One of the Largest Global Suppliers Empowers Teams and Enables Business Growth with Dynamics 365
We now have a platform to build on for the future, and in SADA, an expert partner to help us with whatever is coming down the pipe
MATHESON is one of the largest global suppliers of industrial, specialty, and electronics gases and equipment in the world, with over $1.4 billion in revenues annually. The company, a subsidiary of Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation, has been growing by acquisition for over a decade. In 2013, senior management decided to revamp the company’s sales operations as the company went through these transitions, with an initial focus on coaching and reorganization and the introduction of Microsoft Excel for tracking leads and sales calls.
Yet over time, the Outlook and Excel-based sales processes began to show strain on employee productivity, according to Mary Smickenbecker, Corporate VP of Marketing at Matheson. Sales teams were using Microsoft Outlook for scheduling sales calls and Excel for tracking the outcomes of those calls and other activities. It was taking hours for regional GMs to compile monthly sales metrics from individual Excel files on the internal SharePoint site.
Smickenbecker was manually aggregating data from roughly hundreds of spreadsheets to create management metrics: a process that took a day out of every month. “I’m pretty fast, but frankly this wasn’t a good use of my time—nor of our sales execs,” she says. An additional wrinkle in 2016 was when the company’s sales team ballooned, after the major acquisition of assets divested in AirLiquide’s purchase of AirGas. “It was about March of that year that our CEO asked me to look into a CRM system,” Smickenbecker recalls. “Our goal is to be the most professional sales operation in our industry.”
New Era, New CRM With Dynamics 365
Smickenbecker’s first step was to consult with her VP of IT, Michael Babyak, to gather recommendations on CRM systems and an implementation partner. Since the company was already using several Microsoft applications, Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM bubbled to the top; the familiar interface would be easier for employees to learn. An employee in Matheson’s IT department had worked with SADA Systems on a previous project and suggested that the enterprise IT and business consulting firm could help with CRM as well. Smickenbecker consulted with Matheson’s sales leaders for buy-in on the approach. With a deep understanding of the company’s sales processes, she felt confident that the direction was a safe, yet modern move that could help the company more effectively adapt to additional changes and growth while solving the current productivity issues.
SADA’s Consultative Approach
Bringing SADA on board to drive the Dynamics 365 CRM implementation was helpful in many aspects, but especially from the standpoint of facilitating a customized and collaborative approach to the project. “Unlike many vendors, SADA really listens and did not try to push us the off-the-shelf system,” says Smickenbecker. “They led a series of envisioning sessions with our execs to discuss our workflows, helped us think through the system requirements and were quick to develop a strategic path forward that addressed any concerns that we had.” In particular, SADA needed to add additional customizations to Dynamics 365 CRM to fit MATHESON’s specific requirements.
The project succeeded, with all business units up and running on the system by July of 2016; a collaborative effort between marketing, sales, IT and SADA, along with a thorough change management approach were instrumental. Internal focus groups surfaced the fact that employees wanted to focus on learning key aspects of using the new CRM system including using the mobile app and using the application in conjunction with Outlook. The change management and user adoption services offered by SADA focused on these key areas and consisted of in-person visits, ad hoc calls with sales managers and GMs, and a series of webinars, which are stored for on-demand replay on a CRM Resource Center internal website. “SADA’s been so consistent in their services and getting everything done for us on time,” Smickenbecker says.
After just a few months of using the system, Matheson employees are starting to see positive changes allowing them to focus on customers and expanding the business, not frustrating manual processes.
Some of the benefits include:
- Smickenbecker and the regional GMs each save hours monthly on manual data transfer and collection from multiple systems in order to create monthly reports capturing activity and outcomes. Now, executives and managers can log into Dynamics to view aggregate metrics such as sales per region or individual salesperson metrics. It now takes about 50% less time to create monthly reports.
- Prior to Dynamics, salespeople didn’t have a mobile capability, but now they can use the Dynamics 365 for Phones mobile app, allowing them to use a smartphone or table to access customer profiles quickly, record notes and tasks, set up alerts, view sales metrics, schedule meetings and even take and attach a photo to a customer record. Previously, they were using paper notepads.
- Managers can quickly institute and track new sales initiatives, accessible through specific fields in the CRM interface.
- Sales employees now have one system to handle all sales processes, including sales call set up, replacing disparate systems and repetitive manual entry processes. The teams no longer use Excel and can schedule calls in Outlook from within the Dynamics interface.
- Employees got up and running on the system fairly quickly, thanks to SADA’s flexible training approach and a customized solution with just the right amount of functionality to meet business needs.
In the future, Smickenbecker hopes to do more with Dynamics: integrating the CRM system with the website so that online leads will automatically funnel to the assigned sales rep. “We now have a platform to build on for the future, and in SADA, an expert partner to help us with whatever is coming down the pipe.”
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