With a simple product to a competitive market


    One of the most important things for a business is a well-chosen market niche. But today it is almost impossible to find a really empty field for activity. Even the audience of very exotic projects has to be shared with competitors. Needless to say, “standard” tools like CRM?
    However, the history of the WireCRM service shows that CRM CRM is different. Despite the abundance of functionality in the products of leading players, in this market there are still customers with unmet needs. And you can get them not by inventing a “bicycle with square wheels”, but by learning to listen to your client and correctly transform the recommendations received into a development strategy.
    About how WireCRM service managed not only to make itself known on the market, but also to gain a firm foothold in it, despite the fact that most competitors started much earlier, said Dmitry Popov, founder and project manager

    Beginning startups are worried about the question: will their idea “shoot”. Have you encountered similar doubts? How did you evaluate the prospects of your idea and the market as a whole at the start? What factors made it clear that the path was chosen correctly?

    Dmitry Popov: Of course, there were worries before the launch. But when the first users appeared and brought down a flurry of proposals for finalizing our solution, it became clear that the reference point was chosen correctly. Moreover, it is clear in which direction we should move. More than a year has passed since then. We are actively working and growing; normal flight.
    We did not formally evaluate the market size, but it is felt when you communicate with the next client personally and understand that you cannot completely satisfy his needs.

    Do you focus on competitors when planning innovations?

    Dmitry Popov: While developing the service, we chose our own strategy - creating the most simple and fast tool. This makes us different from our competitors; therefore, we simply do not make sense to write off a development strategy from them.
    But from far away we are watching Bitrix24 and Amo (Hello, Sergey Ryzhikov and Mikhail Tokovinin).

    How do you evaluate now, did you manage to choose the optimal service development strategy at the start? Or did the original course change later?

    Dmitry Popov:At the very beginning, we did not have the knowledge that is now, respectively, and the strategy at that time was not formulated. I consider it a good coincidence that at the very beginning we chose a more or less right direction of work. Thanks to this, later on we changed the core of the project a little, but we actively developed modules installed by users upon request (for such modules we have an application store where a year ago there were only 2 modules, and now about 40 and their number is constantly growing).

    How different was the first public version from how the service looks now?

    Dmitry Popov:In my opinion, the first version did not have the minimum necessary functionality for work, but it already allowed to conduct a client base and transactions. Nevertheless, this was enough for a number of first customers. They appreciated this simplicity.

    How was the solution testing organized at the start? Have the testers of the public version become clients themselves?

    Dmitry Popov: The first testers of the system were our customers, some we were given free access to the system. They still remain our loyal users and help make the product better. For some users, we made bonuses in the form of accruals to the internal account. With it, they could pay for access to the service and buy applications.
    Now we are trying to cover the code with automated tests on CasperJS.

    I have heard stories that the first clients helped to correctly place emphasis and subsequently firmly get on their feet. Has your project developed the same way?

    Dmitry Popov: We can say that what the system looks like now is a direct merit of our users. Working with client offers is generally a separate issue. Only after personal communication do you understand what really bothers users. Therefore, I still personally try to respond to feedbacks and offers, although I have assistants. This helps me understand where to go next, what suggestions to give a kick to implementation.

    Did you encounter any technical difficulties at the beginning of the development of the project?

    Dmitry Popov:Yes, there were some difficulties. At the start, it was not possible to quickly solve at first glance such a simple problem as importing data from Excel, CSV and other systems. For a rather long period, this functionality did not really work, although, as I understand it now, it is a critical functionality for such systems.

    Has your currency jump adjusted your plans and prices? Didn’t you regret that you entered the market at such a difficult time?

    Dmitry Popov:On the contrary. Given the current state of affairs, I can say that we launched very successfully and correctly selected a pricing policy. In the context of rising exchange rates, former customers of large foreign and even some Russian services are switching to us, trying to save on IT support of the business. Our prices, by the way, are still at the same level. And in addition we introduced discounts (up to 30%) when paying for access to the service for a longer period.
    We were surprised, but the number of clients from Ukraine and Belarus is growing more and more, despite economic factors.

    Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the start of the project?

    Dmitry Popov:We lost a lot of time on some not quite necessary things. Now I would refuse to implement them and could save a lot of time. Otherwise, the right direction was chosen, and I would advise myself not to worry about some issues :)

    Brief information about the service:
    WireCRM is a simple CRM tool that appeared on the market in late 2013 - early 2014 and focused on small businesses.
    When connecting to the service, the user receives the minimum basic functionality, which can be expanded by activating additional modules from the application store (by the principle of the designer). The toolkit is available both through a web browser on both desktop systems and mobile devices.

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