Update: Naylor Association Solutions has now upgraded to Dynamics 365 CE with Encore.
Naylor Association Solutions provides products and services to associations that help them generate “non-dues” revenue. Naylor has six lines of business: a career center software product; an association member management software product; a learning management software product; a communications division, which specializes in print and digital media; an events division; and an association management division. They have 1800 clients, 550 employees, and five offices throughout North America. Naylor has provided services to associations in more than 100 different industries.
Naylor was founded as a communications company, and they built their reputation on providing print services, magazines, product directories, and other similar products. But with the shift from traditional to digital media, Naylor is now more of a software company than a communications business. This transformation culminated in the acquisition of five companies over the timespan of just 18 months.
Naylor already had a CRM system for their communications division, but it was very basic and built in-house. As Naylor acquired other divisions, it was clearly not going to meet their needs. Naylor needed a solution to help track their business development team (which was now quite large and diverse) in terms of their performance, activities, targets, and other metrics.
Naylor also wanted to cross-sell between their new product lines and have good communications around all of their different products and services. But each of these products are very unique, which made centralizing their data a challenge.
Furthermore, Naylor wanted a solution that would allow them to integrate with their existing management information system, which is built on Microsoft SQL Server. This integration would allow their sales team visibility into project status after the opportunity had closed, allow for the generation of contracts directly into their management information system, and allow for the transfer of “actual” financial information back to their CRM.
“Naylor did a pilot project with Salesforce and it didn’t go very well”, says Craig Judt, VP of Technology Services and Production at Naylor. “Our CRM system needed to work very, very closely with our existing management information system… Salesforce couldn’t do that unless we rebuilt a massive amount of things.”
Naylor has a high degree of IT skill and institutional knowledge in-house; and the complexity of their integrations and new business units meant that the project wouldn’t be successful unless Naylor’s team was deeply involved in the process. They needed a Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner that could provide guidance, thought leadership, and best practices while working with their team. “We knew what we wanted in a broad sense but we didn’t know the best way to accomplish it using the tools that Dynamics CRM provided”, says Gary Schettler, Manager of Systems Integration at Naylor.
“It became a very easy decision for us once we met with Encore”, says Craig. “Encore made it very clear to us that they understood Dynamics CRM extremely well; they had knowledgeable people to help implement it. There was a comfort level there and we knew that we were in the makings of a successful implementation.”
Encore would bring the product knowledge to fill in the gaps of what Naylor didn’t know, and Naylor would bring the detailed business logic of what they wanted and the technical integration knowledge. “Our implementation was definitely not an out-of-the-box CRM implementation from a resource allocation perspective. Encore could have been really sticky about it and said, ‘we need to do it all’, but they were willing to modify their process and work with our technical staff to make sure the project was successful”, says Craig.
Encore listened to what we needed and adapted their strategy to us. And for us, being a customer, that is the most important thing.
The project began with an outline of what the finished product would look like. “This outline allowed us to work our way through the project and not get lost in the weeds”, Gary says. “We were thankful for a rigid system that we had to follow. As painful as it might have been at times, it was the right thing to do because it probably saved us in the long run.”
“You could tell our consultant had done this many times before”, Gary adds. “She knew the ins and outs of CRM and what it could do. Anything she didn’t know, she found out. Without that knowledge of hers, we would have been flailing around trying to figure out how to adapt the system to work with us.”
The project moved on to implementing Dynamics CRM and integrating with Naylor’s management information system. “Using Scribe and the Dynamics CRM API is where Encore really helped us; and we found Dynamics CRM a great tool to use in this regard. Encore would build the first one and then show us how it worked. Now, we’re able to build these things on our own”, says Gary. “And our implementation consultant was excellent. She had an incredible amount of technical knowledge on customizing the things that you can’t do directly through the interface.”
When it came to the important task of managing the flow of the project, Craig says: “we understand that we’re not your only client. You’re juggling other resources and sometimes that is very challenging. I thought that Ray and the group did that very well. That is not an easy thing to do.”
“First of all, we have a very happy executive team”, says Craig. “They love the solution. Our Vice President of Business Development is thrilled with the implementation. The management team is fully, fully behind it and really like it.” Naylor’s Development and Implementation team would be recognized at their annual company awards for their delivery of the new CRM system.
“We have also generated significant revenue from implementing Dynamics CRM”, Craig continues. I can tell you that our cross-selling is up about 80% from where we were prior to the project implementation; and it’s continuing to grow dramatically. That was one of our key objectives and we definitely hit it out of the park.”
“Our business development employees are getting better information than they ever had before – and quickly”, Craig adds. “They know where they stand in terms of their performance, and how they’re doing on their own.”
When asked about time-to-value, Craig says: “there was no question that our timeline was aggressive by all the metrics we saw in the industry, especially in light of how much was implemented in such a short timeframe. But Encore really helped with that. They listened and adapted – and to me, that’s the important factor.”
“I think Encore has been a great partner”, finishes Craig. “It’s been very impressive in how well this project came together to fit the needs of the different business units. That has gone – frankly – better than I would have even hoped. Encore is first team that comes to mind when we are looking to extend into other areas.”