Success can be both rewarding and challenging for enterprise level companies.
With growth – either organic or through acquisition – comes added complexity as management systems are faced with fulfilling an increasing number of functions while still tasked with performing at a high level.
This was the scenario for a leader in the manufacture and supply of fasteners and hardware insertion machinery for a wide spectrum of industries ranging from automotive and aerospace to military and medical applications, consumer electronics and even lawn and garden equipment.
PennEngineering spans the globe with its manufacturing operations and has a network of local distributors to serve its end users in countries around the world.
It manufactures high strength components and fasteners for the global auto industry from wholly owned subsidiaries in China, making it one of the first companies in the world to set up such facilities in that country.
Salesforce CRM Implemented In China
It was in China that Salesforce CRM technology was implemented in partnership with Gerent, something that would ultimately impact PennEngineering’s entire global operations and result in a series of projects that would engulf the whole firm.
The China project was the result of a local manager who had experienced Salesforce technology at a previous employer. He reached out to Salesforce for a solution that would boost the Chinese subsidiaries’ abilities to market directly to their customers.
The Salesforce solution was designed to manage opportunities and sales activity while providing visibility to the business on a real-time basis, according to Chris Stefanazzi, the Salesforce AE on the project.
The Need For A Global Customer Database
As it happened, conversations were underway elsewhere within PennEngineering to implement Salesforce as a platform throughout the organization, an idea being pushed by the Chief Compliance Officer.
“The problem that the CCO was facing”, explains Chris Stefanazzi, “was that data was lost every time somebody left the company. He also realized that the company really didn’t have an easy way to gather data to begin with, so he wanted us to create a global database of customer information.”
As well, the day-to-day users in the company wanted to be able to connect with each other and ultimately with their customers in more meaningful ways, according to Chris.
Essentially, Salesforce was being asked to determine what areas of the company could benefit from CRM applications.
When the Chinese project was implemented, it quickly triggered a response from senior management in the United States to take an urgent look at what was needed at a global level.
Salesforce would work on a recommendation with Gerent and design a path forward for PennEngineering.
While China’s sales efforts were more direct with the customer, the rest of the company worked largely through distribution channels.
Here, Salesforce could make an enormous impact on managing the relationships with the distributors.
In fact, distributors would, oftentimes, have the stronger relationship with the end user, so it was imperative that those distributor relationships be as solid as possible.
Cumbersome Lead Generation…
Sales opportunities were normally generated from the company’s highly comprehensive website which features detailed specifications on every product sold. A product inquiry would come in on the website and that inquiry was then redirected to an agency that qualified the lead and then pushed it back to the company.
From there, the inquiry/lead would be manually distributed internally via Excel spreadsheets.
…And A Lack Of Data
With the idea in mind that PennEngineering wanted to establish a global customer database, Salesforce and Gerent realized their client needed to generate more useful data from marketing and internal contacts as well as from distributor relationships.
A case in point was the China org. If an opportunity began in the States and was pushed to China for follow-up, the Chinese subsidiary had no visibility of what had been done beforehand or what was coming their way.
Prior to implementing a Salesforce solution, the company would send an email with details on the opportunity to China. The subsidiary recorded the opportunity on a spreadsheet and headquarters in the U.S. would lose touch with it after that. Potentially valuable data, lost.
Holistic Alignment and Full Visibility
More than that, a lot of potential cross-sell opportunities were lost, as well.
“Their overall goal,” says Linda Satterthwaite, Gerent’s Project Manager, “ was to get all their operations holistically aligned. Now, there’s complete visibility and everyone knows what’s going on.”
A major element in the global solution which brought China, the U.S. and EMEA regions under one Salesforce org dealt with global governance.
“Our solutions architect, Manasi Gupta, worked with all the parties involved to guide them in understanding what their data differences were,” says Linda. She did a fabulous job to get everyone on the same page on the implementation strategy and any customizations that would be necessary to account for regional differences.”
Gerent began the implementation project in April, 2019 and had the global org up and running by mid-June.
The ongoing job of bringing the whole company and all its divisions onto the Salesforce platform is continuing.
“What’s next with the company is integrating the automotive group,” explains Chris Stefanazzi. “ Once again, we’re dealing with a different business because the company is a supplier, so the application engineers are working closely with the OEMs. There’s a ton of back and forth with testing and so on. As a result, the relationships have to be managed well.”
If the past is an indication of the future, PennEngineering will be impressed. Stefanazzi says they never once looked at competing platforms. “They’re a best-of-breed company and Salesforce is the best in the world at what we do,” he states.
The Gerent Implementation
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