Any time a head of a company uses the word "upswing" in detailing his business' recent success, there is a bit of a compulsion around these parts to comment on the company. Please excuse a little cheerleading. But it is especially important to draw attention to an Upswing-ing outfit that saw its revenues swing up by ... 44% last year!
So how did Chicago-based Sonoma Partners  do it? The firm works exclusively with Microsoft Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management software, thus they were in a prime position to goose their bottom line during a downturn. First they identified an opportunity in the soft belly of the bear--in this case, Sonoma Partners realized that companies needed a competitive advantage more than ever and a good place to start is by solidifying bonds with customers. If you aren't going to be able to lure new clients into your realm, you sure as hell better hold on to the ones you've got.
Sonoma does this by working with groups in the service industry, like a hotel chain or the home of the Bulls and Blackhawks, The United Center, to both customize their CRM and help them manage it. And they've amped up their customization efforts over the past year, suiting detailed data to each firm with which it works,
This prompted Principle Mike Snyder to crow  dryly: "A large part of our business upswing is attributable to our customization efforts, which allow our clients to get the maximum benefit out of CRM."
Snyder gives examples of such customization as everything from on-the-ground reports during election days to helping a real estate firm better manage its leases.
The company has also been somewhat lucky in that it is catching a cresting wave. As Snyder notes, Microsoft's customer relations technology is enjoy a moment . And I've written here in the past  about anecdotal evidence that one check on the plus side of the recession ledger is improved customer service almost across the board. This goes back to the idea that businesses are holding tight to their existing customers. And that works out well for you, me and, clearly, Sonoma Partners.
Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemunicipalarchives/  / CC BY 2.0