Our CEO JP Werlin and Batchbook’s CEO Pam O’Hara met over a PipelineDeals Customer Success webinar to talk about their “automagical” CRM data migration and how their friendship and business collaboration came to be.
Batchbook, PipelineDeals and “Automagical” Migration
For more than a week now, we’ve been assisting former Batchbook CRM customers and helping them migrate their CRM data right into PipelineDeals. As Batchbook sunsets its small business CRM, we are proud to be Batchbook’s select choice to migrate CRM customers. It’s a process we’re calling “automagical.”
Besides making all kinds of automagic happen, our team is setting up a cadence of helpful webinars to assist Batchbook customers in the transition. To kick it all off, we hosted “Two CEOs Talk about their CRM Journeys” webinar featuring both CEOs. JP and Pam have built their CRM companies around helping small and midsize companies nurture and retain the best business relationships. In fact, their partnership today couldn’t be possible without meeting years ago. The began building their own business relationship in the software industry exactly 12 years ago. Here’s more from Pam O’Hara, CEO of Batchbook, and JP Werlin, CEO of PipelineDeals about the automagical migration customers are taking to migrate data from Batchbook to PipelineDeals.
If you want to listen to the webinar instead you can do that right on our YouTube channel.
If you are a Batchbook customer and would like more details about migrating your CRM data to PipelineDeals, visit our special landing page here to get started.
A CRM CEO Journey Webinar
Annie: Hi, everybody! Thank you so much for joining today’s webinar. This is a special webinar. We’ll be talking to two CEOs: the CEO of PipelineDeals, and the CEO of Batchbook. So thank you so much for joining. My name is Annie Myrvang. I’m a customer success manager here at PipelineDeals. Just to get started, first off, Pam, I would really like to say that the team here at PipelineDeals is absolutely honored to be recommended by your Batchbook team.
Pam: Thank you so much, Annie. I’m really excited to be working with you all, and to be working with JP. We’ve known each other for a long time, and we’ve certainly done some industry things together. But it’s really nice to be working with the rest of the team, meet so many folks, and know that you guys are really helping our customers in a way that makes us feel good. Thanks for having me today, thanks for hosting this, and thanks for being a great team to work with.
Annie: Awesome! We’re definitely really excited to get this conversation kicked off. I’m here with the two CEOs today to kind of talk about the process of migrating your CRM data from Batchbook to PipelineDeals, as well as open the floor to any general questions that people have about this process. So, on that note, if you do have any questions today, please feel free to pop them into the question box. I’ll keep an eye on the question box as we go through today, but we’ll also save time at the end for a question & answer time, and we’ll just kind of go from there. So I guess, to get started, I would love to ask JP a question. Could you tell us a little about yourself, and how you got into the CRM business?
The CRM Business
JP: Sure! So, again, Pam, thanks for taking the time today, and thanks for trusting us going forward here to pick up the Batchbook baton. And thanks to everyone joining today! My name’s JP. I co-founded Pipeline Deals at about the same time Pam started Batchbook! About twelve years ago. It’s a similar entrepreneurial bootstrap story. We built Pipeline Deals to solve our own customer management problem. Our spreadsheet that we were tracking our customers on — Nick Bertolino and myself — became unruly and we started losing track of things. And this really cool technology came out, many moons ago now, that changed the web browser into what we know it today, to be an interactive piece of software, almost acting natively, and now today definitely acting natively, on your computer as opposed to remotely. So we went ahead and built an application to grow our own business. It turned out to be a problem to help other SMBs (small/medium sized businesses) tackle, and that’s how we got started! We are a bootstrap story. Been building this for the last 12 years. I’ll save how I met Pam for a little bit later, but that is our genesis story. It still holds true. We sit above a spreadsheet, below an enterprise software like Dynamics or something larger, and we love helping SMBs grow their business. That’s why we exist today.
Annie: I want to reiterate, as a member of the customer success team, I definitely enjoy working with our SMB customers, and helping you guys get the most out of PipelineDeals! Pam, I would like to direct the same question at you. You also started Batchbook 12 years ago, correct?
Pam: I did! It’s kind of a similar story. The one thing I have on JP is that I was pregnant with my third child at the time that I started Batchbook.
JP: Yeah, you had it harder than I did then, for sure! That’s a whole ‘nother level.
Pam: [laughs] Right? But yeah, when I first was looking at starting a business, I had come out of a software development background. I co-founded a company down in DC, and we built web applications for trade associations. I loved the DC area, but wanted to get out of the politics of the DC area. So I moved up to New England. I wanted to start something in the software area, but really geared toward small business. I had a lot of family background and had done a lot of small business ventures myself, so I really wanted to do something, and I started just talking to every small business owner that I patronized — my daycare, my restaurants — and they all kept coming back to, “I just need a way to keep up with my customers! I don’t know who’s doing what, who’s talking to who, who owes me money, who I need to reach out to.” So that’s what we focused on! We said, y’know what? That’s a real need, and something we can help with, and something we love — getting to know customers, and helping other businesses get to know their customers. So we started building, and we started the business in 2006, launched it in 2007, and it’s been a really great ride.
Annie: That’s awesome! It’s really interesting to hear about somewhat parallel businesses starting in similar industries. I know that you both consider each other industry colleagues, but also friends. So, tell us a little bit about how you guys met!
Similar Businesses and Kindred Spirits
Pam: I’ll start! JP, you can jump in when you want to. We actually met through an industry association — at the time, it was called the Small Business Web. It’s now morphed into the Cloud Software Association. But really, just a group of cloud-based software companies that served small businesses. And our sort of driving theme of the organization was different products that would integrate with each other and share information, so that small businesses could piece together different pieces of software — CRM software, marketing automation, email marketing — but have them all talk to each other and share data. And JP and I met as competitors, but one of the themes of the Small Business Web was to “hug it out” — to really work with, not only partners, but competitors. To all talk about, “How do we build software that works with the community of other software products out there, to really help small businesses?” The focus was always small businesses — how do they share information across their different systems?
Pam: I’ll tell you, honestly, within the group of small business systems, the CRM group was probably the largest. There were lots of CRM people. And I just always naturally sort of migrated to JP, because I think we both have this skeptical feel about what the other CRM folks were doing. So I think we really stayed focused on the small businesses, where a lot of other people in the organization were focusing on moving upstream, building something else, tackling some new project — we really hit it off because we were both so focused on, “This is what small businesses need, this is who they are.” And it’s a completely different need than the big guys in the space. So, that’s what I think! I’ve never really talked about why we’re friends. What do you think, JP?
JP: Yeah, I dunno! I think we share similar business philosophies — similar life philosophy, I think. I do enjoy our conversations, even when we were in the throes of early competition. I think Pam and I definitely gelled on doing it our way, and bucking the system a little bit, and not running out and raising oodles of venture capital. Pam and I are working, and have been working for many years, in an ecosystem where competitors have fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty million dollars. I would also argue that they don’t necessarily have sustainable business models, they just have money to buy customers. And Pam and I have definitely been focused on the customer first, and building a business where the roots can grow as deep as the tree above the soil. That’s not funded artificially by external capital. And that focus on the customers, that dedication to the entrepreneur, that passion about entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social good in the world, is something sort of unspoken, but if you read about Pam, if you read about why she does what she does, that really resonates with me. So I think our values are aligned. Pam, you say we were skeptical, and I would say that is true. And we decided to both, in our own ways, take paths whereby — I look at it like, we were a little bit recalcitrant, we’re on the fringe of what has become the “accepted, normal” path for starting and scaling a SaaS business. I would basically say we’re kindred spirits in that regard.
Pam: Yes. Very eloquently put.
Batchbook Recommends PipelineDeals
Annie: That’s awesome to hear the history behind the relationship and how you guys met. I guess that flows well into this transition, and Pam, I have a question for you about the transition for your customers. You wanted this to be as easy as possible. What was your thought process about that and what led you to this, recommending PipelineDeals?
Pam: When we got to the reality that we needed to close Batchbook, we started looking for a partner to help give our customers and especially our customers’ data — there’s a lot of rich information about different customer relationships. Within our system, there’s a lot of small business-like stories in our system. We really value that, and wanted to make sure our customers got to keep that. We really focused on two things. First, product compatibility: “Is the Pipeline Deals product going to be able to not just accept the data, but really be able to handle it in a way that continues to be useful for our customers?” And then the team: “Is it a good fit?” The customer service is such a huge part of our business, and I think it’s really important for all of our customers. They really look to us, not just for information on keeping the system running, but for how to do things, how to approach things, what should they be doing with custom fields, with building different reports, with different integrations.
Pam: In both of those areas, we felt like PipelineDeals is really built around the relationship the way Batchbook was. We looked at some other products, marketing automation products — a lot of different systems now have a CRM-like component built in. But they’re really built for something other than capturing that full customer relationship. We felt like PipelineDeals really was, in the way Batchbook was, built for that. It captures a lot of information, but not just a bunch of contacts, and not just a bunch of leads. It captures different things, different communications happening, different categories of information, that sort of thing — in a way that will let our customers keep that rich history they’ve already built, in a pretty fluid way, the way they were before. And they’ll get to work with a really great team that will get them up to speed on how what they were doing in Batchbook works with PipelineDeals, and keep ‘em going as quickly as possible.
Transition Process: What to Expect
Annie: That really means a lot. As a customer-facing member of the team here at PipelineDeals, we really do value that relationship we build with the customers. So that means a lot that you notice that and recognize that, here at PipelineDeals. In terms of that data piece that you mentioned, and the migration of data from Batchbook to another CRM — JP, do you think you could talk to us a little bit about that transition, and what that automagical migration of data from Batchbook to PipelineDeals looks like?
JP: Yes! That’s a fun word, “automagical”. Our marketing person, Marissa, said, “Are you sure you wanna put that in?” And I said, “Definitely. You’ve gotta have a press release with ‘automagical’ at some point in your career.” But really, the “automagical” is done by our engineers — Pam’s engineer and our team, led by Scott Gibson on this side, have done an incredible job to make this painless and pain-free for the Batchbook customers. We have built, thanks to Pam’s help and her team’s help, the only push-button experience to get data out of Batchbook and into Pipeline Deals, and we will do it overnight. Our elves will be working overnight to push bits and bytes to get all of your data seamlessly populated into Pipeline Deals from Batchbook, so you have minimal downtime or adverse impact on your business.
JP: There’s no other CRM out there who has that automated ability. Everything else, you’re going to be exporting CSV files, and re-jiggering it, and importing it into a different CRM. That is why Pipeline Deals and Batchbook are joined at the hip, and we are thankful that Pam is giving us her stamp of approval. Internally, it’s called The Migrator. It’s a very crazy name but we like to name things here… We’re not too creative, either. [laughs] But the migrator will take care of all of this for you. We had a bunch of successful migrations last night. We’re continuing to refine and improve this process. But we need your approval! We need the Batchbook customer to say, “Yep! I approve that you can bring this data into Pipeline Deals.” And so, we have that set up; it’s automagical to the user. The theory is you’ll log out one day at Batchbook, you’ll have your migration scheduled, and you’ll log back in to Pipeline Deals. That’s the plan for all of Batchbook’s customers, and we’re happy to do that.
Batchbook Dates to Remember
Annie: One question that I had and wanted to clarify with the team: What are some important dates that Batchbook customers need to keep in mind moving forward?
JP: So, the key dates are — well, obviously it’s the holiday season. We wanted to get this out and running as fast as we can prior to the holiday season, so people can enjoy Christmas and Hanukkah and everything, and the New Years. We’re kind of Hanukkah now. But January 15 is the big date that we’re running towards, and we want to get everybody migrated and successfully up and running headed into the New Year. We chose January, after talking with Pam about timing — and this all happened very very fast, I should add, just for context and perspective. We got this figured out in less than a week. That is just the incredible yeoman’s work that both sides of the equation figured out. In less than a week, we got this all put together. For now, I would recommend folks to get started sooner rather than later on the migration and changing from Batchbook to PipelineDeals. Because come January 15, the plan is to have everybody who wants to come from Batchbook to PipelineDeals ported over. Would you agree, Pam? Is there anything else I’m missing?
Pam: Yeah, that’s the key date, and I think I’d reiterate what you said. The sooner the better, just for the purposes of training and being able to support people as they have questions, looking at the old system and looking at the new system. I think going ahead and getting over and giving yourself a little time to ask questions is great. So we encourage people to go sooner rather than later.
Annie: Yeah, that all sounds great! I have a question about Pipeline Deals and how the two customer-facing teams have collaborated over this time, just to try to make this process as seamless as possible. Could you guys elaborate a little about how those two teams have worked together over this transition?
JP: Fundamentally, they have worked very closely together. They’re getting to know each other pretty darn well. We’re thankful to have Melanie, from Pam’s team, coming on board here at PipelineDeals longer-term to help with the transition over the weeks and months to come. Additionally, Pam’s engineering team has been working closely with the PipelineDeals engineering team. They’re in constant contact, we share a Slack chat and all, and there’s constant iteration and back and forth to make sure that customers are taken care of. And it is two-fold. We talk about people and process, and it’s important that, for people and process, the technology is a given, but equally important that we train the Batchbook folks and teach them how the PipelineDeals works vis a vis their current experience in Batchbook. So it’s something that we are working together to make sure, not only that the data is handled safely and securely, but that the process by which you learn is handled — what’s the difference between supertags and custom fields? How does Pam handle contact data vs. PipelineDeals? …When I say Pam, I mean Batchbook.
Pam: I like that I am now Batchbook personified.
JP: Sorry to personify you in that way! I guess we become our product, in a weird way? And we’re invested that much in it. Anyway, the process is equally important. There’s the technology, the process, and the third piece is the people. Making sure the people have the confidence and the know-how to use and leverage PipelineDeals, such that they hit the ground running for their companies and for their sales missions, or for their communication goals, headed into 2019. We want as many people to hit the ground running in 2019 as possible.
Pam: Yeah, and I will just add — I’ve already mentioned how much we enjoy working with the PipelineDeals team. I talked to Melony earlier, and she actually did the first webinar this morning with the Pipeline Deals customer service team. They had about 30 or so of our Batchbook customers in that. She was really excited — she’s spent a lot of time looking at data that’s migrating over to PipelineDeals, digging into how to do things over there that we were able to do on our side. And she came out of that webinar pretty excited about the fact that there really were not any major areas where things couldn’t be done. She felt like there’s some different approaches — how you build out your reports and lists is slightly different — but it can all be done. So I think that’s one of the nice things about our teams working so closely together. You’ve got subject matter experts in Batchbook who will be at PipelineDeals, and really can help bridge that gap between, “OK, this is what I used to do. What do I do here?” It can all be done, it’s just a matter of learning a few new ways to do things.
JP: Agreed — and I will add, we are here. 866-702-7303. Our customer care team, our customer success team — if you need a demo, our sales team as well — are here to help walk you through how the product works. We answer the phone here at Pipeline Deals with a US-based human from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. We also have chats in the app, and we also can do screen shares with you, so there’s no shortage of ways for us to help you and your team get up to speed as fast as humanly possible.
Welcoming Batchbook Customers to PipelineDeals
Annie: Yeah, with that, I would like to mention that if you guys have migrated over to Pipeline Deals and become PipelineDeals customers, please join one of our Batchbook customer webinars. These webinars will be a great opportunity to do exactly what Pam mentioned: learn the ins and outs of PipelineDeals, but with a Batchbook-focused lens, to figure out how the process that you’ve been following in Batchbook is gonna translate over into PipelineDeals. So please join one of those webinars. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer care team. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or our phone number — you can reach them at 866-702-7303. We are here to support you guys, and we’re really excited to welcome Batchbook customers to our PipelineDeals family.
Note: The transcription to the second part to this webinar is available: Top Questions Batchbook Customers Are Asking PipelineDeals
If you are a Batchbook customer and would like more details, visit our special landing page here to get started.