Marshmallow Streaming is an Illinois-based home entertainment company that helps customers set up streaming-centric home entertainment systems.
The company does much of its work in customers' homes, but like many businesses, they had to quickly shift gears in the spring of 2020 as the state proactively restricted business operations. Co-founders George Kontos and Christopher Maciejczyk found a bright side to the changes, however: It was a chance to revamp their sales processes through automation.
"With Zapier, we were able to automate what was previously a manual 20-step sales cycle," Kontos says.
Automating a 20-step sales process from awareness to close
At Marshmallow Streaming, every single customer—whether they get in touch through the company's website or via phone—goes through a rigorous sales cycle of more than 20 steps. This process includes nurturing potential customers through email marketing, closing deals, signing work orders, and billing the buyer for products and services.
Initially, Kontos says, the company didn't even have a dedicated customer relationship management (CRM) app. "We were taking customer information and putting it into spreadsheets, Google Contacts, Mailchimp, and QuickBooks," he recalls.
"The complexity of this totally manual process really prevented us from going after more customers aggressively. It also prevented us from adding people to our company to help us grow our sales and build their own book of business."
The company eventually implemented Salesforce as its CRM, but it still struggled with a disjointed ecosystem of specialty apps.
"For example, customer information still had to go into QuickBooks, which meant doing double data entry so we could process our invoices and sales through that app. And we still had Mailchimp, which we were doing our marketing campaigns. And then we still had Google Drive, where we were uploading all the work order agreements that customers sign. We had all these great tools, but none of them were communicating," says Kontos.
The company could build custom integrations for these apps themselves—but Kontos says it would have been too costly: "It would have taken a lot of time to create, and it would have been expensive and difficult to maintain."
Another option was finding an integration solution on the Salesforce app exchange. But most solutions were still too costly.
Then they found Zapier.
"After many searches, I stumbled upon Zapier, and it was the perfect solution for us," Kontos recounts.
"It was perfect for our budget and perfect for us. Chris and I both have engineering and software backgrounds, but we don't want to develop integrations for our business from scratch. We want to grow our business by pulling together the right best-of-breed applications."
Now, most of the company's sales cycle is automated, which has cut down on manual work and freed sales staff up to build the business.
"Zapier allows us to build integrations without having to write any code," Kontos says. "When someone signs up for our newsletter on our website, Zapier adds them to a mailing list in Mailchimp. We can keep QuickBooks up-to-date based on customer information in Salesforce, rather than adding it to the app manually. We've also linked together Salesforce and QuickBooks to automatically generate invoices and bill customers when they purchase a product or service. And instead of using an expensive signature app, we use Zapier to collect and store signed work orders with Salesforce and Google Drive."
Adding new subscribers to Mailchimp
This Zap takes new subscribers from Marshmallow Streaming's website and adds them to Mailchimp, so they can receive the company's newsletter.
Creating new QuickBooks customers for leads in Salesforce
This Zap keeps QuickBooks and Salesforce in perfect harmony, so the company can invoice and bill customers without extra manual work. This also means that during in-home consultations, customers only ever have to interact with Salesforce, which is the app the company uses to generate and review work quotes.
Uploading signed work orders to Google Drive
These Zaps create a new Google Drive folder for new Salesforce opportunities and stores signed work orders in Salesforce once they've been uploaded to Drive.
A streamlined sales cycle sets Marshmallow Streaming up for success
Kontos is confident that automating the company's sales cycle will allow his business to grow over the long term. "When we hire a new salesperson, we no longer have to train them on how to use several different applications," he notes. "They just have to use Salesforce."
The best part, according to Kontos? The solution is powerful—but affordable.
"For us, it's a little less than $18 per month. That's an incredible value for us because for that price we can connect all of our enterprise business applications."
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