Just as HMH has had to transform its content, it’s had to transform its company. Just 15 years ago, HMH sales reps had to move hundreds of pounds of books from a storage locker to a minivan to a school district for a sales call. Reps would record everything from orders to customer information in their notepads and then spend hours at night trying to transfer that information to spreadsheets and systems. “They always felt like it was data for the company, not for them. It wasn’t helping them manage their territory,” said Brian Wickham, director of sales and business analysis.
Reps would track all their sales opportunities and forecasts in Excel — which was difficult to maintain given the scope and scale of the business. In 2012, HMH standardized its sales team on Sales Cloud to track all customer and sales information. It later added Service Cloud and Chatter to communicate internally.
With Salesforce, HMH collected an enormous volume of sales information. But turning that information into usable insights was a challenge. “We were producing a lot of data, but not analysing a lot of data,” said Wickham. “We’ve tried third-party integrations that worked for a little bit and then [would] just crash on the volume of information that we were trying to pump through there.”
HMH added Wave Analytics to its existing Salesforce products and saw the immediate benefits of being able to really visualise information. Charts, heat maps, graphs — and easily being able to change the groupings and filters — enabled HMH to look at information side by side, uncover new insights, and immediately take action. Sales reps can now drill down and gain unprecedented perspective on their interactions with the customers: where the partnerships are strong, where there are challenges, and where there are opportunities.
Now, reps view the changing landscape with different lenses. Instead of always focusing solely on the large opportunities, they also spend more time looking at smaller opportunities and finding areas in which they can better serve customers. With Wave, they are finding entirely new customer bases that were previously underserved, and taking action to close new deals and grow their business.
Today, HMH is a company poised for the future, constantly evolving to match the ways students engage with content. Sales reps no longer enter schools with hundreds of pounds of books; they walk in with an iPad, from which they can show the customer their entire catalog — and allow them to interact with it. That same device allows reps to capture information and turn it into intelligence, which empowers them to ultimately make better decisions not just for their business, but also for the millions who learn from HMH content.