Inci GS Yuasa put its “company memory” at the fingertips of partners and employees with Salesforce
“When a salesperson has to go into a meeting without the context they need, we call it a ‘chai and bye’ – all you can do is have some tea and leave politely.”
Aytuğ Karakadıoğlu is Aftermarket Sales Division Manager at İnci GS Yuasa (affectionately known as IGYA), the biggest battery manufacturer in the Turkish automotive industry. So he knows how challenging it can be for a salesperson to walk into a room without relevant information about the company, the customer, and the prior relationship between them.
He calls this “the company memory”. And this is the story of how IGYA has placed that company memory at the fingertips of both its employees and partners with a little help from Salesforce.
Customer obsession is rocket fuel.
IGYA manufactures batteries for both commercial and industrial vehicles, exporting them to more than 80 countries across 6 continents.
It sells these batteries to two main partner groups: car manufacturers (Original Equipment Manufacturers and Suppliers, or OEMs/OESs for short) and Aftermarket dealers – distributors who buy IGYA’s products wholesale and sell them on to retailers.
For Kadir Kaymakçı, General Manager of Business Services, it’s the relationship IGYA has with these partners that really sets it apart from its competitors.
“Of course, the quality of our products and our pricing are important,” says Kadir. “But the real rocket fuel for our success is the level of communication we have with our customers. We have to be customer-obsessed.”
Creating “five to five” point synergy
But while many companies claim customer obsession, Kadir has actually codified it as a five-point integration between IGYA’s teams and their customers’ teams.
“Our R&D, Quality, After Sales and Logistics teams have to be in close contact, and so does our Sales team with their Purchasing teams.”
The purpose of this level of integration and communication is simple – it makes IGYA more proactive in the way it understands customer needs, to the point that it can propose solutions customers love even before they’ve asked for them.
“To take our business to the next level we had to have our feet on solid ground first. We needed a reliable, efficient and easy-to-use platform that the whole business could share. That’s what Salesforce have given us.”
The big deal about dealers
IGYA’s Aftermarket Division, as managed by Aytuğ, is similarly motivated by customer synergy: the 80 core domestic dealers who act as intermediaries between IGYA and around 3,500 Point-of-Sales retailers.
“With Aftermarket, we’re responsible for our dealers’ businesses as well as ours,” says Aytuğ. “So, we have to ensure they’re evolving in a way that matches with our strategy, priorities, and foresights about where the market is headed.”
IGYA’s dealers are responsible for finding new Point-of-Sales, collecting orders, distributing goods and managing financial transactions. The responsibility for supplying the dealers with the direction, information and tools they need to do their jobs effectively lies with Aytuğ’s team for an important reason.
“Between 60 and 70% of the decision of which brand of battery gets put into a car is made by the Point-of-Sales seller,” says Aytuğ. “Therefore, it’s very important that we’re able to direct our dealers to approach our customers in a standardised way that we know is effective.”
The tower of babel trap
For IGYA to maintain these close, synergistic relationships with its partners, communication and direction have to be clear and relevant information (that “company memory”) easily accessible. “At a company as big and complex as ours, communication can easily degenerate into a Tower of Babel situation,” says Aytuğ. “Ideally, everybody needs to be reading from the same page.”
Mindful of this danger, IGYA elected to start using a CRM solution in 2014.
“The CRM immediately sped certain processes up,” says Kadir. “Inputting records, for example. This was certainly beneficial to us and our customers – who, after all, aren’t supposed to pay extra for bureaucracy.”
The problem was, IGYA’s CRM was neither user-friendly nor easily accessible, and so began to actually act as a brake on processes. “There were a lot of issues with it,” says Kadir. “Our people couldn’t use it on their mobiles. it was difficult to connect to when out of office via VPN. Eventually, our people became frustrated with it and stopped using it.”
Goodbye to ‘Chai and Bye’
In need of a more user-friendly and efficient CRM, IGYA turned to Salesforce – and turned to Turkey’s leading Salesforce partner INSPARK to implement Sales Cloud for them.
“We required a lot of customisations,” explains Kadir. “that we couldn’t have implemented without an experienced partner like INSPARK,” Kadir says. “Their professionalism made the whole process highly efficient.”
With Sales Cloud implemented, IGYA’s sales teams and management now have a platform for managing leads, opportunities and customer relationships. It’s a platform that can be used to accelerate processes through automation, and – crucially – can be easily and reliably accessed via mobile and VPN.
Now that IGYA’s agents can access information relevant to customers – including their activity history, key contacts, communications and internal account discussions – with a couple of taps of a touchscreen, meetings can be much more productive.
“Our agents don’t have to bring printouts and notebooks to meetings anymore,” says Aytuğ. “Now they have maybe 20 years of our relationship with a customer in a tablet at their fingertips – and can keep building that information up with every meeting.”
A portal to better partnerships
Additionally, IGYA has recently extended this access to crucial information to their Aftermarket dealers, working with INSPARK to implement a Channel Partner Management (CPM) portal built with Salesforce Community Cloud.
This gives IGYA’s dealers the ability to review the status of their orders, their leads, Point-of-Sales, financial transactions and cases, to access manufacturing information and to track their performance via dashboards.
“The feedback from dealers has been fantastic,” says Kadir. “Within one hour of the partner portal going live, dealers were telling us how happy they were to have such a user-friendly and efficient system to work with.”
What’s more, because the portal simultaneously allows IGYA to track dealer performance and behaviour, they don’t have to take such effusive feedback on trust. “We generated a report within the first 10 days to see how they were using it,” says Kadir. “That report proved to us they were using it exactly how we wanted them to.”