Don’t be dogmatic about processes, advises Digital Mobile’s chief operating officer, Justin Lobb.
The Vodafone reseller has just rolled out Salesforce.com’s SFA (sales force automation) for its CRM functions, claiming huge productivity gains for the software-as-a-service (SaaS) project.
Digital Mobile employs 600 staff across 60 locations and previously used Excel spreadsheets to help prepare sales reports. But, says Lobb, this method gave inconsistent sales reports and was unable to provide historical information. The system was also time-consuming when it came to preparing sales reports for Vodafone.
“We spent too much on compliance rather than getting sales,” he says.
Last year, Digital Mobile went looking for a fully-integrated application that would integrate CRM functionality through Windows. Microsoft CRM was the first choice.
However, explains Lobb, the quote obtained through a Microsoft reseller was too expensive, requiring work on existing infrastructure and taking eight to 10 months to implement.
The company then looked at Salesforce.com and began evaluating it alongside Microsoft, noting a Microsoft implementation would have meant everyone had to be on the same domain or with access to Digital Mobile’s domain to deliver a solution.
As a SaaS solution, the hosted Salesforce.com product also did not require everyone to be on the same VPN. With Digital Mobile using franchisees; using just an internet browser, to access and deliver data, was simpler and easier.
“We also did not have to change our infrastructure. Our IT department was not involved in the roll-out,” Lobb continues.
Digital Mobile used a sales staffer and a business analyst, who then trained company staff to handle the new system, which was modified slightly to fit the company’s operations.
Development started in February 2007, with the roll-out the following July.
Since then, the sales team is securing four times as many sales leads, reporting complexity is reduced, sales targets are more easily tracked and the sales team is more motivated, Lobb says.
Initially Salesforce SFA was just used for B2B sales activities, but has since been extended nationally into retail stores and now includes a “proposal generator” function. A customer portal, due for launch in April, will allow customers to change their details and manage their mobile phone operations online.
Lobb says the SaaS system has been well-received by staff, who are unconcerned their data is hosted externally. They also like the fact they can easily use the system while on the road or working from home.
While installation presented no challenges, licensing for the hosted system does, as Salesforce.com has many different pricing mechanisms. Rates also differ for internal partners or franchisees and newer versions of the system may lose functionality.
One success factor was analysing processes, he says. Digital Mobile spent $20,000 reviewing these