Once upon a time, a small business was founded. It grew, was bought by a big name Silicon Valley company and lived happily ever after (so to speak).

Yet, as with any success story, there’s much more to it than the beginning and end. It’s the in-between, including how well a business manages its customer relationships and everyday activity, that typically makes or breaks it along the way.

Take predictive analytics startup Framed Data. Acquired by Square, Inc. in March 2016, the company began building its business fresh out of tech incubator Y Combinator two years before. That’s also when Tim Wu was brought on as the director of growth. “It was a very general term for what we needed to accomplish: a combination of sales, marketing, and customer support,” said Wu. “We knew we needed to choose the right CRM to get there.”

The Beginning

Framed Data had a list of several hundred companies who had expressed a strong interest in what they were building. In order to move fast, Wu and two co-founders needed to get in touch with each one to figure out exactly what they were looking for in a product. “We couldn’t risk a single conversation falling through the cracks and/or losing out on future business just because we had forgotten to send an email,” said Wu.

At the time, Framed Data’s user information lived in a very technical internal database. That evolved into a spreadsheet because pulling customer data from the database required precious and limited engineering time. Wu described the spreadsheet as an “awful experience. Each new account had to be manually entered one by one, which was pretty terrible. If somebody erased something, we had no idea what happened because there was no way to track.”

Following thorough due diligence, including evaluating at least six different customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, Framed Data chose SalesforceIQ as the clear winner. According to Wu: “I was really impressed by the level of polish with regards to the software, including its Relationship Intelligence technology. It was as easy as creating an account and then connecting our Gmail inboxes. We were up and running in the first hour.”

With SalesforceIQ as the new source of truth, the next step Framed Data took was to link its CRM with its email marketing solution MailChimp via APIs. Once connected, Framed Data could manage its MailChimp promotional and product update subscriber lists directly in SalesforceIQ, meaning needed information was always up to date.

Another advantage of using SalesforceIQ was the built-in reports and dashboards. “It was definitely key for us to measure weekly metrics. I was in charge of sending those out, from the amount of new page views to our web site, to the number of new customers. The reporting was a really handy tool for proving we were indeed growing the pipeline for sales,” said Wu.

Speaking of sales, that team, which grew from zero to six individuals over two years, had complete visibility across all selling opportunities in SalesforceIQ. Every time a new salesperson came onboard, all Framed Data had to do was add them as a new account. According to Wu, “It was important for everybody to be charging forward with not only growth metrics in mind, but also the knowledge of what every deal was worth.”

The Next Chapter

After about a year, Framed Data began the next chapter of their CRM story. “We had a notion that one day we might outgrow SalesforceIQ. When we heard about Sales Cloud Lightning and had a chance to play around with it, we knew it was time. We loved the fact that we could get that SalesforceIQ polish with the more robust integration marketplace that Sales Cloud has,” said Wu.

Framed Data had also moved beyond their simple MailChimp integration to a suite of solutions around marketing automation, customer help and support desk correspondence, and lead research. “We noticed that everything we were adding said ‘integrates with Salesforce.’ It just made sense that when we branched out to a number of tools, Sales Cloud was a good move,” said Wu.

Another reason for Framed Data’s evolution to Sales Cloud was the need to deeply customize its CRM solution. “We started to use Salesforce as our compass for things beyond just sales,” said Wu. “So as soon as somebody actually closed as a prospect, we leveraged it as an onboarding funnel, plus as a tool for account and customer success management.”

The company also needed Sales Cloud so it could build custom reports. “Once the sales and marketing engine was humming along nicely and the pipeline itself was not changing week by week, it was more about closing the deals inside. We weren't just looking at leads anymore, but were also looking at really minute stages of deals, including upselling and cross-selling inside accounts,” said Wu.

At a time when its cofounders were considering next milestones for the company, the broad custom reporting, as well as the option for permission-based access, was essential. “To be able to very quickly point to the numbers and show growth instead of ‘I feel this, I feel that,’ was integral to our momentum as a business,” said Wu. “SalesforceIQ and Sales Cloud both played big roles in bringing Framed Data from an early-stage startup to where it is today.”

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