Michael Crane, MD of Crane Business Solutions, gives us the lowdown about why our sales performance software was their first choice by using tactics employed by England’s Rugby World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward.
Michael Crane, MD of office supplies provider Crane Business Solutions, adopted sales-i’s unique sales performance software in mid-2009 – and he feels that the system has revolutionized the way his salespeople work, saying: “Technology wins every time!”
Having grown up with six sisters and three brothers, Michael Crane’s sense of competition is intense (it had to be, if he were to defend his meals). This stood him in good stead for the future: Michael set up the company in 2002 with little experience of the office supplies industry – and he has built it up over the years to become one of the best in the business.
"One of the biggest benefits of the sales-i system is that it allows Crane’s salespeople to work with up to 200 clients at a time. With their old pen-and-paper process only enabling them to work with around 50 accounts at once, the sales-i software has increased Crane’s pipeline four-fold."
Based in London, the company is a single source provider for all business supply needs, from traditional office supplies and corporate gifts, through print and design, right up to office interiors. With more than 20,000 products, 3,000 clients and around 16,000 prospects, Crane’s team has an awful lot of information to manage.
And before sales-i changed their working lives, Crane’s sales team was ‘old-school’. The traditional little black book was jealously guarded, and pen and paper were their weapons of choice. Crane wanted to bring their sales teams into the modern era.
Michael realized that things had to move forwards, so he adopted the tactics used by Rugby World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward: those who embrace new technology and use it wisely are the ones who become winners.
The coach provided each player with a laptop and gave them access to the data gathered on their performance. This feedback, reviewed after each game, helped the team to learn where they were going wrong, and improve their game for next time. Michael Crane was inspired by this idea, and went on the hunt for a suitable tool to enable his sales team to become winners…
Crane Business Solutions prides itself on keeping up with change, bringing the latest solutions and technologies to a changing world. So it made sense for them to adopt the latest technology themselves to make their business work harder.
sales-i’s unique sales software pulls together sales teams, customer knowledge and figures. By monitoring customer behavior and purchasing trends, the software analyzes when, why, where and how businesses buy their products and services, delivering the results to Crane’s sales people. The team then takes advantage of targeted, high-quality opportunities, building customer relationships and increasing sales in target areas.
The management team was impressed with sales-i’s demonstration, and quickly decided to adopt the technology. When it was introduced, overnight, it enabled Crane’s salespeople to access information on products, clients and prospective clients at the touch of a button.
Sales people don’t tend to go back to a prospect more than once, and Crane Business Solutions’ old paper-based system didn’t help them to do so. sales-i’s software manages the whole process very well, providing encouragement and incentives for the team to keep in contact with all their prospective and current clients. The team now has a plan for each contact: they know exactly who they are calling and why.
Gone are the days of phoning a client speculatively on the off-chance that they may be interested in a product or service; sales-i’s software allows professional salesmen to access a contact’s detailed information, including previous purchases and enquiries, and encourages them to call with a specific goal in mind.
“Wouldn’t it be great if we all worked like that?”
Now with around 30 employees, Crane has recently expanded its business, opening another office on the Kent coast. sales-i’s technology was implemented in the new premises from day one.
Michael said: “It’s great, because the introduction of the software right at the start means that you’re working from a clean desk. There’s no hunting around for folders or files – all the information we need is easily accessible from sales-i’s servers, from anywhere in the world.”
One of the biggest benefits of the sales-i system is that it allows Crane’s salespeople to work with up to 200 clients at a time. With their old pen-and-paper process only enabling them to work with around 50 accounts at once, the sales-i software has increased Crane’s pipeline four-fold.
The only challenge has been to convince the people using the system that it’s a good thing: many are wary of change, and technology like this is relatively new, so some think of it as “big brother”. But as Michael says, once employees have seen it working to its full potential, they realize that it’s a great tool which helps them to hit – and exceed – their targets. Crane is confident that sales-i’s software is helping them to turn prospective clients into active customers – and it’s making it easy to follow this process at every step. And added to that, it’s not a major expense and the software is extremely user-friendly.
As Michael says: “Just flick a switch, and away you go. It does exactly what it says on the tin.”
Reassuringly, the developers at sales-i are never satisfied with the software’s performance – they are constantly reviewing and updating it, ensuring that it enables their clients to keep up with changes in technology, as well as changes in the way business is conducted.
The management team at Crane Business Solutions is still discovering what a powerful tool sales-i is, and they’re confident that it has opened up a path to bigger and better things.
After all, why stop at a second office?
Michael has the last word: “In a nutshell, sales-i has tapped into today’s instant society. I want all the information about my customers and their habits right now, at my fingertips and sales-i meets these requirements fully.”