As a leading supplier of education resources and toys, Modern Star is passionate about learning and creativity. Its educational resource products are used by more than 40,000 childhood centres and schools, supporting the education and development of children across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Its toy division sells into independent toy stores and large chain retailers, extending its reach even further.
Janet Cutler, General Manager of Salesforce Innovation at Modern Star, said the company had grown a lot in the sixty years since it was founded and now has 14 companies. “Everything we do is linked to a love of learning and increasingly connected with Salesforce. It gives us visibility into our customers and partners, and helps us stay closer to our sales reps in the field,” Cutler said.
While Modern Star benefits from its rich heritage, it has left some aspects of the past behind, including its reliance on paper. Before Salesforce, the company had thirty sales reps out in the field tracking activities with paper and pen. Head office had no visibility into sales activities or the customer beyond their previous transactions. When a rep left, their handover was a stack of papers with customer names and addresses.
“Our reps were regionally based and always on the road; we saw some of them just once a year at our sales conference,” said Cutler. “We had no visibility into our customer relationships or what was happening day-to-day.”
Management needed this insight to keep growing and evolving the company, and made the decision to use Salesforce. This was eight years ago and Cutler was looking to re-enter the workforce after a break to raise her young children. “I called my manager at Modern Star to see if he had a copy of my resume and ended up coming back to manage the Salesforce implementation,” said Cutler.
While Cutler knew nothing about Salesforce at the time, her knowledge about the company was everything. As a former sales manager, she knew that to make Salesforce work she needed to gain buy-in from the sales team. So as Sales Cloud was rolled out to manage distribution and retail sales, Cutler focused on making sure reps had whatever they needed to make it work. While it has taken some time, they now enjoy the ease of tracking all of their activities in one place, giving management the desired visibility of customers and sales activities.
“It was a struggle at the beginning, but now everyone tells me that they can’t do their job without Salesforce. The sales team use it to do all of their reporting and planning, and it saves them up to two hours a day,” said Cutler.
Much of the time savings have come from the use of MapAnything from the Salesforce AppExchange. It helps reps to better plan and optimise their routes, often enabling them to fit in an extra customer visit.
Modern Star has steadily increased its use of Salesforce to better connect with customers across sales, service and marketing. Service Cloud powers its Sydney-based call centre and enables agents to provide personal support to customers across all the different companies. Agents can quickly identify each caller and continue the conversation right from where their last interaction left off.
The use of Pardot helps Modern Star personalise its marketing campaigns too. New contacts are easily added into Salesforce and then targeted with tailored campaigns based on their interests or attendance at recent events.
Modern Star has nearly doubled its annual revenue since the start of its Salesforce journey, and continues to grow at an accelerated pace. Cutler’s biggest challenge has been maximising the company’s investment in Salesforce to support this growth. The company now uses Salesforce to manage everything from sales and service to product design and supplier reviews.
Increased automation is a future priority, as is expanding the use of Quip for collaboration and Einstein Analytics or predictive intelligence on customer behaviour. “There’s so much innovation around the platform and, as a Salesforce admin, it's important for me to be proactive and know what’s coming next,” said Cutler. “It supports our passion for quality and service, and helps us stay ahead of the curve.”