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CUSTOMER: Fierst Distributing

WHAT WE DID: Implemented CRM

SITE LINK: fierstdistributing.com

It's All About the Information

Founded in 1949, Fierst Distributing Company is a wholesale floor covering distributor headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. They serve contractors, dealers, designers, and architects in Western and Central Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Eastern Ohio, Western New York and Western Maryland. Fierst has been a Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) customer since 2013. Their sales team started using the CRM (customer relationship management) solution about four years after implementing the KCS ERP system. Before using the CRM, their sales team had a ‘cobbled together homemade’ system that was not easy to use. It was challenging to see the sales pipeline, and there was no integration with the ERP system.

CRM tools were designed to help businesses maintain relationships with new and existing customers. When customer data is captured and updated centrally, you are able to access the latest information to maximize sales opportunities. Sales force automation through the CRM system has helped Fierst pursue more sales opportunities, respond faster, and understand when or why a sale was lost. With the CRM tool, everyone on the sales team is empowered to view all opportunities so they can focus on selling more products. Being able to view all records helps to know when a deal is won or lost.  Prior to implementing the CRM tool, it was difficult to see or track the commercial pipeline. “With good data being input you can track your pipeline which is important for budgeting and future expenditures,” said Jim Tasillo, Fierst Distribution Company, EVP and General Manager.

The CRM has made the sales reps jobs easier and more effective. They win more business and know when a deal is lost, so they don’t waste any additional time which was a big problem in the past. “Getting the sales team to use the tacked together system we had before was always a battle from a management point of view,” said Tasillo. “With CRM, it’s intuitive and easy to use. The team was comfortable using it from day one.” Understanding the data helps the team focus their time on projects related to particular customers. The CRM allows data to be sorted easily, so the team knows what opportunities exist with each customer. Therefore the team becomes more efficient.

Fierst has experienced an increase in productivity through the use of CRM. They assign estimated values to each project and are able to sort within the CRM to focus on the projects with the highest value. Not only do they focus on the highest valued opportunities they are able to stay in touch with customers enabling them to jump on a need as it arises. Using their old system opportunities would have been missed, and projects would have gone to a competitor simply because there was no way to track the information.

Another benefit to using a CRM is the ability to gather information all in one place. A CRM allows you to add notes, see quotes, share industry related articles and view email communications all in one place. Without the CRM the Fierst team was spending a lot of time searching for information related to particular opportunities. Now they can see everything related to a customer and/or project saving time and increasing communication.

Being able to better communicate with customers is important, but the Fierst team have found that internal communication has improved because of the CRM. Before implementing the CRM, the Fierst team struggled with communicating correct information to the customer service department. The customer service department is now able to use the CRM to view pricing, orders, and special delivery instructions. They have seen a reduction in costly billing errors because the CRM enables them to understand the terms, costs, delivery information and anything else that has been promised to the customer. All the information related to a customer is available to the customer service representative ensuring a better experience for customers. 

What advice does Tasillo have for other companies considering a CRM? He believes it is necessary to take the time to input good data. The data you put into the system will make you more efficient and improve your opportunities. The CRM is so easy to use that inside sales staff has been able to redirect their time to focus on other areas of the business. Tasillo finds the savings in overhead and making employees more efficient has paid off. The Fierst team have been empowered to work more closely with customers, focus on more opportunities, close more deals and grow other areas of the business. Automating processing means a higher degree of efficiency and that means a higher degree of profitability and revenue. 

The right CRM will allow you to view inventory information as well as customer information. Our CRM solution is deployed in the cloud, and that aids your sales person at the job site. It lets outside salespeople use mobile devices (such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops) to capture data quickly, record an opportunity, trigger a follow-up, double-check inventory levels, or submit an order with a tap or swipe. Using this powerful tool, your sales team can be more strategic with your customer base.

Advantages of using CRM:

  • Manage and share all customer data in one place
  • Salesforce becomes more efficient and effective
  • Reduces costly invoicing errors
  • Deployed in the cloud for easy access from any mobile device

When you select KCS as your CRM software provider, your customer contacts will automatically be stored for easy cross-departmental access within your ERP system.

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With CRM, it’s intuitive and easy to use. The team was comfortable using it from day one.

- Jim Tasillo, EVP and General Manager, Fierst Distributing

 

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