Cells4Life is the UK‘s first private firm to provide umbilical stem cell storage and collection services in the emerging and highly competitive market of regenerative medicine.
The stem cell processing company manages decade-long relationships that start with expectant parents on an emotional and scientific journey that could someday save the life of their children.
The stem cells, taken just after birth from the umbilical cord, may be used to regenerate bone; muscle; cartilage, and other specialised types of cells, and to treat diseases.
By law, Cells4Life must keep records for 30 years after a client relationship ends, with the company currently managing more than 20,000 contracts, and growing.
To ensure compliance with government regulations, stringent European privacy laws, and the stewardship of potentially life-saving materials, Cells4Life required a system built to handle massive amounts of paperwork and data storage.
It was vital that it had a flexible platform that was capable of managing the day-to-day processes of running such a company.
This was the scale of the task for Cells4Life chairman, Wayne Channon when he began researching the move from a contacts database to a CRM-enabled business platform.
Cells4Life invited in SugarCRM’s experts who worked closely with them to understand the requirements for its laboratory information management system.
Following the consultation, a customised system was built allowing Cells4Life the ability to use bar codes for inventory management; monitor all processes and environmental conditions within the laboratory; handle the bulk of regulatory compliance procedures, and track samples for 30 years after the last client tissue sample has been used or discarded.
The system also plays an indispensable role as a sales and marketing asset.
Channon said: “With Sugar, we have recreated expensive laboratory management systems with something that was custom-made for us at a fraction of the cost.”
Increase wins with smart manufacturing, sales processes
Cells4Life continues to grow rapidly, so it needs to gain a clear and simple picture of its customers.
By pairing Sugar with marketing analytics from Google and DCStorm, Cells4Life is able to track its customers’ interests and understand what pages they view, what information they download and the types of case studies being read.
This information feeds straight through to the Cells4Life sales staff and equips them with key information on when an enquiry is made and a potential customer’s interests – allowing them to tailor their conversations with each new potential customer.
Once contact has been made with a prospect customer, the Sugar system sends a link to a downloadable information packet about the company and the process, and then tracks whether the parents return to the site for more information.
It also coordinates a drip marketing campaign in which the potential customer gets a Sugar-generated email every two weeks.
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The latest in CRM
The latest tools incorporated into CRM solutions support more informed decision-making, providing real-time data analysis across all business teams, offering:
- Supply chain management through having intelligence on availability of materials and pricing
- Equipment and asset maintenance to track and manage customer equipment, inventories and software licenses and subscriptions
- Equipment and asset maintenance scheduling to allow service technicians to obtain all the information and automated prompts they need on assets and maintenance schedules
- Essential sales and marketing support to manage complex relationships with both customers and suppliers
The chairman explained: “We have a huge conversion rate, and it is all because of Sugar.
“When somebody requests a welcome pack, we convert a significant number of those. If they come from our contacts page, we convert an even higher number. Through Sugar, Cells4Life has created a smoother, more accurate process internally and vastly improved the customer experience.”
Regulatory compliant and beyond
As Cells4Life has to comply with numerous government regulations ranging from health-care laws to data privacy standards – which can differ in the European Union and the Middle East – Cells4Life wanted the security that Sugar provided.
Channon continued: “We needed to automate the standard operating procedures required by government – we are run by them and the overhead was killing us.
“The SOPs were paralysing and prone to mistakes. We needed a way to remove that and scale the organisation, and we got that in the modifications we made to Sugar.
From the ground up, Sugar is making a difference for Cells4Life employees.
Since implementing the system, the company has saved on average 20 staff hours each week by automating laboratory management; improved data storage and customer lifecycle management; enhanced employee information sharing, and continued revenue growth without additional staff.
Cells4Life has remained lean while growing revenue by automating many processes through Sugar that otherwise would have added at least five positions to the 30-person company.
IT director, John Mills commented: “It was a ‘wow!’ moment for me because Sugar made us much more nimble immediately.”
Launching Sugar took about two months and included migrating more than 10,000 existing data files.
Mills continued: “We wanted a system that could go beyond a customer management system. We had the laboratory to think about, in addition to the usual business functions. Sugar allows us to customise and extend in any way we can come up with.”
He concluded: “With the ability to integrate different modules, Sugar is amazingly powerful. It is so flexible. We didn’t think we would be able to automate so many processes so easily.
“As a small company we need all the help we can get, and Sugar has made a huge difference to our business.”