Over the last year, we’ve traversed the country, asking hundreds of small businesses leaders about their goals. And over and over again, companies from every industry in every region of the country, one word marked the theme of our conversations: growth.

So when we sat down with David Bergeron, managing director at T3 Advisors, a Palo Alto-based real estate company, we were not surprised to hear him touch on this topic, as he discussed ways in which his company is looking for new ways to grow more efficiently.

In this video, Bergeron talks about how he's used Salesforce to help his company maintain long-term relationships; specifically, he uses Salesforce CRM to help track executives and contacts within companies. Below is an excerpt of our 45-minute conversation with Bergeron which touched on a variety of topics, including how companies can keep up with growth by focusing on customer needs.

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SALESFORCE: What’s different about T3 versus other real estate firms?

DAVID BERGERON: When we founded the firm in 2001, there was a deliberate need to focus on advocating solely for tech companies. For the entrepreneurs, for the founders, for their investors. We wanted to focus on being the best at one thing, unlike more traditional real estate companies that focus on a broad range of services for a broad range of companies. We help our customers focus on their people and their properties in a way that they never have before, in a conflict-free manner focused on productivity and recruiting retention. 

SALESFORCE: A young business founder once told me that there’s no such thing as too soon for CRM. Do you think that’s true?

BERGERON: Well, you spend a lot of time in the early parts of your business thinking about a lot of the really important relationships you need to make a deal happen — leveraging your champions. Those can be some of your most powerful support and network folks, and you really need to stay on top of what they’re doing, what they’re thinking about, what they’re trying to do. So we were on a CRM system almost from day one because it just makes it easier to have a place to start managing that stuff. The other advantage of CRM that we see is once you get the data in, you can start analyzing. You don’t have to just assume that someone’s a great lead, or a referral source. You can actually prove that through the numbers, through the leads that are coming in, and through the deals that you’re closing. So at the early infancy stages of a business, being able to actually put data to work like that versus just going with your gut — I think it’s a huge competitive advantage.

SALESFORCE: Can you talk a little bit about how analytics helps you drive sales productivity?

BERGERON: Analytics are really important to our process. We want to be data-driven when it comes to thinking about our business in a very non-emotional way. Being able to evaluate both our team successes in terms of topline revenue, and the big bucket stuff that’s easy to track. In addition to what’s leading our top producers to be so good, and trying to teach that to the next up-and-coming group of people. That’s really important—to be able to pass the torch, and understand what works and doesn’t work from a sales perspective, and from a deal perspective. And if we can take the same team of people and make them even better at what they’re doing, and then add people at those best practices mid-stream, we can grow really quickly.

SALESFORCE: Sounds like CRM helps you manage relationships much more efficiently. But how does that help lead to a deeper relationship with your customers?

BERGERON: When we manage more efficient relationships with our clients, that means two things for us: We’re saving them time, and we’re saving them money. Because in today’s real estate market — whether it’s San Francisco, Singapore, or when we’re in Sydney, Australia — you have to be able to move really quickly. For us, the ability to collaborate both with our clients and internally with each other and our partners, on one common stream, makes for faster communication. And that again, leads to fewer missed deals and renewal options—and more opportunities that we can take advantage of — thanks to this tool that’s powering us from an automated perspective.

SALESFORCE: You played football in the NFL for the Panthers before you found your way to T3. What advice do you have for people thinking about a career change?

BERGERON: I’ve watched a lot of people start their second career at relatively young ages. I’d say, be exposed to learning and realizing you’re not going to be the best in the world at the next thing you do right out of the gate. And you’ve got to spend your hours and time, and learn and develop a new craft in a way that allows you to get back to that level that you’ve been to at a certain point in your life doing something different. It’s a difficult transition, but it’s a very, very rewarding one when you can actually successfully make it all the way through. 

Learn more about how Salesforce can help you grow your business by helping you find, win, and keep more customers, and connect everything you do. 

Get more insights from our Growth Experts and see how other successful companies are overcoming business challenges. Check out salesforce.com/smb/experts.