Crystal Clean Maintenance Case Study

25% Reduction in Hours to Invoice

“Thanks to Gloo’s methodical approach, our quotations are organized beautifully in Zoho CRM enabling us to now find, mine and report on them easily. Also, we’ve been able to reduce the work hours required for the invoicing process by a full 25%”

Nathan McAllister

President / Owner, Crystal Clean Maintenance Ltd.

Crystal Clean Maintenence

Crystal Clean Maintenance (CCM)'s head office is in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and offers professional cleaning services with 50+ years of experience throughout the Maritime Provinces. CCM's rapid growth presented substantial challenges due to operating with an antiquated information infrastructure primarily dependent on spreadsheets and paper forms. The decision to migrate from Salesforce to Zoho CRM, initially set up by another Zoho Partner, exposed limitations in their system. At the time, CCM utilized Zoho CRM exclusively as a sales database, lacking the capability to integrate their vital estimation spreadsheets or generate reliable pipeline reports. This prompted CCM to embark on a mission to overhaul their operations. Their primary objective was to create a smooth and comprehensive integration of their sales process, from the inception of custom Statements of Work (SOW) to the final invoicing stage, bridging the gap between sales, operations and accounting.


The company had been heavily reliant on intricate work breakdown spreadsheets for cost estimation. On the operational side, manual timesheets coupled with mobile phone images were the tools of choice.


CCM envisioned an end-to-end, fully integrated system that would streamline their entire business process. The ultimate goal was to leverage Zoho CRM, Zoho Books, and other Zoho One apps to ensure an efficient customer journey that covered the transition from sales to operations and accounting. By achieving this, CCM aimed to not only streamline their processes but also significantly enhance their estimation efficiency, addressing the pressing challenges of their rapid growth.


 "With Gloo's assistance, we achieved a clear path from sales to operations and accounting, enabling our employees to now easily find and mine a database of quotations to produce more accurate future quotations."
- William Sarty, CEO 


This comprehensive overhaul was driven by the urgent need to resolve the existing challenges within their infrastructure. The absence of integration between the sales process and estimation spreadsheets led to bottlenecks and inefficiencies, impairing their ability to generate accurate pipeline reports. The manual data entry and document creation processes also hampered efficiency, resulting in delays and errors. Recognizing these critical issues, CCM was determined to find a solution that could streamline their business processes and enhance their overall operational efficiency.


Problem Statement and Key Challenges

The challenges that CCM encountered were multifaceted, rooted in their existing business processes. The absence of an integrated system between their sales process and estimation spreadsheets proved to be a substantial hurdle. This lack of integration led to inefficiencies and bottlenecks within their operations. The central challenge was their inability to generate efficiently configure, send, revise and store many large and complex quotations. CCM relied upon those previous quotations to help them create others in the future. This made it difficult to generate reliable pipeline report, a critical tool for decision-making and future planning. The process of manual data entry and document creation, including the painstaking task of entering data from intricate spreadsheets into their system, was error-prone and time-consuming, leading to operational delays and inaccuracies.


In particular, CCM's primary challenges were as follows:


  1. Lack of Integration
    The core issue lay in the disconnection between their intricate estimation spreadsheets and the CRM system. This resulted in a disjointed process that was detrimental to their operational efficiency. They required a solution that bridged these data silos.


  1. Pipeline Reporting
    The inability to generate reliable pipeline reports was a critical impediment. CCM's growth trajectory necessitated accurate insights into their sales pipeline to make informed decisions. The absence of a robust reporting system hampered their ability to plan effectively.


  1. Manual Data Entry
    Manual data entry from spreadsheets to their CRM was not only labor-intensive but also prone to errors. This manual process introduced inefficiencies and created a significant room for data inaccuracies.


  1. Operational Delays
    The time-consuming processes hindered the speed at which CCM could carry out tasks. Delays in entering data and creating documents led to operational bottlenecks, potentially impacting their ability to meet client needs promptly.


  1. Data Accuracy
    Ensuring data accuracy was a significant concern. The reliance on manual processes introduced the risk of data inconsistencies and inaccuracies, which, in turn, could lead to client dissatisfaction and operational challenges.


Recognizing these significant challenges, CCM was determined to find a comprehensive solution that could streamline their business processes, address operational inefficiencies, and enhance their overall operational efficiency. They selected Gloo as their Zoho partner to work with.


Gloo initiated a meticulous process to evaluate the challenges faced by CCM. This evaluation was integral to formulating a comprehensive and effective solution to address their unique problems. The process involved in-depth analysis, assessment and a deep dive into CCM's existing systems and workflow.


Analyzing the Existing System

The evaluation began with a thorough examination of CCM's existing system. This phase allowed Gloo to create a baseline understanding of their operations, identify bottlenecks, and pinpoint areas in need of enhancement. By mapping the current workflow, Gloo was able to gain valuable insights into how CCM's business processes operated and where the pain points were.


Process Capture and Documentation

Following the initial analysis, Gloo engaged in a series of process capture sessions. These sessions involved discussions and detailed documentation of CCM's sales processes. The objective was to understand how each activity was conducted, the data flow, and the key pain points that impeded efficiency. During these sessions, CCM's team and Gloo's experts collaborated closely to ensure that all process nuances were captured accurately.  


Determining Automation and Reporting Requirements

As part of the evaluation process, Gloo's team assessed the need for automation within CCM's workflows. This entailed identifying tasks that could be automated to streamline processes and reduce manual efforts. Additionally, a critical aspect of the evaluation was to determine reporting requirements. Gloo examined the specific data points and metrics that were crucial for CCM to track and report on.


Prioritizing Requirements

Not all requirements are created equal. Gloo and CCM worked together to prioritize the identified requirements. This involved ranking pain points in terms of their impact on operations and the urgency of their resolution. This prioritization was essential in shaping the solution to ensure that the most critical issues were addressed first.


Key Insights from the Evaluation

The evaluation phase brought several key insights to light. Firstly, it was evident that CCM needed a way to bring data in and out of spreadsheets while standardizing the creation and association of these documents with the Deal records in Zoho CRM. Secondly, a Work Order tracking system was essential for transitioning tasks from sales to operations, as well as for task completion and timesheet entries. Lastly, following the setup of Zoho Books, a seamless connection from timesheets to invoicing was paramount for streamlined accounting processes.


Maintaining Familiarity

One crucial aspect of the evaluation was the need to maintain familiarity in the user interface, especially for CCM's sales team. While complex formulas and processes could have been embedded directly into the CRM, the decision was made to keep these processes in spreadsheets. This was done to ensure that the sales team, who were accustomed to working with spreadsheets, could seamlessly adapt to the new system.


Throughout this thorough evaluation process, Gloo collaboratively defined the scope of the solution. The evaluation served as the foundation upon which the transformation was built. It enabled Gloo to tailor a solution that would not only resolve CCM's existing challenges but also set the stage for improved efficiency and a seamless transition from sales to operations and accounting. This comprehensive understanding was pivotal in crafting a solution that aligned perfectly with CCM's vision and requirements.


Gloo's proposed solution for Crystal Clean Maintenance Ltd. (CCM) was a multi-faceted approach designed to tackle their challenges comprehensively. The solution encompassed a two-phase implementation strategy that aimed to integrate Zoho CRM, Zoho Books, and other Zoho One apps to streamline their entire business process.


Phase 1: Integration of Sales Process and Work Order Tracking 

The first phase of the proposed solution involved creating a system that could seamlessly integrate the sales process with CCM's existing estimation spreadsheets. This integration was designed to bridge the gap between the spreadsheet-driven estimation process and Zoho CRM, ensuring that data flowed smoothly and accurately between these critical components.


Automated Spreadsheet Generation

The first step in this phase was to develop a mechanism that would automatically generate the estimation spreadsheets in Zoho Sheets based on the data from Zoho CRM, and a template Zoho Sheet document. Also, there would need to be a dynamic connection between the generated document and the Zoho CRM Deal. This dynamic connection allowed for real-time updates, ensuring that any changes made in Zoho CRM were instantly reflected in the connected spreadsheet. This automation significantly reduced manual data entry and the risk of errors.


Work Order Module

To facilitate a smooth transition from sales to operations, the second step involved the creation of a Work Order module within Zoho CRM. This module served as the central hub for managing work orders, task assignments, and tracking. The Work Order module allowed for the automatic generation of work orders for periodic work and simplified the process of assigning tasks to workers.


Timesheet Subform

An integral part of this phase was the introduction of a timesheet subform within the Work Order module. This subform allowed workers to easily fill in timesheet entries for specific work orders. This streamlined the process of capturing work hours and improved the accuracy of data collection.


Phase 2: Integration with Zoho Books and Beyond

The second phase of the solution focused on the integration of Zoho Books into CCM's accounting process. The goal was to connect the work done in Zoho CRM and the invoicing and financial management in Zoho Books.

Here's how it was achieved:


Zoho Books Integration

Gloo developed an intermediary application embedded within Zoho Creator, as part of Zoho CRM. This application was designed to enable CCM's accounting team to compile a collection of work orders along with timesheet entries and generate draft invoices in Zoho Books. This integration streamlined the invoicing process, ensuring that the financial side of the business aligned with the operational side.

Validation and POCs

Throughout the solution implementation, Gloo took a cautious approach by creating Proof of Concepts (POCs) for specific steps. These POCs allowed CCM to validate and confirm if the proposed solutions were acceptable and aligned with their operational needs. It ensured that each component of the solution met CCM's expectations and was in line with their vision.


This proposed solution not only addressed CCM's immediate challenges but also set the stage for comprehensive integration and automation. By streamlining the flow of data from sales to operations to accounting, CCM could efficiently manage its entire business process. The integration of Zoho Books and other Zoho One apps further enhanced their capabilities, creating a seamless and efficient ecosystem that met their specific requirements.


The proposed solution not only streamlined CCM's business operations but also set the foundation for future growth and efficiency improvements. By bringing together different facets of their business under a cohesive system, CCM was well-equipped to meet their challenges head-on and continue their journey of growth and success.


The implementation phase of the solution for Crystal Clean Maintenance Ltd. (CCM) was a well-structured process that ensured the smooth transition from their existing systems to the newly proposed solution. **The execution of the plan was essential to realize the full potential of the integrated Zoho ecosystem.


Sandbox Validation and Weekly Status Calls

Throughout the implementation, Gloo leveraged a Zoho CRM sandbox environment to conduct periodic validations. This approach allowed for rigorous testing and validation of the implemented solution in a controlled environment. The weekly status calls and review meetings between Gloo and CCM were instrumental in managing expectations, addressing any issues, and making necessary adjustments in real-time. This collaborative approach ensured that the implementation remained on track and aligned with CCM's objectives.


Custom Coding and Zoho Sheets API

A key aspect of the implementation involved custom coding within Zoho CRM, utilizing the Zoho Sheets API. This custom coding allowed Gloo to create and modify copies of template Zoho Sheet documents, including the master Statement of Work (SOW) document. The data within these documents was read and updated via Deluge code directly from Zoho CRM. This approach streamlined the process of data transfer and ensured data accuracy.


Streamlined Data Flow with Zoho Forms

To facilitate data collection from workers in the field, Gloo leveraged Zoho Forms. The platform's ability to handle pre-filled forms was invaluable. Gloo used Zoho Forms to send simple email notifications to workers, including pre-filled links for each work order. This approach simplified data collection and improved the accuracy of the information gathered.


Zoho Creator App for Draft Invoices

A pivotal part of the implementation was the development of a Zoho Creator app that facilitated the creation of draft invoices in Zoho Books without leaving the Zoho CRM environment. This integration allowed CCM's accounting team to compile a collection of work orders with timesheet entries and seamlessly generate draft invoices. This significantly streamlined the financial management process and ensured that operational data seamlessly flowed into the accounting system.


Zoho Application Integration

Gloo configured various Zoho applications including Zoho Books, Zoho People, Zoho Recruit, Zoho Sign, Zoho Sheets and Zoho Forms. Each of these integrations was carefully tailored to meet CCM's specific requirements. The result was a cohesive ecosystem where data and processes fed each other, creating a holistic solution.


The implementation process was not only a technical transformation but also a change management process. Gloo worked closely with CCM's teams to ensure a smooth transition. Training and support along with a training module directly embedded into their CRM system were provided to ensure that all team members could adapt to the new system efficiently.


The implementation empowered CCM to streamline their business processes from sales to operations to accounting. The integrated Zoho ecosystem ensured data accuracy, efficiency, and set a solid foundation for future growth.


 Thanks to Gloo’s methodical approach, we’ve been able to streamline our processes from sales to accounting, reduce manual data entry, increase data accuracy and benefit from much more clear reporting.


The great thing about embedding the quoting spreadsheets inside of Zoho is that we can now use it as a historical database so that all those old quotes aren't lost - they are connected to something.

There was definitely time saved by this project but because Gloo replicated CCM's quoting process, there was little time saving in data entry nor quote generation. Instead, the savings came later in the administrative and operations side of the business. That is, the employees now knew where to find all that quote information and could now go back and easily find and mine those previous quotes for information required to help them base future quotations on. This results in more accurate quotes which increases the probability we will maintain our desired margins on those deals.

Finally, possibly the most significant time savings is now found when generating an invoice. Gloo's work reduced CCM's work hours required for the invoicing process by 25%.

Business Insights Discussion

The Benefits of Integrating Your Business Activities Into One Ecosystem of Applications

• A more efficient way of sharing information among employees with different functions.
• Greater visibility and insight into all your operations, sales, and marketing.

Speak To Us Today!