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Thoughts from a Research Journey with Database Sherpa

A guest blog post by Emily Gremel, Researcher and Strategist

I met Ashima last fall when I led a marketing research workshop for some entrepreneurs she was coaching. Sharing the benefits and values of my field has always been important to me, so I leapt at the chance to share my “gospel” with some blossoming business owners. Little did I know where that workshop would lead…

In March 2014, I was contracted by Database Sherpa to conduct a short online satisfaction survey of past clients. We received feedback from 23 individuals who had worked with Ashima in the past. The study had a few simple objectives:

  • Better understand how clients decided to work with Database Sherpa
  • Uncover issues and pain points with the existing training methods Ashima was using
  • Gauge overall satisfaction and Salesforce use after the Database Sherpa training process ended

I’d like to share two of the most important items we uncovered by conducting our study: clients’ database providers before switching to SalesForce.com, and amount past clients continue to use SalesForce.com in their organizations today.

Below is a graph that illustrates the database used by Database Sherpa clients prior to their engagement with Database Sherpa related to their Salesforce.com database:

Graph_1

This graph shows that an overwhelming majority of Database Sherpa clients did not have experience with a true CRM (customer relationship management system) prior to the start of their training. Microsoft Office Suite products, used by 60% of our respondents, are not true CRMs. An additional 16% weren’t using any sort of CRM. This data allows the training to be adapted to ease brand new CRM users into Salesforce in a comfortable, non-threatening way.

The next image illustrates that 94% of past Database Sherpa clients are still using SalesForce.com regularly today.

Graph2

I consider the amount of continued SalesForce.com use an indicator of success for Database Sherpa. However, I think this data is just as valuable to anyone considering the switch to SalesForce.com. It isn’t uncommon to see organizations adopt a new software or system only to abandon it a few months later for being too complicated, not user friendly, or not worth the expense. Our data shows that SalesForce.com has a great user retention rate amongst Database Sherpa clients. I believe this is due to two important factors:

  • SalesForce.com is a great product
  • The Database Sherpa training trek is designed to immerse users in every aspect of their CRM, reinforcing processes and empowering the users to own and truly utilize their data

Before I sign off, I need to emphasize an important point. Ashima fully embraced the research process. She wasn’t engaging in research to prove to herself she was a success. Her goal was to uncover what worked and what did not in order to improve Database Sherpa for her clients. We learned through our research that the Database Sherpa process is sound and the clients are satisfied. But the most valuable thing I uncovered during the process was how genuinely Ashima cares about bettering her business for the good of her clients, which is something no amount of research, marketing, or process changes can replicate.

Emily Gremel is a researcher at heart. In childhood, her favorite games were “wilderness exploring” and “mad scientist.” When she finally grew up, she received her BBA in Marketing and Economics from Grand Valley State University. She has been working in the field of marketing research for seven years. Occasionally, Emily teaches research workshops and offers free advisor sessions via Start Garden and Inforum. In her free time she loves to hike, play board games, and informally poll her friends about the latest trends.

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