal customer profile (ICP). Their goal was to simplify prospecting, get actionable insights on the technologies their customer and prospects were using, and get timely reports on relevant company changes. As a result, Columbus made several significant changes to its sales organization. And, Vainu helped them.
Headquartered in Ballerup, Denmark, Columbus is an IT service and consulting company with more than 2,000 employees serving customers worldwide. They focus on developing, implementing, and supporting digital business solutions, guiding their customers into digital transformations. “The secret is our end-to-end digital solution, deep industry knowledge, extensive technical expertise, and profound customer insight,” as Columbus writes on their website.
We sat down with Filip Lindwall, Head of Sales for Digital Commerce at Columbus, and asked him how they use Vainu after their organizational changes in 2019. “Now we’re able to focus 100 percent on the companies matching our ICP,” he explains and continues:“Without Vainu, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to work with such targeted campaigns as we do now.”
Changes in the sales organization opened up new possibilities with Vainu
Incidentally, Columbus was one of Vainu’s first customers in Sweden in 2015. At that time, the company primarily used Vainu to find new opportunities to support their small yet not-so-active sales organization. It didn’t work for them.
Four years later, Columbus was a different sales organization, larger, more structured, and more focused. Looking to find smarter ways of doing sales around their ICP, Vainu came to mind. They decided to try it out again, and this time, it worked.
During the implementation period, Columbus worked shoulder to shoulder with Vainu’s Engagement team to set up a workflow aligned with the customer’s new goals and processes. Filip Lindwall acknowledges the implementation was excellent: “It genuinely felt like our Engagement Manager understood how we wanted to work, but at the same time, she challenged our ways of thinking, to set up the best possible process. She was clear that if we don’t reach high activity early on, we won’t get any returns from the platform. She was very consultative, which was exactly what we needed.”
Head of Sales, Digital Commerce at Columbus
Targeted campaigns with higher hit rate and better quality of meetings
Salespeople at Columbus also have other tasks. Simultaneously, they work with customers and collaborate with a telemarketing agency that helps them book qualified meetings. “Before we started to use Vainu, it took us and the telemarketing team hours, sometimes days, to build a list of good fit prospects. More often than not, during calls, they had to ask prospects what technologies they use to be able to qualify leads,” says Lindwall.
Thanks to Vainu’s company information, Columbus sales organization saves 13 hours per new campaign they launch. “In just one minute, I can put together a list of companies that fit our ICP. Not only that. Now, I also know which technologies or tools they use, so I can determine if we’re strong suppliers on those. When we can mention this early in the conversation with prospects, we quickly gain their trust,” Filip Lindwall continues. Working on more targeted campaigns means a higher hit rate and produces more top-quality meetings because salespeople can quality the prospect earlier in the sales process.
According to Lindwall, before long, Vainu had proved it was a good investment: “Soon after starting to use Vainu, we won a public tender which translated into a large deal. The fact that we were even involved in a deal like this gave us enough reason to count the yearly investment of Vainu as profitable. We would never have been part of this deal without Vainu.”
Using data to update and monitor existing accounts automatically
When Vainu launched Vainu for CRM in January 2020, Columbus was one of the first companies in Sweden to get on board. The first step was to update company data for all the 2,720 Swedish companies in HubSpot, their customer relationship management system. In the past, Columbus salespeople would update contact information manually. That was a struggle because many salespeople wouldn’t even use the CRM every day.
“Using Vainu for CRM helped us to become better HubSpot users and build workflows based on the companies we want to be in contact with and when,” explains Lindwall. “Now, I can single-handedly manage tasks I couldn’t before.” For example, when Columbus attends an event, they can easily import a list of leads to HubSpot and segment companies based on their relevance. “That was something that took weeks to do before—or wasn’t done at all,” says Lindwall.
Automation doesn’t stop there. Thanks to Vainu’s alerts, account managers at Columbus receive updates on customers within a specific region straight into Slack channels, so they stay on top of what’s happening with their accounts. Lindwall tells an example: “One of our account managers recently saw that one of her most important accounts was closing down many of its businesses. Right away, she knew what to do. The triggered workflows have changed the way we work.”
Within the team, the interest in Vainu has spiked after good experiences as more salespeople and account managers want access to Vainu to set up reports on their customers. “At exceptional times, like the pandemic, it has been crucial to know what is going on with our customers, which companies are letting people go, and which ones show signs of growth.”
Vainu has made us see the value of unique data points that help us be more relevant than our competitors. We already know how we add value for our customers, but the timing has been a hard nut to crack–that’s where Vainu comes in and gives us good prospects to contact at the right time.
Vainu is clearly the best comparable software I've ever used. In less than one month our investment reached positive ROI, and in less than 9 months we gained 350 new customers – all of them practically from Vainu.
We were impressed by the Vainu playbook and the atmosphere at the Academy. We listened carefully, and think it was an excellent idea to take part in this.
Vainu has been the right solution for us. What Vainu excels at is consolidating all the necessary company information in one place.
Our transformation was about establishing a crystal clear goal and a routine for our sales. The insights provided by Vainu's data are inseparable from our sales process and fundamental for the team's success every day.
By enriching the company profiles directly in our CRM, we are now able to put real-time information directly in the hands of the salesperson. Vainu helps us prioritize our activities and to be more productive.
When we get a scent of a customer, we are fast to react and use the data from Vainu to tailor an offer to fit the particular customer and their current situation.
All our sales prospecting in Finland, Sweden and Norway is done through Vainu and our employees are nuts about it! Everyone uses Vainu and it is a part of the onboarding process of every new salesperson.
Previously our salespeople could spend a whole day on prospecting. Now all that's needed to get the same job done is one search in Vainu. We find better prospects while spending a staggering 90 percent less time on prospecting.
At the beginning of the year we recruited three new sales reps to solely search for new business and they have closed new deals worth 5 million euros with the help of Vainu.
Earlier I could have spent a whole afternoon finding a list of 100 prospects. With Vainu, I'm able to get the list instantaneously with a few clicks.
We've grown 300% year-to-year so far, and without Vainu, it would have impossible to do that.
I think it's fantastic that Vainu develops continuously and I think there are many ways of using Vainu that neither party has yet realized.
Vainu is a genuinely useful tool. I've recommended it to many colleagues in other companies, and many of them have chosen Vainu.
Soon after starting to use Vainu, we won a public tender which translated into a large deal. The fact that we were even involved in a deal like this gave us enough reason to count the yearly investment of Vainu as profitable. We would never have been part of this deal without Vainu.
When we're managing a significant customer portfolio either in terms of the number of customers or the value, Vainu helps us prioritize them and focus our efforts on the ones that matter the most right now. Vainu's notifications help us find new opportunities to do business.
Vainu enables us to use our time and energy more wisely. Our business figures are heading in a positive direction, and Vainu supports our journey.
Our first call resolution has gone up from 75% to around 90%. Also, our contact volume has gone down about 20%, and our net benefit can be counted in millions by the end of the year. And we’re just getting started.
When data moves automatically between different systems without manual work, it does not only make our work easier but improves our sales results.
I've acquired several new accounts by simply following the reports of new companies from Vainu. In this business, being the first is being the winner!"
Our time spent on prospecting has decreased by 67% from what it was before Vainu. It is now extremely easy to identify the companies with many open positions who are already using other SaaS technologies.
What's really good about Vainu, is that you can find companies that aren't that visible everywhere - hidden gems! Those are also easier to close because they haven't been contacted that heavily. For 95% of prospects that we're looking for it's much much faster with Vainu.
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