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Market leaders with a well-cherished brand heritage enjoy plenty of advantages in the battle for sales. But when competition is intense, every customer relationship must be tended, nurtured, developed and defended.

Irish Managed Print Solutions provider Bryan S Ryan Limited is using sales metrics to protect accounts from erosion and develop newer revenue streams, as I discovered when chatting with its Sales Director, Jim Hand.

1. Jim, tell me about Bryan S Ryan and your role at the company.

Bryan S Ryan sells office supplies, equipment and furniture, plus managed print services and document services. We're a great Irish company, founded in 1948 and headquartered in Dublin. Over the decades we've gone from strength to strength. Our merger with Office Evolutions in 2008 made us the largest and most technically-advanced supplier of managed print devices to Ireland’s corporate and SME sectors. Today, we bring unrivalled savings and expertise to our core markets.

As Sales Director, my goal is to maintain and continue to grow the company, keeping it working dynamically with highly motivated staff that provide value and quality services to our clients. I'm responsible in particular for the B2B direct sales team.

2. Where does Salesforce sit within your organisation - and how do you use sales analytics?

We use Salesforce to bring our business together for continuity across divisions and customers. We have 90 staff and four offices, including one in the UK. We rolled out Salesforce across all departments

Salesforce gathers whatever interactions we’re having with customers across our different divisions. It helps us to ensure continuity of contacts, day-to-day CRM, and shows us where we’re making our margins. From management point of view we can monitor and track activity using metrics, which are invaluable.

3. You've got thousands of customers - how can you stay close to each of them?

We’re in a very competitive industry, so it's a challenge staying in contact with customers - because competitors are always talking to them. We need to ensure continuous activity with our accounts. Some sales departments only talk to the same customer twice a year, but our supplies division may contact the same customer 20 times in one month.

Metrics keep track of all this activity. We have an overall picture of who's saying what to whom - and when - and where every customer is in the sales cycle. We also use Salesforce as a treasure store of helpful notes, nuggets of information and personal facts to share and help us to build close relationships with every customer.

Our response times to customer queries has greatly increased. Every account manager has a geographical patch - but we can get new leads to them instantly to convert into sales. This enables us to provide the personal service and care that customers value.

4. What about utilising sales metrics for winning new business?

We use metrics extensively in this area. A lot of companies overly rely on existing relationships, going back to the same customers every time. But we put great emphasis on generating new business. We use metrics to look at where niche markets might exist and find out why. We can then tailor our marketing and sales strategy to those sectors and customers.

We also use metrics to monitor where our web leads come, such as Google Adwords. We can see which approaches are successful, how we’re growing and where we’re positioned.

Selling has changed in the past few years, as buyers do more research online, on websites and on social media. Sometimes customers stay for several minutes on our website. People view and compare products, then buy online. There's no human interaction but all the important details are fed back into Salesforce. We can then see how people found us and what they are most interested in. This vital information feeds back into Marketing - which can account for a large proportion of your budget.

5. How do you use metrics to sell managed print services?

MPS is quite specific. We won’t get a sale from a customer looking at the website and then placing an order - like for a small printer or office supplies. MPS requires consultation and scoping. But the metrics show where there's intent, from whom and which product range interests them most. Armed with the facts, our account managers can get talking to the correct people about specific interests and requirements.

It’s great to hear that metrics can make a huge difference in a really competitive, volume business. Thanks Jim for your time!

Like to know more about which sales metrics you need to measure to improve your sales management and performance? Get more insights from Jim Hand and other UK & Ireland sales leaders by downloading our ebook, The Sales Metrics That Matter

  Sales Metrics that Matter eBook