Embracing Change: MondoCRM and WiredContact UK Come Together

From the States to the Isles:
MondoCRM and WiredContact's USA-UK Partnership

WiredContact to MondoCRM Logo

As we reflect on a year of significant transformation, we’re excited to share the journey of MondoCRM and WiredContact UK coming together. This union marks not just the merging of two companies but the fusion of innovation, customer commitment, and a shared vision for the future of CRM technology.

A Year of Growth and Expansion

January 2023 was a landmark month for us at MondoCRM as we welcomed WiredContact UK into our family. The months that followed were a testament to our commitment to growth. With new hardware, expanded teams, and the launch of our podcast, “Getting Down to Business,” we’ve set the stage for an even more customer-centric approach to business solutions.

1997

Year Founded

A Glimpse into Our Roots

MondoCRM’s inception was driven by a vision to create a world of opportunities for businesses seeking growth through technology. “Mondo,” meaning “world” in Italian, encapsulates our global approach to delivering top-tier CRM solutions. Our roots are deeply embedded in innovation, and as we grow with WiredContact UK, we’re bringing a legacy of excellence to an even broader audience.

3

Additional CRM and Enterprise Platforms

Branding Transition and New Horizons

The integration phase is an exciting time for us as we transition our branding to MondoCRM. This change will be reflected across all platforms, reinforcing our global identity. Moreover, we’re enhancing our service offerings with the introduction of Zoho CRM, Zoho One and Constant Contact to our UK market, ensuring our clients have access to a wide array of tools to thrive in a competitive business landscape.

20

Years of WiredContact Partnership

Our Commitment to WiredContact Continues

We understand the value that WiredContact brings to its users, and we want to assure our clients that we are dedicated to its continual development. Exciting new features and updates are on the horizon, and we’re eager to share these advancements as they unfold, ensuring that WiredContact remains a cutting-edge solution within the MondoCRM suite.

Four Figures with Puzzle

Staying Connected

Communication is key during this transition. We’re making sure that while our branding evolves, your points of contact do not. WiredContact sites, email addresses, and the UK office phone numbers will remain as they are, providing you with the continuity you need.

Accounting Updates

With change comes the need for updates in our accounting processes. We’re making these transitions as smooth as possible, with clear communication on invoice branding and payment details. Additionally, we’re in the process of acquiring a VAT number to align with financial regulations and ensure a seamless billing experience.

US and UK AI Image
I used the following prompt in Bing’s AI Image creator. “For a power point slide, I need a thank you image citing the United States and United Kingdom working together”

Conclusion

The path ahead is bright with the promise of innovation, growth, and an unwavering dedication to our clients. We’re grateful for the trust you’ve placed in us and look forward to continuing our journey together.


Act! Pro License To Be Sunset on 9/15/2023

Supported or Unsupported

On September 15, 2023 you will no longer be able to purchase an Act! Pro license.  It’s the end of an era.  From April 1st, 1987 until September 15th, 2023, you could buy an Act! Pro license for a one-time price and install it locally.  If your business process or technology stack didn’t change much, you can leverage it for 3+ years.   The business software pricing landscape  has changed. no matter the application.

With the advent of rapid changes by Microsoft and the web as a whole, desktop technology for a complex program like Act! is simply too expensive to develop and support with a one-time license.   Other industry giants like Autodesk, Adobe and Sage have migrated desktop software to a subscription model as well.  Quickbooks desktop offers a one-time fee, but they discontinue services like payroll or credit card processing to force those upgrades.  Moreover, in 2024, Intuit has phased new licenses for Quickbooks desktop in favor of Quickbooks Online.  Oh, don’t forget Microsoft as well with Office 365.

We have laid out some options here, but feel free to contact us to evaluate your unique situation.

Act! Logo

Recommended for:

  • Clients that want to remain on Act! for 3+ years.
  • Clients that need software updates for Microsoft compatibility and new features of Act!.
  • Clients that want to integrate with additional applications via Zapier or the Web API.
  • Clients that don't want radical change of business process and invested heavily in custom programming or commercial addons.
  • Clients that need web access to the database as well as full offline access to the database.

Changes Required:

  • Act! will be billed on an annual basis.
  • Upon cancellation of the subscription, the software will no longer access the database.
  • No walk-away one-time license purchase is available.

For Act! Pro users, you can upgrade to Act! Premium CRM for $400/user/year (Year 1 promotional price subject to change by Act! corporate).  Year 2+ , budget $450/user/year.

Learn more about our services.

WiredContact Logo

Recommended for:

  • Clients that want to keep an Act!-like user interface without radical change for the sales reps.
  • Clients that no longer want to deal with desktop support issues.
  • Clients that want to automate more process.
  • Clients that simply don't believe in paying a subscription and prefer a one-time fee.

Changes Required for Self-Hosting:

  • Clients need to install a dedicated Windows server.
  • Clients need either an in-house I.T. department or a MSP (Managed Service Provider) to maintain the server.
  • An evaluation to make sure all the features you want will translate into WiredContact.

WiredContact Enterprise is available as a one-time purchase, a buy once+hosting fee model or a monthly subscription.

Learn more about Act! vs. WiredContact.

Zoho Logo

Recommended for:

  • Clients that want to integrate CRM with their ecosystem of 40+ applications known as Zoho One.
  • Clients that want to outsource CRM hardware and software management.
  • Clients that want an affordable alternative to SalesForce.
  • Clients that want to automate more processes.
  • Clients that want a DIY approach to CRM customization and programming before hiring a consultancy like us.
  • Workgroups less than 3 users who need a basic edition of Zoho CRM for free.

Changes required:

  • An evaluation to make sure all the features you want will translate into Zoho since its a different approach to CRM vs. Act!.
  • Budget a fee for conversion, database re-design and training on a new platform.

Learn more about Zoho.

Zoho Bigin Logo

Recommended for:

  • Clients that a basic CRM that's easy to customize without a consultant's fee.
  • Clients that want to outsource CRM hardware and software management.
  • Clients that want a contact centric approach, not an account-centric approach like Salesforce or Zoho CRM.

Changes required:

  • An evaluation to make sure all the features you want will translate into Zoho since its a different approach to CRM vs. Act!.
  • Budget a fee for conversion, database re-design and training on a new platform.

Learn more about Bigin.


The New World: Desktop Software vs. Cloud-Based Subscriptions

Here is what to know:

  • A History Lesson
  • A New, Disruptive Technology Environment
  • The Subscription Economy
  • A New Value Proposition
  • Conclusion
80s rockin' CRT monitor
Check out the CRT monitor and the '90s mullet!

A History Lesson

There’s an old riddle about confronting change, and it goes like this.
Q: “How many folk singers does it take to change a lightbulb?”
A: “Four. One changes the light bulb, while the other three sing a song about how much better the old one was.”

Almanac Singers

Ever-changing technology trends can be like that, too.  In fact, humans aren’t wired nearly as well for change as they are for routine and habit.  Hence, the primary pain point for evolving technologies…hype for new and updated Apple products notwithstanding.

How many of us cursed our software providers when releasing updates or even altogether new versions, sometimes leaving our computers oddly unstable?  “What the hell, the old version works just fine!”  Until it doesn’t, of course.  Just ask anyone working on Microsoft Windows 7 or 8.1 in need of support…God help ‘em, because Microsoft won’t.  Intuit regularly ceases support for Quickbooks desktop software.  Oh, and Act! corporate continually lowers how long they’ll support each version.  The business models cannot support legacy versions while users desire new features.

Many of my clients have shared this kind of frustration with me over the years.  For example, once upon a time, Act! for Windows worked seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook with minimal suffering.  When the connection became unstable and unreliable, my phone rang constantly with terrified and unhappy clients.  In fact, the consultants like me wind up holding the bag because it’s a blame game between Act! corporate and Microsoft to determine fault. To provide support, I wound up creating several blog posts to help our clients so they could try to fix it themselves before paying us.  For this integration, Act! corporate must resort to a subscription model to fund the developers to keep pace with Microsoft’s changes.  Or, we sell third party Act! addons.   In short, it remains an inefficient, sometimes chaotic ecosystem for technology to evolve, and ripe for disruption.

Frustrated User
My clients calling me talking about how Act! and Outlook integration broke again
American land yachts tell great stories for the nostalgia, but they no longer remain practical as your daily driver.

We began to realize that keeping and maintaining essential software was very different from, say, the car-buying experience where one can keep their existing car for several years if they diligently maintain it.  Continuing with the auto industry analogy, this whole turnover cycle angered technology users just as when it was revealed that GM, Ford and Chrysler were all guilty of a “planned obsolescence” business model for years, eventually building cars in the 70s that only lasted a few years before breaking down.  All of us old enough to remember were suspicious Apple was up to the same shenanigans releasing a newly hyped iPhone every year with marginal upgrades to previous models.  It all begins to feel like a scam after a while, doesn’t it?

A NEW, DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY ENVIRONMENT

bulb-disruption

But the software industry operates a bit differently from hardware and automobiles. It has a different supply chain, different stresses on user experience, and frankly, operates in a different technology environment—like fish surviving in water vs. humans surviving on oxygen. Referring back to the auto industry for comparison, ubiquitous access to high-speed internet and 5G technologies are the tech equivalent of making traditional roads obsolete…or even the ownership model altogether. (One notable exception is Elon Musk’s Tesla. His management team is populated by ex-Apple people and their business model was designed very similarly as a platform complete with periodic software updates.)

Advancements like universal access to high-speed internet and 5G technologies essentially created a matrix, and we were no longer constrained by cables, hardware or networks. As a result, people expect to operate at full function wherever they are, 24-7. These new developments make software less dependent on local hardware and operating system configurations as long as it was operating on the World Wide Web.

THE SUBSCRIPTION ECONOMY

This new environment brought new possibilities to commerce everywhere and the modes which people do business began to change, too. Much ink has been spilled telling us we now live in a subscription economy, and the data to supports it. The Washington Post reported the U.S. subscription-based economy was valued at $650 billion in 2021, and expected to more than double to $1.5 trillion by 2025. If we just look around us, we see subscriptions for more than just our television programming and news content—hotels, car washes, music, cloud storage, food and meal delivery, movie theaters, home workouts, even GM  launches a subscription-based auto membership experience beyond the conventional lease model.

A NEW VALUE PROPOSITION

Most of us remember when we’d bite the bullet every few years and spend $250 – $400+ per PC + I.T. contractor costs to upgrade Microsoft Office. As a result, people collaborating on projects often weren’t working on the same version. Google Docs essentially made that model obsolete, and now annual Microsoft Office subscriptions are priced very affordably starting at $69 per user per year.

So what’s the value proposition for the cloud-based software subscription model?

  • 24-7 access to your data with internet connection, no matter where you are or machine you use
  • Lower onboarding costs
  • Providers monitor friction points in real time, constantly improving features and functionality
  • Reduced technical support costs
  • Developers can deploy updates quickly
  • No more brutal software installs or data migrations
  • No servers to own and maintain
  • The Cloud offers better overall data security
  • Addresses compliance when and where relevant
  • Lower cost of entry and total cost of ownership
  • Subscription pricing tiers mean you only pay for the features you use
  • Subscriptions motivate SaaS providers to continually provide good great service.
software license infographic
Remain aware of the hidden costs of perpetually licensed software.

But the benefit few people talk about (but Mondo clients know!) is subscription pricing often frees up money for customizing the software to work seamlessly with your business processes rather than having to adapt your processes to counter the software’s limitations.

Conclusion

Conclusion

The Bottom-line? Subscription-based software just works better than the old desktop delivery model when users require constant updates that Microsoft, Apple or Google dictate. If it didn’t, the industry would go back to the old way. It’s simply more reliable, more adaptable and more cost-effective. And while there are still some single users inclined to sing a song about how much better the old way was, the new way is just better.


MondoCRM Acquires WiredContact UK

MondoCRM Opens an Office in the United Kingdom

Blenheim Palace
Mark Mondo & Cynthia Zimmerman at Blenheim Palace, the childhood home of Winston Churchill.

MondoCRM is pleased to announce its acquisition of WiredContact UK, the only WiredContact consultancy in Britain, earlier this year.  After almost 30 years in business, we have a long and rich history of growth and adapting to changing conditions in technology and the business services marketplace.  This is our second strategic acquisition in recent years.  Most recently, MondoCRM closed its acquisition of Novak Information Systems in June 2017, a mature Act! consultancy located out of Chicago.

Given my wife’s and my deep affection for the UK, its culture, and its people, we are particularly excited about our prospects for this new venture!  Here’s what to know:

  • Background: How the opportunity was presented
  • Rationale: Why acquiring a company on a different continent makes sense for us
  • Strategic Value: How WiredContactUK brings value to MondoCRM and our clients
  • What’s next: Our plans for what’s ahead delivering great client experiences

Background

Tower of London
Yes, this is our client. The Tower of London uses WiredContact to manage corporate sales and e-marketing campaigns.

As some of you know, WiredContact was founded by former Act! and Saleslogix consultants who’d grown frustrated with its functionality and stability after a series of acquisitions by private equity investors.  Over the years, WiredContact has developed into a uniquely user-friendly, highly adaptable platform designed to deliver custom CRM solutions around the client’s business processes, instead of the client having to modify its processes around the software’s limitations.

We’ve observed over the years that WiredContact presents a powerful niche in the CRM marketplace for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMB)—especially those requiring custom-designed solutions—and they’re attractively priced compared to other larger players like Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce.  MondoCRM has long and deep relationships with WiredContact’s leadership and engineers over the years having collaborated on many custom CRM design projects.

I’ve known the founder of WiredContact UK for about 20 years, and when I heard he was looking to retire, I reached out to him pronto!  Over time, he diversified his consultancy impressively with practice areas including real estate development, property management, trade associations, local government economic development, higher education, funeral management, and even Royal Palace private event sales!  But what I found most fascinating was their ingenious use of WiredContact’s custom CRM design capabilities, far more so than I’ve seen here in the United States.

Needless to say, our due diligence process began straight away!

Rationale

12

Avg Client Relationship in Years

3

Number of New Features for WiredContact

15

Years of Local Support Experience

When considering our own growth and recent experience with acquisitions, our calculus revealed that MondoCRM can more efficiently and profitably expand our business by acquiring existing profitable consultancies than staffing up a business development team for aggressive marketing campaigns.

Our process of due diligence was considerably more challenging than our domestic acquisitions for some reasons that are obvious, and others that are less so.  Long story short, making a trip to London smoothed over any rough edges that are customary to such a transition.  We joined the British American Business Council here in Chicago, a membership that promises to be helpful in regulatory matters and making strategic introductions when required.  But mostly, we needed to take a deep dive into the subtleties of both WiredContact UK’s book of business and the personalities involved.  We’ve learned in our client work over the years that a business is much more than debits, credits, and growth metrics.  They’re run by and for people with very human impacts and considerations.

We found their local support teams to be outstanding and their customers quite happy.  Like MondoCRM USA, customer loyalty is strong, with their average relationship lasting 10+ years.  Core to our client work, we know customer churn wrecks growth, and that it costs 7x more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing customer.  We know that long-term customer relationships are much more profitable over time than shorter-term, more transactional ones.

Strategic Value

Total Spend on Cloud vs. Desktop CRM (Gartner Group 2019)

Previous acquisitions have taught us that we aren’t just acquiring customers; we came to the realization that we could leverage our blended capabilities to grow our practice here, as well as throughout the UK and EU.  We believe our existing clients will soon see these new capabilities at work as we begin to drive more innovation and develop custom-designed CRM and business process solutions for them.

Also worthy of consideration is Mondo’s very close partnership with Caldere Associates, another cutting edge CRM consultancy and Zoho partner located near London.  You may have had contact with them via Meeta, Vivek or Graeme in the past.  To wit, we never considered Caldere a competitor and have been routinely rewarded for this progressive mindset when collaborating on countless projects with them over the years.  The vitality of our partnership will only improve with this new and exciting opportunity that WiredContact UK brings to us both.  While Mondo and Caldere are both Zoho Certified Partners and its platform capabilities are truly amazing, we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all approaches for our clients and think WiredContact UK will bring intriguing custom solutions to the table for our clients on both sides of the pond.

What’s Next

Road to Growth

As I mentioned earlier, we believe there is an exciting market opportunity to deliver custom CRM and business process solutions for SMBs who simply don’t have the budget for Microsoft Dynamics, SAP and Salesforce. We maintain very close working relationships with the engineers at WiredContact corporate and expect these relationships to only flourish further as we bring them a wider array of interesting client projects. We routinely work with WiredContact’s Chief Architect to create custom features and functionality, completely bypassing the committees common to other CRM providers as well getting fixes rather quickly when a defect is found.

For example, we are working with Walgreens to build a common platform for all their contractors to operate from, and we think WiredContact is just the right fit for developing a custom solution for them while avoiding layer upon layer of corporate bureaucracy. In fact, we have the explicit backing of WiredContact’s ownership and management.

At some point in the future, we expect to explore opportunities across the EU using WiredContact UK in London as a launching point. But for now, we continue to learn about what we have in WiredContact UK, explore its potential and bring it the best vision and management we have to offer. And who knows, perhaps more frequently indulge in English ales, Yorkshire pudding, shepherd’s pie and English Premier League football games? I think that’s a safe bet, since I’ve already been doing it for years.


A 25 YEAR JOURNEY TO NOW

On October 29th, 1997, I had hair. Or at least some of it, anyway. I operated off Windows 98, floppy discs, and dial-up modems. Broadband speeds were painfully slow and remote work was only a dream as I drove everywhere to client appointments and sales calls. Troubleshooting involved sleepless nights and deep dives into phonebook-sized user manuals for software and hardware. The World Wide Web had few websites on it and Google had not yet “organized the world’s information and made it universally accessible and usable.”

Act! for Mac

But I felt like we were part of a technology revolution. In fact, we were. We rode the wave, experimented, and learned a lot, sometimes fixing glitches by what seemed like scotch tape and trip wire. It would take 4 more years for the dot-com bubble to burst, but Moore’s law has proven valid repeatedly, what was once novel, “gee-whiz” technology became ubiquitous and much more than we could have ever imagined has become commonplace.

Retarget Audience

As sales funnels evolved into customer journey maps, retail establishments morphed into eCommerce juggernauts to accommodate the anywhere, anytime customer, delivering seamless experiences via the touchpoint of their choosing. Customer data became measurable currency, igniting consumer expectations and privacy concerns alike.

Artificial intelligence, social networks, cross-platform personalization, enterprise analytics, microtargeting, business process engineering are all branches from the same tree: CRM. The first mainstream CRM product was Act! software, and Mondo was one of the first Act! Certified Consultants. Since, we have acquired other CRM consultants’ practices when attractive opportunities were presented.

We have accomplished some good things over the years. MondoCRM is one of 90 Act! consulting firms remaining in the North America and one of 3 in Chicago. WiredContact was founded by former Act! engineers and Mondo is its #1 reseller in the United States. To deliver on the promise of customer-centricity and provide continuity across all business operations, we are also a Zoho-authorized Partner and Certified Consultant. Zoho? Imagine Salesforce, only less expensive and easier to customize across the enterprise.

But what we are most proud of are the relationships we’ve built over the years. MondoCRM has performed 400+ platform builds for over 600 clients spread among more than 80 industries. Our favorite statistic? Our average client relationship lasts more than 10 years.

Reviews
What have we learned from all this? Plenty.

 

  • We have learned the value of speaking human. Industry jargon doesn’t solve problems; empathy, acumen and collaboration do. We can’t grow our practice very well if we are not approachable.
  • Customer churn kills companies, so laser-focus on delivering great customer experiences is essential for sustainable growth. Keeping existing customers happy is always more profitable than earning new ones. To wit, it costs 7x more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one…the average customer lifetime value is 10x greater than their initial purchase.
  • Customized, highly calibrated CRM is essential for delivering memorable customer experiences. After all, how can we deliver great customer experiences if we don’t know much about them?
  • Measure what matters. Every decision is based on the best information we have at a given time. Therefore, success is directly informed by the quality, clarity, and timeliness of the information at hand.

We have been blessed by our client relationships over the years and have built an organization well beyond the one-horse shop MondoCRM once was. Abstaining from faceless tech support from platform providers, I have built a crack team of platform experts to support our clients on demand, including assigned reps and deep client history records for insight and to keep clients from having to repeat themselves.

Our customers frequently report highly personalized experiences every time because that’s the way we approach things from the jump. While CRM buyers often feel ghosted after their purchase, we are all about what happens next: calibrating the platform to meet each business’ unique strengths, objectives, challenges, and market positioning.

Our stellar crew also frees me up to focus on vision and strategy with our clients. All those projects over the years provided me the best MBA I could have ever dreamed of. Working mostly with small to medium-sized businesses, I am almost always collaborating with founders and C-suite people, often helping solve their most pressing, highest-level issues.  After all these years, I find this deeply trusted, sleeves rolled up, high-level strategy work the most rewarding. I especially enjoy aligning marketing, sales, and service, as well as refining business processes to meet enterprise objectives. For me, this is the fun stuff, and it never gets old.

At MondoCRM, everything begins and ends with our commitment to helping our clients grow their businesses for the long term, and it has been a privilege to help. Schedule a discovery call to explore ideas how we can impact your bottom-line performance.