No matter the size or scope of your business, having a helping hand to get new software up and running can make an onboarding process much easier. The dedicated professionals at Training Solutions Inc. have experience working with businesses of all sizes and skill levels, helping them adopt new technology solutions as smoothly and effectively as possible.
An Act! Highest Revenue Retention, Platinum Tier company, Training Solutions helps small and mid-sized businesses across the entire country install Act!’s various CRM products while offering a range of consulting and training programs. We recently spoke with Training Solutions’ President Eric Schmitz, about how Act! helps his customers solve problems, with a simple and easy-to-use interface.
Q: To start, please tell us more about Training Solutions—its history, offerings, expertise, etc.
Training Solutions was started in 1990 but I purchased the company from the previous owner in 2018 as it seemed like a great opportunity to invest in a healthy business run by a retiring entrepreneur that fit well with my skill set. I have a background in IT and had done some training work before, and the flexibility of the business model also really appealed to me. There were also a lot of opportunities for remote work that came with the job, which was a lot less common a few years ago. I ended up driving to meet the previous owner in person, and we really hit it off, which convinced me to close the deal.
The company started out as just a training company, supporting businesses as they got staff up to speed with the Microsoft Office suite and some other applications common in the corporate world. Over time, our business model changed to focus more on selling and supporting Act! customers. Joyce Nichols, a seasoned Act! Certified Consultant, joined around 2002, and we’ve been an Act! shop since roughly that time.
Q: What types of businesses are your target customers? Please share any key industry verticals, customers’ specific business needs, etc.
Our customer base is quite diverse in terms of the size of companies we work with, and the industries they operate in. A lot of the customers pre-date my time at the company, but I’m happy to continue to grow those established relationships. A large percentage of our customers are financial services and wealth management companies, but we work with folks in a lot of industries including manufacturing, retail, and marketing. The fact that Act! makes products that businesses with different needs find a lot of value in speaks to its strength as a company.
Q: What differentiates Training Solutions from its competitors?
One of the things that I’m really proud of is that our business has clients of all sizes. We are happy to help a single user learn how to use a product, but we also work with companies with more than 50 users, and everything in between. At this point, the bulk of our consultants focus solely on Act! CRM and marketing automation, but we also provide other non-CRM-based training as well. I think overall, our expertise as a training company helps create better outcomes for our clients.
Q: As someone who has used Act! for years, how have you seen the solution evolve?
I had no experience working with or using Act! before I bought the business in 2018, but I still think I’ve seen the product evolve quite a bit in the last four years. The biggest trend I’ve noticed is a continued need for customers to access their CRM on the go. Act! is one of the last desktop CRMs as most of the other players in the space no longer offer solutions in that format. Almost all of those other players are cloud-only, and while Act! does have cloud offerings, the company has really maintained a unique characteristic by also offering a desktop-based solution, which many users love. A really great step in the evolution of that product is that we have a hosting provider we partner with so we can offer a hybrid solution. What that means is that customers can use the desktop version of the Act! solution they love, with their database backed up online, and also have the option to access their data via the web. That’s been a great tool for customers looking for multiple ways to access their data.
Q: Are there common roadblocks customers run into when setting up a CRM system?
The biggest hurdle customers run into is gathering and cleaning up their data as they transition into a CRM system. Sometimes customers come from a starting point of not even having their data in a digital format, but no matter what the starting point is, we work with them to figure out how to get data from A to B. The merging of data from different places, with different formatting, can be overwhelming at first, but part of my job is getting people to commit to the process of making that happen. If we can get them to stay committed to the onboarding process, they ultimately can see all of the great benefits that Act! has to offer.
To learn more about how Training Solutions can help your business with its training and CRM needs, visit its website.