This company manufactures packaging in the cosmetic industry. They needed a tool to help coordinate their sales activity and had implemented Salesforce.com several years earlier, but were not effectively utilizing it at the time.
We were retained to re-implement Salesforce so that it would be a tool to help increase sales success and efficiency. The project started with a series of meetings with key users to understand their business and where they had needs that were not being fulfilled. Salesforce was redesigned to satisfy the requirements, the data cleaned up, and the users trained to use the system as part of their daily work practices.
The system had immediate success within the sales team, so we turned out attention to the operations side of the business. Additional requirement gathering sessions were held with the operations users and new functionality was added to Salesforce to support their business. Custom modules were added including the following:
- Sample Requests: Providing samples to customers is a key part of the sales process at this company. The new module developed utilizing Salesforce allows sales team members to enter specific details regarding a sample needed for a customer. The system would automatically notify the operations team that a new request was ready to process. Once completed, the requesting sales team member was automatically notified. Prior to this system being implemented, the sample request process was handled very inefficiently utilizing emails going back and forth between parties.
- Production Schedules: As in all manufacturing companies, the production schedule is critical and everyone involved wants to know the status of their specific jobs. We created a new module where the master schedule was updated daily and all team members could find the status of the jobs by simply viewing the schedule online. We also created a special dashboard that summarized the schedule details, including highlighting jobs that were running late. This allowed the sales person to proactivity communicate with their customers.
- Status Reports: Communication within a company is always one of the biggest challenges. We created a module that allowed each team member to create a simple status report highlighting their accomplishments, plans for the coming week, and areas where they need help from another team member. These reports made the weekly staff meetings, sales meetings, and operations meetings much more effective as everyone had the ability to read status reports prior to the meeting so that the time together was spent discussing solutions.
- Sales Commissions: The Salesforce system was expanded to track aspects of a commission system, making it transparent to the sales team members.
- New Product Development: The process of introducing new products into a manufacturing environment can be costly and require significant resources. We developed a module within Salesforce to help quantify the costs, track the required review and approval steps, and document the risk/reward for the proposed new product.
The use of Salesforce started within the Sales team, but quickly expanded to almost every aspect of the company. The processes significantly improved communication within the company and with all customers by changing from a practice of having to search for and request desired information to one when important data was available to view as needed.
The system also proactively alerted leadership and team members when there was either a problem or something that was trending in the wrong direction, allowing for an immediate response. What started as a single project to implement SalesForce.com for the Sales team has led to being invited to be part of almost every aspect of the business for the past several years. Additional services provided included leadership coaching, quality process definition, human resources advising, team building sessions, and customer service training.