California, United States
Increase in email open rates
Increase in revenue
Increase in sales activities
Don’t you just love those branded goodies that businesses give away at events? But where do those come from? Well, firms like Evans Manufacturing shoulder this responsibility to please you and help brands leave a memorable impression.
Despite the pandemic, Evans Manufacturing is pushing ahead – building even stronger relationships with their clients, retaining existing businesses, and generating interest among others, thanks to Freshworks CRM.
Short answer: “Design. Make. Promote.” To be honest, that’s their motto – one that perfectly summarizes what Evans Manufacturing does.
Founded in 1994, the personalized promotional products’ creator helps businesses across various industries.
As amazing as all this sounds, there are a lot of complex operations at the heart of all this involving a wide chain of distributors, suppliers, and customers. Such complexity puts the company’s scalability and adaptability to test.
Top that up with the growing number of players in their field and Evans Manufacturing had a serious challenge at their hands.
Luckily, they quickly realized that relation-based selling was the right way of moving forward.
Evans Manufacturing had a pretty focused aim for the CRM they were looking for.
Their distribution model meant there was no direct selling with the deal being proposed through multiple distributors before it was presented to the end-user. “We have large distribution entities and offices, and reps in each office. Each rep has dozens and sometimes hundreds of clients. So we wanted to have that nested loop well drawn out and organized. We wanted to capture that data,” highlights Greg Armstrong, the VP of Sales.
Now, all this and more isn’t possible with an Excel sheet, of course. In fact, Armstrong describes their Excel-based customer relationship management experience as a “horribly manual process.”
Four other challenges stuck out like a sore thumb:
Fragmented data with each sales rep having client and distributor information scattered across apps – requiring tons of app switching.
No single customer view, which meant data-driven conversations were based on manually sorting customer hierarchy (distributor and distributors’ clients), which resulted in reduced personalization.
Impersonal customer engagement. Without access to the right data, the marketing team wasn’t able to segment the email list based on specific criteria. Naturally, this impacted the personalization throughout the customer lifecycle demands. It also took a toll on the relevancy of marketing campaigns.
Less opportunities for businesses largely due to limited context from the marketing team. The sales team ended up with reactive selling – selling only when a distributor requested for a sample on behalf of their customer. The result? Fewer contracts. Plus, the lack of opportunities to cross-sell and upsell.
Besides, Armstrong mentioned, “CRMs are not used much [in our industry] although they should be given the nature of what we do.” Their users, therefore, had little to no experience using CRM software, which meant that the team had to look for software that was easy to use.
Not to forget, pricing was a deciding factor too.
Evans had evaluated popular CRM solutions in the market but neither met all their expectations, Freshworks CRM was a clear winner for Evans.
In short, the “simplicity and power of the tool took us.” Pricing, ease of use, and quick implementation were other factors.
“The solution must exceed end-user expectations, quick implementation, in-house customization, responsive customer support, easy on budget and most important solution needs to work for company and not vice-versa.”
Let’s dig into the details:
To begin with, Armstrong shared that several of their people had little to no experience using a CRM. With Freshworks CRM, implementation took about 3 weeks only.
And ease of use?
It was “great,” in Armstrong’s words, who recalls: “We spent a few months getting users acquainted with the system. We offered the users the freedom to ‘break the system’, as opposed to the typical habit of caution over confidence in clicking or exploring something unknown.”
Next up, Freshworks CRM offered a centralized home for all the customer data to Evans Manufacturing. Not only did that allow organizing data and making it accessible to all the teams, it streamlined activities such as quoting and researching. Ultimately, the team was able to quit switching between apps and had a clear distributor-client hierarchy.
Lastly, in contrast with other leading CRM software, Freshworks CRM turned out budget-friendly too.
With Freshworks CRM, the sales activity over at this promotional goodie maker increased by a whopping 225% between the end of January 2020 to the end of August 2020.
And the revenue went up by 9% in January as compared with 2019 – a great start to the year and an even better journey with revenue increasing by 23% in Feb until COVID hit the market in March.
Even with the pandemic taking over the market, Evans Manufacturing was able to adapt quickly and in a short time – retained clients and secured new ones too. In the light of these events and staff restructuring, Evans Manufacturing started building prospect engagement activities with the help of Freshworks CRM.
“This new way of engaging clients tends to be faster, more personalized, relevant, and very specific.” Explains Armstrong.
“Freshworks CRM is allowing us to keep going with limited resources, given the shifting environment. It’s an asset.”
For instance, they are now able to extract “end-user data with a limited team [which] helps us pivot and adapt based on the resource.”
Here’s how the magic unfolded:
As soon as Freshworks CRM was implemented, the sales team was encouraged to enter customer information.
The best part?
The mobile app made curating client information all the more convenient.
But, despite complying with gathering data, the sales reps’ interest in logging in all the end-user info round the (work) clock spiked as they started noticing the benefits of extracting info on the spot while engaging with distributors.
Moreover, this gathered information served as a reference bank for future engagements, which helped them develop customer behavior patterns for personalized selling.
In short, Armstrong notes, Freshworks CRM “allows us to better support clients in the selling process.”
Before centralizing all the customer hierarchy, the sales team was dependent on a distributor opening a tender for their client. Things took a turn when reps could extract personalized info from the gathered data.
For example, Armstrong elaborates, “distributor company XYZ has a distributor rep, John Smith, who has A,B & C clients. We can create [sales] activities around A, B & C with speculative samples. So we know they’re working with A, B & C that belong to particular industries. We do virtual speculative samples and capture it as an activity.”
By having all the required info on a distributor’s clients, Evans Manufacturing has become proactive about coming up with sample product ideas themselves.
“We can pull the required information from Freshworks CRM and have a virtual sample done before they even ask for it and say, “hey, by the way, I know you work with this account. I went ahead and took the liberty of putting their logo on this product. What do you think?” This immediately impresses them”
See what’s happening here? It’s active selling based on personalization at its best.
Prior to using Freshworks CRM, email campaigns at Evans Manufacturing had open rates in the low teens, and “we couldn’t even track CTRs,” shares Armstrong.
Post-Freshworks CRM, open rates increased by 2-3 times and the team can track their CTRs easily.
Their current sales cycle is segmented to generate a pipeline of quotes with the following steps:
1. The initiation of the new quote
2. Three-step follow up
3. Landed and closed
4. Rationale/reasons for winning or losing bids
With the automation that Freshworks CRM offers, the sales process pipeline sped up. It was also easier to track progress than before when things were manual.
“Currently, it’s just click, drag, move. It’s amazing and makes it very, very easy to navigate and follow up on.”
Before Freshworks CRM, all the marketing team at Evans Manufacturing had “was a massive email list” with zero segmentation.
Armstrong recounts: “We’d send out intermittent email blasts. We didn’t have features to monitor CTRs. We were checking open rates but we weren’t following up because we couldn’t align the opens with specific accounts.”
With Freshworks CRM on the scene, the team had the right features to track CTRs, plan a proper email marketing campaign, and segment their list too. Moreover, “now we have quantifiable data that we’ve never seen before,” Armstrong points out.
“The info got a little more into pattern and we started identifying dates and times to send out campaigns. We also explored doing A/B testing in terms of different formats that help become more targeted as we narrow the focus.”
All this helped marketers with the team engage their audience better and, subsequently, build themselves as the go-to business in their eyes.
More importantly, all the work that they can do now with Freshworks CRM keeps Evans Manufacturing front and center of their prospects’ minds – all due to their consistency in email marketing.
All this isn’t even the best bit yet because segmenting their email list enabled Evans Manufacturing to knock it out of the park. A segmented email list meant they could be relevant to their prospects.
Picture the difference yourself: “Previously, we’d send out a mail to the database of say, 60k. But only 5k were relevant for this product. But now, we might know that a particular distributor has an account in the education field. And we start collecting the data of all the distributors who have clients in education.
Now, it allows us to be very specific and relevant to anybody. As our database builds and our information capturing continues to grow, we can be much more targeted, relevant and our click rates are going to go up accordingly.”
Put simply, Evans Manufacturing was able to send target emails that were specific to their prospects’ interest.
Talk about being precise!
With all of the distributor and their customer information in hand, Evans manufacturing has been able to target the right industries, tailor their messaging and create products for specific businesses, even before their customers ask for it.
“That’s business intelligence at its finest. And that’s what Freshworks CRM allows us to do.”
Moving forward, Evans Manufacturing will continue doing so. They’ll work on improving engagement with their distributors and clients too. With Freshworks CRM by their side, the team will empower their sales reps to focus on selling than on entering data and managing it manually.
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