York, United Kingdom
Chris Tossell of Hawk Eye Consulting Ltd works with Private Equity companies assisting them in acquiring and investing in other companies.
My work involves a great deal of research into many, many target companies to discover their backgrounds, ownership, and financial status. I cannot achieve this without maintaining a detailed database with company names and details, senior contacts in those companies, notes, Google snippets, files and the like. I also do this work for more than one client so I have to maintain a “Chinese wall” of confidentiality so the separation of possible targets and allocation to different clients using Keywords and Categories is essential to me, along with integration with Apple Mail.
I’m a serial CRM user. I’ve used quite a few CRM products in the past. I just exited from a large business that was all PC-based. As soon as I could divorce myself from their systems, I really wanted a Mac CRM package. I did an internet search looking for “best CRM for Mac” and saw that Daylite got great product reviews and I started the trial period. I was also particularly keen to find something that would integrate seamlessly with Apple Mail – these were key criteria for me. It’s the integration with Apple Mail that’s killer. Because I get hundreds of emails, I was looking for a CRM that also helps organize and allows me to search email and that’s what Daylite does for me.
I do quite a lot of Internet research and credit reference checking. When I start researching a company I’ll create a “Research” note in Daylite and paste all the info that I find in there. I try to identify the directors and shareholders of the company. As I’m doing that I store this in Daylite and connect all the people. The nice thing is I can even connect non-related people. For example, if I know there’s a tax specialist working with a company, I can add that link into Daylite which is very useful. It’s the ability to use these non-direct links that makes for a great solution.
Once I have identified a possible target my job is to try and make a direct contact. As these are often owners and CEOs getting through to them can be extremely difficult as they are usually well protected by their administration staff. I am not selling them anything, in fact, quite the opposite, but the nature of my contact with them is highly confidential so I cannot give say a secretary a reason for calling other than to say it is confidential.
Consequently, I often have to try multiple channels to contact the target business. This will involve LinkedIn, email (if known), direct telephone calls and often the use of third parties related to the target to affect an introduction. Daylite enables me to keep a complete record of all my attempts at making contact and more importantly, it lets me create multiple relationships across different companies and people that are otherwise unrelated and sets no limit on that.
Combined with the follow up and Worklist feature, I can be on top of whom I need to contact every day going forward.
I have a telephone form that I’ve created in Daylite for phone calls. What’s powerful is being able to link what would otherwise be non-related items. For example, an email of a corporate advisor with a company mentioned in it – I can link the email to that person. That’s very important. If I contact someone through LinkedIn, I’ll create a note in Daylite and paste that note in Daylite. Then I’ll immediately create a task in Daylite to follow that up 3-5 days later. If I follow up with a phone call, I’ll create a note for that phone call and include details about how successful the call is.
All of this is tracked in Daylite by linking emails, notes, and tasks. So when I’m talking to the client team, I can tell them how many LinkedIn messages, emails, or even handwritten letters I’ve sent to the company, right through from meeting, and so on from there. The full history of contact that I have with a company –successful or otherwise– is tracked in Daylite.
During the 30 day trial the first feature that really impressed me was the Apple Mail integration. Allocating an email to multiple people, companies, tasks and objectives at a single click is an absolute winner! I have worked in the software industry for many years and with numerous CRM systems and none has offered the ease of integration of email that Daylite has and it’s because you’ve “stuck to your knitting”. You don’t try to do everything, by keeping your focus on the Mac eco system and Apple Mail it means that you do it really well.
The second impressive item would be the graphical analysis page – the Insight View as you call it. It makes it so easy to drill down into a single client’s targets and then look at specific industries, sectors or revenues without creating a complex search and finally, the ability to simply build a complex search when required is something I couldn’t do without.
I attach a Keyword to companies I’m researching in relation to which of my client teams I might be working with–and that can change. I may be working with a possible acquisition for one client team, and they may change their mind and go for another. So I use Keywords to identify which client team I’m working with – for example “Client Team A” or “Client Team B”. Client Team A may have some hot prospects so I’ll create a shortlist. Rather than allocating the companies I’m researching to a specific client company, I find this easy because I can readily change them – nothing is locked in.
Then I can bring up the Insight View and click on their shortlist and see the list of companies and go through them to see where I’m at with each particular target. I don’t have to create any special kind of filter because it’s already done for me in the Insight View.
I knew that moving to Daylite Cloud would give me one final piece of the jigsaw because it immediately meant my iOS devices were always up to date and I had access to all my files in the cloud. With Daylite Self-Serve there was the issue of devices only syncing a limited amount of data. So if I searched a client from my iPhone and saw there were some attachments, I wouldn’t necessarily be able to open them.
Now with Daylite Cloud, if I go to a client and see there is a linked copy of their financials from two years ago, I just tap on it and it downloads from the Cloud –perfect! Furthermore, I can use my 27 inch iMac at home and then take my 13” Macbook Pro on my travels and still be completely up to date with access to my files. And it syncs so quickly I don’t even notice it. It’s not something I ever have to worry about.
This has been a major benefit since I upgraded and I could not do without the cloud capability.
Moving to Daylite Cloud was pretty smooth. I didn’t have any particular issues. It was pretty much what was expected and what was explained ahead of time.
I’ve also been using Billings Pro since around the same time as I started using Daylite. It’s great as well. It’s perfect to be able to record time from any device. I use Billings Pro continuously to track time for the work I do. I have a limited number of clients so I create time slips for specific projects. I mostly use my iPhone and iPad for time-tracking while I’m out. And I use Billings Pro for invoicing as well.
I’ve been in contact with Marketcircle support a few times and they always get back very quickly and are very friendly. The one time I had a lot of discussions with support was when there was a problem with Mail unexpectedly quitting after an OS X upgrade. The team worked hard to fix this as quickly as possible.
Simply put, Daylite creates order out of what would otherwise be chaos. I couldn’t achieve what I do without a CRM system and this is probably the best as it is quick, easy, and intuitive. Having used CRM systems before, Daylite was easy to set up and also easy to modify as I have used it so that over time it has more closely matched my needs.