"Salesforce delivers for us."

Wayne Shurts

Salesforce keeps Sysco on the road to growth

“Building customer relationships requires time, effort, and sincerity.” Sysco, the world’s largest food distributor, keeps its customer company philosophy front and center on its website — and in everything it does. The company, which sells to 400,000+ customers in the US, Canada, and Ireland uses Salesforce to keep employees connected and working together to help customers. “With Salesforce we have a level of visibility to customers that we never had before,” says Wayne Shurts, CTO. “And we’re able to collaborate to help them much more effectively, which is key for our continued growth.”

Sysco sells to restaurants, hospitals, universities, nursing homes, schools, and companies that manage commercial dining. Its sales team of 8,500+ uses Salesforce to track opportunities and better manage relationships. Reps spend 90+ percent of their time on the road, so the ability to access customer information from their personal mobile devices is critical. A custom app — called Sysco360 — helps them discover cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. “Salesforce is helping our entire business grow,” explains Shurts. “In Houston alone, we’re up 14 percent year over year.”

Sysco is made up of 70+ operating companies, so making it easy to share data between individual entities is essential. Salesforce App Cloud adds a layer of agility to the company’s SAP back end so reps can easily access data and reports while visiting customer sites or from the company’s 70+ warehouses.

Chatter is used companywide, so 45,000+ employees spread across the individual operating companies can access Salesforce records, share information and trade best practices from their mobile devices. The ability to collaborate from anywhere helps bridge the geographical gap among operations in the US, Canada, and Ireland. “For the first time we can do team selling, and work together across geographies,” says Shurts. “And, Chatter creates a more social leadership dynamic. It creates an open dialogue across the entire organization that has really glued us together.”

Sysco also engages with customers on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Marketing Cloud helps the company listen to conversations about its brand and communicate one-on-one with customers. “We can hear what customers say about us, and about our competitors,” explains Shurts. “And if we hear about an issue, we can address it right away.”

Delivering more value for customers

In the future, Sysco plans to build more apps on App Cloud to help reps do more value-added selling while visiting clients. The company is planning a menu analysis app that will let reps use iPads to help clients discover new ingredients to create better products and margins, or learn how to optimize menu placement for high margin items.

“Salesforce is helping us figure out more ways for our sales reps to help our customers.”