KeP's logistics business has expanded since 2004. As of 2012, the company's logistics business covers over 100,000 products across multiple industries. The number of B2B customers has increased to three digits and KeP dedicated in strengthening its relationship with their customers. To find new growth momentum in customer management, KeP started tackling the problems of the conventional work process, looking at every possible aspect including pattern of sales visits, reporting methods, follow-ups after promotions and marketing campaigns. The company found areas to improve, but it was still faced with a problem — it did not have a tool to fix the problem. KeP turned to Microsoft Dynamics CRM for a solution. And KeP launched a BI system implementation project when the CRM system had been implemented at a certain level. The CRM made the marketing and sales teams' work easier.
“Data analysis through Microsoft Dynamics CRM facilitates clearly defining target customers. When we prepare a sales event for hand tools with a gross profit ratio of 10% as a goal, it is possible to extract a target customer list by feeding the condition values such as areas with the profit ratio above the goal and customer base” Situation
-Jong-chul Choi, Assistant Director of the Logistics Business Division at KeP-
Korea e Platform (KeP)'s logistics business has expanded since 2004. As of 2012, the company's logistics business covers over 100,000 products across multiple industries, including motors, operation, cutting, measuring, soldering, safety, electric and household items. The number of B2B customers has increased to three digits and KeP dedicated in strengthening its relationship with their customers. Even with a stable foundation in the logistics business, KeP needed new momentum to achieve a double-digit annual growth. After numerous searches for new vigor to inject into the business, KeP saw that improving customer management is key. The company decided to look back at its ongoing relationships with customers since 2004, from finding sales opportunities to supporting aftersales activities, to find ways to improve.
To find new growth momentum in customer management, KeP started tackling the problems of the conventional work process, looking at every possible aspect including pattern of sales visits, reporting methods, follow-ups after promotions and marketing campaigns. The solution to the problems was simple. There was no integrated system that controlled and managed customer data collected by individual marketers. For this reason, customer data from individual marketers has not been used for targeting customers in an integrated way in terms of marketing and sales strategy. It reached a conclusion to fix this problem immediately.
In fact, what KeP had experienced was nothing new with other companies in the logistics industry. "Due to the nature of the logistics business, promotions and events must be held pretty much all year round. The main concern was that marketers had no data to clearly define target customers," said Jong-chul Choi, Assistant Director of the Logistics Business Division at KeP. "Detailed targeting is a must in order to connect a promotion to actual sales, which cannot be done by relying on a single piece of information. First, a list of targeted customers is needed to execute promotions; emails are sent out based on multi-directional information collected from customers, such as sales, profit rate, major purchasing items, receivables and credits. Then, visits to customers should be made as follow-up activities. However, in the absence of a collaborative planning tool like Dynamics CRM, it was not easy to systematize customer data," Choi added.
In fact, KeP did not have a systematic process or tools in place. The company used Excel files to manage basic customer information. Sales visits by marketers should have been instructed and supervised by the manager so that visits are made focusing on the customers with high sales. However, visits were made randomly; they were simply logged or reported orally. The marketers' capabilities were mainly evaluated in terms of sales goal achievement instead of their daily activities. In addition, various steps were required when using the ERP menu to search for more detailed information on how marketers generated sales through which customer, how much contribution a specific promotion or campaign made to a sales increase, etc. It was not easy to set a visit pattern that met the company's sales strategy under the goal of generating sales. Solution
The company found areas to improve, but it was still faced with a problem — it did not have a tool to fix the problem. KeP turned to CRM for a solution. A system optimized to record and analyze all customer information and related activities was required to align sales strategies with the pattern of sales visits under the common goal of "sales." CRM was a natural choice. After deciding to implement CRM, KeP deliberated between two options: using SaaS or introducing a CRM solution. "SaaS of Salesforce.com and Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM were in the running. The fact that Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be implemented by adding the desired features to a standardized CRM platform caught our attention, while there were limitations in SaaS in meeting our requirements as a B2B wholesale business," said Jong-chul Choi on the decision making process.
After deciding on the solution, KeP started implementing the system together with trueINFO, a certified Microsoft partner. KeP's requirements on customizing CRM involved the following three items: promotion and campaign, customer data and sales management, and service request. The Marketing menu has two sub-functions: promotion and marketing. These features enable one-stop-process on a single screen for emailing customers and scheduling follow-up visits when the marketing team conducts a campaign or event. With this feature, the cumbersome process, where the marketing team would email campaign information to customers and the sales team would call individual customers to confirm receipt and schedule a visit, was eliminated. trueINFO customized the system so that the marketing team can send the visit schedule for the target customers regarding the campaign to the sales team using the Service Calendar in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Through customization, the sales team can drag and drop each of the visit schedules received from the marketing team onto their own calendars and rearrange them according to their individual schedules.
Customer data and sales management was developed as a subfunction under the Sales menu. In the case of customer data, KeP was eager to save much more information in the system than the existing Excel files. To do this, KeP distributed the customer information form to the sales team and started entering the collected data into the CRM. "When you looked at the customer data before, you were only able to find brief information such as each customer's sales info and the products they carry. Now CRM separates general sales and campaign sales and allows us to record it in detail so we can segment our target customers for new product sales. For example, it previously showed cutting devices under the customer's products field; now we can specify the subcategories such as cutting drill, end mill, tap and band saw," said Jong-chul Choi.
The Service Request feature, which is under the Service menu, allows the sales representatives to view all information for a customer on their screen when the customer calls for a return or complaint and escalate to the person in charge of the issue by email. This feature was enabled to use the collected data as a basis to increase customer satisfaction, not merely to handle customer complaints one case at a time. "Before CRM, customer consulting was done manually, and priority was put on handling this in a timely manner. So, in most cases, details on customer complaints were not logged as records. What we focused on the most while developing the Service Request menu in CRM was to record and collect all objective and reliable data to help us figure out the types of complaints and products, and address the issues that our customers have," said Jong-chul Choi. Benefits
Customer Management Innovated Various customer data is also used to evaluate the customer levels, which are color-coded on the CRM Service Calendar with visit schedules. With the levels displayed on the visit schedule calendar, managers can even see at a glance the details that were not previously available. "An individual marketer of our sales team visits at least 10 customers, up to 20 a day. It's not easy for a manager to monitor and check this kind of hectic schedule, but this is a completely different story with CRM. The manager can see all team members' daily schedules and what type of customers they visit on a calendar and by looking at the colors. For instance, if a marketer frequently visits a particular customer with a bad credit history, the manager can raise questions, give instructions and supervise," said Jong-chul Choi. In addition, the manager can set more concrete sales goals and manage performance achievements by identifying customer trends as well as trend lines based on the sales goal set by a marketer before a sales visit and the expected sales after the visit.
Customer Management Intelligence Improved by Combining BI with CRM KeP launched a BI system implementation project when the CRM system had been implemented at a certain level. The goal of implementing a BI system was the same as that of CRM: to achieve sales growth based on reliable customer data analysis. The BI system development project was led by Kolon Benit, and the main challenge was to establish ties between the system and the CRM. The results of linking the CRM and BI were amazing. "Analysis of the data from the CRM makes defining target customers even more clear. When we prepare a sales event for hand tools with a gross profit ratio of 10% as a goal, it is possible to extract a target customer list by feeding the condition values such as areas with the profit ratio above the goal and customer base. Of course, it can also be done by downloading individual data and working with an Excel file, but considering the time and effort wasted on extracting the right data, the BI analysis makes it all worthwhile," said Jong-chul Choi.
Time Conducting Campaign Reduced
The CRM also made the marketing and sales teams' work easier. One of the direct benefits of CRM was reducing the time they had to spend on preparing promotions and campaigns. KeP holds 24 promotion campaigns a year, twice a month, as well as various events, an average of 30 times a month. This is a tiring work for the many teams involved. "Many processes were required when conducting a promotion or campaign, such as emailing the related information, confirming receipt and visit schedules. We estimate that the time required for promotions and campaigns has been reduced by over 30% since we introduced the CRM. Around 50% of the logistics business division at KeP is devoted to sales related tasks. Saving time spent on campaign related processes is a significant improvement in productivity at a company-wide level," said Jong-chul Choi.
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