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Workbooks Customer Conference 2023

The theme of Workbooks’ 2023 Customer Conference was ‘Reaching New Heights’ – an idea that became quite literal during the keynote from pioneer of female British aviation Mandy Hickson! But it was also embodied throughout the day’s series of presentations, which brought together a diverse range of perspectives to map-out Workbooks’ wide horizons. Takeaway: the sky is truly the limit when it comes to the transformative potential of holistic, targeted, bespoke CRM solutions, and Workbooks is right there at the cutting edge.  

The day’s sessions were too rich and insight-heavy to be covered in a single article, so watch this space in the coming weeks for full reports on the two fascinating Customer Stories from DX Group and Direct Life & Pensions, a lively panel discussion on the topic ‘How to Drive CRM Adoption’, and details of the numerous upcoming improvements in the Workbooks offering. For now, though, read on to get a broad picture of what was surely the best Workbooks Customer Conference yet!  

Although rising was the theme, in fact a descent was required to reach the conference this year, taking place as it did in the luxury theatre beneath Ham Yard Hotel in London’s Mayfair – which, helpfully for branding purposes, came ready-upholstered in Workbooks orange!   

Following coffees, rolls and pastries with friends, colleagues and potential clients old and new, well over a hundred of us assembled in the auditorium, where proceedings were kicked-off with an address from Workbooks CEO John Cheney, whose opening remarks functioned as a reminder of what Workbooks is all about, as a look back at the achievements of the past year, and as a look forward to what clients and customers can expect in the coming months.  

Customer First, Co-operative, Committed, Creative, Competitive: John reminded us of the 5 C’s that define and guide Workbooks and everyone who sails in her, and which ultimately underpin our commitment to ensuring that everything we do is about delivering for our customers. But he also made the point that we can always do better, and outlined planned improvements to training and induction that will embed those values ever more deeply across the entire team.  

Next came an overview of what’s been achieved since the last Customer Conference, including 30% growth and a record 50+ client workshops delivered – a statistic that’s really important to us, with these workshops one of the key things that makes the Workbooks CRM journey so different and customer-centric. Finally, John turned to the future with an introduction to our next release: Workbooks 7.1, arriving summer 2023! Each of our releases is driven by a combination of customer feedback, our own strategic direction, and funded development initiatives whose costs are shared between us clients with specific needs – and this year’s innovations will be no exception! For a deeper dive into them, John then yielded the stage to Customer Success Manager Jean Hardie-Matthews and Product Specialist Alix Snell 

This isn’t the place to give all the detail provided by Jean and Alix – again, watch this space – but we’re too excited not to list at least a few examples. One especially exciting development: Comments are coming to Workbooks, bringing functionality familiar from apps like Slack and Teams but now fully integrated into Workbooks records. Another improvement we’ve been champing at the bit to announce is that we’ve collaborated with RingCentral to embed all its functionality within our platform – think caller-ID, the option to quickly access client-records before answering a call, opt-in automatic recording, and a range of other features that will help in everything from increasing productivity to improving training and development. We’ve also added a selection of new ‘card’ layouts to Reports and Dashboards, which is a great way to break the monotony of the basic report grid and charts layout and make key information really pop.  

And that’s just the start, with other upcoming improvements including:  


  • refinements in filtering and searching 
  • The ability to change currency in transaction records  
  • A new editable calendar allowing users to distinguish between due-dates and work-schedule and list tasks and meetings in the same grid 
  • Asana/Trello-like functionality within Workbooks  
  • marketing automation, social media management and omnichannel support through our integration with Spotler 

As John made clear when he returned to the stage, this is all part of Roadmap 2023, our ongoing plan to turn Workbooks into an even more fully 360 platform.  

Next up was Andrew Tuff, DX Group’s Head of Sales, to deliver the day’s first Customer Story, with the second presented later in the afternoon by Direct Life & Pensions Managing Director Rob Quayle. To be covered separately on the blog soon, these both offered compelling case-studies demonstrating of the power of properly managed and directed CRM to be transformative for business.  

Spotler Customer Service & Client Relationship Director Stephanie Kent’s presentation began on a note of candour, offering a mea culpa for the issues experienced during the recent switch to Spotler’s own servers from their former provider. But with those issues duly acknowledged, it was on to the bright future that’s coming with the integration of Workbooks and Spotler’s suite of communications applications. With marketing email functionality provided by the new Spotler+, transactional email from Spotler Flowmailer, IP tracking with Spotler Leads, social media from Spotler Social and much more, what Stephanie made abundantly clear was that together Workbooks and Spotler represent a fully integrated CRM/ communications and marketing platform capable of radically improving and streamlining everything about the way you interact with your customers and drive sales.  

A Workbooks partner of even longer standing is Revenue Grid, and after a well-deserved lunch-break was taken by all Head of Content Scott Hamilton joined us to explain the two new add-ins for Workbooks that will continue to keep the partnership at the cutting-edge. The fruition of a 15-year partnership, the benefits of these improvements – namely Engagement Sequences and Revenue Intelligence – quickly became clear, including an average saving of nearly a full working-day per week per employee through the use of automated sequences, an increase of 56% in the number of accounts reached weekly, and a 20% rise in customer engagement. The big picture: Revenue Grid and Workbooks are working together ever more closely to help our customers’ sales team fix revenue leakage, improve conversion rates and enable growth.  

The day was far from over. Still to come was a lively panel discussion on the challenges involved in and opportunities offered by CRM adoption, featuring Workbooks Sales Director Jamie Horastead, DX Group’s Andrew Tuff, TCMM Shutter Group’s Business Development Director Vicky Shaddick-Bibby, Workbooks North American SVP Penny Lowe and Workbooks Head of Client Engagement Brendan Crawford. That in turn was followed by a prize-giving ceremony recognising the achievement of clients who have been exceptional in their efforts to make the most of what Workbooks has to offer. Congratulations to this year’s winners CSols, as well as to runners-up Innovate UK KTN and Digging & Rigging, Inc. 

The day’s inspirational denouement came in the form of Mandy Hickson’s keynote speech ‘Choose Your Flight Path’. One of only five women to have flown Tornado jets in the RAF, Mandy is a true trailblazer and the perfect embodiment of this year’s ‘Reaching New Heights’ theme. Drawing on her exciting, colourful and often amusing experiences as a woman in the RAF, and focusing not just on the highs but the lows as well, Mandy’s presentation was full of insights about the kinds of mental attitudes that are necessary for success in the military and business alike. What better way to end a thought-provoking, dynamic day of presentations than with talk that was equal parts inspiration and humour?  

 And finally all that remained to be said was – see you next year!