Salesforce automation connects sales and service data for a manufacturer

Rotobec, a heavy equipment manufacturer, sees how integration with Salesforce Desk gives its services team the ability to boost its sales efforts in 35 countries.

SQDM shares an article published by the TechTarget portal, demonstrating the benefits and gains obtained by integrating your customer service data with your sales information and strategy.

Rotobec, which is headquartered in Saint-Justine, Quebec, manufactures equipment that lifts all kinds of heavy objects: giant logs, scrap metal and even railroad ties. Until 2015, however, connecting the sales team to the service records and file was too much of a burden.

Automation with Salesforce got Rotobec’s sales team off “Those precious little computers,” as Jesse Roy, Rotobec’s director of service, puts it.  Salespeople were typing information from their conversations with customers, and the computers facilitated the dissemination of that data throughout the company, back in 2009.  However, it wasn’t until 2015-when the company added Salesforce Desk case management and help desk integration-that sales and service data became connected.

“Our service efforts were struggling,” says Jesse Roy-“And the time had come to implement CRM for the service area.  Like sales, service is incredibly important, it’s just not as visible as the sales department since we don’t generate money but spend it.”

The service team of 10 agents handles an average of 1,000 cases per week; with Salesforce Desk reports, which analyze volume and provide metrics for improvement, this department has grown by demonstrating its needs with BI tools that analyze response times and quality of service.

A family business present in 35 countries

Rotobec started in 1975 in the lumber sawing industry, announcing itself as the first North American manufacturer to achieve a 360° rotating control cab for forestry forklifts.

When thinking of construction equipment, most people think of a backhoe or bulldozer.  Rotobec enhances the standard designs of such equipment with rotating arms and grapples for specialized markets such as bulk material handling, waste and rail.

Today, the company has manufacturing plants in three countries and markets its products through a dealer network that extends to 35 countries.

Rotobec implemented Salesforce automation in 2009, choosing Salesforce because its mobile sales team could more quickly upload data to its system and, unlike other CRM systems at the time, it did not require a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection.

Roy says the overall idea in adopting CRM automation was not only to share sales information with a wider audience within the company, but also production planning; since Rotobec serves different market verticals, it wasn’t always obvious which one would need attention next.

“We operate on a lean manufacturing flow,” Roy says, referring to the just-in-time inventory model, which minimizes spares and labor waste and is a strategy that many mills have adopted over the past couple of decades.  “By not knowing what sales opportunities exist, it’s very difficult to plan your next fiscal year – when you have no idea what’s in your pipeline.”

Before implementing Salesforce Automation, Rotobec did quarterly analyses for upcoming production and roughly estimated based on feedback from salespeople.  Now, Roy says, it is possible to create much more accurate quarterly reports and adjust production as the sales team updates its pipeline for the various market verticals being served.

As Salesforce added functionality and as the company grew over the years, Rotobec added business intelligence and quoting modules (separate for domestic and international quotes) with the help of outside contractors.

Getting Started with Salesforce Desk

The integration with Desk has routed some of those 1,000 weekly cases into self-service and, more importantly, the integration has connected help desk data to sales, which has created new efficiencies for workflows to help the field sales team.

When Rotobec initially selected Salesforce in 2009, Roy led an evaluation team that looked at different data systems for their service group.  Having been long-time Salesforce users, Desk was the most likely choice.  The team, however, did a competitive analysis reviewing options such as Mize, GE’s Digital’s ServiceMax and Service’s Maximizer system.

In fact, Rotobec considered Salesforce’s Service Cloud as well, but it was decided that the Desk solution was more appropriately scaled for its operations.  Desk won for its ease of use and minimal IT support, as well as integration with sales systems, which update each other in real time.

Connecting Sales and Service-which cost $20,000 to get started, including third-party help and approximately $10,000 in annual Salesforce Desk subscription fees-gave the sales force up-to-date information on service incidents that any of its customers might be having.  Rotobec’s sales team can update dealers on current service activity among customers who are using Rotobec equipment.

“Our salespeople were no longer falling into a death trap, so to speak,” Roy comments.  “They weren’t being ambushed by salespeople from dealerships asking, ‘What’s this support case we’re having, or this situation?’  Today, before they make a visit, salespeople can review the cases and, when there is one, they can look at all the information logged through Desk to stay up to date on it.”

By speaking knowledgeably about open service incidents, a potentially difficult conversation can be disarmed and the salesperson can be made more proactive in managing the relationship.  Rotobec eventually added Desk services to manage product registration, warranty management and equipment rebuild program applications.

Additional capacity as you go

Jamie Domenici, VP of Product and SMB Marketing at Salesforce, says that companies typically start with small integrations but, as with Rotobec, are finding new possibilities for their sales and service information across the enterprise and adding capabilities as they go.

“With one platform you can consolidate all your customer interactions in one place,” he commented.

Viewed as a whole, digitizing those processes has enabled a depth of insight into Rotobec’s products that didn’t previously exist-such as aggregated views/features that now track warranty incidents and were previously left abandoned on paper.  Service patterns can indicate a flaw in the design of a particular model as well as other types of opportunity that enable more proactive product improvement through analysis of flaws present in service information.

Reporting capabilities in the DataHero application, which is connected to Desk, has also enabled Rotobec to measure and analyze its services in greater depth, providing a means to identify opportunities to improve service team response time and service quality-improving, likewise, the customer experience to generate more business.

“We turned a three-person service department into a 10-person service department, handling call volumes that exceed anything we’ve seen before,” says Roy, describing the company’s growth and the value of the information his service area generates for the entire organization.  “We can track or trace and take action on such information as we have concise data to back up any action we take.”

Read the full article here.

For over 11 years, SQDM -Software Quality Driven Management- has provided countless companies with professional consulting services on CRM and IT strategies.  SQDM is an official partner of industry-leading vendors including Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle and AuraPortal.

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