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Bring IT to the next level to fully support the business

Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s new IT system is making life simpler for sales reps and managers. The data it gathers is providing new insights into customers and bringing more business opportunities.

When Nathalie Leenaert goes into a store to visit a customer in Belgium, she knows exactly what she is going to find there. That includes what kind of customer, what products and priorities to focus on, where they should be on the shelves and the main points to focus on when pitching.

Nathalie is using a newly implemented sales management system from Salesforce.com – a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) tool that enables sales reps to plan visits and gather data about customers and their stores, and performance of Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s and competitors’ products.

These insights can then be used to continuously improve the company’s go-to-market strategy ensuring that the retail shops are visited at the right time and with the right frequency.

“In the beginning we are all reluctant. We don’t like changes, but once it went live you look at it and can say, it’s a very positive step. There’s no more calls to the office for data and when I’m in the shop I can be flexible, and it gives me the ability to perform in a professional way,” says Nathalie, Sales Account for Belgium.

STG - Tobacco

The CRM project

• Investment of DKK 35 million

• Yearly operation expenses halved when system live in all 15 markets

• More than 30 people involved in project team, more than 130 in development

Tip of the iceberg

The platform is the result of the phasing out of eight traditional systems and replacing those with one that is shared across 15 markets. This enables the Group to continuously register all relevant in-market and in-store information with the same set of definitions, making it easier to follow performance and share best practice and hence make improvements.

“The real purpose of the new CRM was to create a platform from which we can implement a uniform way of working, align KPIs across markets and ensure we gather all sales rep data in one place,” says Jurjan Klep, President and Senior Vice President, Machine Made Cigar Division.

“Essentially, IT has enabled the business by giving us a solution with uniformity of data collection, which allows us to learn and act in a more informed and efficient way, and also saves costs because we maintain one system instead of eight.”

The new CRM system is now operating in Europe, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, giving an overview of how to reach out to the market, easily accessible records of what actions have been taken, and to ensure sales reps are aligned with the overall sales targets and marketing strategy.

“All of this information is just the tip of the iceberg. Every day we are getting new insights that can lead to further improvements,” says Peter Brüggemann, International Retail Development Manager.

The system consists of two apps:

Salesforce1 outlines how to approach the market in terms of visit frequency and customer classification and gives country managers, sales managers and sales reps an overview of everything that is happening in their area.

STG Connect captures all possible information from inside stores and is customised to execute a 360-degree store audit that aligns with marketing campaigns, sales cycle activities, customer surveys, third party demographic data and more. This makes it easier to place the right products in the right locations.

Outperforming in our markets

One example is an analysis based on data gathered from the new CRM system and external data sources, which enabled a more consumer driven go-to-market strategy. The result is a better in-market execution with better ranging and shelf position that will help to grow market share.

“We have already started up small tests in Spain, Germany and France and are excited to see how much this can yield,” Brüggemann says. “With valid data in the hands of our sales professionals, and the right training, we can start to enter the area of customer centric and fact-based selling, which is pretty hard to argue against and which should improve our execution and bring us a step forward on our quest to empower our sales professionals and outperform in our markets.”

For sales reps like Nathalie Leenaert, it starts with planning and checking up on her daily targets. Now, client discussions are planned out and not just based on memory from the previous visit, because all the data is in the system. Orders can be signed and saved online, and the documentation is immediately available to the customer. Photos are saved for easy reference for future discussions. And colleagues can keep track of performance and learn from each other’s successes.

And perhaps one more thing…

“Maybe in the future we can press a button to get a fresh cappuccino,” Nathalie jokes.

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