PM Signs

Salesforce has upped our game. It reflects our brand — who we are and what we’re doing.”

Erik Houde, President of PM Signs

PM Signs Brings Visibility, Consistency And Agility To Its Sales Process.

The names and logos of long-established companies like Shell, and even emerging brands like OrangeTheory Fitness, can become so instantly recognizable and familiar that you might almost forget where you first saw them. Chances are it was through the efforts of PM Signs, whose work in design, fabrication and installation help turn its clients into some of the most visible brands in Canada.

Based in Edmonton, PM Signs was born from PM Electric, which installs and retrofits LED displays. The firm has expanded to offices in Calgary and Saskatoon while setting up a network of dealers across Canada to create a truly national presence. That kind of growth and success reflects a lot of skillful selling — which is all the more remarkable when you consider that 12 years ago, PM Signs didn’t employ a single salesperson.

“It was really a group of project managers and a bunch of contracts that we were working with,” says Cody Mathiesen, Vice-President of Sales & Marketing at PM Signs. As the team grew, the company tried to keep up by creating its own sales management tool, but quickly realized it had limitations.

“You couldn’t search for a previous job. There weren’t any records,” Mathiesen says. “It came to a head when someone came to look for a work order for a project we had previously done and we couldn’t find it.”

The ability to properly track and manage customer data is all the more important because, as PM Signs President Erik Houde explains, the company’s work can range from large, six-figure projects for a full brand changeover to updating the decals on a single property.

“That’s really where Salesforce came in,” he says. “Offering that structure and process where all the details are there is absolutely everything to us. You need to have transparency; you need to have a system that works.”

You couldn’t search for a previous job. There weren’t any records.”

Cody Mathiesen, Vice-President of Sales & Marketing of PM Signs

Tracking What Matters

Even in the era of cloud computing, however, a lot of work still involves managing hard copies of various information. According to Houde, this presented some additional challenges for the team.

“If you do an $80,000 job and someone loses that little piece of paper, then it’s all for naught,” he says. “It’s not going to get invoiced, and you’re not going to record your time and materials properly. It’s all those little things that add up to the big picture.”

PM Signs overcame that challenge by developing a system whereby every new project is assigned a unique opportunity number at the very start of the sales process — even before a quote. As the team works through various stages, such as design or surveying a site, the tracking number is treated as a ledger entry back into Sales Cloud, Salesforce’s CRM. This means the PM Signs team can then see how many hours are allocated at the opportunity stage of the sale. Later, a work order number is generated to track all the details around things like labour and materials.

“When I’m going in and approving commissions, I’m approving every single job,” Houde says, “I’m looking at, did we make money? Were there costs that were not included? It makes for a very quick, easy review of that process.”

Capturing Every Opportunity

The power of CRM means PM Signs can not only stay on top of its many projects, but can nurture a loyal customer base, Mathiesen adds. In the past, everyone on the team had their own list of what to do on a given day, but not necessarily a mechanism for managing customer accounts.

“There was no follow up with customers,” he says. “As soon as you did the job, unless you wrote it down, you wouldn’t remember to follow up down the road, because there was no data that you did that job. That meant lost opportunities.”

Thanks to Salesforce, however, Houde says the firm’s processes are cleaner, and the team can interact in a more timely fashion.

“It’s just become an integral part of our process,” he says, citing the Salesforce mobile app in particular. “I can be standing on the shop floor or I can be with our controller, and if there’s questions about a particular job I can just bring it up on my phone.”

Those analytics in Sales Cloud means PM Signs can be more competitive and quicker in making an educated decision about a particular job, whether it’s issues with a site, design or other factors.

“The time savings is a huge part of the value,” he says, “but also just having that full, clean transparency about what’s going on in our company across the board — that has been one of the biggest benefits.”

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