Ed the Entrepreneur continues The Wooden Toy Story, Part 2
When we left Ed and his family business (Part I), Wooden Toys had become successful enough to support his son Dave’s growing family as well as Ed and his wife Carolina. Dave was on the road selling toy tractors and Dave’s wife April was helping his mom in the office. They had just updated all their PC’s but they were still tracking all their contact information in Microsoft Excel. Then Dave went to a trade show and learned about Sage ACT! He ordered 5 copies and their local IT shop helped them import all their Outlook and QuickBooks contacts into this new CRM system. Let’s pick up the story there.
Dave became the sales manager and started adding new hires to their sales team. He soon saw that they would not get the most good from Sage ACT! unless he got some help to figure out how to maximize what it could do for them and train the team, so he hired a local Sage ACT! Certified Consultant named Julie.
The first time Julie came to visit Wooden Toys, she visited with Dave’s team to discover how they were currently using the customer management tool. They also talked about how creating an electronic newsletter would help them keep in contact with customers and prospects, and Julie guided them through a discussion of what kind of content woud be valuable for their subscribers. She also showed them how a survey, electronically generated using Sage ACT!, could show them what their customers thought of their toys’ workmanship and durability.
The family management team really needed to project what income they could count on looking ahead, so they were excited to see that using Sage ACT! they could implement sales opportunities. They quickly saw how this opened up more possibilities to expand, because it would help them deal with the longer sales process of winning bigger volume accounts with bigger retail stores.
They did learn to use sales opportunities, and over the next several years they did win those accounts with companies whose names you would instantly recognize. That lead to new product lines, dealer networks, and even overseas customers. They now had 58 employees and were generating $15 million in annual sales. Not bad for a little company that started with a young man’s dream of wooden toy tractors from America’s heartland.
Of course, with this growth came new challenges. They felt they had outgrown what their Sage ACT! contact management system could do for them. And they knew they had to strengthen their service and support system. What did they do? Well, that’s a story for next time.
Part I, read how the new start-up business was able to amplify their success by starting with a customer first strategy and using contact management. Part III, covers switching to a new system and implementing customer service capabilities.
Using an integrated e-marketing system to nurture prospects and retain a loyal customer base.