By Kevin Volz
Whether a company is selling to an end customer or to another business, the desired result is always customer satisfaction. B2B companies depend on positive interactions with current and future clients, known as customer relationship management (CRM), to sustain their success in the marketplace. Findlay, Ohio startup Tour de Force has developed a CRM software platform that gives B2B companies the ability to identify sales trends.
“Most companies may not know how they are doing until their end-of-year reporting, and by then the problem is often too late to fix,” said Ashley Heath, marketing and inside sales manager at Tour de Force. “We like to call our system CRM on steroids because it gives our customers the deepest possible insights into this data in real-time.”
Tour de Force president, CEO and founder Matt Hartman started his company after spending years managing the sales team at his family-owned electrical supply company. While acting as manager, Hartman tried to find an app or software service that could work effectively with his enterprise resource planning system (ERP), which he used to run the company’s back office, sales and inventory. When he discovered that didn’t exist, he decided to create the software himself.
“What makes Tour de Force unique is that it acts as an extension of a company’s existing ERP system,” said Heath. “We pull all existing sales data from the ERP system into Tour de Force so these companies have all their accounts, contacts and sales details in one place. This allows them to easily run analytics and create visual dashboards showing sales trends. Ultimately, it gives them the insight needed to make important business and sales decisions.”
Tour de Force received $500,000 in funding through RocketVentures, a regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier in northwest Ohio. The capital was used to hire additional staff, advance the development of future products and complete a company-wide rebranding initiative.
“We’ve always been focused on the development of our products in the past rather than sales or marketing our company,” said Heath. “The RocketVentures funding provided general working capital that has helped support our rapid growth.”
Tour de Force started with five employees and has since expanded to over 50. They are growing quickly and plan to add another 10 employees by the end of 2015. Heath said the biggest reason for Tour de Force’s rapid growth is its willingness to listen to customer feedback in order to make the system as valuable to B2B companies as possible.
“We encourage our customers to request features in our system, and we don’t charge them any customization fees,” said Heath. “Instead, we have the unique benefit of listening to exactly what our customers are asking for and then using that input to continuously refine Tour de Force for all of our clients.”