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Home > Company News > Chamber Networking Events bringing real results to Dorset Firms

Chamber Networking Events bringing real results to Dorset Firms

Posted on: 16/10/2020

Creating opportunities for members to network has always been a key Dorset Chamber activity, so we were pleased to hear that the introduction of members Dorset Business Mentors and Solweb has proven productive.

Dorset Business Mentors is a well-respected local programme which links Dorset’s business owners with executive-level business mentors.  This programme is unmatched in the rest of the country and a tremendous asset to the area, fielding a wealth of talented individuals who volunteer their time to support the advancement of local businesses.  The programme selects, trains and supports their mentors to ensure local businesses receive first-rate support.  The programme has now linked over 2000 Dorset businesses with mentors across all sectors and has experienced a minimum 20% increase in requests for mentors year after year, testament indeed to the value of the service.

In 2019 as part of routine business planning, Dorset Business Mentors identified a new CRM (customer relationship management system) as a key area for investment.  With more than 135 active mentors and more than 200 active relationships, effective information management underpins the whole service, in particular driving the process that matches businesses and mentors.

There was a limited budget for the project, so initial research focused on off-the-peg solutions, such as HubSpot and Zoho.  However, none of these were effective in meeting the needs of such a singular programme.  It was during this period that Joint Programme Manager Alistair Bayliss met Rob Tanner of Solweb at a Chamber networking event.  Alistair told us,

‘At the beginning of the procurement, I spoke to a several firms about developing a bespoke system for us, one of whom actually laughed in my face when I explained the budget and what I needed.  It felt like we’d find what we needed in the no-cost/low-cost area of the market – however, that cost me a lot of time refining data, loading it into different CRMs and trying to get them to behave as I wanted.  Rob and Solweb were different though.  They were the first company who explained it was possible and they worked really hard to understand what we’re about, how we operate, and how we might develop.  They really bought into what we do.  Any project like this is bound to bring compromises, but the development process has really been a dialogue, with a commitment on their side to try and find a way, and one on our side to be realistic!  The upshot is a system built around our unique way of working, and with no significant sacrifices made in getting there. We’re really pleased with the new system and are delighted with our mutual achievement. ‘

Rob Tanner, Commercial Manager at Solweb Ltd said

‘We have really enjoyed working with Alistair and the team at Dorset Business Mentors to create a bespoke CRM system that addresses all their working practices and processes. They provide a first-class service to the business community and needed a first class CRM system to help facilitate that, which we were happy to provide.  We are looking forward to a long, successful working relationship.’

The investment in this new CRM is now enabling the Dorset Business Mentors team to be ever more effective as they serve, an ever-increasing number of requests for mentors from the local business community.

If you would like to learn more about how you could benefit from accessing the programme, whether for yourself as the owner, or as a member of senior management, visit  or call the team on 01305 221 268 for an informal chat.

For more information about the range of services offered by Solweb visit or telephone them on 01202 232 846.



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