SMP Europe embeds sales-i across its internal and field-based sales operation and enjoys early success and take up.
SMPE focuses on two main product areas; engine management components and automotive air conditioning. The company sells its products into the OEM/OES markets and the independent automotive aftermarket and it thrives in what is a highly competitive industry by responding quickly to its customers and developing innovative products and tailored solutions to meet their changing needs.
"It's all in the details. We now have in-depth buying visibility, which we can narrow, by area, by brands and by customers."
It was the focus on customer service and responsiveness that sparked SMPE to embark on a project to arm its sales force with the latest in sales and customer intelligence technology.
Les Kershaw, SMPE’s UK Sales Manager explains, “We were using Sage to extract data and present it in a report which was unwieldy and not user friendly for the sales team, so we researched the market for integrated sales and customer intelligence systems and from a field of 3 potentials, we selected sales-i.”
Within weeks Les could see a transformation in the level of account buying visibility available to him and his sales people, information that could be quickly checked and acted upon to open new sales opportunities or identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. The team could now accurately look at what sales the business was making on key products and which products were being bought and which were not. This armed the team with actionable information to present to the customer.
Les explains, “It’s all in the detail. We can identify gaps and narrow it down to a few parts. We now have in-depth buying visibility, which we can narrow, by area, by brand and by customers. This real time information is so valuable to the business and to the sales people out in the field who are now empowered to look at the detail behind what they are selling.”
Suky Chahal is group finance director at SMPE and is delighted with the impact that sales-i is having on the business. “Before sales-i we had an operational system that was difficult to get information out of,” he says. “Now with sales-i, our sales people know exactly what they are selling and can identify if the spend mix changes, so they meet with the customer better prepared and have more profitable meetings.”
Suky and the team at SMPE are very aware of the growing importance of staying close to customers in what are increasingly difficult and competitive market conditions. Suky explains, “Customers cherry pick which products they order from which suppliers and that is a given. With sales-i we can keep close to this activity and improve our knowledge of their buying trends. More often than not the customer benefits from our knowledge and can take advantage of rebates and real cost savings, so it’s a win-win.”
From a management perspective Suky can’t speak highly enough of sales-i. “sales-i has taken pressure off the finance and marketing departments, as the sales team now have an efficient way of accessing relevant customer information themselves. The sales force has a new sales variance report that can help our customers focus on the needs of their businesses.”