At Salesforce, Nichola Palmer works with customers to bring their stories of innovation and transformation to life. Every month, she highlights three small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Asia that use Salesforce to overcome business challenges.
The road to business growth is rarely easy. Challenges arise overnight and businesses must stay agile to overcome new obstacles and maximise opportunities. Building your business with the right technology is vital to achieve success in the rapidly transforming digital world.
But it should never be a case of deploying technology for technology’s sake. Rather, technology should be focused on making your employees’ and customers’ lives better. Here’s how three successful companies are using Salesforce to enable people-first business growth in ASEAN.
Haili is the sole distributor of Mitsubishi Chemical Cleansui, Japan’s number-one water purifier brand in Vietnam. The company started in 2017 on a business-to-consumer (B2C) model, and has grown rapidly in a short time.
Growth has been so strong, in fact, that it has been challenging for the company to expand its in-house sales team fast enough to fulfill market demand. The solution, says Trang Le, Business Marketing Manager at Mitsubishi Chemical Cleansui Vietnam, is extending other distribution channels through a new business to business to consumer (B2B2C) model.
“The advantage of this model is that we do not need to recruit too many sales people and we are able to increase our speed to market as well as consumer coverage,” says Ms Le. “Dealers are our extended sales army, and we needed to find a way to empower them.”
The company turned to Salesforce to deploy a Dealer Management System to enable dealers to register orders quickly. This system also keeps dealers updated on new programs, product knowledge, sales kits, and special promotions.
“Besides selling the water purifiers, we also need to change the water filter for the end consumers on a yearly basis,” Ms Le adds. “So, our Dealer Management System ties consumer details to each product we sell.”
Ms Le says the Dealer Management System has contributed to a 30% reduction in data entry. Customer orders are now processed 20% faster, too.
“Our dealers feel happy because they do not have to manage their customers, orders, products, status, purchase date, and cartridge replacement date via Excel anymore. As such, we have seen significant improvement in dealers’ mindsets since we started the roll out of the Dealer Management System.”
Bangkok-based abrasives company SmartCost currently serves more than 1,500 business-to-business (B2B) customers. The company began with a single manual sandpaper stamping machine in 2004. Since then, it has grown into a network spanning 850 factories and 650 car body shops across Thailand.
SmartCost was founded on the vision to become a partner for every customer, with a solution-centric approach at the heart of every customer interaction. However, managing work flows with Google Sheets and an under-performing customer relationship management (CRM) software was holding the company back.
SmartCost deployed Sales Cloud to create a systemised pipeline and track sales activities. They used Service Cloud to get a 360-degree view of their customers, as well as real-time insights into every order progression.
SmartCost implemented Tableau to transform data into actionable insights, to assist with inventory, manpower, and production planning. Finally, they automated their marketing processes by integrating Pardot with Sales Cloud and Service Cloud.
The Salesforce deployment has contributed to a 50% increase in revenue gains, driven by a 30% improvement in measurable services levels and a 40% boost in lead conversions.
“The sales team now works in a more systematic way with increased productivity,” says Krittakorn Wongsuttipakorn, founder and CEO of SmartCost. “Management can track sales activities, and support the sales team to follow the team strategy.”
Khun Krittakorn added, “With Salesforce, we can also use data and learnings from one business unit to enable cross-sell opportunities across the organisation. We would like to be a trusted partner for our customers in every industry. Insightful customer data from Salesforce can make this plan come true. Salesforce is the piece that completes our big data jigsaw.”
Founded as General & Marine Underwriting Agents Pte Ltd in 1975, g&m Pte Ltd was historically run as a traditional ledger business. But when current Chief Executive Officer Douglas Chia took over the Singapore-based company from his father in 2013, he had a different vision.
Douglas wanted to simplify insurance to offer straightforward protection for the things his customers care most about. He knew implementing the right technology was the way to achieve his vision.
g&m started with a CRM system in 2013, and the business grew rapidly. However, with no pipeline view and no way to manage lead flow, employees became frustrated with the legacy CRM. Douglas and his team had to look for a better solution.
“We looked at a few different CRM vendors, but they were too complex,” Douglas explains. “Then we found Salesforce. We could use it straight out of the box for a simple deployment, and the intuitive user interface enabled fast adoption.”
It was a winning formula. The company grew rapidly and saw gains in market share. The move to Salesforce delivered a revenue gain of 30%–40%.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Within three days, all 40 employees had to work from home. “We set up a VPN immediately, and I raced out to buy as many laptops as I could grab,” Douglas laughs. “But, thanks to Salesforce, we didn’t have to worry about the core system. It was ready to go.”
That meant that the company could run as close to business-as-usual as possible. Many of the company’s competitors couldn’t match that pace. g&m even grew the business by about 20% during the worst weeks of the pandemic.
“It was important for us to be there for our customers during the pandemic, and to keep communicating with them,” Douglas says. “Those are the types of relationships we want to keep building going forward. For us, it’s about using technology to help make our customers’ lives better. Salesforce is helping us to do that.”
At its core, technology is about people and processes. Using the right platform to streamline your processes will improve employee engagement and help your team deliver more value to your customers. Get it right, and your business will be prepared to turn your next big challenge into your greatest opportunity.
The road to growth can have lots of twists and turns. Hear from other small business leaders where they have found success and learn from their insights to fuel growth. Watch the playlist here.
For more stories of successful small businesses in Asia, see these posts from our SMB blog series: