GulfShore Bank deploys Dynamics CRM Online Rapidly

gulfshorebankGulfShore Bank survived the financial downturn by thinking smart, and building relationships with key business owners in the Tampa Bay Area. As a result, while many banks were still “recovering”, GulfShore Bank was growing.


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Like many growing businesses, GulfShore Bank was experiencing growing pains. Their system of keeping track of customers and new business prospects in a combination of spreadsheets and Outlook had served them well enough in the early days. But, as the bank had grown, these methods were not scaling well with them. Their Friday business review turned into an all-day affair but provided senior management’s only view into the bank’s pipeline of new business.

“Once your number of customers and prospects grows to a certain point, you need better systems in place to insure that you are responding in a timely manner and not losing track of information or details. This is not only important to maintain customer relationships and gain new customers, but is of at least equal value to the bank in harnessing all of the data and parsing it into actionable plans.”

GulfShore Bank realized that they needed to move to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to maintain their growth and continue to exceed their customers’ and investors’ expectations; but their first attempt did not go well. The bank initially looked at a CRM system that was designed for banks, larger banks. After several months, and a significant investment, they realized that they were still a long way from deploying a usable solution… too long. They pulled the plug on that effort, effectively writing off a significant amount of time and money and ultimately landed back where they started.


Still convinced that they needed a CRM system, GulfShore Bank reached out to Forceworks, a Microsoft Certified CRM Partner. In addition to being a 2014 Microsoft Partner of the Year, Forceworks was also conveniently located in the same building as the bank. Steve Mordue, CEO of Forceworks and a former consultant, had heard their story many times before. CRM implementations that failed for any of a number of reasons; trying to go too big and too fast, systems that were oversold, incompetent consultants, scope creep, etc. Steve suggested an entirely different approach.

Forceworks pioneered a deployment model, based on Dynamics CRM Online, they called RapidStart CRM. The concept was fairly simple, take the typical CRM deployment path of unknown duration, unknown cost, and unknown result, and throw it out the window. Having deployed hundreds of CRM systems for small and midsized businesses, the team at Forceworks knew that about 75% of the work was very similar from client to client, with only about 25% of the work actually being custom work specifically for the particular business. With this knowledge, Forceworks’ RapidStart CRM model was developed as a fixed cost, fixed scope, fixed timeframe deployment option to provide a business’ sales organization with tools, moderately customized for their use, and designed to provide an ROI almost immediately.

Another benefit of a “Standardized” deployment model is the cost; a fraction of a typical “Custom” deployment to achieve the same result. Based on their experience in the community banking community, Forceworks has recently developed a version of their RapidStart CRM model, specifically for Community Banks, further adding value and speed to ROI.


With the guidance of Forceworks and their RapidStart CRM deployment behind them, and with 100% participation from their Client Managers; bank senior management now has a “live” view into their pipeline of future business.

With their Professional Subscriptions, the bank’s users also make heavy use of the InsideView company research tool that is included with their subscription and deployed with RapidStart CRM. With the assistance of Forceworks, the bank has also deployed the Outlook connector so their users can remain in the application they are already comfortable with and managers in the bank are also learning how to create their own views, reports and dashboards.

By adopting Dynamics CRM Online, made easier by utilizing the RapidStart CRM model, GulfShore Bank has created a significant competitive advantage over their peers, allowing them to be more responsive to, and more knowledgeable about, their customers. While their competitors are saddled with out-of-date on-premise systems, the banks’ decision to go with Dynamics CRM Online, means they will continue to stay ahead of their competition, always using the latest version, and being able to immediately take advantage of new features and capabilities to better serve their customers.

GulfShore Bank is planning to work with Forceworks to add more capabilities to Dynamics CRM Online including SharePoint Online integration, Power BI and integration with their banking software system.