CRM - A Changing of the Guard: Part 2
When Kliklok-Woodman International needed to implement a cohesive, integrated CRM tool with only a limited budget available, they chose salesforce.com.By Bruce McCracken
Kliklok-Woodman International LTD faced a dilemma of many specialized manufacturing firms in CRM deployment. It had contact management to a degree but no cohesive, integrated tools to fully harness and coordinate the contacts made by the sales reps. The other side of the coin was a lean budget for CRM, with limited infrastructure resources to meet the needs of a world-wide, globe-trotting marketing team.
Kliklok-Woodman employs 250 people worldwide and is a manufacturer of carton and bagging packaging machines largely serving the food industry in 64 countries. Kliklok-Woodman is the result of the two namesakes merging in July 2001. The parent firm, Kliklok-Woodman, is headquartered in Decatur, GA. Kliklok-Woodman International LTD, headquartered in Bristol, UK serves Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
The merger mandated the need to comprehensively share information on clients. With a global presence, there needed to be access from anywhere in the world. According to Bob Morley, business development director of Kliklok-Woodman International LTD, "We did not have CRM in place in the UK. Our major challenge in unlocking the synergies arising from the merger was that we were operating on separate customer and prospect databases from localized servers in the UK and US. In addition, we had no local access from our sales teams across the world."
Salesforce.com, founded in 1999 and headquartered in San Francisco, CA, provides a new breed of vendor and service provider. Salesforce.com is both an ASP and MSP, offering a real time hosted solution that is paid for on a subscription basis. Fees are as low as $995 a year for five users on the Team Edition, which is designed for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
The Professional Edition is designed for SMBs desiring integrated CRM applications for sales force automation, customer service/support, and marketing automation. There is also the Enterprise Edition for larger organizations with more complex needs. Salesforce.com packages are also scalable and customizable to meet the needs of the client.
Users need nothing more than a PC with browser and Internet access. There is no client software to install. The enterprise is thusly freed from additional hardware and IT expenses. Morley adds, "We are not an IT company, so ease of implementation and use was a major plus."
Online demos and a thirty-day trial option are offered to try before you buy. The packages come with basic 24/7 support accessible on-line or by phone, plus free on line training and tutorials.
Morley adds that, "The Web-based training was so useful. It was everything that we wanted. Many people just switched over without any training at all. You can find your way around quite easily. The telephone support is very good. I was very impressed at the speed with which problems were solved."
Getting salesforce.com up and running took about a week and the merging of pre-existing data was simple, according to Morley. "The previously existing customer data was in Microsoft Outlook. We were able to just transfer the data to our colleagues in the states and it was sent up to salesforce.com. We now have a shared data base that is very synergistic."
The anywhere, any time accessibility is of tremendous value according to Morley. "The international sales team is all over the world and the beauty of a Web-based system is that they can just go to their hotel room and update their inquiries as long as they have access. At a trade show, they can log on straight away to make an inquiry while they are sitting with a customer. It is a tremendous benefit. We have tailor made our opportunity input system so that the drop down menus of the compulsory fields prompt the salesperson to ask the right questions."
Morley explains that management now has a global view of their business. "The reports that we generate give the director of the business a snapshot view of performance and forecasting. It is a whole goldmine of information. We can discover which territories are most active and where we need to be more proactive."
Real time universal communication harnesses the marketing efforts for Morley. "There is a tremendous difference in our ability now to share information with knowledge of what our colleagues are doing. It keeps us one step ahead of our competitors. We might notice that a company uses our machines in the States and approach their branch in the UK to explain how our machines might benefit them. We can now do a search on what has been going on with that company. It is a way to impress our clients with our knowledge of their plants."
Aberdeen concludes that, "Salesforce.com knows that it can deliver great value to a broad cross-section of the market by delivering 80 percent to 90 percent of the solution that conventional vendors offer if it can also make the solution available almost immediately - months ahead of its competition - and a very attractive price, thanks to its hosted model."
Denis Pombriant, vice president, CRM managing director of the Aberdeen Group of Boston, adds, "Salesforce.com has a great approach and a solid product and support plan to be sure. Salesforce.com does not allow for custom code. Siebel's new architecture is much more like salesforce.com in that many customers are reporting being able to reduce their custom code from many thousands of lines to a few hundred."
Salesforce.com grew 300 percent in 2001 in a market screaming for affordable functional CRM solutions that can be quickly and efficiently deployed with minimal complications. The figures below from Aberdeen reflect this hot market on into the future.
Table 5: ASP Market Segment Year-to-Year Growth Rates 2001 - 2005
|Education and Training||49.8%||46.6%||56%||60.1%|
|Financial and Accounting||55.5%||47.3%||59.9%||64.2%|
|Growth rates start with 2002 because 2001 is the first year of the period analysed.|
|Source: Aberdeen Group, July 2002.|
Pombriant concludes that salesforce.com has influenced the future. "Give credit to salesforce.com and their innovative approach to the market, but take nothing away from Siebel, PeopleSoft, Oracle, and SAP. On balance, it is to companies like these with a lot on the line and the capital resources to change things that we should look for further refinements in the licensed software paradigm."
In March 2002 Aberdeen reported salesforce.com as having 3,800 customers. As of this writing, that number exceeds 5,000. That many people can't be wrong and the hosted ASP model is what is right with CRM for the SMB. If you choose the right track, it is not the wrong train.
Go back to: CRM - A Changing of the Guard: Part 1
Bruce McCracken is a business writer with specialization in outsourcing. His coverage areas are primarily in IT, eCommerce, CRM, HR, and supply chain/distribution with focus on small to mid-sized companies. His work, useful links, and commentaries with guests may be seen at www.brucemccracken.com. He may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.