Jeff Shamus, the Co-founder of AllClients, a CRM for SaaS companies shares his journey and experience in white labelling his CRM. Jeff describes his product as “Salesforce Lite”. At AllClients, their philosophy is that they focus on building exactly what their customers need and nothing more.
How AllClients Started
Jeff has been working in SaaS for many years, in fact, AllClients was born after selling his previous PRM company. Former “whiz-kid” Todd was hired at 17 to work at Jeff’s previous company, and after selling that, Jeff and Todd co-founded AllClients. Todd covers the technical and building side of the business while Jeff focuses more on sales and marketing.
White Labelling Their CRM
Compared to other products where the users tend to use only 15-20% of the available features, AllClients focuses on creating a product where all the features are used or useful. The competition for CRMs is fierce, and at the beginning of their CRM journey, Jeff acquired customers by offering customized CRMs. Soon he realized this was too much work and needed to pivot. This is how the idea of white labelling their CRM came about. This model proved to be much more successful, despite the initial work of finding partners being quite difficult. Some of Jeff’s white-label partners have been with AllClients since 2009! This is a real testament to how hard work pays off in the long run when finding a white-label partner.
AllClients is a month-to-month product and Jeff says they need to constantly be thinking about how they can be adding value. This mindset is a large factor that contributes to AllClient’s customer retention. They are constantly seeking customer feedback and input in order to tweak, enhance, and improve their product to meet the customer needs and expectations. If you need guidance gathering feedback from your users, read this article about conducting user interviews.
Jeff’s Advice to New Founders
Jeff encourages new founders not to give up in the beginning even though it can be a hard go. He suggests looking for your niche and ways you can differentiate yourself, as he did with AllClients. Anything you can do to make yourself stand out will be worth the effort in the long run.
Watch the recording of the live interview with Jeff Shamus and Peter Loving on our YouTube channel. Join our Facebook group to be the first to see more interviews like this one LIVE every week.
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[00:00:00] – Peter
I’m live here with the CEO and founder of All Clients, which is a CRM SaaS company. Jeff Shamus. Welcome to the group, Jeff nice to meet you.
[00:00:11] – Jeff
Thank you. Thank you, Peter. Good to be here.
[00:00:14] – Peter
Great. Yeah. Thanks for joining us. I thought we’d have a member spotlight, so it’s always nice to introduce members in the group so that other founders can see them, learn a little bit from their experiences, and learn a bit about what they’ve been working on, too. So can you tell us a bit about All Clients, what it is and what you do?
[00:00:34] – Jeff
Sure can. So AllClients is a CRM for small and very small businesses. So don’t think Salesforce, think Salesforce very light. Our philosophy is more not try to have every single feature, compare with other CRMs and have a checklist. We’ve got these same features they do. It’s more about looking at our customers and building exactly what they need and nothing more.
[00:01:09] – Peter
Okay, great. Jeff, I know you’ve been running AllClients for a number of years. I wonder if you could summarise for us how you built the business over time, what’s that journey been like.
[00:01:26] – Jeff
Sure. So the journey started with a previous company. I had a company called HealthPro, where I also sold a CRM. It was really a PRM because it had to do with patients. It was in the medical area, not just in general. And my current partner now, Todd, he was a whiz kid, just a smart, sharp, young kid. I think we hired him when he was 17 and he grew up with the company. And after I sold that company, Todd and I got together and we started All Clients. So that was kind of the genesis of it, where we came out of another company. And then after we sold that company, we started All Clients. And that was 17 years ago.
[00:02:23] – Peter
[00:02:24] – Jeff
He’s an adult now. He’s not still seventeen.
[00:02:28] – Peter
Yeah. What a story. So Todd is a technical, he built the product. Right. And you are a sales orientated person?
[00:02:37] – Jeff
Yes, mostly sales and marketing, but also both of us design the product where I’m closer to the customer and that’s one of the things that we think is part of our success, is, again, instead of looking at the competition, we’re looking at what the customer wants, what the customer needs, and then we build that. So our product might be smaller, but it’s exactly what’s needed. If you think about a company using a CRM, they probably use 20% or 15%. They don’t use all these features. So we try to build just what’s needed.
[00:03:22] – Peter
Great. Okay. It’s nice. I like the focus that you’ve had on what your customers need and focusing exactly on building for that. You mentioned it’s been around 17 years. So over this period, what has been your most successful customer acquisition channel? How have you found customers for All Clients?
[00:03:44] – Jeff
Yeah. So the CRM world, the competition is fierce. There are hundreds or thousands of CRMs out there and the concept of a CRM is easy. So everybody and his brother thinks they can build one. That results in a whole lot out there. So when we looked at how do we get attention, we’re just this little company. What we found, we started building custom versions of our software. So we started in 2004 and we started building. People would come to us and say, hey, we like your software, but can you build a special version for us? And we did that a few times and then decided we didn’t want to be in the custom software business because that’s a lot harder than having one product. And we came up with a concept of White Labelling, a CRM. We said, hey, if we could white label our product, it’s like a custom product, but it’s really one set of code. And that was in 2009. I went on the internet and said let’s see how the other CRM companies are white labelling. And nobody was White Labelling at the time. So I got WhiteLabelCRM.Com. I was able to get that because we were the first ones. But that really was our best way to get new clients because instead of getting one person who’s going to pay us $50 a month, now I’ve got a company who has 1000 customers, and I only have to find that one partner and they’re going to bring me 1000 customers tomorrow. So it’s a much better model for us, the way we’re structured.
[00:05:44] – Peter
Sounds great. Did you find that for White Labelling it’s more difficult to find your partner, that customer, but once you do, the impact is obviously a lot bigger. Is it much harder to establish that?
[00:05:57] – Jeff
It’s very hard because a lot of companies that would be perfect prospects for a white label, they don’t get it. So they say, we don’t sell CRMs, we sell marketing information or we sell coaching, or we do training. We’re not a CRM company. But what they don’t realise is their customers need a CRM to implement their systems and strategies. So it’s half convincing them what they need to do and some of them get it right away. Some of them approach me and they’re like, we completely understand there’s a stickiness factor if we can provide the whole solution instead of just marketing information. So it is difficult to find them. Once you find them though, they’re with you. We’ve got White Label partners that have been with us since 2009.
[00:06:55] – Peter
It’s amazing. Yeah, that’s great, isn’t it? I mean, it’s worth the effort establishing those relationships and persuading them. And ultimately I think it sounds like they are able to provide a value add to their audience and it adds more value to the offer that they are providing to their audience too. So in the end, it’s a good move for both yourself and for your white label partners. You mentioned about how fierce the competition is in the CRM market, which, as we know, that it seems like it’s got more bigger and bigger. How do you ensure that you maintain a position of delivering value in your product for your customers and also how you retain those customers over this long period?
[00:07:48] – Jeff
Right. So I guess one thing, our product is month to month, so we need to continue to add value. It’s not buy this and give us a bunch of money, and you’re with us for five years. It’s all month to month. So that’s kind of a mindset that we need to know that we need to keep adding value. We can’t just get somebody’s money and then run away. But really, listening to the customer, you would think that in 17 years, we would have a product that’s done, okay, we figured it out. It’s done. It’s ready to go. And really, that’s not the case. It’s constantly talking to the customers, seeing what they’re seeing out in the world, and then tweaking our product, changing our product, enhancing our product to make sure it’s meeting their needs. So it’s really not a set it and forget it. You got to be on it all the time to make sure that you’re delivering what the customer needs. So that’s kind of how we’ve done it, is input from the customers. And since we have the white label partners and then we’ve got allclients.com with all of individual users, we get a lot of input, and we can look across the whole spectrum and say, here’s what my partner Todd and I, we talked about things bubbling up where we heard this. Oh, we heard it again. We heard it again. We can hear that from a broad spectrum of customers and kind of intuitively know what to build next.
[00:09:44] – Peter
That’s really neat. So you get it directly from your users, and it seems like you’ve just done it by having a finger on the pulse of their reaction and responses and requirements.
[00:09:59] – Jeff
Right. Yeah. Instead of just Todd and I sitting and saying, I think we should build this, or I think we should build that, we’ve got a pretty good handle on what we should build. But we also need to listen to, again, what’s bubbling up, what are the things that people are really interested in right now and how can we make our product better? We’ve got one product, so every day we wake up and say, how can we make this better? We’re not spread of heart with lots of different things going on. It’s one product, and we want to make it better every day.
[00:10:40] – Peter
Awesome. A couple of things before we finish up. I wondered if you had any advice or comments for founders at the early stage of their process of building their company.
[00:10:57] – Jeff
I guess one would be don’t give up. It’s really rough in the early years I’ve had two startups and it’s always rough. You’re making payroll for your employees and you’re eating rice and beans, but it’s worth it to keep going. And I would also look for things marketing is not easy when you’re out there and you’re a little company and you’re no one. So I would look for things like we found the white label path and I’m guessing there’s those types of things for all companies. Instead of everybody’s going this way, maybe you just deviate a little bit and go that way. And also specialise where like, we have a CRM and everybody says CRMs are a good friend of mine. When I started all clients, he said, does the world need another CRM? This was 17 years ago. So the idea is to always look for things that you can do that are specific to your CRM. Like ours. We do easy. Easy and workflow and campaign automation. Those are kind of our two things where instead of trying to be good at everything, we want to be good at those two things. And in some cases, that’s not going to be what the customer is looking for. That’s fine, then we’re not the right fit. But for the people that want easy and that want workflow and campaign automation, we’re going to be their perfect fit.
[00:12:52] – Peter
Yeah, good. So you find what makes you stand out and stand up, do a little.
[00:12:58] – Jeff
Bit of specialising and not just be a generalist.
[00:13:03] – Peter
Sounds great. Jeff do you have any promotion for all clients, for anyone that’s interested in using an easy to use CRM that focuses on those areas? Or do you want to direct anybody to cheque out all clients?
[00:13:20] – Jeff
Yeah, I think I have a coupon code here that I can it’s not that big of a deal, it’s 50% off for three months, but I could put that in the chat here. But anybody who’s on the call who might be intrigued about White labelling a CRM, they can go to whitelabelcrm.com and there’s a little form they can fill out and then they get to talk to me directly. And then again, if you’re just looking for an easy CRM to use that does marketing automation, you go to allclients.com. I’ll put a link in there so you can save a little money.
[00:14:13] – Peter
Great. So that’s allclients.com for CRM and whitelabelcrm.com for White label?
[00:14:21] – Jeff
[00:14:21] – Peter
Great. Jeff I can add a promo code to the notes in this after the life. I’ll add it to the concept. Hey, thanks so much for your time.
[00:14:33] – Jeff
Can I say one more thing?
[00:14:35] – Peter
[00:14:37] – Jeff
Companies out there, if you want a great person to help you with your user interface, you’re looking at them. And it’s not me, it’s the other guy. So we’ve used Peter for different parts of our product. When you have a 17 year old product, you need to keep it fresh because people will say, oh, your user interface looks dated, and Peter really helped us kind of transform our product into something that looks awesome, and I would totally recommend him. So not just a plug for me. A plug for you.
[00:15:17] – Peter
Hey, thanks. I appreciate it working with you on AllClients, and it’s been a really enjoyable project, so I appreciate the feedback, too.
[00:15:27] – Jeff
[00:15:28] – Peter
Thanks a lot, Jeff. Talk to you again soon. See you around.
[00:15:31] – Jeff
Okay, see you later. Bye.