Sutton Tools

Salesforce has had a positive impact across our entire business, and in many ways we’d not anticipated.”

Robert Sutton | Commercial Director

Sutton Tools builds on 100 years of innovation

As a family run enterprise which has made a name for itself globally, Sutton Tools is an inspiring success. It made its start back in 1917 as a manufacturer of threading taps and gauges before expanding into a broader range of cutting tools, including milling tools and drills. These tools are used by trade professionals and DIY enthusiasts as well as those in areas like aerospace, defence and electronic manufacturing. These industries and many others require high-performance tools for specialised applications and Sutton Tools’ innovation in manufacturing these tools has helped it to compete in the global market. 

Today, Sutton Tools is continuing to evolve so that it can keep pace with customers and, according to Commercial Director Robert Sutton, the business’ use of Salesforce plays a vital role. 

“The industries we work in are developing and changing faster than ever and product life cycles continue to shorten. Our ability to respond to that and quickly bring new products to market relies on having world-class digital platforms. Without that, we couldn’t keep pace,” said Sutton.

Connecting data in the cloud

Sutton Tools began using Salesforce more than 10 years ago. The business needed a better way to manage the complexities of selling into multiple channels. It also wanted to bring together the islands of data being created by sales reps around the world. Sales Cloud offered a solution to both of these challenges and helped Sutton Tools to streamline workflow like the management of production trials. 

“When we first adopted Salesforce, one of the prime advantages was that it was cloud-based so it was easy to share data with everyone across the business who needed it. Back then, it was mostly territory management information whereas we now have every department on Salesforce which provides a 360-degree view of the customer and full transparency of previously siloed data such as engineering and safety metrics,” said Sutton.

Integration between Salesforce and Sutton Tools’ ERP contributes to this view, helping Sutton to track every order and customer interaction. The business can also expose this data to everyone who needs it, helping teams work more collaboratively to sell, market, manufacture, and deliver products to market.

Meeting the needs for high-touch engagement

The specialised nature of Sutton Tools’ business means that many customers require high touch sales and service. Salesforce helps the business focus its efforts and connect with customers in new ways. One of these is through customer portals built on Experience Cloud. 

These portals include MySutton which provides business customers in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and Asia with access to real-time logistics like order fill rates as well as pricing, past orders, and inventory information. Previously, this information was compiled daily and circulated by email and it was out of date almost as soon as it was sent out. Now, it is embedded into the portal using Tableau CRM and customers have real-time data they can rely on. They can also place orders 24/7, helping the business to drive $2 million in sales via the portal in less than two years. The recent go-live of e-Con CPQ from the AppExchange will add to these benefits by enabling self-service quoting on more bespoke products. 

Sutton Tools has launched another portal which facilitates online sales for its consumer brand, Carbitool, which it acquired in 2018. Uptake of the website and portal has grown quickly—especially during COVID-19—and online sales now comprise 10% of the brand’s total. The business is now accelerating that growth by capturing Carbitool customer data in Salesforce and sending personalised promotions using Pardot. 

Sutton said that in addition to increasing sales, the real-time stock information and self-service enabled by the portals have reduced inbound calls to service team by more than 25%.  

"Through our online portals, we've been able to provide customers a new level of transparency while automating processes like credit returns and reducing time spent on basic enquiries. It has freed our teams up to focus on value-added activities like selling and spending more time with customers," said Sutton.

The use of Pardot has freed up even more time as it allows Sutton Tools to automate communications on behalf of the sales team. Communication is more personal too, with a number of automated journeys tailored to customer demographics and behaviour. 

“We can now execute a wide variety of messages to very specific audiences which has increased engagement and led to a rapid reduction in opt-outs. The efficiencies gained through automation have also freed up our marketing team to expand beyond product communications and publish more engaging stories about our industry and brand,” said Sutton. 

One of the greatest advantages of Pardot is that it has helped Sutton Tools to accelerate the launch of new products. Instead of waiting for sales reps to inform customers 1:1, the marketing team can use email and other digital channels to get the message out quickly and in a more controlled manner. They can also more easily measure customer interest through actions like click-throughs on campaigns. 

In addition, using an API, Sutton Tools’ distributors are able to expose product information directly onto their websites. So whether or not a distributor holds a product directly, they can market and sell it to customers.

From reactive support to value added service

Sutton Tools' move to Service Cloud is yet another way it has improved efficiency while providing a better experience for customers. In the past, the customer service team managed cases using spreadsheets and up to 50% of their time was spent on manual data entry. 

Now, agents in Sutton Tool’s multiple contact centres have streamlined processes for case management and are using Vonage Contact Centre from the AppExchange which is integrated into Salesforce and is able to capture some call data automatically. It also lets agents access a 360-degree view of the customer, so they can spend less time gathering information and provide more personalised support. 

"Now any customer service agent can answer the phone, take on a case in motion and help resolve it faster. Agents also have more time for value added activities and can play a proactive role in marketing and selling," said Pamela Baxter-Smith, Agile Project Manager and Business Analyst, Sutton Tools.

On the path to smarter growth

Sutton Tools is continuing to leverage Salesforce to improve efficiency and service, and also lower the costs that come with having a large global sales team. With support from Lightfold, a specialist analytics partner, it has rolled out Tableau CRM to the sales team. Connected to the business’ ERP, Tableau CRM provides the team with a real-time view of accounts, including sales, cases, backorders, and delivery performance. This helps the sales team keep its fingers on the pulse of what’s happening with each customer in order to better support them. It has also helped save more than a hundred hours each month on reporting.
“With new features being released three times a year as well as all of the training and ideas available from Salesforce and the Salesforce Community, we’re constantly building our knowledge of Salesforce and discovering more that we can do,” said Baxter-Smith. 

“Salesforce has had a positive impact across our entire business, and in many ways we’d not anticipated,” added Sutton. “Building on these benefits will allow us to keep driving down the costs of doing business while enhancing the customer experience. That’s the direction we’re headed in and it is a significant differentiator for us,” added Sutton.


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