Wilson’s Business Solutions isn’t just a thriving stationery and business supply company in Ontario, Canada. Its history is as rich and deep as the Wabigoon gold mines that attracted the area’s first settlers.
In 1940, the Wilson family purchased the historic Wabigoon Star newspaper (Est. 1897) and gradually expanded their family business offering to include furniture, stationery and office equipment.
From 6 staff members, Wilson’s Business Solutions now employs over 90 Team Members in 7 locations, across two provinces in Canada.
Just as they did in 1940, the team at Wilson’s pride themselves on their mantra “Service Built Us” as they strive to work hard to earn each customer’s business.
“A compelling reason for us to look seriously at switching to sales-i was their robust mobile app; a user-friendly tool that gives our sales team and team leaders the ability to push requests, images, and action plans for a customer out to the rest of the team on the spot.”
When the team at sales-i first spoke to Sheila Wilson, she explained how Wilson’s had been using Acsellerate since 2010 but they were struggling to get the data insights they needed.
“Our three biggest reasons for looking for a new system were: drilling and reporting customization, quicker and easier use of the system, and the potential for future integration with marketing automation software.”
She also had concerns about how effectively the existing system was integrating with their highly-complex back office system, Silk . “Our current back office system relies on hundreds of territory, product, discount, and category codes that require either a strong memory or a reference book to interpret.”
With such a complicated catalog and extensive range of products and services, Sheila felt that the team needed a much more detailed view of their accounts. “With Acsellerate, we were only able to break down our product by product category (of which we have 8), not the 265 product subcategories we actually use internally.”
One of the challenges facing Wilson’s was the large geographic area that the company serves. “Our team is in the field in remote areas.” Sheila explained, “Although Acsellerate had mobile access to their website, it required an online connection and data had to be drilled live, not ideal for remote locations.”
sales-i offered Wilson’s the chance to drill deeper into their back-office data, faster and with customizable options that opened up a new way of working for the whole team.
“The filters in Acsellerate were cumbersome, only available in separate screens using a drop-down selection tool and required 5-10 clicks to apply a single filter.” Shelia continued: “Being able to see all my filter options right in front of me in sales-i makes it easier to craft a meaningful report.”
The volume of complex data in the back-office system was slowing down analysis, even for the most experienced users. Thanks to the in-house expertise of the sales-i data team, Wilson’s data is now more accessible and quicker to understand within the sales-i dashboard.
sales-i offered Wilson’s a solution to deciphering much of their data into insights that were actionable for their employees. But it also delivered insights beyond their initial expectations. “In the mapping process, we realized that we could customize our Customer, Product, and Transactional data filters to yield information in ways we had not anticipated. The filtering capabilities of sales-i are very malleable.”
With seven locations and differing levels of employee seniority, Wilson’s were also looking for a system that could tier data access. “Our company has six departments and 7 locations. With sales-i, we’re able to customize access on a user-by-user basis to relevant content that each salesperson should be focused on.”
“The customization in the mapping process with the sales-i team was terrific. Our company’s back-end software system hadn’t been used by any previous sales-i customer, but they worked with us to ensure our information was complete and correct.
The team at Wilson’s didn’t have long to wait to see the positive impact of sales-i in their day-to-day business interactions. “I couldn’t believe how quickly we were able to use the generated data, when I thought the process would take much longer.”
“Reporting dates are customizable with sales-i, whereas with Acsellerate there were more limitations to the reporting windows where many reports offered only a handful of options. These reporting restrictions in Acsellerate created a barrier to pulling the information we were looking for when reviewing the impact of a customer’s shifting buying patterns.”
Now, with sales-i delivering analysis of data in granular detail, Sheila and her teams can quickly see changes in customer behavior. “We’re able to monitor the trends of specific product growth categories in our industry in real-time!”
Capturing and securing valuable soft data had previously been a challenge for Wilson’s, with the risk of information being lost when employees moved on from the company. “With sales-i we now have the ability to create and format our own customized forms for our salespeople so that we can take the relational soft data in our salespeople’s heads and generate that into information into not only a thread of qualitative data in the form of note entries, but also quantitative data which allows us to view and filter customers by industry, role, or any other criteria that we feel is meaningful to us in order to understand and connect to our customers more intelligently.”
Sheila shared that she has been impressed at every stage with the sales- team, the product and what sales-i can do with their data and how this can streamline their business processes. “The sales-i team really listened to how we needed to use our reports and helped us achieve our vision. Now we have live, multi-dimensional statistics and are no longer relying on financials that are released to our Leadership Team weeks (or sometimes months) after the data is most relevant to our salespeople and sales managers.”
With the sales-i app, the team out in the field have an uninterrupted experience when accessing the data they need to deliver outstanding customer service. As Sheila explained, “A compelling reason for us to look seriously at switching to sales-i was their robust mobile app; a user-friendly tool that gives our sales team and team leaders the ability to push requests, images, and action plans for a customer out to the rest of the team on the spot. Now we can now load data in advance on devices, and use it offline—or, conversely, to input data offline that goes live when you once again have reception.”
Planning for long-term growth, Sheila had known from the start that further software integration would be required to stay relevant in the office supplies industry. “Online retailers and service providers are moving more and more to digital marketing and away from print marketing. Customized marketing automation is the future of sending relevant and targeted information and promotions to those customers to whom the content will be meaningful and valuable. Because of sales-i’s customizable CRM platform, it integrates well with automated marketing software—by partnering the two tools together, we can ensure that we are unlikely to send customers emails with content that may be perceived as irrelevant, and we are able to demonstrate that our marketing is pertinent, customer-focused, and adds value!”
Sheila has been overjoyed by the speed and simplicity of sales-i implementation with her team: “I have been totally blown away by the attention, assistance, and customer service we’ve gotten from sales-i along the way. I would recommend sales-i to anyone as an essential tool.” Furthermore, she has been genuinely but pleasantly surprised how the whole team at sales-i work to serve Wilson’s: “The level of care and support from sales-i throughout the entire process has felt as if the development and training team was invested in our success, which is rare to find.
Our team’s sales-i literacy has come so far so fast. The live training has been so helpful to ensure process adoption and has demonstrated great value to our salespeople.”