In their 30th year, Abracs continues to deliver the UK’s most extensive cross-section of abrasive products to all industrial markets.
Abracs deliver expert manufacture and service of abrasive products to the UK market from their Head Office in York, in the beautiful north of England. From here their 25 full-time, including 17 sales specialists, operate their internal sales team and comprehensive stock facility, priding themselves on maintaining a consistent 99% stock availability on their entire range.
Their 17 strong sales team is made up of external area managers who each work alongside an internal counterpart to serve specific territories based across the UK. Through their sales and service team, Abracs strive to deliver exceptional levels of expertise and guidance needed by their customers across each of the 1300 SKUs that they offer.
"The industry we work in demands a lot of product knowledge. Our main challenge was creating fluid communication and knowledge sharing between internal and external staff.”
With so many SKUs and a wealth of product knowledge across a large sales team, Abracs needed a quick and simple way to collate and communicate all of the data to better inform the whole team.
Gareth Waters, Operations Manager explained the challenges at Abracs: “The industry we work in demands a lot of product knowledge. Our main challenge was creating fluid communication and knowledge sharing between internal and external staff.” He continued: “The large and diverse customer base Abracs serves also created the need for easy time-management and territory control.”
In addition to an integrated way to schedule sales calls with sales and product knowledge, Abracs were failing to proactively identify sales leakage and opportunities.
“Almost all of our reporting was achieved using the standard Office applications such as Excel and Word. Information was shared in retrospect rather than immediately. This creates problems in a company that relies on up to the minute information.” Gareth added: “We found it almost impossible to see exactly what and when our customers were buying from us. This left us blind in terms of discovering opportunities.”
“Things such as special deals and quotes were taking too long to find their way to the right people and costly outcomes such as credits or lost opportunities were too frequent. The main impact it was having was that information did not flow freely between departments and the time spent to communicate regularly was too long. In addition, not knowing who to target with specific marketing made each campaign we ran much more time consuming and less effective. “
With their sluggish reporting damaging Abracs agility to respond to the needs of their customers, Abracs knew they had to find a way to cut through the data to gain valuable and actionable insights. Abracs contacted sales-i.
After being highly recommended to them by a customer, Abracs contacted the team at sales-i and have never looked back.
Gareth Waters, Operations Manager at Abracs explained why sales-i ticked all the boxes: “We chose sales-i due to its easy navigation and clear functionality. Its online accessibility remotely was also an important factor.” He continued: “We looked at several platforms but this one was the cleanest and easiest to use.”
Gareth was quick to praise the ease of drilling into data with simple reporting in sales-i: “We wanted something that would do the number crunching for us and help us highlight areas of opportunity quickly.”
The team at Abracs wasted no time in leveraging the newfound insights sales-i enabled.
“sales-i quickly provided all of the information we derived from “old school” reporting within a fraction of the time. This immediately gave us a return on investment that made the switch worthwhile. Financial information takes literally seconds to deliver rather than potentially hours. The team saves at least 2-4hrs a week, per user, thanks to sales-i.”
Specifically, Gareth was keen to highlight the way that sales-i shed light on not just opportunities but also the threats to their current business. “We were able to see parts of the company’s performance that we couldn’t before. For example, sales-i’s variance reports gave us a new way of seeing where we can save money by reducing the amount of business we were losing. Quickly seeing when customers are dropping in spend has given us a new way to prevent sales leakage.”
“With sales-i, the level of detail in which we can see each account has increased dramatically. To be able to see where a customer is spending and also, more importantly, where they are not spending, has paid dividends.”
On a company-wide level sales-i has enabled Abracs to establish a healthy flow of knowledge and a simple, transparent way to manage their diaries. Gareth told us: “Our time can now be managed much more effectively and all activity can be seen by all staff at any time. This created a lot more fluidity between departments and allowed information sharing to flow much more easily.” He added: “We can now not only see areas of the business that need development and areas that are doing well, but we can also now see why this is happening.”
As the information within the sales-i system continues to grow, Abracs are looking forward to analyzing it in new and exciting ways to grow and improve the way the company works.
Particular features in sales-i that Gareth is keen to see long term results from include:
Enquiries – “Enquiries gives me multiple ways of finding opportunities and I am using the Sales vs Gaps feature daily. This provides me with an idea of where the turnover has come from historically and also where it has (or hasn’t) happened in the present. It gives me an idea of what to expect and also a list of people to call should the expected orders not come in.”
Snapshot reports – “These are a good tool for the external sales managers to use when reviewing larger accounts. To be able to present customers with a full report, not only looks professional but also creates talking points for opportunities.
Variance reports – “These are very popular with me due to the fact that you can see how the company is performing by comparing any dates and any data you wish. To see which companies are up or down year on year is very useful. You can then drill down into each company and see what products are up/down. A lot of times when you check a dropping account, it is down to one product. This can be an easy phone call and winning the business back on even a fraction of these is very valuable.”
Gareth was keen to highlight that the ways fields can be adapted and data can be extracted from sales-i has also created insights Abracs would otherwise have missed. “Data exports are used a lot. I have created several additional data fields within my sales-i, for example, “current main supplier”. This gives me the ability to see who else my accounts buy from. If any news of interest comes out about a competitor, then within seconds I can provide my sales team with a “hit list” of accounts to call.”