by Mark Hayes

Normally lessons come near the end of a story, but this one’s too important to wait:

It doesn’t matter if you’re the first person to invent a service. It doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest name on the block.

If you can improve on an existing service and offer your users a better experience, YOU CAN TAKE ON GIANTS.

Roll taught us this lesson firsthand.

We’d been relying on Salesforce’s business management tool for our internal organization, but the experience left us wanting more.

Since switching to Roll, our entire team finds it easier to identify opportunities, look at where leads are coming from, and track the hours we sink into each project at a glance.

You might be wondering how much difference a simple business management tool can possibly make—but don’t underestimate the significance of that word: simple.

Roll’s friendly UI made adoption easy, it tied seamlessly into the services we already rely on, and its speed and simplicity means that we save time and money.

In the end, switching to Roll saved us 40+ hours of manpower per week, not to mention the countless headaches we’ve been spared. Those are the benefits of a tool that actually makes business management easy.

Our challenges in a pre-Roll world

We’re no strangers to business management tools. Knowing that we needed to offer the very best online marketing services meant relying on the very best software to stay organized and constantly communicating, so we turned to one of the biggest names in the industry: Salesforce.

After all, bigger is better… right?

Turns out we were dead wrong.

When we first adopted Salesforce, we hired a consultant to walk us through the system and show off its functionality. That should have been our first wake-up call…

How could we rely daily on a business management tool so dense that it needed an expert to unpack?

The warning bells were ringing from day one, but we ignored them. We were certain that everything would smooth out once we’d familiarised ourselves with the system. So, we struggled through UIs that we found unintuitive and UX that felt unrewarding…

and we did this for more than year.

Our second wake-up call came in the middle of a massive campaign. We’d chased a number of leads and were working on almost fifty opportunities at the same time (a challenge, when you’re committed to high quality content marketing!).

Suddenly, we realized that with that many new clients rolling in, Salesforce was demanding more of our time than the clients that were actually paying the bills.

For every new opportunity, we had to create a company profile, then detail the people in the company, then create profiles for each person and punch in way more information than we usually needed…

It became so time consuming that we had to dedicate one intern exclusively to the task of data entry.

Punching names and numbers into Salesforce became one intern’s full-time job.

We knew we had a problem.

We were wasting time and energy on a tool that should have been devoted to our clients. Our sales staff hated it. And, worst of all, we realised that the main utilities we wanted from Salesforce weren’t as obvious as we wanted them to be.

What we wanted was:

  1. A tool that we can log into and see $X worth of opportunity sitting on the dashboard.
  2. A service that tells us whether leads were being funneled to us directly, through PPC, or referrals, or whatnot.


  1. To know, at a glance, what’s going on and what was needed to close some pipelines.

That’s when a new solution (ahem) rolled into the scene.

How Roll took us from “full service” to streamlined

Two months before the switch, we weren’t happy. We were exploring our options, and we’d keened on Roll, because of other firsthand accounts of its simple UI and smooth UX.

Within weeks of adoption, we already noticed the difference:

  • Roll looks good and the UX was immediately more positive.
  • Our teams loves its intuitive UI… which meant a low barrier to entry. We were immediately spending less time on data entry/management, and more time on actual work.
  • Our business adopted Roll from end-to-end, meaning that we didn’t need one tool to manage CRM and another for project management. A number of separate, cluttered programs means that business struggle to see the big picture… but Roll let our sales team, marketers, and content creators unite their efforts better than ever before.
  • Roll integrated seamlessly with the tools we were already using, such as Xero—the accounting software we rely on for our bookkeeping. Whenever we pick up a new opportunity, we can integrate them automatically without manually entering a new profile.
  • Roll is very, very simple to use. It really is.

In one tool, we had all the functionality we needed to manage our day-to-day—from time tracking, to billing and payments, to project and task management, to CRM, to sales pipelines… everything was united and easily interpreted on one simple dashboard.

Suddenly, our whole team was on the same page.

And that poor intern responsible for data entry could return to more meaningful projects.

In one fell swoop, we’d gained full visibility of our business performance, a simplified way of managing our business and finances, and a easily adopted means of collaborating with other team members on all of our key projects and opportunities.

The results speak for themselves:

  • Roll gives us all the info we could ever need or want at a glance, making it easy to absorb.
  • We’re on top of our leads, which means our team is more proactive at closing deals.
  • We know exactly how much is in the pipeline, and how many projects we can close every month.

Roll was the breath of fresh air we’d been missing for the better part of a year: a UX that wasn’t clouded by frills, or unnecessary options that often bloat business management tools.

Here’s what we’d been missing: a clean, simple way to gauge our opportunities and see what’s in the pipeline. Oh, and…

All this benefit came at approximately 1/4 of what we’d been paying for Salesforce.

Final thoughts

Ironically, after our discontent with Salesforce had settled in and we were actively pursuing other options, that’s when Salesforce checked in (for the first time!).

After nearly a year of struggling with their tool, we got word that they wanted to show us “how to get the most from Salesforce”… but at that point, it was too little, too late.

Salesforce is probably an excellent service that offers a lot of the same functionality we love in Roll. But, like a Swiss army knife brimming with so many different features that you struggle to find the actual blade, we couldn’t sift through all the fluff and frills to find the features that actually mattered to us.

As a buyer, we craved a quality user experience. Without a good UX, the product fails.

So, yes, Salesforce is a huge tour de force in the industry, but this just goes to show, that even giants can stumble.

The market struggles with a lot of apps that don’t talk to each other—different UX/UI designs don’t always make the best bedfellows, and often cost a lot, provide insufficient overall visibility on business performance, or require loads of additional training.

But Roll was clearly built by a team that understands that a great user experience needs to be at the heart of every tool.

Roll is a poster child for the lesson that sometimes it’s not about being the biggest in the biz, it’s about building a better experience.

Don’t shy away from opportunities that need improvement just because you’re the new kid on the block. When you build up your business around quality and UX that always delivers, you can compete against giants.

Like what you see and want to work with us?

Let's Talk!

You may also like: