Sage CRM has enabled Zenergi to eliminate its paper-based processes, automating complex energy procurement services. With Sage CRM customisation, they can now efficiently manage energy contracts, bringing £1,751,891 in customer savings since September 2015 and supporting customer retention rates of 98 per cent.

In summary, Sage CRM has enabled Zenergi to benefit from:

  • Developing a complex, scalable, highly bespoke contract billing platform that allows them to meet customer needs, now and in the future
  • A scalable cloud-based CRM solution to manage Companies, People, MeterPoints, Quotes, Contracts, Bills, Commission, Cases and all the various communications and other records that relate to these
  • Customise existing modules and create new ones to create a system where everything links into each other and where data integrity is 100%
  • Refine processes and systems so CRM now sits at the heart of the business

Customising Sage CRM one module at a time

Graham Cooke is Zenergi’s Managing Director and he talks about how, over the past four years, the basic Sage CRM product has been gradually transformed into something highly bespoke that does exactly what the company wants it to do, so much so that it has completely transformed the way they operate. But it wasn’t always this way, as Graham explains…

“Back in the day we used Sage CRM purely as a contact database for phone numbers, email addresses and so on. We had various spreadsheets; in fact our entire business was pretty much run on spreadsheets to validate bills, store contract records and data, produce quotes, etc. Initially we were with another software provider but it hadn’t worked out and so, in 2011, we brought in Xperience Group. With their help we began to work through the software, one module at a time. It’s been a monumental task but now we can safely say that our entire business is within Sage CRM.”

State of art contract and billing platform

“It took some time to get our various facets and functions into a system where everything links into each other and where data integrity is one hundred percent,” Graham continues. “But now we have a complex contract and billing platform that ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ and which has been especially developed for us so we can meet the needs of customers both now and in the future.”

“Some of the existing functions have been customised while others have been created from scratch. For instance Bill Validation was an entire project in itself, allowing us to check customers’ energy bills against the rates originally quoted and authorise them for payment while updating records with actual consumption values which can be compared to forecasts. Our billing ports have seen enormous changes, too, with less need for manual input. There is also a mechanism to import and validate bills en masse which saves endless hours of data entry.”

“We’ve built a Commission Module which tracks how much we earn from the various contracts and then profiles that out again. It’s quite a complex process and Xperience have worked really closely with us on this. Then, earlier this year, we moved our CRM into the cloud which was a big thing for us but something that’s enhanced the way we operate still further with the introduction of satellite offices to the Zenergi family.”

“Step by step every area of the business has been slowly transformed as we have worked through the modules – for example we recently started to use the Self Service module which allows customers to access their own data and we plan to enhance this further. We are also planning refinements to the Bill Validation, Commission and Quote areas. That’s the nature of us as a business, always looking at what’s next and how we can improve on things!”

‘Goodbye spreadsheets… Hello automation’

“Sage CRM has had a massive impact on our business and the visibility it’s given us is huge. Long gone are the days where we were knee-deep in spreadsheets and where reporting was a nightmare. Now at the click of a button we can see how many bills or queries we have. Basically if a task can be automated then it’s been automated!

“In terms of what we’ve managed to create, our CRM system is totally unique. There is nothing else like it out there. We recently moved our Head Office into the University of Southampton Science Park at Chilworth. We had to produce a project paper around the R&D we’d been doing, mainly as criteria for being invited onto the park and they were blown away with what we’d done and, to be fair, Xperience were at the centre of that.”

“We have now arrived at the point where we’ve learnt a lot in terms of what we can and can’t do. We like to fathom things out for ourselves rather than being spoon-fed and Xperience have been very patient, letting us know they’re there to offer guidance and support but giving us the freedom to have a go. For example recently we had a session around Workflows, an area we hadn’t used before. Xperience pointed out that various elements of development could easily be managed via workflows and therefore some of the customisation performed ourselves.”

“We are a different business as a result of the work we’ve done with Xperience. It’s been a real partnership. Their guys have been brilliant at getting to understand our business. In fact they understand it so well they could probably join our payroll tomorrow!”

About Zenergi

Located on the University of Southampton Science Park at Chilworth, Zenergi is an energy consultant that specialises in public sector energy contracts, especially schools.