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Secret of My Success: Connecting On-Demand With On-Premise
OKERE integrates Symbol's global sales force.
Posted Aug 7, 2006
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What problems were you facing? We're best known for our merchandise scanning technology--85 to 90 percent of retailers in this country use our scanners at their registers. We have a worldwide sales force, and when I started at Symbol about two years ago, we realized we needed to implement an on-demand SFA solution for our sales force. Anything that was on-premise would've been behind our firewall, and that would create connectivity problems for sales people trying to connect with the system from another country. The other big problem was, we needed to integrate the SFA solution with multiple systems. We were using SAP for our ERP system and customer database. Siebel was our partner relationship management solution and Comergent provided us with our product and pricing solution. We had a real mixed bag of IT systems that this solution would need to push and pull data from. How did you select a vendor and system integrator? In the spring of 2005 we developed a list of requirements we would need the new solution to satisfy. Customization and integration were close to the top. We decided to go with Salesforce.com. Its strengths in account and pipeline management and forecasting are what really swayed us. Unlike other companies, we didn't focus the selection on satisfying the needs and requirement of the sales manager. We were really focused on the salespeople themselves. After selecting Salesforce.com, we mentioned our heavy integration needs; Salesforce recommended a technology consulting firm and Salesforce.com partner, OKERE, which specializes in on-demand applications. Not only was it up to the challenge, but OKERE is a local vendor, which meant the service techs could be at our offices every day. That was important, because we realized the integration could be difficult. We weren't just looking for a systems integrator, we were looking for a partner that could lead us through the process step-by-step. How did the implementation and integration unfold? In July of 2005 we did a four-week proof of concept (POC) to test OKERE. Following the successful POC we began the integration in October. The entire process was incredibly smooth. In January of 2006, at our sales conference, we rolled the integrated Salesforce.com solution to our pilot group. We ran that until May 1st, at which point we rolled it out globally.
What have been the main rewards? OKERE managed to integrate our two on-demand solutions from Salesforce.com and Comergent with SAP and Siebel. Our ERP and customer data from SAP is pushed into Salesforce. Siebel also has an integration point with Salesforce.com so our sales force can distribute sales data to our partners. Finally, Salesforce.com is integrated with Comergent. That way if our account managers are entering an opportunity and they need pricing, product, or quoting information, they just hit a link. OKERE also implemented support for multiple currencies and developed automated reporting for the global sales pipeline. The response from the sales force has been phenomenal. We've had a 99 percent adoption rate. Account managers use to spend 4 to 5 hours a week on opportunity management. Now it takes them 15 to 20 minutes a week. What are your plans moving forward? We're planning to decrease our sales cycle, thanks to our newly streamlined sales processes. We're going to incorporate new sales methodologies because of the improved visibility, and our management team has been able to take on more of a coaching and mentoring role with our sales force.
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