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Advice From the Trenches: Maxim Crane
Chris Anderson, Maxim Crane's vice president of finance, tells how using CRM keeps the company's multimillion-dollar equipment on the move.
For the rest of the January 2003 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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As the only coast-to-coast crane rental company in America, Maxim Crane does a lot of big business, literally. Maxim Crane sells and rents lift equipment, including hydraulic truck cranes, rough terrain cranes, tower cranes, and carry decks. In the past several years we've bought 15 equipment companies, expanding our reach and services even more. With 42 branches spread throughout five major regions, the biggest two being the northeast and Texas, we're involved in all sorts of big construction jobs. If a chemical plant needs several 500-ton vessels moved, they call us. Our cranes were used to help build the Staples Center in Los Angeles and are being used to help construct the new facilities for the Phoenix Coyotes and the Philadelphia Eagles.

There's one problem with dealing in equipment that big and that expensive: When your cranes sit idle you're losing money every day. That's something we knew we had to change, and with the economy in the slump that it has been in the past few years, we needed to make sure that as a company our salespeople were exploring each and every opportunity available to us. The trouble was, a lot of sales guys weren't really trained for sales. They're crane guys who got shifted over into sales, because they know the industry and the equipment.

So we went looking around for a CRM solution that would not only make our sales easier to make, but would be something that is easy to for people to use. Plus, with all those companies we had acquired, we need to be sure that whatever system we put in place would work for everyone. That's when we got in touch with Clear Technologies Inc. and inquired about what they could do to help us.

They set us up with C2, their CRM solution. Now, I'm accountant and I'm not real big on understanding all the things that make a CRM solution work. But I do know that C2 has been a huge help to us. The reports it generates are easy to read and help us break down all the information about a customer or a particular region. Once it was set up, we didn't have to worry about it conflicting with our other systems. Clear Technologies even helped us set up a training system for our sales force. That was 125 men trained to use their new laptops and many of them were almost completely computer illiterate. You know it is going to be a long training process when one of your salespeople picks up their mouse and points it at the computer screen like a remote control. Thankfully, between Clear Technologies' help and the intuitive nature of their C2 software, we got everyone trained.

Now our sales reps are truly sales reps and understand how to inspect the data we collect and enter into C2. It has allowed us to begin to measure our client's call activity. Not only have we been able to stop from losing money in this bad economy, we've found other, better ways to serve our existing customers. I never would have thought that a CRM solution would be this effective in an industry that does so much business based on a handshake.

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To contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com
Every month, CRM magazine covers the customer relationship management industry and beyond. To subscribe, please visit http://www.destinationCRM.com/subscribe/.
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