Ann Arbor SPARK

Why did Ann Arbor SPARK choose Conrin?

Ann-ArborConrin was introduced to Ann Arbor SPARK, which already had acquired, by a client from another economic development organization.  Shortly after meeting with SPARK, Conrin began providing consulting services on an à la carte basis.  According to Donna Shirilla, Director, Research and Business Information, SPARK benefits greatly from Conrin’s knowledge of and economic development.

Shirilla also said that “By selecting Conrin as our consulting partner we always have some place to go when we have questions or desire changes to better suit our business requirements.  Conrin’s understanding of both and economic development allows it to contribute to the success of SPARK.”

What benefits does Ann Arbor SPARK receive?

SPARK has utilized Conrin’s expertise in numerous ways over the years.  Some of the deliverables Conrin has provided include:

• Customizations that allow SPARK to better manage time tracking for deployed consultants

• Regular updates to page layouts and configurations

• Report and dashboard creation and management

• Data sharing with the State of Michigan via Salesforce-2-Salesforce integration

According to Skip Simms, SPARKS Senior Vice President, “Conrin has worked with Ann Arbor SPARK since 2007 helping us with the more difficult programming aspects of Salesforce.  It required significant customization for the unique data collection needs of an economic development organization.  Conrin helped make Salesforce more useful and easy and comprehensive.

That’s probably why the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has followed our lead and is rolling out Salesforce as the common CRM system for all the economic development groups in the state.”

Download the Ann Arbor SPARK Case study.


Racine County EDC Case Study

Racine County EDC

Racine-CountyRacine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) was referred to Conrin by a local economic development organization early in its search for a CRM application.  RCEDC was looking for a cost-effective, cloud-based solution that would allow its team members to manage company, contact and project data within a single, easy-to-use application.

Selecting Conrin

After reviewing a number of options, RCEDC selected Conrin due to its specialization in implementing for economic development organizations.   According to Karen Frost of RCEDC, “Conrin’s track record with economic development combined with’s functionality and ease-of-use made the choice an easy one.”

CRM Benefits Received

Conrin quickly began the process of customizing its package for Economic Development to meet the specific needs of RCEDC.  Upon implementation, RCEDC had a fully configured CRM solution.  Some of the new functionality and features RCEDC received include:

  • Real-time access to key metrics including retention calls, open and closed projects, and contact and company information
  • Complete donor management capabilities
  • Creation of a systematic migration process to allow Synchronist data to be migrated to on a regular basis
  • Mobile access to data via iPad or smart phones

The implementation was a complete success.  A big part of the success was the ongoing CRM support provided by Conrin after the implementation was completed.

pdf-buttonAccording to Frost, “Conrin was with us every step of the way, both during the implementation and once the implementation was completed.  The post implementation support was absolutely critical to us having the success we have achieved.  We are very satisfied with the overall process and strongly recommend Conrin to other EDOs looking to implement a CRM solution.”


Northwest Kentucky Forward

Northwest Kentucky Forward Case StudyThe Northwest Kentucky Forward (NWKF) is a public-private partnership that focuses on driving economic development in the northwest Kentucky region.  NWKF understands the importance of capturing and organizing both contact and project data.

According to Kevin Sheilley, the founding CEO of Northwest Kentucky Forward, “One of our primary assets is our intellectual capital.  We decided we needed to look at new methods of managing our business relationships”.

Why did NWKF choose Conrin?

Sheilley researched a number of options before deciding to engage Conrin.  Conrin has extensive economic development experience, having worked with economic development organizations since 2003.  According to Sheilley, “After reviewing a number of options, we selected Conrin based on its EDO experience and expertise with, a cloud based customer relationship management (CRM) system.”

Conrin and NWKF decided to conduct a “remote” implementation, which was completed via web conferencing and conference calls.  Conrin specializes in remote implementations because they are rapid and cost effective for its clients.  The implementation was completed on time and within budget.

What benefits did NWKF receive?

The benefits realized by NWKF were numerous and included:

  • A single CRM system that contains all contact and historical data, and project metrics
  • A marketing platform that allows NWKF to quickly generate campaigns targeted to an individual’s specific areas of interest
  • Capability to generate reports in real-time
  • Instant availability anywhere, as solution is web based
  • No incremental IT support requirements, as is a cloud based solution

The engagement was very successful for NWKF.  According to Sheilley,

“We are very pleased with our decision to implement through Conrin.  We have greatly improved our ability to access and share our key contact data and metrics.  This product allows us to manage information across all of our economic development programs—business attraction, retention, creation and workforce development.  The constant refrain in our office is ‘how did we do this before Salesforce?’ We are quite pleased with our decision to engage Conrin for this initiative.”