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I began to implement CRM for my company around two years ago. Now that many things are gone I’d like to share some of my experience and to discuss them with interested people

Environment:

I work for a 500 people company divided into different business units whose core business is about pumps manufacturing. By the way I started the implementation for the headquarters, whose sales agents are company indipendent and just get a commission at the end of the month. Those sellers also deal other brands (they offer a range of products), even 8 different in some cases

Scope of CRM implementation:

Actually we had two main reasons to implement CRM: one was to gather more and more structured information about customers and the second was to offer a tool to internal and external agents to operate in the market. In addition we offered the opportunities to create quotations (in order to reduce the sales offices daily work)

Problems and Proposed Solutions:

  • Sales agents keep a single customer fact-sheet (with the data of the different products they sell) and now they are expected to fill data in our private CRM as well: double workload for already busy people?  This point was very hard for us: people were reclutant to fill data.. partially because they are lazy, partially because they don’t like to do things twice and so on.

Groupware was not a solution for us since we don’t run Exchange or Notes(for server integration) and out agents use lots of different tools to manage emails(to hard to follow them all).

For solving all these problems we deeply implemented ERMS features: starting from Gregor Wolf blog about opportunities we implemented automatic creation of activities from email sent to a pre-defined email address (and with a specific format). In such way, with a simple forwarding we could trace email communication between customers and sales agents (which was most of the communications we wanted to trace.. normally phone comunications are not so important in our business). Also it’s very practical for our people to attach files (pfd, office documents, openoffice documents, ecc) that they wanted to keep trace.

  • Customers requests: Most of daily calls from customers are just enquires on has the goods been sent? How are our orders?

For managing this we really streched ERMS and marketing attributes: in brief, in a couple of months, our customers will be able to send an email to an address of ours and receive an email with all those data in pdf format

  • Our price conditions are very complicated (lots of price lists, lots of discounts based on product type, quantity, ecc); more we have lots of products, spare parts, ecc(around 80000 codes)

By replicating ECC pricing we are now offering the exactly way pricing is made up. It was an hard task to replicate in IPC all the ECC logic, but at the end we succeded. More we added an important feature that allows, giving a pump, to have a popup with all the linked spare parts (BOM)

  • Our sales offices (we have one for each organization unit, internal and abroad customers) had the problems in the past to not know what agents were doing and the opposite problem as well.

To spread communication between agents and internal people we decided to implement Alerts. Actually we decided to notify colleagues and agents when they create activities, tasks, quotations (rules are taken from the organization structure). More we automatically send quotations to sales agents when status is sent to released: in this way they can have a private record of all their customers quotations (which are particular important since they can review them even online)

This is my first blog and it’s getting too long 🙂

In the coming months I’ll be posting implementation we have done to help our french sales agents (who are more proactive) and that include marketing tools.

Hope to get some comments! In the meanwhile I’m thanking the community for the inspiration I got during this long trip.

Mauro B.

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