Code 3 Collectibles, a Los Angeles manufacturer of die-cut figurines, had a CRM package installed prior to March 2002, but the software didnât work effectively to solve the companyâs marketing and sales problems.
Every time John Meyer, Code 3âs CIO, needed to add a field to the companyâs CRM database, it required a call to his CRM vendor. In addition, he had few reporting or analysis tools.
"It was really important for us to have a product that was more standardized and let us look at our business processes, especially with our dealers. At the time, we just couldnât do it," he said.
The lack of analysis capability created problems across the board. Advertisingâboth for consumers and dealersâexisted in a vacuum. And the sales force did not know the b-to-b customer base as well as they should have, Meyer said, so they werenât dealing with them effectively.
Code 3 also struggled with shipping and inventory control. None of its business databases were tied together, making it difficult to predict how well anything would sell or how many units of a particular model the company should produce.
Armed with this list of deficiencies, Meyer went looking for a CRM package, evaluating programs from PeopleSoft Inc., Onyx Software Corp. and Siebel Systems Inc., among others. In the end, he chose Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Best Softwareâs SalesLogix program for its ease-of-use and familiarity (Code 3 already used Act!, another Best Software product), he said.
Almost immediately, Code 3 saw results. Now, because every customer contact is logged into the system, sales reps can see a customerâs history on a single screen. In addition, SalesLogixâs data-mining capabilities are changing the way Code 3 handles business opportunities. One change resulted in a significant increase in same-dealer, year-over-year sales.
Before switching to SalesLogix, Code 3 had imposed a minimum order requirement. In theory, this policy saved Code 3 money on shipping and processing, but it was actually costing the company sales, Meyer said.
"After we installed the CRM program, we found that a lot of our smaller partners couldnât justify a large purchase at one time," he said. "And these might be great customers, but they just couldnât swing it."
Once sales representatives started talking to dealers and logging their responses, it became clear that by adjusting the minimum purchase, Code 3 would receive more sales on a yearly basis.
Code 3 also realized it wasnât communicating often enough with its dealers. Today, sales representatives check in with dealers at least once a week. The combination of increased communication and decreased minimum purchase limits makes the companyâs more than 50 vendors feel better served. Theyâre also reporting far fewer customer confrontations and problems, Meyer said.
"Weâre definitely seeing our sales trending upwardâall because we understand where [dealers] are coming from, and we can be more compassionate about their needs," Meyer said.
Although Code 3 hasnât calculated specific cost savings or return on investment, Meyer said the new CRM program is meeting all of his expectations, and then some.