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CRM transformation in a complex business environment

How JCDecaux switched from Microsoft Dynamics to HubSpot CRM.

Challenge: From simple Excel sheets to an 'intelligent' CRM system 

After years of keeping track of data in Excel, JCDecaux decided a couple of years ago that it was time to implement a CRM system. Why? Because the organisation’s data was scattered across several silos. This made it practically impossible for sales and marketing management to make use of key figures like Return On Investment and Customer Lifetime Value. It was time for a change. The purpose of the new CRM system? Higher turnover through data-driven decision-making.

The parent company was already working with Microsoft Dynamics, so the Dutch sales team decided to go for the same software. No time or effort was spared to ensure successful implementation. And yet... It fell short. Three years later the implementation was completed, but the CRM system was just collecting dust. The Excel sheets refused to yield, and everything went on just the same. 

Solution: A CRM system that works for users – not against them 

After three years struggling with the ‘new’ CRM, Bart de Vries, CCO at JCDecaux, decided to change course: ‘The need for a modern CRM system was obvious, but I no longer believed Microsoft Dynamics was the single definitive solution for JCDecaux. This was no easy choice for the organisation. Microsoft Dynamics does offer loads of functionalities, but it just didn’t work out for us.’ The project wasted a great deal of time and money. ‘Tuition money as I like to call it. We learned a lot of valuable lessons, but knew the next CRM implementation needed a totally different approach.’  

JCDecaux went back to the drawing board. Starting with the search for a suitable new system. Unlike before, this time the entire sales team – 30+ employees – were involved in selecting the provider. Freshworks, Salesforce and HubSpot were selected for a demo, and asked to present the 4 main use cases for JCDecaux. The sales team evaluated each demo based on defined criteria to determine the best solution for JCDecaux. HubSpot CRM came out on top. 

Bart: ‘The user-friendliness of the HubSpot platform was far better than the rest. HubSpot is simple, and scored points early on with its drag-and-drop functionalities. These functionalities let you drag and drop blocks within the CRM, so you immediately see the changes you are making. Very intuitive. Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce also looked like great tools, but came across as less user-friendly for our sales team. And where also far too extensive for our company. 

Key solutions for successful implementation 

  1. Centre the needs of users, rather than management, when deciding on a new CRM solution.
  2. Don’t select a CRM system based on the amount of functionality it offers, but rather on the impact of its functionality on the day-to-day work of users.
  3. Share the main use cases with selected software providers and ask them to present these use cases during the CRM demo.
  4. ‘Rubbish in, rubbish out’: data quality plays a critical role in the added value of a CRM system in an organisation. Ensure clean data. 
  5. Appoint a project owner, supported by ‘front-runners’, to serve as ambassadors and get buy-in from the whole organisation.
  6. Turn pushback into opportunities by showing users how HubSpot can work for you, rather than against you. 
  7. A digestible training programme that gradually familiarises users with the (endless) possibilities will avoid overwhelming and demoralising them. 
  8. Don't underestimate the support of an implementation partner. You need people who can get things moving and who can demonstrate the benefits for the business. At least 40% of success depends on proper guidance. Webs took a critical look at the training programme.

Results: Control over sales results with data-driven insights

For JCDecaux, changing from Microsoft Dynamics to HubSpot had a huge impact. HubSpot made it easier to work efficiently for both marketing and sales. Employees have more control over the client portfolio and sales pipeline. This leaves more time for what really matters: the client. And that shines through not only in quality of service, but also in turnover. 

HubSpot also offers clear benefits for the management team. Bart: ‘At any time of the day, I can see what our turnover is, and what the status of our order portfolio looks like. I can also make useful forecasts.

Especially during COVID, HubSpot was like a blessing, notes Bart. ‘We suddenly went from working full-time in the office, to working full-time from home. Without HubSpot, I wouldn’t have had any understanding of our sales activities. With its intuitive dashboards, HubSpot is the bridge between everyone working from home. This way employees still get to keep their freedom, which they value highly nowadays. By now, they can’t imagine working without HubSpot, and that may well be its greatest achievement! 

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Picture of Anne van der Kammen
Anne van der Kammen

Marketing Manager