Roland DGA depends on dealers in North and South America to sell its wide-format inkjet printers, vinyl cutters, 3-D scanning and milling equipment, and engravers. To support and develop working relationships with dealers, the company needed a comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) system. Roland DGA teamed with Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Axonom and implemented Microsoft Dynamics™ CRM to create a foundation for customer information that integrates easily with other systems.
To gain industry-specific functionality, the company also implemented Axonom-developed solution Powertrak, an add-in that extends Microsoft CRM functionality. Roland DGA now has a powerful solution that supports dealer Web portals and provides insight into sales, marketing, and service events. Roland DGA made significant process improvements and shrunk lead distribution time from weeks to days.
In a fast-paced, competitive market, companies that can achieve widespread market penetration with their products will often gain a significant advantage over the competition. Consequently, many companies, particularly in the high-tech industry, rely on an expansive network of strategic partners to sell their products. Roland DGA is one such company.
Roland DGA was established in 1990 and is the United States-based marketing, distributing, and sales arm of Roland DG-a worldwide leader in the sign, graphic arts, fine art, photography, engraving, and 3-D modeling industries. More specifically, Roland DG is a leading global provider of wide-format inkjet printers for the durable graphics market. Roland DG is also affiliated with Roland Corporation, a renowned company in the music world for developing MIDI technology and for producing sophisticated digital music equipment.
Roland DGA sells and markets its products through an extensive network of more than 300 dealers that serve the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and every country in Central and South America (except Brazil). While regional sales managers for Roland DGA are the primary points of contact for new sales leads, these managers distribute the leads to an appropriate dealer who is then responsible for generating the sale. Maintaining a tight relationship with each dealer, treating each as an extension of Roland DGA, is an important part of enabling and tracking sales and delivering exceptional customer service.
Until late 2005, Roland’s sales, marketing, and services processes were not as insightful or as streamlined as they could be. Roland DGA used several isolated systems to manage the various elements involved in generating sales and completing marketing activities. Customer information was managed in Siebel CRM software; lead management was done in a GoldMine product suite (from FrontRange); and financial information was tracked in Microsoft® Business Solutions Great Plains®, now Microsoft Dynamics™ GP.
"We had an expensive installation of systems that were not being used effectively," explains Bob Castle, Chief Information Officer for Roland DGA. "There was no integration between each system. When leads would come in, we’d break them down into spreadsheets and then send these files to dealers. Not only could lead distribution take weeks or even months, but also we had a complete lack of feedback into what happened with leads once they were handed off to a dealer. Overall, we just didn’t have the right level of visibility or automation associated with our sales, service, and marketing processes."
Roland DGA wanted a powerful, consolidated system that would meet several critical requirements:
- Provide a central database for customer information
- Streamline lead distribution and support lead tracking
- Support dealer access to customer information through a Web portal
- Provide complete visibility across all sales, services, and marketing processes
To find the right solution, Roland DGA worked with a consultant and completed market analyses of more than 50 solutions. The company narrowed its final selection down to four: SalesForce.com, Pivotal, SAP, and Microsoft CRM, now a part of Microsoft Dynamics, along with Powertrak™, an add-in solution from Axonom.
"After extensive evaluation, we decided to go with Microsoft CRM and Powertrak. The combined solution had an intuitive interface that was easy to use and provided a comprehensive view of all account information. The solution also had all the built-in functionality, such as a dealer portal, we needed so we could implement the solution quickly," says Castle.
Pairing Microsoft CRM and Powertrak
With Microsoft CRM, Roland DGA created a centralized repository of customer data that sits alongside the Microsoft Office applications that employees use every day, for example, Microsoft Office Outlook® messaging and collaboration client. Within Office Outlook, employees can access Microsoft CRM sales and customer service modules to make sales decisions, track reported problems, and obtain strategic views of the business. Employees create all new accounts in Microsoft CRM; then, if an account requires a financial record, they link the account with Microsoft Dynamics GP. When they update information in one system, the changes automatically reflect in the other.
To give Roland DGA the unique functionality it needed to create a truly interactive working relationship with dealers, the company implemented an add-in solution for Microsoft CRM. The solution, Powertrak, was created by Axonom, a Minnesota-based Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with project implementation personnel in multiple North American locations. Axonom also sells and services Microsoft CRM and Powertrak projects through a select group of certified partners. Powertrak delivers enterprise-level customer interaction solutions for manufacturing and distributing companies that sell through partners. The solution runs on top of Microsoft CRM and offers a set of modules that extend core functionality beyond account management and incident tracking.
Implementing Microsoft CRM and Powertrak
The combined solution of Microsoft CRM and Powertrak was implemented in phases using a combination of resources from Roland DGA and Axonom. During the first phase, which lasted 100 days, the company implemented Microsoft CRM, migrated customer data from Siebel, Microsoft Dynamics GP, and Goldmine to Microsoft CRM, integrated Microsoft CRM with Microsoft Dynamics GP, and implemented the Powertrak Core module.
Powertrak Core extends the standard areas of sales and service found in Microsoft CRM with enterprise and partner-based roll-up views, and provides Roland DGA with rich asset and case management capabilities. For example, first employees enter an asset (or product) into Microsoft Dynamics GP as inventory. Then, in Powertrak tables they can track and store additional information about each product, such as when it was purchased, who purchased it, and what customer calls have been received about it.
During the second phase, Roland DGA implemented additional Powertrak modules that further enhance the company’s ability to interact and share information with dealers. For example, using the Powertrak Workflow module, Roland DGA enhances lead management and automates marketing literature fulfillment. Today, employees fill out a Web form to enter leads into the system, make a system check to ensure that a duplicate entry does not exist, and then route the lead to the appropriate dealer in the field.
In addition, Roland DGA implemented the Powertrak Partner Portal module, which provides a Web portal that dealers can use to interact with opportunity information in Microsoft CRM. Through this portal, the dealer can continue to track information about the lead by accessing details that include whether a lead was won or lost, and why. Employees can also automate their requests for literature by using a literature fulfillment engine.
Moving forward, the company has plans to enhance how it tracks service orders by using Microsoft CRM as the point of entry and then sharing the information with Microsoft Dynamics GP to simplify the billing process. The company is also in the process of implementing Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 that will be tightly integrated with Microsoft CRM and Microsoft Dynamics GP.
Approximately 75 people in various departments and locations across Roland DGA, in addition to hundreds of dealers, use the Microsoft CRM and Powertrak solution on a daily basis. Roland DGA is confident that each user is experiencing the rich benefits that the combined solution delivers, including enhanced data visibility and streamlined processes. In addition, Roland now has "out-of-the-box" functionality that is uniquely designed for companies that rely on partners to sell their products.
Comprehensive Data Visibility
With Microsoft CRM, Roland DGA has a solution that captures and stores in a single location all of the details associated with each customer account. Combined with the enhanced capabilities of Powertrak, the company now has deep insight into all aspects of its sales and marketing efforts.
"With a solution such as Microsoft CRM and Powertrak, information flows seamlessly among each connected system, this is one of the big paybacks," says Clark Dircz, Chief Executive Officer for Axonom. "Users don’t have to search through multiple systems to look for data. Instead, all the details associated with a customer account are consolidated into a single view."
With a single location for information, it’s easier than ever to generate reports that give employees real insight into operations. For example, weekly generated reports supply Roland DGA with metrics related to leads, opportunities, and technical support cases. So, the company can be keenly aware of the leads that are being processed and of any issues a customer might be having. This kind of in-depth knowledge also helps empower management to create benchmarks that can further enhance processes.
"With our Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Powertrak solution, we know where leads are coming from and how long it takes to process them. Our marketing department now has a 24 hour window to get a lead out to a dealer, and now we have visibility into what percentage of leads are meeting this goal." - Bob McMahon, Roland DGA
Since implementing the Microsoft CRM and Powertrak solution, Roland DGA has also succeeded in significantly streamlining several processes. For example, marketing managers have reduced the time it takes to fulfill literature requests by 10 to 20 hours a week. Lead routing, a process that once took weeks, has been whittled down to within 48 hours.
The true impact of these process improvements was demonstrated after a recent trade show, an event that generates hundreds of leads. Lag time between receipt of a lead and follow-up became almost negligible. At the end of each day, someone routed the leads to the home office, where a single person used the bulk-lead import engine to import them, created fulfillment requests and processed fulfillment, all before routing them to the appropriate regional sales managers. Because the regional sales managers could access the system from their hotel rooms, they were able to route leads out to the appropriate dealers that same day. By the time the trade show ended, they had also generated and mailed associated literature to the leads.
"Just three days after the trade show, all of the leads had been routed and literature requests fulfilled. This is a marked improvement over years past, when it took us weeks to get the same amount of work done," says Castle.
Roland DGA completes 100 percent of its sales through third-party dealers. Consequently, the company required functionality that does not come standard in most CRM solutions. Microsoft CRM helps companies access deep, industry-specific functionality by supporting add-in products like Powertrak. Because Powertrak delivers out-of-the-box functionality that caters specifically to partner relationship management, Roland DGA succeeded in implementing a powerful solution that meets its and its dealers exact needs.
"Companies like Roland DGA don’t want to spend their time and money writing custom applications," says Dircz. "By implementing an industry-specific solution like Powertrak on top of an already robust product like Microsoft CRM, Roland DGA has gained a comprehensive solution in less time and lower cost."