Workbooks review

A unique, guided CRM experience

Workbooks logo
(Image: © Workbooks)

TechRadar Verdict

Workbooks can serve a broad range of CRM use-cases at a fraction of the cost of the competition. Customers enjoy a custom-tailored experience and continuous support from the company.

Pros

  • +

    Involved and supportive onboarding

  • +

    Low price for the number of features

  • +

    Free consulting days available

Cons

  • -

    Free version limited to two users

  • -

    No large third-party app marketplace

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Workbooks (opens in new tab) is innovative CRM software with a strong focus on business outcomes. Focused on the mid-market, it enables clients to automate processes, grow revenue, and achieve key performance metrics across all departments. Read our Workbooks review to learn why Workbooks might be the best CRM software (opens in new tab) solution for your business.

Workbooks review: Snapshot

Workbooks is an excellent CRM product for midsize enterprises, offering software solutions for customer service, sales, marketing, and operations teams. Its primary differentiating factor lies in the Shared Success program, which provides customers with free consulting hours and annual workshops to ensure that Workbooks continues to align with every client’s business goals for years after the initial implementation.

Workbooks lacks a diverse third-party app marketplace and developer community, which is a weakness relative to competitors like Salesforce (opens in new tab) and HubSpot (opens in new tab). Users that require a large amount of third party customization might not be satisfied with its offering. In addition, its free version is limited to only two users and has fewer features, which could make it less appealing to very small businesses.

Overall, we consider Workbooks to be a fantastic platform when used for its intended purpose—providing CRM software solutions to midsize organizations.

Score: 5/5

Read on for our full and detailed review. 

Workbooks’ competitors

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How does Workbooks compare to its main competitors?
Header Cell - Column 0 WorkbooksSalesforceHubSpot
Score5/55/54.5/5
ProsInvolved and supportive onboarding, Free consulting days, Four CRM feature sets for the price of oneBroad range of features, Extremely customizable, Large community with active peer supportFree version available, Over 300 custom apps in marketplace
ConsFree version is limited to two users, Large enterprises may want more featuresNo free version, Prohibitively expensive for most small to midsize businessesSlow and complex to set up, Free plan has no telephone support
VerdictWorkbooks works closely with its clients, providing ongoing support to ensure its product continue to fit perfectly with their CRM needs.Salesforce is the largest and most established player in the CRM market. With over 14 products and 3000+ apps, it is perfect for large enterprise users.HubSpot is established CRM software that is easily scalable, perfect for small to midsize business users.
View dealsVisit siteVisit site (US link)Visit site

Workbooks’ key features

Workbooks’ features are broken down into four categories: Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Order Management. 

While some of these features are notable in their own right, most are not unique to Workbooks. What truly differentiates Workbooks from other CRMs is its collaborative approach to customer support: Shared Success.

Customer Service

Workbooks provides a versatile ticket management platform for customer service teams. Customer inquiries from multiple channels, such as email and online chat, are aggregated into a centralized ticket database for agents to handle.

The system’s versatility also means that it can be used by Human Resources and IT to handle internal employee tickets.

Sales

Sales teams can benefit from an effective database system for their leads. The Workbooks database is based on flexible entries, with two types of record: organizations and individuals connected to these organizations. So for example, one record can be listed as an employee at one company, a contractor for another, and a supplier for yet another. The database will also automatically trawl the web, suggesting updates to employment information and relationships between records based on the information it found online. This ensures that salespeople have current information at their fingertips at all times.

Workbooks: Key features and highlights

Marketing

Marketing features include campaign management and lead qualification. Marketing teams can run campaigns from within Workbooks and receive feedback from the system on their success. The system also uses a proprietary scoring system to rank the quality of leads. When a potential lead clicks on the company website, it adds a little to their score. If that individual then lingers there, clicks on a few links, and reads some information, their score will increase, and eventually, the system will escalate this potentially interested customer lead to a marketing representative. In this way, Workbooks automatically qualifies leads for the benefit of the marketing team.

Order Management

Order management is a premium feature, available to only Business level license holders. It facilitates back-end interactions with suppliers and assists when invoicing or quoting customers. Customized invoices and quote management are notable features as few CRM programs provide them.

Shared Success

The Workbooks team conducts an introductory workshop with every client. They then come up with a CRM solution that is tailored to that particular client’s business goals. Afterward, the client receives a set of free consulting days in their first year, equal to one day per £1000 of annual license value—or $1328. So a customer with a £10,000 annual license value will receive 10 free consulting days with the Workbooks team in the first year. This way, the Workbooks team can ensure that everything runs smoothly and that their CRM continues to help the customer hit their key performance indicators.

Workbooks - What’s new?

Workbooks made two major changes in recent releases. The first has to do with Workbooks’ Office 365 integration—Office 365 users can open Workbooks in a sidebar within any Office application. This feature was recently expanded to include Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint.

Workbooks also implemented a tool for its Order Management side, called Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ). CPQ proactively finds component parts relating to a specific customer quote. For instance, if a customer requests a quote for a roofing project, the sales rep would normally have to locate the pricing of all the relevant components and man-hours before being able to compile a quote. In practice, this means that the customer is unlikely to receive a quote the same day, which decreases the likelihood of closing the sale. 

With CPQ, reps can pre-configure quotes within the software before heading out, and the CPQ system will automatically fill in pricing details for components and man-hours so that representatives can provide an immediate quote to clients during the meeting.

Workbooks - Pricing

Workbooks’ pricing structure is simple. There are two plans: Standard and Business. With the standard plan, users get access to all of the customer-facing CRM features of Workbooks—sales, customer service, and marketing management solutions. The premium plan, Business, unlocks all of the order management features, like invoicing and supplier contract management. Billing on all Workbooks plans is annual.

Compared to other CRM providers, Workbooks' pricing is highly competitive. For instance, to unlock sales, marketing, and customer service features with Salesforce, a user would have to subscribe to Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud, potentially a multi-thousand dollar subscription. Workbooks offers similar features for $34/user/month.

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Workbooks’ pricing plans
Plan type/featureFree*Standard**Business**HubSpot Sales Hub**Salesforce Sales Cloud**
Cost per monthFree$34$71$45$25
Cost per yearFree$408$852$540$300
Sales management
Marketing managementXX
Customer service managementXX
Order managementXXXWith third-party paid plugins

*Limited to two users.

**Pricing is per user per month.

Testing Workbooks

Workbooks’ key differentiating factor lies in consulting support. They advocate that the process starts right from the beginning, with a consulting call to book a co-funded workshop. We wanted to test just how easy it was to get started with Workbooks.

How easy is it to book an initial consultation with Workbooks?

Screenshot of call booking screen, Workbooks.

Testing the Workbooks call booking function. (Image credit: Workbooks)

The only way to get started with Workbooks is to book a call for an initial consultation. You cannot otherwise access the software, even in its free form. We decided to test this booking process for ourselves, as this initial step could set the tone for the entire customer experience.

Workbooks’ website has the button Let’s talk in the top right corner, as well as on nearly every webpage. We clicked it, and it took us to a booking calendar for a 30-minute appointment. 

We found that the booking process was easy and there was plenty of availability—we booked on a Thursday and were able to get a call as early as the next Monday morning. At that point, it was a simple matter of picking a date and an available time slot, then hitting confirm.

One issue North American customers should be aware of is that booking times are only available during British business hours, which means that when we tried to book from the West Coast our available call times ranged from 2:30 am to 7:30 am—so maybe grab a coffee if you are calling from the US or Canada.

Alternatives to Workbooks

Workbooks is most comparable to HubSpot (opens in new tab) as they are both CRM providers geared towards midsize enterprises. Unlike Workbooks, HubSpot has a large established third-party app marketplace. If you are an advanced CRM user, comfortable setting everything up on your own, HubSpot could give you a little more customization than Workbooks.

However, Workbooks is significantly easier to use for users without enormous technical expertise. The Workbooks team will work with the client to set up the program, provide free consulting in the first year, and touch base annually after that to ensure that the client is still satisfied with their CRM. This type of ongoing, personalized support, with free consulting hours, is unique to Workbooks, and difficult to beat unless you need absolutely no assistance in setting up and maintaining your CRM.

Small businesses and solopreneurs might find Workbooks less beneficial, as the free version is limited in scope, and the free consulting is not available since it is based on your total annual subscription fee. On the other hand, HubSpot’s free version has unlimited users and similar features to Workbooks' free version. 

Salesforce is another competitor of Workbooks, being the largest and most established player in the CRM space. However, it’s primarily geared towards large Enterprise users. Features like VoIP calling, which allows for full-scale call center integration, as well as over 3000 third-party Apps, make Salesforce a more appealing choice for a large organization.

For this reason, compared to its alternatives, Workbooks is best suited for midsize enterprises where it is a superior choice in terms of pricing, features, and consulting support.

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Workbooks’ features compared to the competition
Header Cell - Column 0 WorkbooksSalesforceHubSpot
Free ConsultingYesNoNo
Large App MarketplaceNoYesYes
SupportChat and phone during business hours, free consulting hours in first year, annual workshops. Additional consulting available for a fee.Support tickets through email. Additional support by phone, and dedicated support rep available for an additional charge.Support tickets through email and chat on the free version and Starter tier. Phone support available to Professional tier users and above.
Basic plan$34/month$25/month$45/month

Workbooks: Final verdict

Workbooks is a full-featured CRM at a very affordable price point. It is unique on the market for its blend of annual workshops and free consulting hours. The company will work with you on an ongoing basis to make sure that your CRM platform continues to help you achieve your unique business goals. Workbooks can support customer service, sales, and marketing teams, and help users manage customer orders.

Workbooks falls a little short in its offering to very small and very large businesses. For the latter, it lacks the breadth of features and range of third-party apps that some may require. That being said, for a client that is okay with a fairly standard offering, Workbooks can provide a level of one-on-one support that few other providers offer. For small businesses, Workbooks is more expensive than some alternatives. Its free version is limited and only accepts two users, while some competitors offer unlimited users on their free plan.

For this reason, Workbooks outshines its competition primarily as a midsize business CRM, with its key differentiating features being consulting and low price.

Next steps

For more information on CRM software, take a look at our guide What is CRM software (opens in new tab)? You may also want to read our take on the best CRM for small business (opens in new tab), the best CRM for real estate (opens in new tab), and the best free CRM software (opens in new tab) to help you select the best CRM software for your needs.

Serguei holds degrees in finance and marketing from York University, and brings more than five years of professional experience at their intersection to his writing. His previous roles as a finance advisor involved breaking down and explaining complex concepts in everyday terms, a talent he now brings to his work as a freelance writer.