Improved sales forecasting

Flowserve Corp. forecasts big sales with Invensys CRM

ABOUT THE VENDOR Invensys CRM has over 250 successful implementations across Europe and North America. Through its fully integrated suite of CRM solutions, Invensys CRM aims to help B2B enterprises enhance relationships with their customers and increase the effectiveness of their sales and marketing performance. Invensys CRM's worldwide headquarters is located in Golden, Colorado. The European headquarters and the Invensys CRM Research...

Center are in Copenhagen, Denmark. ABOUT THE CLIENT Flowserve Corp. is a provider of industrial flow management services. Operating in 30 countries, with about 10,000 employees, the company produces engineered pumps for the process industries, precision mechanical seals, automated and manual quarter-turn valves, control valves, and valve actuators, and provides a range of related flow management services. ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY Invensys CRM's SalesPoint software accurately prices and configures sales proposals, putting up-to-the-minute product, price and customer-account information in the hands of sales professionals throughout multi-channel, multi-language sales organizations. Flowserve wanted to share project-sales information across its three divisions while streamlining the manufacturing process. Invensys CRM's SalesPoint was implemented and is used in conjunction with an opportunity management system to allow for corporate-wide sales tracking and on-target sales forecasts. SearchCRM spoke with Todd Roeller, Flowserve's e-commerce technology project manager, about the project. ------------------------------------------------------ SearchCRM: Why did you want to change the way you were doing sales forecasting? Roeller: The way we'd been doing those forecasts in the past can be described as looking through the rear view mirror to find out where the car is going. We'd look at our previous sales and try to guess what our future sales would be, but that was clearly inadequate -- especially since the business is growing and we were seeing different trends than we had in the past. Business comes into the two divisions in two categories. In the first category, which is our regular day-to-day orders, it's fairly steady. The other category is our project business, which is highly cyclical and can have some incredible spikes in it. That's what was messing up our forecasting. We determined that it was necessary to have something that would allow us to look forward, and the CRM solution was able to do that for us. It allows our sales people from all the different divisions to connect to a single application and enter their project information. They can enter their projects with quite a bit of detail about what the project would contain -- the type of products, the projected win dates, the probability of winning the sale, and so on. SearchCRM: How did training go? Roeller: When we first rolled it out in 1999, we had used the Invensys training group to train our people on the product. The product is incredibly capable, but the typical user only uses a small portion of the features. The training from Invensys, however, was on every aspect of the product. We targeted the users we thought would be involved with the product and Invensys put them through three days of training, and about four months later, they rolled the product out to them. So the users were overwhelmed from the training -- and by the time they finally got the product, they'd forgotten everything they learned. SearchCRM: Did this result in internal resistance? Roeller: When we rolled the product out, we got an incredible amount of pushback from the users. The comments were that it didn't work, it was too hard to use, or it was slow. SearchCRM: How did you solve this problem? Roeller: We evaluated which ones were real concerns and which ones were involved in the change management process, and determined that the technology was fine and the problem was with the users. So we developed some internal training on only the aspects of the product that we use, and we developed a user tutorial that they could use on-screen with the product. We trained them on the tutorial and reduced training from three days to about three hours. That eliminated all of the complaints. SearchCRM: You recently bought another company. How did that affect your CRM? Roeller: In October we bought a pump company that was about twice the size of our current pump division. We were in the process of customizing the Invensys solution for this group when we bought the other company, and the other pump company had developed a CRM system in-house. When we put the companies together we had to rationalize both products, and the other product was selected over the Invensys CRM package for the short term. We had to move the products that we'd developed in the Invensys system into this home-grown system. SearchCRM: What's been the most rewarding result of the CRM system so far? Roeller: I'd say the sales forecasting capability has been a real success for us. SearchCRM: Do you have any advice for companies that are considering a similar project? Roeller: My recommendation is to start out with some small aspect of the business and get a sense of what's involved from start to finish, and then tackle a bigger project. -------------------------------------------------- Linda Formichelli's writing appeared this year in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle, Psychology Today. Contact her at linda-eric@lserv.com, or check out her Web site: http://www.twowriters.net

This was first published in August 2001

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