»Thanks to automated processes, sales staff have more time for personal customer care.« – Handelskraft speaker Achim Ahrens Interview

Source: dotSource

Online shopping doesn’t end after a purchase. Many companies are now aware of this. But what does it take to be successful in the digital business in the long term? Whether B2C or B2B, it’s important to offer the customer added value beyond the product purchase. And how does that succeed? With all-round service. In the digital age, however, this is no longer exclusively in the hands of the sales department. So the challenge is to transfer the analogue customer relationships into digital. Important factor: Customer Relationship Management. But with the selection and introduction of a suitable CRM system it’s not done, because as well as the customers, a system wants to be understood and maintained.

Frequently this means a restructuring (if not a complete reorganisation) of organisational and process structures. MEVACO also experienced this. On 28 March 2019, Achim Ahrens, e-commerce manager at MEVACO GmbH, will give practical insights into the technical and internal requirements at Handelskraft 2019, which will entail the implementation of a CRM system. In our interview with him, he discusses the topic with us before the conference!

How is MEVACO GmbH digitally positioned? And what stages of the digital track has your company experienced?

MEVACO and, above all, our Managing Director, Mr Geiger, dealt with digitalisation at a very early stage. Already in 2001 MEVACO had the first website (based on HTML/Flash) with an »order function«.

This was optimised over the next few years and replaced in 2010 by the first »real« online shop. In 2014, the sales department got a tool to handle all orders directly in the online shop. That was also the starting signal for the first CRM at MEVACO.

Ideas for process automation were already available at that time, but could never be properly implemented due to technical hurdles. That was the reason why we thought about a new CRM in 2017.

The connection to our production has also been automated piece by piece since 2006 so that orders can be transported directly from the online shop to the machine.

The way in which MEVACO brings its own products to the customer is more of an atypical B2B strategy. What was the trigger for giving up a field service and making it only available online?

That’s right, MEVACO does not have a classic sales force, but of course, customers are still looked after personally. The trigger was the idea to fully automate business processes. With over 20,000 customers, it’s also difficult to visit all of them in person.

It’s also mostly individual orders, so small requests/shopping carts because it’s just inefficient to use qualified employees in that area. In addition, an order and consultation are possible by e-mail, telephone, or live chat.

In addition, many of our customers as craftsmen are often on the road and rarely in the office. In the future, we want to automate even more sales processes, allowing salespeople to spend more time on customer service.

The selection of available CRM systems on the market is hard to miss. How difficult was it for you to choose a suitable solution?

In this case, choosing the CRM was easy as we knew exactly what the new CRM needed to be and, as Salesforce showed us, we knew that this system largely met our needs. Since we were so enthusiastic about this solution, we wanted to start immediately with the project.

Which features should a »winning system« have?

The new system should definitely be web-based so that the connection to the online shop is easier than ever before. In addition, it should be able to receive transaction data from the online shop and, based on this, automatic sales processes should be generated.

It should also be easy to develop, administer, and provide good manufacturer support.

Dashboard processes are on everyone’s minds. This way of operating data management and controlling is absolutely in vogue. Can you confirm this significance and how does MEVACO implement this?

Customer-centric dashboards allow us to better understand the customer and our business goals. It’s also about how a customer develops.

In addition, the sales representative gets an overview of how many individualised products were purchased relative to simple products and how high the use of the online store is.

The topic of automated sales processes (workflows) is on the agenda for the further development of the CRM this year.

What, in your opinion, was the biggest challenge in implementing the CRM solution?

Providing all master data that is relevant to the system in its entirety and in the required format. The data transfer was sometimes difficult because there was no standardised export for attachments from the old CRM and the processing of customer data took more time than planned.

It was also somewhat more difficult than expected to implement the automation and formulas from the old CRM into Salesforce, where it can help to break away from the previous process and to cope with the requirement through an alternative implementation.

We really liked what we heard about movement data in the presentation, but turned out in the implementation that complex calculations and the results could be implemented only by programming. Simple reports, however, are very easy to create.

The connection of the telephone system via CTI and live chat connection was also trickier than planned, here it would’ve been advantageous to check the existing software versions of the existing systems in advance for exact compatibility.

Do you have a tip for your industry colleagues, who are also interested in the introduction of a CRM system?

Clean up master data before starting the project and check (in advance) the compatibility of the existing systems and software.
Include all internal and external project participants in the project at an early stage.

What can the participants at HK19FFM expect from your session?

Insights into a newly created Salesforce system with full integration of the online shop and customer cockpit with transaction data.

Secure your ticket for Handelskraft 2019 now!

Be there on 29 March at the Handelskraft Conference in Frankfurt am Main and see how trends turn into innovations and buzzwords become a real business.

We invite all brands, retailers, and manufacturers to be at the Klassikstadt in Frankfurt.

Click here for tickets the 2019 Handelskraft Conference!

 

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