Solutions

Nationwide sales agency tracks its field representatives and its customers with a powerful FileMaker Pro 7 database system.

Agri-Sales Associates Inc.

The heart of a successful company is its sales force; the men and women who bring the product face–to–face with the buying market. Agri–Sales Associates brings the power of a top–flight sales team to a wide range of independent manufacturers in the agricultural, home–and–garden, hardware, and veterinary fields. Agri–Sales Associates provides experienced, professional, personal service to both clients and consumers in every state, and the full suite of FileMaker Pro products plays a vital role in keeping that service organized.

Overview

  • Sales agency serving the agricultural, home–and–garden, hardware, and veterinary markets.
  • Based in Nashville, TN
  • About 50 employees

Industry

  • Retail/Wholesale

Solutions

  • Sales tracking database system built in FileMaker Pro 6 migrated to FileMaker Pro 7
  • Customer Relationship Management system built in FileMaker Pro 6 migrated to FileMaker Pro 7
  • Migration from FileMaker Unlimited to FileMaker Pro 7 Server Advanced smoothes transition from previous Web Publishing techniques to industry standards such as XML and PHP

Benefits

  • Information on progress of sales agents may be monitored on a daily basis, from the management team to their vendors.
  • Data in the field is always up–to–date.
  • Contact details for thousands of customers and vendors are thoroughly organized and easily accessible by all team members.
  • FileMaker Pro 7's ease of use minimizes costs of development and maintenance and significantly speeds the addition of new features to the database.

FileMaker Pro 7 allows me to use all the really high end technologies without having to be a "codehead" or an expert.

— David Simmons, Consultant, Agri–Sales Associates Inc.

Business Challenge

Headquartered in Nashville, TN, Agri–Sales Associates depends on efficient information–management technology to stay up–to–date on the activities of its sales representatives in the field, as well as to provide up–to–the–minute service to its clients. "There are three major bodies of data which I am trying to connect to each other," explains Agri–Sales technology consultant David Simmons. "They are the field sales reps, who are the core of the business, the vendors who provide the products that are sold, and us — at the management office — the clearinghouse in the middle. We manage sales and marketing campaigns and monitor performance. Today we have a number of different vendors, with between 2 to 200 products each. We service over 70,000 potential customers, which may have anywhere from 5 to 50 personnel each. And we run a full sales reporting and forecasting database for the past rolling 25 months encompassing hundreds of thousands of transactions."

It's a complex arrangement, with vast amounts of data streaming in and out of headquarters every day: transactional data such as what's been sold to whom and how much commission is due, as well as qualitative data such as competitive information and market intelligence on their ever–changing customer base.

Successful Solution

Agri–Sales began using FileMaker Pro a decade ago. "Why FileMaker Pro?" offers David. "Cost and ease of modification, hands down — as well as the confidence that I'd be able to throw just about any challenge at FileMaker Pro, and find a way to meet it. I'm absolutely convinced that is NOT the case with many other products."

David's database system is kept simple and efficient. "My aim is to keep our database system as small as possible, and the migration to FileMaker Pro 7 really allows me to consolidate some of the workarounds I had to do in the past," he explains. "We've got multiple data types and data sets, At any one time we may have a quarter million transactions, across twenty to fifty thousand active customers, 80,000 or so field sales reports, broadcast faxing, emailing, and internal reporting on the whole thing. I am so thankful for the added robustness and security of FileMaker Pro 7 because virtually all of our system is 'Business Critical."

My aim is to keep our database system as small as possible, and the migration to FileMaker Pro 7 really allows me to consolidate some of the workarounds I had to do in the past. We've got multiple data types and data sets. At any one time we may have a quarter million transactions, across twenty to fifty thousand active customers, 80,000 or so field sales reports, broadcast faxing, emailing, and internal reporting on the whole thing. I am so thankful for the added robustness and security of FileMaker Pro 7 because virtually all of our system is 'Business Critical'.

— David Simmons, Consultant, Agri–Sales Associates Inc.

Customer Benefits

FileMaker Pro has long meant efficiency in operation and savings in costs for Agri–Sales, but with the upgrade to FileMaker Pro 7, there's an even greater difference being made each day. "Large databases with thousands of records are often 'sort of a collage built over time,'" comments David, "but FileMaker Pro 7 is so much more efficient and powerful. Now we are cleaning up our code and starting more data mining because the new relationship model in FileMaker Pro 7 creates some powerful new opportunities to view and manage our data."

The much enhanced web publishing features of FileMaker Pro Server 7 Advanced make it easy for Agri–Sales to bring together essential information over the web using XML and PHP technologies. "FileMaker Pro 7 allows me to use all the really high end technologies without having to be a "codehead" or an expert," David declares. "It lets me focus on the business logic and the business itself. It's not just easier — it's inspiring. There are fewer scripts and steps to do what you want. There's absolutely no other product that can do what we're doing, that changes as the business changes, and gives the customer this kind of experience for the same cost."

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Agri–Sales Associates Inc.:

David Simmons
VP IT and Operations
Agri–Sales Associates Inc.
615-329-1141
david@agri-sales.com
http://www.agri-sales.com