TL;DR: Offering enterprise-grade functionality at small business pricing, Commence Corporation is a longtime leader in customer relationship management software. By using the company’s desktop or cloud CRM programs, businesses can track stats related to sales and satisfaction. Used by thousands of companies around the world, Commence provides valuable insights so clients can enhance customer interactions and increase profits. With a user base largely composed of small and medium businesses, Commence’s primary focus is on facilitating business success and growth.
When examining the CRM software landscape, Larry Caretsky knows his company, Commence Corporation, isn’t the biggest — and that’s perfectly fine.
Instead, he compares Commence to the likes of Volvo, a relatively small business competing against massive corporations 50 times larger.
“They basically found the thing they do better than everyone else,” said Larry, who is the President of Commence. “They’ve honed in on a feature, safety, and they’ve got the likes of GM and Ford on the defensive. If you’re interested in safety for your car, GM and Ford have to prove they’re at least as safe, or you’re not going to buy from them.”
For nearly 30 years, Commence has focused on providing superior customer service to small and medium businesses needing software to help manage contacts, sales, marketing, and support. Half of that time, according to Larry, industry experts have expected the company to not be able to compete with longtime CRM titans or high-tech startups; he enjoys proving them wrong.
“My firm has been able to prosper and grow over its 27 years because we’re really good at knowing what we do better than everyone else,” Larry said. “We compete against Microsoft, Salesforce, and a myriad of other CRM solution providers, and we’re still alive and growing. To have customers for 20-plus years in the tech industry is unheard of.”
An Early Pioneer in Customer Database Management
Commence got its start in the early 1990s when a group of businessmen believed they could make companies more efficient by creating a tool that captured, tracked, and shared important customer information across the organization. They created Commence RM, a desktop program for managing accounts, sales, and marketing.
“It was one of the first products in the industry that allowed people to create a database where they could track their customers’ addresses, phone numbers, activity, and history,” Larry said.
The ability to easily use and customize Commence RM outside the home office made the software incredibly popular among industry giants, including AT&T, Compaq, and IBM, which sold the system under a private label.
As an early example of the consolidated database concept, Commence RM — which is still available today — was a precursor to Commence’s current CRM platform. Although the competition typically aims for a one-size-fits-all solution, Commence distinguishes itself by allowing users to tailor the programs to their business needs.
“Our programs have expanded beyond just managing accounts and contacts to managing leads and the sales process,” Larry said. “Today, there are still several thousand corporations using the original product, and we’ve continued to add more functionality.”
Combining Service with Software to Enhance Market Effectiveness
Now used across multiple industries and continents, Commence’s products offer a high level of functionality at a very competitive price. Competing with industry giants, the company differentiates itself with a strong focus on quality and customer support.
“We’re actually becoming as much of a service company as we are a software company,” Larry said. “If you look at a lot of small and medium businesses, the two areas where they really suffer are sales and marketing.”
Not only do SMBs have limited budgets for marketing, but many consultants also prefer to work with larger clients. As such, Commence stands out as an affordable solution, complete with hands-on consultation.
In addition to telephone and email support, Commence’s self-service programs and free resources include a service portal, knowledgebase, and FAQs. Beyond that, customers may purchase additional support such as consultation and product mentoring. For the most difficult challenges, Commence offers professional services, such as data migration, third-party integrations, and personalized training, that encourage best practices.
“We help them to actually design and implement their own sales processes,” Larry said.
A One-Stop-Shop CRM that Grows Alongside Business Needs
Whether a company wants to focus on resource management or a drip marketing campaign, Commence offers value and efficiency to businesses looking to be more efficient and successful across a variety of departments. The platform is available in desktop, cloud, and mobile formats to suit the changing workforce.
Sales CRM features a customizable dashboard and tools for lead scoring and assignment, sales opportunity management, analytics, and organized accounts and contacts, while the Marketing CRM suite automates several processes with lead capturing and email communications. Project management and customer service programs add further functionalities and reporting.
“Our key advantage is our one-stop shopping,” Larry said. “Even though a customer may know they don’t need our project manager or call center at the moment, they may need them in the future and won’t want to change CRM systems.”
With Commence CRM, businesses can more efficiently manage the sales cycle and generate leads with effective marketing campaigns. With an affordable and holistic cloud-based solution, Commence empowers businesses in a way that rivals CRM giants — such as Salesforce — and has the numbers to prove it. According to the company’s research, clients that have incorporated its CRM software report an average sales revenue increase of between 14% and 21% within nine months of implementation.
On the Horizon: An Updated Platform With Advanced Reporting
For many small and medium businesses, the inability to outsource customer service, create a dedicated sales team, and hire professional marketers is an unfortunate reality. However, CRM software helps fills those gaps and scale by using better marketing strategies and building rapport with customers.
Although new features and improvements are partially influenced by the latest tech trends, Larry said Commence’s top priority is meeting client demands for organization and progress.
“We make sure to stay on top of all the new technology, but we’re mostly focused on addressing what commonalities we get from customers,” Larry said. “If 2,000 customers asked for a feature, then we know to make that a priority.”
Typically, the company introduces enhancements to the desktop program, then emulates the functionality for the cloud platform. Upcoming updates include advanced reporting tools through Jaspersoft and optimized Gmail and Outlook integrations, as well as additional third-party partnerships, Larry said.
“I’ve learned over the years that customers buy products and programs based on who they think is going to help them solve the problem that is in front of them today,” he said. “We work hard to provide exactly the solutions our customers need at any given moment.”
For more information, visit www.commence.com.