This is a follow up story for Efficy. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published almost 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hey, I’m still Cédric Pierrard and I founded Efficy, a Belgian CRM company, in 2005.
We sell a CRM suite that is becoming more comprehensive and global. Our core target is composed of Small and Medium Businesses but our product is so flexible that it fits enterprises also or even freelancers.
We have had a lot going on lately, since the last article. For example, our turnover reached €60M. In 2019, our turnover was around €22,5M.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
We had a highly challenging 2021 year. We’re lucky to have a sustainable business model. Means that, even in crisis, our recurring income continues to come in. Our survival was not at stake. So, we could focus on other topics like our M&A strategy or funding.
Despite Covid times, we acquired 3 companies in 2021 and got financial support from French private equity. We acquired webCRM in Denmark, then PerfectView, a Dutch CRM supplier, and last but not least APSIS, a Swedish marketing automation company.
The first acquisition opened up the Nordics to us. PerfectView reinforced our position in The Netherlands. APSIS was the 1st acquisition we realized with a supplier that doesn’t sell pure CRM. It allowed us to make our product range wider. Now, we’re deploying the cross-selling possibilities we thought about before the acquisition.
This last acquisition wouldn’t have been possible so fast without our new partner APAX Partners, French private equity. We already had one Belgian fund, Fortino, but they weren’t strong enough to support our growth.
On the staff side, we are now more than 550 people. APSIS acquisition was particularly challenging because the company was only a bit smaller than we were. It represented 230 people. I think these acquisitions are now digested.
We organized an internal event a few weeks ago to onboard these new Efficyers. The event has been a complete success. Now, I can say they all feel part of Efficy.
Apart from external growth, we multiplied our efforts on organic growth also. We doubled the sales & marketing budget and invested a lot in pay-per-click campaigns. We rationalized our organization and hired, for example, SDRs in every country where we’re present, to qualify incoming leads that are more or less hot.
We are now present on directories like Capterra, and G2 also. We’re still realizing some A/B testing on our content but 1st results are encouraging. We’re also investing more in branding and brand awareness campaigns. It’s still hard to measure the results of these efforts. But we’re on it. I could keep you posted on that very soon.
As an international company, we rationalized our content production also. For example, if our marketing team produces a white paper about email marketing, we’re gonna try to customize the content depending on the target.
Then ⅔ of the content will be global and ⅓ will be customized and tailor-made for enterprises, medium businesses, or even freelancers.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
No surprise, the biggest challenge we had to deal with was Covid. How do keep employees committed during these very hard times? And how to keep them onboard?
We multiplied initiatives to keep the link between the company and the Efficyers: e-coffee time with the CEO, some deliveries at home with a take-care parcel, very tight communication to the people at higher risk, etc.
Today, we are struggling to recruit new people. And in Europe war for talents is quite common. We all want the best ones to join.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We’ve just launched our new strategic plan, called SHAPE250. It’s not completely official and I can’t say more now. But I would be glad to share some info after the summer.
The only thing I can say is that 250 stands for €250M revenue in 5 years.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
For once, I won’t talk about what I read or listened to but… I’m gonna do some auto-promotion.
We had the idea internally to launch a new blog about my entrepreneurial life. I’m gonna give some advice to young entrepreneurs in a very blank mode. No bullshit, the truth, and nothing but the truth. It will be online after the summer.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We need developers, project managers, consultants, and a lot of other profiles in sales, marketing, and other support positions.
You’ll know more by clicking here.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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