Countrywide Healthcare is a privately-owned specialist supplier to the care sector with over 21 years’ experience supplying care homes all over the UK.
They have over 5000 customers and a reputation for knowing their customers well. They aim to deliver whatever is required when promised, safely and with the minimum of fuss saving both time and money.
The company pride themselves on stocking a wide range of products, extensive care market expertise, flexible delivery options and exceptional value for money.
Countrywide Healthcare has seen their growth double over the last four years and their vision is to become the natural choice for care providers across the UK.
“The sales team have bought in to sales-i because it’s not difficult to use and they see the benefits that it brings.”
Jeremy Gilson, Sales and Marketing Director for Countrywide Healthcare, takes up the story. “There are lots of challenges in the sector right now: pressures on care providers due to an increased living wage, challenges that come from poor local authority funding, additional costs due to new incoming regulations and challenges in attracting good quality care staff.”
Jeremy continues, ‘‘It’s a tough industry and we grow on the fact that people want to save money on their business. We can save them typically 15-20% on their non-food products, which is a big win for them.”
Jeremy and his business partner, Alastair Kitching, bought Countrywide Healthcare out 4 years ago and one of the first things they noticed was that the sales staff weren’t using their incumbent CRM. “They didn’t use it as they thought it was poor, so we needed a CRM that our sales team would fully get on board with and add data to otherwise there was no point having one at all.”
As well as adoption issues, there were other usage problems. “If someone in our sales team left, there was no visibility of what they had been doing with their customers, their pipeline or when was last time they spoke to someone. We just didn’t have visibility. This needed to change.”
In summer 2016, Jeremy decided it was time to make this change. “We first heard about sales-i through one of our suppliers who was using it, and they told us how effective it had been for them.
“Everyone who I know who use another well-established CRM seem to use it for a few years and move on but the companies that I know using sales-i are still using it years later, they don’t seem to change! This seemed a good sign.”
Indeed, sales-i sounded like a good fit for Countrywide Healthcare and by August 2016 the company was live with the software.
When asked what made them choose sales-i, Jeremy said, “I think the biggest reason was how easy it is for my sales team to use. Other CRMs had their benefits but, in my experience, are much harder to use and if it’s hard to use, people just won’t use it.”
Two years on and Jeremy has seen many benefits from using sales-i. “We’re still really happy with it, it’s doing exactly what we wanted it to do and we’re recording a lot of information with it.
“One of the things I love the most is the ability to very quickly look at trends of customers, whether good or bad. We now know, quickly, if a customer has stopped buying. We are fortunate to have a good customer retention rate as we have excellent customer service, but every now and again a customer may be tempted by a cheaper price or trialling someone new but with sales-i we are notified of this and so, can quash it straight away.
“Another benefit of sales-i is being able to analyse sales very quickly. I stopped for a coffee this morning on my way to a meeting. I had 5 minutes and in that time I looked at a pre-saved enquiry, who’s buying, who’s not, what products are up, and which are down.”
Jeremy was keen to stress that, “the big thing that’s so important, whatever you choose is that you need your sales team to buy in to it. The team have bought in to sales-i because it’s not difficult to use and they see the benefits that it brings.”
In fact, it really has become a sales tool that the team use every day to do their job. “It’s become a logical way of recording key customer information through the sales process and recording when the next part of the process is due and what they need to talk to the customer about.” Jeremy continued, “sales-i allows them to manage their customers and prospects meaning they don’t lose track of where they are in the sales process when they’ve got multiple accounts on the go at same time.”
Jeremy explained that the next plans for sales-i are to make use of the call spend summary feature. This will allow him to get information about what his sales team did last month as well as seeing how many calls someone is making and what subsequent spend has been.
As well as this, the team are looking at using Campaigns more. Jeremy has just recently set up a campaign to view the geographic hotspots of where prospects are located on Google Maps. “The plotting of where customers and prospects are is so useful. If I’m out and about who else can I pop in and see?”
When asked to sum up sales-i, Jeremy concluded, “sales-i is very intuitive, easy to use and does what we needed it to do.”