North West Tools, one of the UK’s largest, independent retailers of power tools and accessories, selected sales-i to underpin its sales operation and provide up to the minute customer buying behavior to its office and field based sales force.
Wigan and Blackburn-based North West Tools was established in 1963 as Entwistle & Joynt. The company has grown to become a major retailer of power tools in the North West, acquiring two further hand and power tool outlets and today operates as wholesalers providing for major names such as SpeedyHire and City Electrical Factors.
We already knew the importance and value of sales intelligence and what it contributed to our business and to our knowledge of our customers.
The family-run company has always prided itself on customer service and quality, having investing some nine years back in a first-generation business intelligence (BI) system to deliver sales and customer buying visibility to its management team. Only when the business changed its back office ERP system to Merlin did they discover some incompatibility issues with the former BI system and so decided to look for alternatives. sales-i was introduced through a supplier contact and quickly became the system of choice for Sales Director, Iain Entwistle and his sales team.
Iain explains, “We already knew the importance and value of sales intelligence and what it contributed to our business and to our knowledge of our customers. A recession is a great leveller when it comes to making more out of fewer resources but this recession had hit harder than before and we knew the difference that having our customer buying behavior visibility to hand and in the field would mean to the business.”
Iain continues, “sales-i ticked all the boxes. It is very intuitive and easy to use which is essential if our sales people are to adopt it. We can instantly see which customers are down, who is buying which lines and who isn’t, sales this month versus last year, money owed, last products bought etc. Most importantly, this intelligence allows us to approach customer meetings fully prepared and able to respond to any downward spending trends.”
North West Tools is a growing business driving its turnover from £2.5 million to a target £8.5 million this year so sales intelligence is imperative to achieving this growth. “sales-i helps us plan and forecast and intelligently respond to any dips in product line sales or overall sales.
Its real success is that it belongs to the salesmen and this has contributed to positive adoption. Within a couple of weeks of seeing sales-i, the team is on board and positive about what it can contribute to helping increase their sales.
From a sales perspective, sales-i gives me complete, accurate customer sales and buying visibility that is up to date to close of business the day before. That is a first for us at North West Tools and sales-i has already made a positive contribution to our February sales which are 11% up on the same time last year. If we carry on at this rate we can expect a similar increase at the end of March.”
At North West Tools, Iain believes it is customer service and relationship management that are its key differentiators and sales-i is arming its sales team with accurate, timely information that allows them to demonstrate greater understanding and knowledge of the customers’ business. “Customers like to feel cherished and sales-i is helping us to do that. I single out its up to date information, ease of use and speed of accessing data as the real USPs for sales-i and we are looking forward to the continued growth that it delivers to our business.”
Paul Black is co-founder and CEO of sales-i and comments, “North West Tools is already ahead of the curve in knowing and valuing its customers. We are delighted to add another dimension to that customer service and sales awareness with sales-i and we are very positive about its continued contribution as the sales team extends sales-i across laptops and BlackBerries.” Paul continues, “Making sales-i the friend of the sales man so it belongs to him is a great move and will contribute enormously to its adoption and the sales value that it delivers individually and across the business.”