Wilson Fabrics

"We have very good staff with a lot of knowledge; we needed to get that information out of their heads and onto a platform where it could be available to all"

-Chris Sencek
General Manager

Old-World Fabrics Company Takes Leap into Customer Engagement

With revenues of $30 million annually, Wilson Fabrics is one of Australia’s largest soft furnishing wholesalers. Through its “Wilson” and “Wilson Studio” brands it is also one of the best-known fabric houses in Australia.

Finding efficiencies in a mature market

Chris Sencek, General Manager, readily admits drapery is an old fashioned business. Until recently, sales reps maintained client records and appointments in bound diaries: “It’s a cottage industry, where most orders are placed by fax, or they are phoned in,” he says.

Sencek identified a huge opportunity to update company practices in a way that would directly benefit the bottom line. A CRM would address a number of issues, including a lack of insight into the activities of on the road sales teams. Many sales reps had been managing the same territories for many years, and continued to do so, even when they weren’t yielding new sales.

A customer survey highlighted disconnects between customers and sales reps. “We have good staff with a lot of knowledge, but at that time it was all in their heads,” explains Sencek.

Connecting the business in Salesforce

Sencek decided to deploy a salesforce.com CRM solution, engaging global leading salesforce.com partner Bluewolf for development and customisation. Bluewolf took only three weeks to tailor a solution to make easy work of managing Wilson’s complex sales model segmented into major customers, independent customers, export customers, blind manufacturers, curtain manufacturers, and retailers.

Rolling out the new system included many more customizations, including the addition of fields to allow sales reps to record credit claims in the system, replacing the decades old practice of recording claims in triplicate in books. Now every sales person can instantly see the status of any claim, reducing claim approval time down from three weeks to one or two days.

Wilson also keeps a timetable of campaigns, along with campaign time lines, centrally in Salesforce, giving employees across all states an accurate view of which products are coming in and when.

Forging internal success

Keen to ensure the success of such a major transformation, Sencek has equipped staff with iPads. Today, sales reps use Salesforce to record customer appointments on the spot and produce weekly sales reports effortlessly. Reports include noteworthy customer comments, circulated to all to keep everyone up to date with customer feedback.

Marketing has become highly targeted as a result, now with an organized customer database to work with, and the ability to email select groups.

“These days, everyone knows who is seeing which customers, what customers think of our product ranges, and where to target our sales efforts,” says Sencek. “Introducing Salesforce has been a real eye-opener and a huge help to our business.”

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Products used by Wilson Fabrics