[Meet the Team] Keir Davis

Building custom software is a craft. Software development requires vision, strategy, and creative solutions.

The start

Keir Davis founded Xtern Software in 2002. He started Xtern from his townhouse in suburban Greensboro, North Carolina. There, he quickly found a high demand for custom software.

In 2016, he created HaystackCRM. Earlier, he had built HaystackCRM to manage customer relationships within Xtern. Then, he realized this nimble and intuitive product was valuable for other small businesses.

A commitment to local

Most software is developed off-shore, but HaystackCRM is built entirely within the walls of its Fisher Park office. Additionally, our developers are grads of UNC Greensboro, NC A&T, and other local schools. We prove that tech can thrive outside of San Francisco, or even the Research Triangle.

Keir hires folks who are curious, creative, and driven. He believes people thrive when they create meaningful work. Our team volunteers, develops open source software, plays sports, and restores cars.

Life outside of work

Aside from spending time with his family, Keir enjoys playing pinball at Boxcar Arcade in Greensboro, and trying local beers. He’s an active member of Summit Rotary (Greensboro). Also, he serves on the UNC Greensboro Computer Science Industry Advisory Board.

His favorite tv shows are: MASH, Seinfeld, and Modern Family. He and his family make homemade pizza every Friday. And he is fascinated by apps that track weather.

[Xtern Software] Marketing during COVID-19? What’s *that* look like?

Our team has been having the same conversation for the past several weeks — how do we market ourselves during COVID-19 without sounding insensitive? This is not unique to us. This is a problem facing any business right now. We want to be able sell our product, in order to generate revenue, in order to keep folks on payroll. But in the midst of selling our product, there’s a huge elephant in the room — COVID-19. 

Everywhere you look, you are bombarded with headlines of doom and gloom. It feels bizarre to write an email that says, “I hope you are doing well,” when you have no idea if the recipient has a family member in the ICU. It feels absurd to say, “hey, buy my product,” when there are healthcare workers on the frontlines without protective equipment. 

This has been our marketing strategy so far: 

Tread lightly:

We’ve been engaging with our current customers to see how we can help them better utilize our products and services. No additional sales pitch or strings attached.

Read the room:

Is there a need for what we are selling right now? We think so. We believe there is an opportunity for businesses to improve their technological infrastructure. We also think folks may need a CRM to hit the ground running for when the economy reopens. For more on this topic, see last week’s blog!  

Be honest:

We know that organizing your contacts in a CRM can be a bummer. That’s why we recently sent an email comparing getting your data organized in a CRM to cleaning your windows 🙂 We get it! And we want to eliminate barriers to entry. We want to see you and your business succeed. And we’re going to be honest about the process to get there (and help you as much as we can along the way!). 

Be generous:

We are actively targeting nonprofits as customers. Now, more than ever, nonprofits need the tools to easily facilitate their operations.  

This is an imperfect process in a strange time. We’ll likely make mistakes along the way. But our intention was and is to run our business with honesty and integrity, and we hope that is evident.

[HaystackCRM] Getting organized during idle time

[This post assumes (and hopes!) that anyone reading it is currently employed and healthy.]

For some percent of the working population, such as those in field sales, this is an idle time. Salespeople are hoping and planning for an economic recovery. They want to be ready for when our nation is back to “business as usual.” They want to create a strategy to hit the ground running the first chance they can. 

The key to readiness is being organized. 

For months, these salespeople have been on the road. They’ve logged dozens of visits, hundreds of new contacts, and numerous follow up items. But when you’re on the road, it can be hard to stay disciplined. Even though HaystackCRM is mobile-first and designed to be used seamlessly while on the go, we realize that’s not always possible. 

For that reason, now is a great time to spend a few hours every day documenting visits, entering contacts, drafting follow up emails, and inputting this data into HaystackCRM. 

Did you know we can help you get your customer data in order? We know sifting through months or years of disparate notes, spreadsheet, and emails can be daunting. We charge $50 per 1,000 contacts to help you get organized if that’s something your business needs. Get in touch with us at sales@haystackcrm.com if you are interested. 

If you’d like to do the work solo, we have tons of product tutorials to help. Either way, we hope you are able to use this time to prepare for whatever comes next.