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Expanding Iceland tech firm partners with UK giant Yell to guide SME sales teams through the COVID crisis

Jo?i SigurTHsson-Krankwhe el_Founder_Reykjavík

The Iceland-based company CrankWheel has teamed up with Yell to help the UK’s SMEs continue selling through the coronavirus crisis.

Having recently celebrated its 100th public-facing software update, the company is now looking ahead to further UK and international expansion in 2021.

Yell, which has been “consistently delighted” with CrankWheel since rolling out the solution four years ago and has decided to work with CrankWheel to offer the service for free to hundreds of thousands of SMEs.

Founded in 2015, CrankWheel has developed a screen-sharing solution designed specifically for telesales teams. The software allows sales agents to transform an average sales call into an engaging presentation or product demo video.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the system has been used for more than a quarter of a million sales meetings and has the firm has enjoyed a surge in business in the last 12 months.

With a growing user base and hundreds of five-star reviews on the Google Chrome store, CrankWheel is expected to continue growing in the UK as the country continues to adapt to the ‘new normal’.

Alongside Yell, CrankWheel is now working with dozens of large marketing and digital agencies in the UK, alongside big brands and hundreds of small and medium businesses in Europe, Canada and the U.S.

Yell has used the screen-sharing solution to support its sales agents and customer service team members since 2016 and is looking forward to re-investing in the company’s technology. Adoption of the system across the company has now grown, with upwards of one thousand agents using CrankWheel in telesales, customer on-boarding and troubleshooting.

As the pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on businesses and the wider economy, Yell and CrankWheel knew that they could do more to support small businesses that were unable to sell in-person.

CrankWheel’s CEO & Co-founder, Jói Sigurdsson, said: “We wanted to find ways to help businesses keep selling through the pandemic.

This initiative was sparked from a conversation with our contacts at Yell, who were putting together offers from their partners designed to help SMEs.”

The two companies put together an offer which is now listed on Yell’s partner page, where SMEs can sign up to use CrankWheel’s commercial version for free for an extended period and to retain “modest” usage for free after that, or upgrade with a special discount.

Howard Cooke, Head of Service Management for Yell for Business (UK), explains: “CrankWheel’s online support for our sales team and their customers is ever more important in these challenging times. 

We’re delighted that we’ve been able to negotiate an extended free period for our customers, plus a new discounted price, post the three months. Support for our SME community is crucial in this environment and we are making sure we’re doing all we can to help them get back on their feet and back to business as soon as possible.”

With an entirely remote team, CrankWheel has seen a surge in sales over the past year, especially in the UK. Many companies have found themselves working remotely overnight and sales teams have had to quickly adapt to make up for the lack of in-person meetings with prospective customers.

With virtual sales tools becoming invaluable since the outbreak of COVID-19, CrankWheel’s solution has skyrocketed in popularity.

We had grown to about 90,000 registered users in February, at a rate of about 2,500 per month,” continuesSigurdsson. “With the onset of COVID-19, almost overnight, the number of new monthly users tripled. We added over 7,500 users in March and that rate has continued to grow since then.” 

“Coronavirus has dragged the world into the deepest recession since the Great Depression. Millions of British businesses are struggling, thousands have closed and many more aren’t performing as well as usual. 

For businesses trying to maintain as close to normal operations as possible, video sales calling and presentation tools are essential for helping keep new customers and maintain cash flow.”

CrankWheels has humble beginnings as a small bootstrapped company based in Iceland. The company took things slowly at first, carving out its niche and avoiding VC investment so it could remain laser-focused on its vision.

This approach was recognised in 2017 when the company was voted Iceland’s Best Bootstrapped Startup in the Nordic Startup Awards.

Commenting on the company’s beginnings, Sigurdsson, added: “In the early days of CrankWheel, we almost signed a term sheet from a VC, which would have meant taking about $1.5M in funding. I’m very glad that we decided not to. 

That level of funding would have pushed us towards building a lot more features much faster, and trying to grow a lot faster, which I think it would have forced us out of the niche we had discovered and have been serving ever since. 

We would have been competing with the Zooms and GoToMeetings of the world, and we wouldn’t have gotten to know our industry as deeply as we have. Instead, by staying bootstrapped, we were able to focus on our niche, where customers recommend us to other similar businesses, and we can grow very efficiently by word of mouth.” 

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Expanding Iceland tech firm partners with UK giant Yell to guide SME sales teams through the COVID crisis

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