With print and distribution centers worldwide, ViaTech Publishing Solutions Inc. provides a complete spectrum of publishing services. To track customers and sales, the company relied on multiple systems, including Sage ACT!, Microsoft Outlook, and spreadsheets. However, the systems lacked a standardized process and integration with the company’s enterprise resource planning system, hindering insight into sales. To unify its process for tracking and managing customer contacts and sales activities and to establish newfound business insight, ViaTech deployed Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Now, with a robust customer relationship management solution, the company has converted 30 percent more leads to customers, opened up faster access to customer information by 50 percent, and shortened the sales cycle by 40 percent.
||Because of the ease of implementing in the cloud and our ability to use the Outlook interface, which we preferred, we were able to get the adoption we needed faster than we could have done with any other system.
Chief Information Officer, ViaTech Publishing Solutions Inc.
Headquartered in Bay Shore, New York, ViaTech Publishing Solutions Inc.
provides publishing services for digital media, print, and content management. In business for more than 80 years, the company’s services have continually evolved to maintain a competitive edge. “We began as a custom manufacturer of binders and, through growth and acquisition, grew to the largest original manufacturer of document-binding and packaging solutions in the United States,” explains Michael Bertuch, Chief Executive Officer of ViaTech. “As we diversified the business, we established our market in the on-demand publishing of the content within binders and distribution of finished products.”
Bertuch adds that, “Today, we publish content in the form of print, bound, and electronic formats including e-books and DRM-protected files for e-readers.” ViaTech has 300 employees and more than 2,000 enterprise customers worldwide.
In supporting ViaTech’s business, technology has played a key role. For many years, the company has relied on an IBM AS/400–based solution as its enterprise resource planning (ERP) and order fulfillment system. But to track customers, the company’s sales staff relied on multiple tools. Although all sales staff used Microsoft Outlook to communicate with customers, they monitored customer information and account activities by using Sage ACT!, Microsoft Excel, or a combination of the two. Because staff used different tools, sales processes were inconsistent and customer information was not centralized or correlated to the purchase orders in the underlying ERP system. As a result, the insight of executive management and other decision makers into the customer base was limited to information attached to purchase orders.
In addition, ViaTech faced challenges in lead management, which was a cumbersome process that consisted of manually consolidating and distributing contacts out to the field. “We weren’t keeping tabs on prospects in our system. Given the global nature of our business, we needed the ability to share information on prospects broadly and in real time,” says Bertuch.
Reflecting on the company’s options at the time, Mike Palma, Chief Information Officer of ViaTech, says, “What we needed was a standardized customer relationship management system that would connect to our front-end and back-end systems. With such a system, we could track leads, customers, and customer orders throughout all stages of sales and publication and gain holistic insight into the business.”
In looking for a customer relationship management solution, management at ViaTech recognized that a subscription-based cloud service would fit the company best. "As part of our company strategy, we look at opportunities to outsource tasks that are not in our core competency, much in the same way that our customers come to us to fulfill certain aspects of their publishing needs,” says Palma. “Going with a customer relationship management solution that was available as a service fit that strategy perfectly, enabling us to avoid the need to manage the implementation, buy hardware, and support it. And most importantly, it enabled us to focus on our core business and make us more agile.”
||Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is really similar to the on-premises solution; because of that, we can still use the administrative tools to easily create new fields, forms, templates, workflow customizations, and queries.
Chief Information Officer, ViaTech Publishing Solutions Inc.
After narrowing its choices down to Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
, ViaTech chose to deploy the hosted customer relationship management solution from Microsoft. Says Palma, “The practicality of using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online through the Outlook interface was a key point for us. The price was also significant to us; it cost roughly $20 per user per month less than competitive systems. At the same time, we were also switching to Microsoft Exchange Online
, which has great interoperability with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and further eased adoption.”
To configure, customize, and integrate the solution to multiple systems, including the company’s ERP system, ViaTech called on the expertise of a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. With help from this technology provider, ViaTech was up and running with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online along with Exchange Online in only 90 days. “Because of the ease of implementing in the cloud and our ability to use the Outlook interface, which we preferred,, we were able to get the adoption we needed faster than we could have done with any other system,” says Palma. Currently, more than 80 employees at ViaTech use Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
Supporting the Sales Cycle
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in place, ViaTech has a single point of access for managing customer and sales information. Leads from the company’s website directly feed into Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, making the management and sharing of lead data a real-time activity. The value of data has also increased in sophistication through the integration of business information systems, such as Hoovers and ZoomInfo. With one platform for contacts, the company can disseminate contacts to the field automatically, a critical step when running email campaigns or other proactive marketing activities.
Today, with a sales team actively using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, every lead is routed quickly to the appropriate salesperson and tracked within the system through the conversion process.
Palma has found the flexibility of the solution impressive. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is really similar to the on-premises solution; because of that, we can still use the administrative tools to easily create new fields, forms, templates, workflow customizations, and queries,” he says. Most notable of the customizations is a quick-link feature that enables users to pull up automated reports from the company’s ERP system while in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
||Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online supports our need for clarity into the sales process and frees us to deliver innovative publishing solutions and maintain our competitive edge.
Chief Executive Officer, ViaTech Publishing Solutions Inc.
By using a centralized solution for managing customer contact and sales-related information, ViaTech has improved business insight. “We have full visibility into sales and can ensure that, as we go through the sales cycle, we are collaboratively acting to close business,” says Bertuch. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online supports our need for clarity into the sales process and frees us to deliver innovative publishing solutions and maintain our competitive edge.”
Convert 30 Percent More Leads to Customers
Once unable to analyze prospects in real time, ViaTech has a new window into business opportunities. “By using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, we are confident that our demand generation activities are capturing leads, and we are able to better manage them,” states Bertuch. “With greater transparency of our customer engagement process, we’ve seen a 30 percent increase in leads converting to sales.”
Speed Sales Cycle by 40 Percent
ViaTech has seen improvements to its sales cycle as well. Says Bertuch, “We have seen the team go through our sales process 40 percent faster. The benefit is evident in our ability to drive the right solution for the customer with streamlined, tracked internal communications.”
Enable 50 Percent Faster Access to Customer Information
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, ViaTech now has complete customer data readily available. Says Bertuch, “We’ve decreased the time it takes to access information by as much as 50 percent. That quick access lets our employees approach customers informed and prepared to work on what’s important to our business—custom publishing solutions that deliver value.”
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success.
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For more information about ViaTech Publishing Solutions Inc. products and services, call (800) 645-8558 or visit the website at: