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Healthcare Pharmaceuticals

SugarCRM allowed Cells4Life to increase sales by 17% from web enquiries and 7% from phone calls through sales and marketing automation.


Cells4Life is the first private UK company to provide umbilical stem cell collection and storage. The company’s work involves developing lifelong relationships with families while balancing strict compliance in a highly regulated industry.

It was a huge task when Wayne began researching the move from a contacts database to a CRM-enabled business platform that would take on most of the regulatory compliance and privacy responsibilities, manage laboratory equipment and processes – from intake of cell inventory to temperature logging and maintenance – and be an indispensable asset to sales and marketing.

“Just for laboratory management systems, we were getting quotes ranging from $50,000 to $800,000,” recalls Wayne, Cells4Life chairman and former IMB systems engineer. He chose Sugar Professional because of its intuitive nature, scalability and easy customisation.

With Sugar, we have recreated expensive laboratory management systems with something that was custom-made for us for a fraction of the cost. Our platform not only has more functions than those we looked at, it is more powerful. It is the best laboratory information management system I have ever seen, and we have hospitals now asking us if they can use our system.

Wayne, Cells4Life

While the laboratory management accomplishments are substantial for controlling costs and meeting compliance standards, the components directly influencing the customer lifecycle processes – from marketing to invoicing – also are showing substantial improvements.

The company has remained lean while growing revenue by automating many processes and government-mandated standard operating procedures that otherwise would have added at least five positions to the 30-person company.

From marketing automation to accounting, from legal to laboratory management, Cells4Life is setting new horizons for data management and process automation through Sugar.

Beginning to end, Sugar runs our organisation,” says Wayne.

Increased wins with smart marketing and sales processes

By pairing Sugar with marketing analytics from Google and DCStorm, Cells4Life is increasing sales and creating a clearer picture of its customers.

From the time expectant parents first visit the Cells4Life website, DCStorm is tracking their interests and feeding the information into Sugar: what pages they viewed, what information they downloaded, the types of case studies they read.

That arms the Cells4Life sales staff, so that when an enquiry is made, a salesperson knows about the potential customer’s interests and can tailor the conversation.

Typically, potential customers can request information through a welcome pack or via the “Contact Us” link.

As soon as a contact is made, Sugar sends a link for a downloadable information packet about the company and the process and tracks whether the parents return to the site for more information. It also coordinates a drip marketing campaign in which the potential customer gets a Sugar-generated email every two weeks.

We have a huge conversion rate, and it is all because of Sugar. When somebody requests a welcome pack, we convert a significant number of those. If they come from our contacts page, we convert an even higher number.

Wayne, Cells4Life

Once a sale is closed, Cells4Life uses Sugar and associated software integrations to complete the process to get the expectant parents signed up and ready for the birth of their child.

The process involves a digital contract that is electronically signed by the parents, returned and logged into Sugar; followed by a Sugar-generated invoice and a receipt of deposit, which is posted within the customer’s account record.

Once those steps have been completed, Sugar generates an order to send out the kit that will be used to extract and return the cord blood tissue sample to Cells4Life for cataloguing and storage.

Through Sugar, Cells4Life has created a smoother, more accurate process internally and vastly improved the customer experience.

I’m saving 20 hours per week, easily, and managing better because of Sugar.

Rebecca, Cells4Life

Saved time and boosted productivity in every department

Rebecca Roberts has worked at Cells4Life for a decade and was its first full-time employee. Because she has done virtually every job in the place, she sees the benefits of Sugar for every member of the Cells4Life team.

As operations manager, Rebecca oversees departments ranging from the laboratory to human resources. All the workflow processes of the laboratory – from regulatory compliance to tissue storage and handling – are under her eye.

Previously, she would spend three to four hours per day checking paperwork for accuracy and regulatory compliance and to assure that all necessary documents were entered into the system.

“I know exactly the maximum amount of time it takes a sample to go from Point A to Point B, and I get an instant email notification the second it has gone over the expected time,” Rebecca says.

Not all delays create crises, so Sugar prioritises the notifications for Rebecca, drawing her immediate attention to mission-critical events.

“If a problem arises, Sugar tells me, and I can take immediate action to prevent extended consequences. I can capture a problem, work out the cause and put in place effective corrections that are a long-term solution,” she says.

Sugar empowers her as a leader because she can pull reports on time gateways or document logging, and adjust staff workloads or revise processes.

“The staff have a lot more confidence when I say, ‘You guys look like you are running into problems.’ They know I am not going to sit down and spend hours discussing it,” Rebecca says.

Ultimately, Rebecca knows Sugar’s scalability will meet her needs. “Knowledge in the human tissue business moves on quickly and you have to be reactive and make changes immediately. With Sugar, I don’t have to get a third party involved in coding or creating a workaround,” Rebecca says.

Sugar has eased Rebecca’s daily workload and allowed her to take on more functions within Cells4Life as the company has grown.

Reassured compliance and security, consistently

When IT Director, John Millis, evaluated the CRM systems that might be suitable for Cells4Life, his criteria included flexibility and security.

“We needed to automate the standard operating procedures required by government – we are run by them and the overhead was killing us. The SOPs were paralyzing and prone to mistakes. We needed a way to remove that and scale the organization, and we got that in the modifications we made to Sugar,” John says, “We wanted a system that could go beyond a customer management system. We had the laboratory to think about, in addition to the usual business functions,” he says. “Sugar allows us to customize and extend in any way we can come up with.”

Cells4Life migrated over 10,000 of their existing data files into SugarCRM with ease.

It was a ‘wow!’ moment for me because Sugar made us much more nimble immediately.

John, Cells4Life

Increased flexibility with integrations

Cells4Life integrate with:
  • Google: ads and remarketing
  • Drupal: lead acquisition via website
  • DCStorm: multi-channel tracking software, records website touchpoints by user
  • DocuSign: electronic signature functionality
  • Xero: invoicing
  • Eway: online payment gateway

Wayne adds: “With the ability to integrate different modules, Sugar is amazingly powerful. It is so flexible. We didn’t think we would be able to automate so many processes so easily. As a small business and we need all the help we can get, and Sugar has made a huge difference to our business.”

If you’re looking for a flexible CRM system just like Cells4Life, we are here to help. As the Trusted UK Partner for SugarCRM, we can assist you with licences and implementation all the way through to training and custom development.