See how this automated inspection company got their sales process off the ground with Nutshell.
Inspecting a wind turbine used to be a painstaking process, requiring teams of specialists to spend all day rappelling up and down the giant structures and visually assessing them. Luckily, we have drones for that now.
Founded in 2012 by a group of engineering students at the University of Michigan, SkySpecs is an Ann Arbor-based drone automation company that seeks to make the inspection process faster, safer, and more efficient. “We saw a need for commercial drones to be automated, and jumped right in,” says SkySpecs CEO and co-founder Danny Ellis. “We want the inspection to happen with the single push of a button.”
From the very beginning of SkySpecs’ existence, Danny and his team had to deal with long sales cycles and complex organizational structures.
“The industry itself is not very big, so we deal with a small number of very large customers,” Danny explains. “With most of these large companies, you end up talking to their business teams, their legal teams. As soon as we had more than one customer and had multiple conversations across phone conversations, emails, text messages, we realized that we needed something to organize that.”
Like many tech entrepreneurs, Danny also faced a learning curve as he transitioned from developing a great product to selling it.
One of the biggest things for us was sitting down and thinking about our sales process. Before it was very reactive. We knew we needed to make a sale, but we didn’t really know what the next steps were going to be.
CEO and co-founder, SkySpecs
Danny first heard about Nutshell through word of mouth, and visited the Nutshell offices in person to get a first-hand look at the CRM.
“It was pretty self explanatory once we got moving, but it was great to have a one-on-one demonstration,” Danny says. “We jumped on board and just went from there.”
SkySpecs found Nutshell to be perfectly suited for the way they operate. “I think Nutshell is the perfect CRM for a B2B company that has a handful of customers that are going to take a long time to sell to,” Danny says. “I think where we’ve seen the largest value is in the long sales cycles, where you’ve got many steps in between and you’ve got many different people inside of a large organization you’re trying to deal with.”
Since adopting Nutshell, SkySpecs has been able to build closer relationships with its customers—an improvement that has paid dividends.
One of our first customers is a small wind farm that’s pretty local here, and it’s one that we may have forgotten about, but because it was in our CRM we put a reminder to follow up with them. We’ve since used them for testing, [and] they’re one of our biggest advocates.
Director of Business Development, SkySpecs
So what’s next for SkySpecs? Already an innovator in the wind industry, Danny Ellis and the SkySpecs team have their sights set on expansion.
“In two years, I want SkySpecs to be the go to solution in the wind industry for inspection,” Danny says. “I want everyone who owns a wind farm to have our technology onsite. I also want to start working in other industries, so we can bring our technology and everything we’ve learned in the wind industry to other inspection areas that could benefit from our technology.”
“Nutshell has grown with us internally, and that’s been huge for us, especially for startups where things are constantly changing,” Josh adds. “Whether it’s organizing your day and prospecting customers to monitoring the entire sales process, it’s done everything that we need it to do.”