Customer Success with American Specialties (ASI)
American Specialties, Inc (“ASI”), a Sugar and W-Systems customer since January 2016, was a featured presenter at this year’s SugarCon 2017 conference. The presentation, “Getting Independent Sales Reps and the Manufacturer on the Same Team”, was designed to promote how a successful CRM implementation could, and should, be executed, and to help provide insights to other Sugar customers going through similar implementations.
Avi Bar, National Sales Manager for ASI, and the architect behind their global CRM rollout did a terrific job outlining what a successful implementation blueprint should look like.
Let’s take a look at a few of the challenges that Avi, and ASI faced:
1000+ Users and 30 Territories Across the Globe
- Challenge: In the manufacturing space, ASI works with independent sales reps who often times who represent other manufacturers. As you might imagine, this presents a unique challenge related to user adoption. Unlike traditional sales environments, ASI has no authority to mandate the use of their own internal tools, yet compliance is critical to overall success.
- Solution: In order for ASI to gain full adoption, they needed to provide a tool that truly provided value to their reps, otherwise they simply wouldn’t use it. So, how did they do that? Well, they spent 9 months working very closely with the reps across the globe. They did this with one-on-one face-to-face meetings, calls, etc. with the goal of; 1) planting the seeds earlier on so the reps knew what was coming; 2) making sure their voice was heard and that they felt that they were part of the process; and 3) building specific functionality that would help them be more productive. On top of all that, they convinced the sales people that utilizing this new tool would have a direct impact on their ability to make more money, the sweetest sound any salesperson can hear.
Data Visibility and Security Across 100+ Teams
- Challenge: With all these different reps/companies accessing the system, ASI knew they would have to convince the reps that their data was secure and visible only to those with the requisite permissions. Without it, they knew it would be unlikely that they would get the data input they were requesting.
- Solution: Utilizing the Sugar built-in Roles and Team security (with a little bit of added magic from W-Systems), ASI deployed a sophisticated security structure that provided the reps with the confidence that their “proprietary” data would not be exposed to any vulnerabilities, or shared outside its own user-base.
Data Aggregation and Analysis
- Challenge: With no systems in place prior to the deployment of Sugar, there was little data to analyze that would allow ASI to accurately evaluate performance
- Solution: With the addition of Sugar, ASI now has the ability to furnish reports that allow them to better evaluate the performance of their reps. This gives them insights that they did not have before, which can now be used to help change behaviors and selling strategies.
Encourage Reps to Focus on Untapped Opportunities
- Challenge: One area of long-term success for ASI is to sell to Architects during the planning phase, however, because these sales cycles are long, reps don’t like to spend their time there, they want low-hanging fruit…
- Solution: ASI knew that if they presented these opportunities to their reps in small increments, they might be able to get them to focus some attention… They decided to integrate Sugar with a data services provider (“Dodge”) that automatically populates real opportunities in Sugar. All project details, customer accounts, and contacts make it very easy for reps to quickly follow up and submit bids.
Training and Education to Aide with Adoption
- Challenge: With a global, distributed sales force, ASI needed to make sure they provided a comprehensive training strategy to ensure adoption and compliance.
- Solution: ASI developed and delivered live training in “easy to consume” sessions generally lasting no longer than 1 hour. From there, they created much smaller training “clips” (approx. 15 minutes) that they posted on a YouTube channel dedicated to Sugar training, and lastly, they opened up a Help Desk specifically to answer Sugar-related inquiries. This combination of training and support channels ensured that users were never left in the dark and helped them get optimal value from the tool.
These are just a few of the ways that ASI was able to follow a regimented plan for a successful implementation. As it turns out, past experience proved invaluable for this customer, and by sharing some of their experiences, ASI is hopefully your organization can find similar implementation success.