Contexte Enhances Its CRM System's User Experience

By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted 2015-11-05 Email Print this article Print

A French media company improves its customer relationship management application in order to build a better user experience and boost its staff's productivity.

A challenge for any company that adopts commercial customer relationships management (CRM) software is optimizing the interface to match specific workflows and business process requirements. At Contexte, a fast-growing French media firm that focuses on political and government policies throughout Europe, the need to balance functionality and usability had become paramount.

"Our salespeople have to manage and prioritize a wide number of leads and opportunities," explains Chloé Moitié, general director of sales at Contexte. "We use Salesforce for CRM, but we weren't fully satisfied with its user interface. Salesforce is great, but it does not make task management easy."

The two-year-old firm's business model is based on selling subscriptions, advertising and events within the B2B space. Contexte has journalists located in Paris and Brussels who deliver in-depth analysis and daily briefings to a variety of policy professionals in both the public and private sectors.

The company uses Salesforce to handle billing, manage advertising contracts and address an array of other key tasks.

"The situation had begun to impact productivity and performance," Moitié says. "We needed to find a simpler way for people to work." Among the challenges: finding a way to update accounts, contacts and tasks quickly and ensure that the data is available immediately for reports.

Some staff had already turned to personal task management applications, but the company wanted all data to reside in Salesforce. As a result, Contexte turned to Brisk, a Google Chrome browser add-on that creates a Web interface for Salesforce and aids in delivering important data and key reports. Moitié says she discovered the application after reading a thread at online discussion site Quora.

An Overwhelmingly Positive Response

After a five-month trial, the company went live with the application in May 2015. "We wanted the decision to be based on the sales representatives, and the response was overwhelmingly positive," she reports. "Not only does the application deliver a clear and unfettered design, it's also practical."

Moitié says that it's now possible to add a contact, update an opportunity or create a task in a matter of seconds. "Salesforce has all of our data and offers rich functionality, but we don't need direct access to it all the time. If you open a new tab, it's overwhelming."

On the other hand, "Brisk lets you see only what you need to see on a daily basis," she explains. "You can view your priorities and tasks at a glance and act on what's super important—but all the data ultimately resides in Salesforce."

Sales staff can open a tab from any desktop or laptop Chrome browser and update records immediately.

The biggest challenge related to the initiative, Moitié says, was getting the sales staff to change established habits and move away from their own ad hoc solutions. Contexte is currently working with Brisk to modify the "Topics" field with a contact so that it can accommodate important data. That will address the only shortcoming.

Other than that, the journey to better CRM has been smooth and seamless. "We now have a system that not only allows sales staff to manage data better, it also delivers reports and recommendations," Moitié points out.

Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).

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