Based in the heart of York, Miller Food Service has a strong reputation for excellent service and is highly regarded by the pubs, restaurants, hotels, cafés, coffee shops, leisure outlets, care homes and schools it serves.
With many customers using Miller Food Service as a one-stop shop, they offer free delivery up to six days a week to locations across North, East and West Yorkshire. Their enthusiastic team are on hand until 11pm every weekday to take next day orders and process online requests to ensure the smooth delivery of goods to their loyal customers.
“We’re owned by a larger company, Kitwave. We were one of the first food service businesses that they own to start using sales-i. Since then Kitwave has introduced sales-i into several other companies as well.” Vanessa Carter, Sales Manager at Miller Food Service.
"To look and see actually what customers were ordering day-to-day. We had to search each account’s individual orders. It was very complicated, very time-consuming.“
With so many product lines and short lead times from ordering to delivery, Vanessa told us that keeping track of each customer’s sales data was a very difficult task.
“Our brochure now contains three and a half thousand products or so. It’s a real cross-section of catering products. Many customers use this as a one-stop shop. And although we do have customers that us alongside other suppliers, many customers use us primarily for items from all our ranges.” Vanessa continued, “We were very reliant on out-of-date information from a monthly printout for each van run from Swords, our back office system, which could only be accessed by one person. It was really very, very outdated information. To look and see actually what customers were ordering day-to-day. We had to search each account’s individual orders. It was very complicated, very time-consuming.“
Vanessa and her team heard how sales-i integrates with existing systems, such as Swords, and serves up-to-date, actionable data to all users during a call with one of our sales team. The rest, she says, is history.
Now Miller Food Service’s seven field sales agents have all the data they need, easily to hand via their mobiles and tablets. Plus, a new six strong telesales department has access to customer records, buying behaviour and trends to support the efforts of field sales and provide the best service to their customers.
The solution is keeping data fresh from the field too as the sales team update their call information, notes, follow-up plan and insights by recording details straight to sales-i using the system’s efficient voice to text technology.
“When the reps come out of a call, they use their iPads or their phones and use voice recognition to record their calls as well as update their diary. This is good for me and Gareth, Managing Director of Miller Food Service, as we can look and see the week’s progress by rep, where they’ve visited and what things are being discussed in the calls.”
With sales-i in their business tool kit, Miller Food Service’s field sales agents are leveraging data insights and updating customer records every day.
Vanessa remarked on how sales-i is shaping her team’s business conversations, “It gives us up-to-date information. Plus, with tools like Sales V Gaps, which is fantastic, we can instantly look at what products have dropped off before we go into a call, check what they are buying and what they were buying a year ago.”
sales-i’s intuitive dashboard and data drilling has given Miller Food Service the access to insights they need to deliver outstanding service. Vanessa told us how sales-i is helping her tackle the common challenge faced in food service, which is a competitive and price led industry, “If I get called to a meeting at short notice I can look and see how much the customer’s spent, what they’ve been buying and what’s dropped off. So, anything that’s red we can say ‘oh, I’ve noticed you’ve not bought butter this month, are you still using butter or has a competitor quoted a cheaper price?’ So that is our priority – we can see where products have dropped off. We might lose that customer’s butter sales for a week or so but with sales-i we spot it and can get back in to see the customer and try to win that customer back. That feature has probably been the most helpful thing day-to-day.”
Vanessa added, “With sales-i, we have upgraded our in-house technology and responsiveness to match the services we already offer our customers. Now we have all the information we need, and it has made a massive difference.”
The decision to invest in business intelligence has proven to be of benefit to team and customers alike as many customers are interested to view their own buying behaviour. Vanessa continued, “Quite a few people use the Sales V Gaps reports to print off as customers often like to see them.”
“An example of this may be a manager who has three or four outlets and wants to see what the chefs have been buying as he isn’t on site daily. So, we can print the Sales V Gaps report and change it to the quantities instead of the value of items so he can see what’s been purchased. He might then say, ‘I don’t want them buying that product as it is too expensive’, and we can offer an alternative. That info can be relayed to our telesales team, so the whole team are up to date with the manager’s decision.”
Every one of the Miller Food Service team with access to sales-i are logging in on a regular basis but Vanessa was proud to mention a select few who have really embraced sales-i and have taken an active role within the company to share their knowledge and drive continued exploration of the system.
Although Vanessa admits that sales-i can offer so much data that she said, “It just takes a while to get your head around it!” As such, part of their ongoing plan is to carry out some refresher training sessions and develop the skills of her sales-i champions further.
Still, she knows first-hand that the training team and service team are always only a call away is she needs them.
“If we have an issue or need some guidance, sales-i are really helpful. Everything is responded to really quickly.”