No investment is as sound as bricks and mortar. In Canada, the smart money is on affordable homes to ease the country’s looming housing crisis and temporary accommodations to support Canada’s booming liquid natural gas sector.

At least it is if the performance of Horizon North – a supplier of modular construction solutions to Canada’s industrial, residential, and commercial sectors – is anything to go by. Since foundation in 2006, the Calgary business has increased annual revenue from CAN$50 million to $400 million. Now, with Salesforce at its side, Horizon North is aiming to hit revenues of circa $700 million by 2022.

“With Salesforce, we can focus more on building stronger customer relationships and less on managing internal processes,“ said Director of Sales Operations & Strategy, Joel Kuntz, who oversaw Horizon North’s adoption of Salesforce in just three months in 2016.
Joel and his team weighed up a number of options before settling on Salesforce. “We selected Salesforce because it’s the most sales and customer focused CRM out there,” he explained. “It was easy to make it work out of the box and we didn’t need to do much customization. “

This ease of use helped to accelerate benefits realization for Horizon North. By making its sales teams more effective and efficient, the company has been able to land around an additional $50 million over and above existing revenue since Sales Cloud went live. “You can get ROI just from using features such as accounts and opportunities,” said Joel.
 

With Salesforce, we can get – and stay - close to our customers and be more predictive about their needs.”

Joel Kuntz, Director of Sales Operations & Strategy, Horizon North
This is a world away from Horizon North’s pre-Salesforce days. Back then, relationships with commercial and industrial customers were managed over email with discounts and incentives playing a key role in building the new business pipeline. “Before Salesforce, we were letting our customers down and we didn’t even realize,” revealed Joel. “The sales operation was like a ‘black box’ to our executives.”

Today, the sales cycle at Horizon North starts even before a tender has been issued. “We have loaded our proprietary market intelligence data into Salesforce using custom objects, which allows us to be much more proactive about pitching for new business with our customers and even help them develop their RFPs,” explained Joel. “We go in armed with very valuable information and are seen as the experts.”

And Horizon North is constantly building on this good information. Every time it wins or loses a deal, it logs the key influencing factors in Sales Cloud as well as the pain points that the customer wanted to address.
Greater visibility of both customer drivers and deal success factors means that Horizon North now wins more often than it loses in the commercial and industrial space. Joel points to a recent $60 million contract to provide temporary accommodation for the workforce of a natural liquid gas company at a remote drilling site in western Canada.

Without Salesforce, such a deal would have been much harder to seal, especially in light of the particularly long sales cycles typical in this sector. “With Sales Cloud, we could track every stage of the opportunity while Chatter made it easy for all our stakeholders to collaborate on the deal. This was a big benefit as there were so many moving parts,” explained Joel. “In the bad old days, we would have lost that work. We just wouldn’t have had the right governance or visibility across the sales process.”
With the average value of Horizon North’s transactions with commercial and industrial customers standing at $10 million, every lost deal can have a massive impact on the profitability of the business. With Salesforce, Horizon North can learn from past mistakes and change future behaviors.

“Management by measurement is our culture. If you use a CRM platform just to provide monthly reports, you are missing a lot of value,” said Joel. “With Salesforce, the right person can tap into the right information at the right time, and make smarter business decisions.”

Greater visibility is also helping to energize the 45 sales professionals that use Sales Cloud on a daily basis. “We used to have everyone on a salary but now have a commissions system where teams are paid on performance. They are motivated, and we are attracting the right talent,” said Joel.
That talent can also be directed to follow up on the right opportunities from residential customers. By exploiting Pardot and Einstein Analytics, Horizon North can now qualify the leads from its website more effectively by capturing data about a customer’s plan.

“The web is our primary channel for selling residential houses,” said Joel. “We were getting over 100 ‘hot leads’ a day from people checking out our residential products – all of these would have been considered leads before, but we can now focus in on the stronger opportunities that have a greater chance of closing.”
As well as qualifying leads better, Horizon North can also nurture them better using Pardot. “Due to the long sales cycles in the commercial and industrial space, we want to be able to keep reminding commercial and industrial prospects why we are the right partner for their project,” explained Joel. “With Pardot, we will be able to send out information based on different stages of the sales cycle and make it easier for people to engage with us across different channels.”

For Horizon North, better prospect and customer engagement will be key to its future success. “We used to be very inward focused,” said Joel. “With Salesforce, we can get – and stay - close to our customers and be more predictive about their needs.”
“I am passionate about what I do. With Salesforce, I feel that I can add more value to the business and its people.”
Joel Kuntz, Director of Sales Operations & Strategy, Horizon North
 
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