Salesforce automation connects sales and service data for a manufacturer

Heavy equipment manufacturer Rotobec sees how integration with Salesforce Desk gives its service team the ability to boost its sales efforts in 35 countries.

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

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

Automation with Salesforce made Rotobec’s sales team shed “those precious little computers,” as Jesse Roy, Rotobec’s service manager, puts it.  Salespeople were digitizing information from their conversations with customers, and the computers were facilitating the dissemination of that data throughout the company 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 were connected.

“Our service efforts were struggling,” says Jesse Roy – “And it was time to implement the CRM for the service area.  Like sales, service is incredibly important, it’s just not as visible as the sales department because we don’t make money, we spend it.

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

A family business present in 35 countries

Rotobec began in 1975 in the wood sawing industry, announcing itself as the first North American manufacturer to achieve a control cabin with 360° rotation for forklifts.

When thinking about construction equipment most people imagine a backhoe or a bulldozer.  Rotobec enhances the standard designs of those machines with rotating arms and handles for specialized markets such as bulk material handling, waste handling and railroading.

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

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

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

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

Prior to implementing Salesforce Automation, Rotobec did quarterly analysis for upcoming production and roughly estimated based on feedback from salespeople.  Now, says Roy, it’s 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 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

Desk integration has directed some of those 1,000 weekly cases to self-service and, most importantly, the integration has connected help desk data to sales, creating new efficiencies for workflows to support the field sales team.

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

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

Connecting Sales and Services-which cost $20,000 to initiate, including third-party support and approximately $10,000 for an annual Salesforce Dialogue subscription-gave the sales force up-to-date information on service incidents that one of their customers might be having.  The Rotobec sales team can update dealers on current service activity among customers who are using Rotobec equipment.

“Our sellers were no longer falling into a death trap, so to speak,” says Roy.  They weren’t being ambushed by dealership salesmen who were asking, “What’s this support case we’re having, or this situation?  Today, before making a visit, the salespeople can review the cases and, when there is one, they can consult all the information recorded through Desk to be updated on the matter”.

By talking about open service incidents in an informed manner, a potentially difficult conversation can be disarmed and the salesperson can be more proactive in managing the relationship.  Rotobec eventually added Desk services to manage product registration, warranty management, and computer rebuilding program applications.

Additional capacity as you go

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

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

Viewed as a whole, digitizing these processes has allowed for a depth of knowledge about Rotobec products that did not exist before – such as added views/functions that now track warranty incidents and were previously left on paper.  Service patterns can indicate a failure in the design of a particular model and also other types of opportunities that allow a more proactive improvement of products through the analysis of failures present in the service information.

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

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

Read the full article, here.

For more than 11 years, SQDM -Software Quality Driven Management- has advised a number of companies with professional consulting services on CRM and IT strategies.  SQDM is an official partner of leading manufacturers in the industry including Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle and AuraPortal.

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