How We're Still Growing Our 20-Year-Old CRM Company [$1.9M/Year]

Lars Helgeson
Founder, GreenRope
$160K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
15
Employees
GreenRope
from San Diego, California, USA
started June 2008
$160,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
15
Employees
206K
alexa rank
280
followers
5.54K
followers
Discover what tools Lars reccommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Lars reccommends to grow your business!
Start A Crm Business

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi! I’m Lars Helgeson, founder and CEO of GreenRope Complete CRM. We are a fully integrated sales, marketing, and customer service platform that helps businesses, government agencies, and non-profits to manage and grow. GreenRope also provides a white-label platform to help agencies and consultants offer their own branded solution to their customers.

GreenRope was bootstrapped 20 years ago and continues to grow, now providing services to clients in over 30 countries. We work with both small and large businesses and help organizations scale, providing over 90% savings in the total cost of ownership.

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Our growth has been largely fueled by customer referrals, pay-per-click ads, and SEO-related improvements to our websites.

Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

First and foremost, we have been expanding a lot of functionality on our platform. We built integrations with Zoom, Shopify, and Stripe, software that many of our clients use. The integrations connect directly to our marketing automation workflows and can trigger sending emails, SMS messages, voice broadcasts, alerts, and more.

We also did a lot of platform modernizing, updating our UI and speeding up the system. We worked with our users to come up with some helpful shortcuts to make the user experience better.

On the business front, we have picked up some larger government clients and struck up some partnerships with companies who white label our software to offer it to their customers. We have recently built out private-labeled systems for companies that help businesses in the furniture and cannabis industries.

Early 2020, when Covid took hold of the economy, we lost a lot of clients who went out of business. It seemed like anyone who worked in events, travel, or retail shut down operations, and for the remainder of the year, growth was slow. As businesses have rebuilt and the economy has restarted, we have seen much stronger growth. Businesses now are more used to remote work and realize the importance of an integrated, user-friendly CRM that includes automation for sales, marketing, and customer service.

Our growth has been largely fueled by customer referrals, pay-per-click ads, and SEO-related improvements to our websites. We also launched a dedicated website for our white label solution. Overall, we have found that marketing on social media hasn’t performed as well, so we have scaled that back.

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greenrope

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What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

One lesson we learned was about allocating personnel to work functions that would more effectively be outsourced. We used to have our CTO managing our pay-per-click campaigns, and an internal marketing person managing our social media. We found that it was more efficient for us to outsource those roles to companies that specialize in them.

We also learned that having a remote company can be a strength, especially in times like these. When the pandemic gripped society, it didn’t impact our business operations at all. Our dedication to providing excellent customer service, and a stable, reliable platform shined through. We were able to help many of our customers navigate through the challenges of doing business differently, helping them update their business processes and communication.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

We are focused on two primary areas for the next several years:

  1. Migrating to a full hybrid cloud solution, allowing for instances of our platform to be spun up in different regions around the world. This will allow us to meet the needs of clients in specific geographic regions that require data storage and transit be limited to that particular region.
  2. Building out more native integrations, allowing our platform’s sales enablement, marketing automation, and process management to interact directly with a wider range of applications.

We have been bootstrapped and will continue to grow organically, with the same dedication to providing outstanding customer service.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

One of the books I like to read and re-read is CRM For Dummies. It’s a great overview of CRM and processes, and I like to use it as a reference. Highly recommended for anyone working with a CRM or managing one. Also, since I wrote it, it’s a good thing for me to reference and note any elements that are affected by changes in technology and the economy. Fortunately, it has stood the test of time!

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

Step back and take the 30,000-foot view of how your process works. Map out your customer journeys and build buyer personas. Determine where you can automate your processes and rely on a complete CRM that will help you manage the entire process.

Stay focused on your mission, and don’t get too distracted by trying to build your own software to manage your processes. Sometimes founders get carried away with wanting to own everything instead of relying on technology that can be licensed. Managing software is a science in and of itself, and requires a lot of resources that your business may not be able to spare.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are looking for someone to write proposals for us. A good writer who is familiar with software as a service and web-based technologies. We would like to get in front of more government organizations who can use GreenRope for communicating with their constituents, and the RFP process requires attention to detail and familiarity with navigating sometimes difficult and confusing submission processes. Applications can be submitted to [email protected] and this would be a contract position.

Where can we go to learn more?

  • Website
  • On all the social media platforms as @GreenRope
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Lars Helgeson, Founder of GreenRope
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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