When we came into contact with Silikomart and with the 14 sales reps making up the company’s sales force, the complexity of the situation was immediately clear: they needed to find a way to effectively manage customer relations in various countries worldwide, not only from the office but also on numerous visits abroad and at the international trade shows in which they took part.
In addition to managing data on the move, a further challenge was posed by the diversity of the customers handled: wholesalers, importers, shops, chefs and pastry chefs, cookery schools, private individuals. The company, therefore, had to be very flexible in order to adapt to the needs and specificities of each customer segment.
All business activities were managed through the CRM included in the corporate ERP system. The only advantage of this system was integration, but numerous limitations made it unsuitable to ensure optimal management of customer relations, collaboration between colleagues, and fluid task management, also on the go.
The lack of an efficient system to manage sales tasks mirrored a lack of a shared culture: every sales rep had developed his or her own set of tools and way of managing customers. Some used Excel files to manage offers and deals and keep metrics of interest under control, while others exchanged information exclusively via Outlook.This resulted in data loss, inefficiencies, difficulty ensuring a satisfactory customer experience, and an often frustrating work climate among sales reps, who were required to use a tool completely disconnected from their needs and work procedures.
The absence of a structured and customized CRM also had a negative effect on marketing activities: the lack of reliable, shared data made it impossible to segment the database of customers and prospects. Moreover, communications were generic and ineffective insofar as sent to the entire database. Another marketing challenge involved managing the bloggers and influencers involved in product promotion campaigns. These valuable relations were handled merely through Excel files and were easily compromised by inaccuracies and data loss.
We developed our project with Silikomart from a cultural standpoint, training the sales reps to manage change, engaging them from the beginning and preparing the ground for the implementation process.
We therefore arranged training meetings to explain the full potential of a CRM, the changes needed in the corporate culture and the habits that needed to change in order to ensure the success of the project.
When all the sales reps were on board, we implemented an action plan consisting of several steps..
Our first measure was to map , optimize and standardize the marketing and sales processes.
We brought all the sales reps together, the entire sales and marketing departments, the after-sales staff and Senior Management in order to accurately analyze the existing business processes. We collected data and mapped every aspect of business, from acquisition of new prospects, to first contact, inspections, the start of negotiations, and through to the signing of contracts.
We did the same with regard to marketing (social, email marketing, management of relations with influencers, etc.) and post-sales (issues handled, tools used, routine tasks).
Finally, we analyzed Senior Management’s needs in order to identify the most important goals, KPIs and reports.
Based on an in-depth process analysis, our consultancy work continued with the optimization of workflows and the standardization of processes with a dual objective: improve the sales processes and align them with the marketing processes, while improving the customer’s shopping experience.
We then made certain stages of the process measurable and laid the foundations for their continuous optimization. We worked to ensure that key KPIs - e.g. number of leads handled, number of open deals, conversion rates, average deal closing time, average time deals spend in each stage - could be tracked .
Based on the outcome of the previous two steps, we then set-up a CRM software to match the company’s needs and goals.In this phase, we set up forms and fields, and imported existing data to create a unified database integrated with the CRM software and with the company’s ERP system (Business Net). The set-up ended with a testing phase involving users across the company’s departments to ensure the flow of marketing, sales and after-sales tasks was smooth and aligned.
This resulted in a “tailor-made” CRM software that perfectly fits the needs of users.
Finally, we trained and assisted users for the first few months of use, resolving their concerns and making minor changes to the software based on the feedback received. As additional support to the company, we provided a personalized handbook on how to use the CRM system.
In the case of Silikomart, the sales reps were instrumental in facilitating change, thus laying the foundations for the success of the project.
They were quick to adopt the new CRM software and the benefits were immediate: especially as smartphone and tablet apps made the software very easy to use, also from abroad and on the move. Thus customer master data and ERP info have become universally accessible. Also, managing deals has become fluid and efficient.
And what about marketing? Mapping precisely all the characteristics of each customer and prospect (by type, interests, etc.) and being aligned with the sales department has made it possible to radically improve customer-oriented communication and to send personalized messages and ad hoc promotions. The CRM also serves as an effective tool for managing marketing campaigns, using a specific module to improve management of trade shows and of actions aimed at influencers.
Finally, Senior Management benefited from the CRM system due to the availability of aggregated reports on the sales department’s performance and on the effectiveness of the marketing initiatives conducted.
In short, a systemic success.
“Very focused and interested in our company. Excellent needs analysis and optimal customization, consistent with our requirements. Well-organized advice, with user-friendly summary reports. A reactive customer service, with quick response and turnaround times.”
Silikomart is a 100% Italian leader in the production of silicone pastry, cooking and ice-cream molds and utensils. It is based in the province of Venice and, in addition to Italy, is also present in a number of foreign markets, including France, Germany, UK, Austria, Spain and Switzerland.