The path along the journey of business growth with CRM can take many different paths of improvement.
Process manufacturing: Laboratory created customer specified sample products
We have several clients who's business can be categorized as "Process Manufacturers". They manufacture their product (paints, chemicals, food/nutrition related) through a batch process. There is mixing of various units of measure (quarts, gallons, drums, pounds) of liquid and dry materials. They generate a material data safety sheet for the final product. For their industry the laboratory is asked to create customer specific samples that are requested by the sales representative for the prospective customer. So the sales process can involve some upfront resource costs.
The Relevant Problems to solve
D.M. Coatings (alias) has been our customer for quite a few years. The whole reason we got involved with them to begin with was this fast growing company had multiple sales divisions, different customer service processes and no integrated, holistic view of their customers that was easily shared and accessible.
Also quotes were not brand consistent and the language used was seller-centric versus buyer- centric. Communication costs were higher translating each quote so the sales cycle was also unnecessarily extended.
Solution: Create an effective quoting process with a quote easily understood by prospect
One of the main challenges was their customers were complaining that the company's quote process was so complex that they couldn’t figure it out. The initial details of the prospects' requested product was somewhat sketchy from the sales rep so the customer service representative had to translate the quote into their product catalog language or create a new product sample. What the prospective buyer got back in the quote was too difficult to understand in 'their language".
So I helped them streamline their quoting process using Saleslogix foundation, a tailor made quote process and quote form and simpler language. The laboratory had more clear specs on the sample that was requested. The best result - customers commented on the improved simplification and easily understood description of what they were buying. Clear communications that improved the sales process.
New challenge as the customer segments change
As in many businesses the market segments that once were strong are shifting. D.M. Coatings had developed loyal customers in the military and aerospace industries that made up the bulk of their sales. But now they have a new challenge.
With cuts in government funding, those industrial customers have less to spend, and D.M. is working to reach out and expand a different customer base.
As you can imagine, there isn’t much variety in military and aerospace paint colors. They only needed a few very specific colors that meet government strict standards. But D.M.’s new general, commercial industry prospects all want custom colors. So now the sales force is sending out lots of paint samples. Of course samples cost money and time.
Solution: Analysis for Sales Effectiveness
Tom, the General Industries sales manager, contacted me because he wondered how he could tell at a glance whether all these paint samples were resulting in sales. If 500 customers asked for samples, how many then bought the paint? And how much money were they spending on it?
I showed him how we could create a query in Saleslogix that would give him the information. What he found out was that for every ten customers who asked for a paint sample, only three ended up buying paint. We customized Saleslogix so he can see what kind of revenue each customer is generating, prior quotes, and even trends per customer.
But that’s not all. The sales cycle as executed by his sales force became visible in graph form on his dashboard. He can view which opportunities are moving and which are stuck and need help. Now he can fine tune where in the sales cycle it’s best to send the sample and what kind of follow-up works best to close the sale.
D.M. Coatings was already using a good CRM system with Saleslogix. But they didn’t really know how much more it could be doing for them. I was glad to be able to show them.
Next challenge - bringing on new sales people. And having them fully engaged with CRM so more intelligence from their prospects and customers is captured and becomes useful.
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