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Automation features help settle CRM migration quandary for one office

Insightly CRM for G Suite or Salesforce? One of a manufacturing company's 72 offices takes the road less traveled.

If your company has 72 offices and you're going to buck a company-line Salesforce CRM migration, you'd better be right.

That's what happened when MultiCam Inc., an industrial equipment vendor based in Dallas, decided to standardize on Salesforce to provide CRM across the company. But the Great Lakes regional office, located in Grand Rapids, Mich., decided to stick with Insightly, a smaller SaaS CRM platform integrated with Google's G Suite.

MultiCam makes a line of computer numerical controlled (CNC) cutting equipment. These highly customized machines enable manufacturers to precisely cut parts from metal, wood, plastics and other materials. Each machine is customized for a particular industrial manufacturing task. For example, a CNC machine for cutting aluminum alloy for an engine is configured differently than one for cutting bulk aluminum sheeting.

Salesforce not a fit

The Great Lakes MultiCam office includes five sales representatives and seven technicians. Even though it has a smaller staff than some of the other offices, the team outperforms larger ones.

Each MultiCam regional office makes its own decision about its IT strategy, but staffers must still work with the Salesforce implementation of the corporate office, which gave the Michigan MultiCam group plenty of opportunity for comparing and contrasting Salesforce with Insightly.

Several factors figured in to the group sticking with Insightly rather than undergoing a CRM migration, starting with the ability to create highly automated project pipelines. This enables the MultiCam team members to spend their time calling customers and driving sales rather than dealing with paperwork and checking up on the status of past sales.

Insightly features basic project management functions that align closely with the office's sales flow. It enables reps to customize the stages of a sale and set up pipelines for managing the follow up required after a $50,000 to $500,000 CNC machine is sold. But getting around Salesforce applications was also a factor.

"The format of Salesforce is not something that appealed to our team," said Jamie Venlet, Michigan sales lead at MultiCam.

"[The] navigation is not intuitive," he said. "I think they have tried hard to make a product that will satisfy as many people as possible, but it is not a good match for our sales process."

MultiCam's Great Lakes office uses Insightly activity sets to automatically orchestrate the work required for service, delivery, training and follow up after a sale. Insightly enabled them to create an eight-stage pipeline with several activity sets that are automatically generated. Once a salesperson places an order, Insightly automatically kicks off a task that goes to the office manager to send out a phase one document to the customer.

Repeating customers, not data entry

A highly automated CRM process has also driven a high volume of repeat sales. Last year, 44% of the team's sales came from repeat customers.

"Sales sells the first machine, and then service sells the machine after that," Venlet said. "Having a process that caters to all the needs of the customer from end to end is important."

A good strategy for managing sales pipelines can also simplify follow-on sales. In one recent case, a customer called to order a new CNC machine just like the one he bought 10 years ago. All the technical and service information was already in the system. MultiCam could fulfill the order in a couple of minutes rather than the hours it might take to capture all the subtleties required for a new sale.

Venlet noticed in the customer record that this customer had a couple of service issues with the CNC machine's programming keypad, so he threw a few extras into the order free of charge to build goodwill.

Each salesperson is responsible for 400-500 customers. This can be challenging for someone with a bad memory.

"I would never have remembered that on my own," Venlet said. "It was incredibly useful to have all of their information available in one place to smooth over what God did not give me."

This pipeline also makes it possible to help the sales team track abandoned customers, and to go back and follow up.

"This allows us to realize sales we would otherwise not have," Venlet said. "It is helpful to have the information you need now and information you might need later."

It is helpful to have the information you need now and information you might need later.
Jamie VenletMichigan sales lead, MultiCam

Ultimately, sticking with Insightly rather than undergoing a CRM migration enabled the office to lead the company in sales against 71 other regions four out of the past five years. Venlet attributes this success to a better process for managing projects and provisioning service after the deal is complete.

"The speed in working not just with the CRM, but now with several applications tied into it, allows us to have a total overview of customers and prospects at all times," he said.

First G Suite, now Office 365

Insightly primarily serves small and midmarket businesses across a wide variety of industries. It's particularly attractive in verticals with complex after-sales processes, including manufacturing, consulting, technology, health and wellness, and financial services.

A strong focus on managing after-sales processes makes the product appeal to 1.4 million users. Venlet said single sign-on to the G Suite included in the CRM package has created efficiencies and convenience, and was another reason his office decided not to embark on the planned Salesforce CRM migration.

Now, the company is expanding into the Microsoft Office 365 world with a new integration.

"Having project management in the CRM allows them to go from the sales process to the final deliverable smoothly, using milestones, tasks and activity sets," said Insightly CEO Anthony Smith. "We are building for the 75%, or the companies that want simple project management solutions, rather than a super complex beast that requires two or three managers just to oversee it."

Next Steps

Remember: Buying CRM software is a business decision

CRM platform comparison: Which is right for you?

What to ask when considering a CRM platform

This was last published in September 2017

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