The Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) is an organization dedicated to promoting the success and prosperity of entrepreneurial companies in the North Carolina region. Founded in 1984, CED offers support for new and expanding entrepreneurial companies through programs such as Connect to Capital and the Accelerate Series as well as a platform for established companies designed to advance North Carolina’s entrepreneurial community through various mentorship programs.
CED also organizes and hosts an annual conference, Venture Connect, that attracts investors and entrepreneurs from around the country and beyond. The three-day conference features multiple speaker sessions and presentations for Life Science businesses, technology professionals, and more.
In the process of transitioning their customer engagement model, CED partnered with DesignHammer to assist in the creation of a web communication strategy that better aligned with their new organizational priorities. As a primary means of digital marketing and engagement, CED’s new website needed to reinforce the new engagement model and allow them to better connect with their identified audiences: Entrepreneurial Companies, Partners, Builders, Investors, Collaborators, and Explorers. Additionally, CED’s existing website had been built in Drupal 7 by another vendor with whom they no longer had contact with and their newly-hired web communications team was eager to work with a different content management system (CMS).
In order to deliver a final website that covered the desired functionality and stayed in the approved budget, DesignHammer’s solution for CED integrated several third-party solutions to provide the necessary, more complicated features. The core site was developed in WordPress with a custom responsive theme. Form processing was handled by FormAssembly and Jujama was used for agenda/scheduling support. Finally, a custom Salesforce synchronization based on Object Sync for Salesforce was implemented to connect information from CED’s SalesForce to the website.
WordPress: The WordPress site utilized an information architecture that DesignHammer developed in collaboration with CED. The top navigation bar is designed to guide users to a landing page connected to an audience they identify with. Additionally, there is a super menu available for direct navigation to any page. The site was designed with responsive functionality in mind and follows best practices for accessibility and usability.
Theme: CED selected a third-party design for use on the new website. However, user testing revealed the original menu design to be too difficult to navigate so DesignHammer created a custom, mobile-responsive theme to match the design provided. DesignHammer determined the requirements for a new menu in collaboration with CED and implemented the current top navigation plus super menu configuration.
Salesforce: As one of the most popular CRM solutions, Salesforce is commonly used by organizations for tracking a variety of information. CED engaged a Salesforce consultant to update their installation to a current version of Salesforce and provide recommendations around reorganizing their data. DesignHammer then implemented a Salesforce sync using the Object Sync for Salesforce plugin. Some data components were not supported by the plugin, so a custom plugin was added to support additional data elements.
CED has found that the new website is very effective in connecting to their target audiences. CED was also able to simplify their administrative workflow by leveraging FormAssembly and the Salesforce integration with the new WordPress site.
Our website is far easier to navigate now as a result of the group efforts of our handpicked team; DesignHammer, our creative director, and our conversion copywriter.