Sandy Alexander drives faster CRM adoption with Salesforce Starter.
See how Salesforce Starter quickly became a source of truth for this established manufacturer.
October 25, 2023
Founded in 1963, Sandy Alexander has evolved into a leading communications provider for Fortune 500 companies around the world. It created one of the most diverse manufacturing platforms in the industry to provide clients with in-store, out-of-home, and in-the-mailbox marketing solutions that wow their customers.
To serve clients more effectively and operate more efficiently, David Perrett, Vice President of Direct Mail Technology, made it his mission to find the perfect CRM. His goal was to streamline the sales process, organize client data in one place, and gain visibility into deal progression.
Perrett elaborated: “How do we make our data more accurate? How do we verify forecasts? We want to look at sales activity and say, ‘How can we close this deal faster?’ Let’s find out what’s blocking it and whether we need executive alignment.”
As someone who understands the power of Salesforce, Perrett became the biggest advocate for CRM at Sandy Alexander. Once he discovered Salesforce Starter — a complete CRM suite that combines marketing, sales, and service in a single app — it was game over. He presented it to leadership and everyone agreed Starter was a great fit for the company.
You might think Starter is for small businesses just beginning their CRM journey, but Sandy Alexander proves established companies can get value from a simple, affordable CRM, too.
Find out how Starter went from a proof of concept to a source of truth for Sandy Alexander.
Sandy Alexander has over 500 employees. When it comes to digital transformation, many companies of that size have to battle technology hurdles, budget constraints, and lengthy approvals.
However, in this case, Sandy Alexander had a few key players, like Perrett, determined to prove the value of CRM. “Unless you find someone who’s going to be your advocate or sponsor, it’s tough to get buy-in from leadership for something like this,” Perrett said.
When factoring in the platform’s value, low price point, and easy setup, leaders at Sandy Alexander knew Starter was the perfect proof of concept for CRM. They could immediately see how this simple yet powerful platform would help them forecast more accurately, drill into deal progression, and provide data to the board of directors.
Although it could take weeks, maybe months, to get a new platform purchased and fully integrated, Perrett didn’t have to worry about that either. Even though the company was new to CRM and Starter, leaders could get all their users set up fast and start proving the value of CRM right away.
“It was literally easier than buying shoes online … We purchased it on a Monday and were up and running by Monday night. [Data] import was a breeze,” Perrett said.
Perrett knows that getting teams on board with new tech can be a challenge. In his case, some team members were excited about it, saw the value in it, and loved it. Others were hesitant to make such a big change.
However, with Starter’s simplified tools and guided onboarding, this CRM suite won everyone over a little quicker and easier. They had the power to integrate email communications, share information across teams, assign ownership of accounts, and access customer data in one place. With an established single source of truth for customer relationships, it was easier for everyone to recognize the value that Starter brought to the business.
Perrett said, “It got to the point where we were like, how did we live without this for so long?”
With so many salespeople selling so many different products, Perrett immediately set up custom fields and opportunities, and let everyone create their own dashboards. He also taught sellers how to develop different opportunities for each division, so they can understand where sales are coming from, deploy resources where needed, and move deals forward.
Perrett believes CRM can be great for recruiting, too. When hiring, you can assure candidates they’ll have the resources they need to drive success and feel empowered in their roles.
Perrett said this is especially valuable when recruiting younger sales professionals who are used to being on digital platforms. Sales newcomers and other new hires have the data they need to master these platforms and understand who their customers are.
He added, “If we hire new people, we have a forensic record of account activity, so they can look into previous conversations, read the emails, and have that transfer of knowledge.”
What happens when they run into issues or need more training? Perrett said he’s a “big advocate” of Trailhead, a free online learning platform where Salesforce users can beef up their CRM skills.
Now that Sandy Alexander has a record of all its account activity in Starter, leaders and managers can easily see where a deal is in the sales cycle and where their help is needed.
They can pinpoint what the “big bets” are — aka, the biggest opportunity a salesperson has in their pipeline that leadership should be aware of — through opportunity management. For opportunities that hold a lot of potential value, they can easily view how it’s progressing and all the key details about it (main contacts, location, obstacles, and so on). This enables leadership to align resources that help “big bets” move through the funnel and close them more quickly.
Aside from keeping current deals moving, Sandy Alexander is also uncovering new opportunities and resurfacing old ones. Perrett said the most exciting part of having CRM right now is being able to identify retail opportunities.
He explained, “As we loaded all our accounts in, I noticed a lot of retailers we haven’t touched yet. So all of a sudden, we could assign a salesperson to a retailer we weren’t aware of before. These accounts existed, but we didn’t have a way to resurface them this easily.”
What else can you do with this much visibility? Perrett realized he could encourage best practices in sales outreach. “I can see Peter wrote a great outreach email. He’s a good writer and he’s breaking new ground. I want to share that email, so we can copy it for other interactions. There was no visibility into that before."
Starter is just the start for Sandy Alexander. When it's ready, the company will expand its CRM capabilities to stay ahead of the curve and accelerate even more growth.
Perrett said there’s a huge desire for the company to run as many processes as it can through CRM. He’s excited about all the possibilities: generating quotes, building automated workflows, integrating Slack, the list goes on.
“With more integrations, automations, and features, we can capture more data, be more efficient, get to market quicker, and build out better reporting,” Perrett said.
For decades, Sandy Alexander has been pushing boundaries, bringing ideas to life, and going above and beyond for its clients — all with the mindset that “investment meets reward.”
Now that the company invested in CRM, Perrett expects to see the rewards multiply.
He said, “Starter is a huge advancement from where we were to where we are now. It was transformative for us and our business."