Large foodservice distributor feeds salesforce productivity and customer service
- Sales automation and reporting app boosts sales productivity and customer satisfaction
- SalesPal, a sales tracking and automation app integrated with ERP system
- Went from spreadsheets to iPad for a holistic view of orders with instant prompts such as follow-ups and missing orders; gave management instant visibility into sales progress; increased ROI through fast, easy in-house app development
Wood Fruitticher is a large foodservice distribution company, selling food and supplies to restaurants, schools, nursing homes, and other institutions. Eighty salespeople in the field offer more than 8,000 different products to customers in seven states. It’s a massive and ever-changing ordering and delivery effort that requires extensive coordination.
In the past, coordinating orders and being sure customers got what they needed was time consuming and tedious. Salespeople could not see all of their orders for the day in one place; instead, the ordering software on their laptops would only show orders placed from the laptop. Orders placed directly by customers online or orders keyed at the office by inside sales were only visible through subsequent confirmation emails or PDF files, Likewise, a change made to any order was visible to the salesperson by email only, as opposed to an update to their laptop data. And these changes themselves were made, not within the ordering software on the laptops, but by placing a phone call to dedicated personnel at the home office. Fragmented information and clunky processes led to frustrated field sales personnel.
An information food fight
Wood Fruitticher — established in Birmingham, Ala., in 1913
In addition to the fragmented ordering process, Wood Fruitticher salespeople had to look to the company’s private web portal to complete various sales request forms and reports. SalesPal also improved a salesperson’s visibility into Inventory by offering a better search engine, a more user-friendly interface, and real-time stock status.
There was also little to no visibility into the progress of a salesperson’s deliveries to customers, nor did Wood Fruitticher sales managers have access to dynamic reporting on each salesperson’s performance, such as sales, profits and commissions. Besides weekly or monthly PDF reports, the field reps could not see any details about customer sales and profits, nor could they track information about customer prospects to capitalize on new sales opportunities.
Overall, communications were fragmented, and they happened through a variety of channels—phone, voicemail, paper notes on legal pads, PDF files and spreadsheets. Information that was available required booting up a full-sized laptop to access, and information was not consolidated so that both salespeople and management could have a clear holistic picture of orders, deliveries and performance.
I could never have dreamed we could create a sophisticated app in-house within such a short time frame. It is not a pat on my back, but instead a testament to FileMaker.
Martin Clapp, Developer, Wood Fruitticher
Field teams stay connected with a complete overview of orders and can make edits on the fly
Feeding field sales via a custom app
To make its field salespeople more productive, Wood Fruitticher developed a custom FileMaker app, SalesPal. It aggregates information and delivers it to field sales and managers via iPhone or iPad, making the company run more smoothly and productively.
The app provides numerous advantages. Salespeople can see all of their customer orders for the day, regardless of how the order was placed, all in one place. They can edit orders using SalesPal, versus making individual calls back to the home office. Multiple company forms such as Item Requests, Collection Reports, and others no longer require an emailed spreadsheet or logging into a dedicated web portal. They’re now available directly within SalesPal, increasing the speed and accuracy of submission and reducing confusion about where to locate specific forms or how to properly submit.
Smarter field sales
With SalesPal, field sales can search and view information about each individual product in a cleaner, more user-friendly format. They can enter contact and other information about prospective customers into the app, and even be reminded about when to make the next contact with a prospect. Previously, salespeople relied on paper or spreadsheets to capture this information, so follow-ups were not always top of mind. Salespeople now have immediate access to appropriate customer contact information and can initiate follow-ups with a tap.
SalesPal also helps boost customer satisfaction. For instance, when viewing an item on an order that is out of stock, a button for contacting the buyer for that item immediately appears. Since real time delivery status is also now available in SalesPal, there is virtually no reason to make a phone call to Purchasing. In the rare case that product on an order will not be filled, the customer’s contact information is instantly available so the salesperson can alert them and quickly remedy the problem.
"With our custom FileMaker app, SalesPal, there's no more wondering about who to call, searching for a number or even keying in a number to dial," says Martin Clapp, developer of SalesPal and one of the resident “nerds” at Wood Fruitticher. "FileMaker offers features such as SendMail and Dial scripts to automate many of our field sales processes," he says.
SalesPal app built by Martin Clapp from Wood Fruitticher
A leg up on learning
Wood Fruitticher has even made it easier to learn and use the app. Salespeople and managers simply download the app to an iPhone or iPad. IT staff then gives them a user name and password, and they’re off and running. If they have questions or need assistance, they can watch short video tutorials, directly within SalesPal. Video is a much-appreciated form of instruction, and has increased users’ willingness to consult videos within the app before calling the help desk.
Management gets a full course meal, right away
With the SalesPal custom FileMaker app, management has a clear and precise understanding of what’s going on in the field every day. They can view statistics of both salespeople and customers, including granular details of year-to-date sales, profits, commissions and so on – and compare the details to the previous year. Previously, these numbers were only available as static PDF reports delivered weekly or monthly.
They also can select a salesperson in a specific district and see orders, routes, sales numbers, customer lists and other details – a big help for management in assisting and directing people to maximize sales and minimize overhead.
Martin Clapp using SalesPal
Not just an appetizer
SalesPal not only presents an elegant, consolidated, front-end view of information to end-users, but also it integrates tightly with the company’s back-end ERP system. Order and route information is updated in SalesPal every five minutes, and customer and salesperson information is updated daily. Order changes are sent from SalesPal back to the ERP system and processed immediately upon submission.
Integration with the ERP system was a bit of a challenge for Clapp, who had no previous FileMaker experience, but he accomplished it due to the ease of programming in FileMaker. "I picked up FileMaker from scratch and developed two versions of SalesPal quickly in order to integrate with our ERP system," Clapp says. "I could never have dreamed we could create a sophisticated app in-house within such a short time frame. It is not a pat on my back, but instead a testament to FileMaker."
Since implementing SalesPal, salespeople and management are raving about the app. One particularly compelling feature is the Missing Orders section, which salespeople rely on to ensure all of their customers' orders are placed and confirmed before the day's cutoff time.
"Sometimes we have a really tough time with all the balls we have to juggle, and how easy it can be to forget an order," says salesperson, Wood Fruitticher. "FileMaker helps us keep it all in order and keep customers satisfied."
"Based on responses from our salespeople, the capabilities within SalesPal are saving them enormous amounts of time and thereby increasing their opportunities to make sales and tend to customers," says Clapp. "What's more, SalesPal has improved morale and boosted our image. Field salespeople now can present themselves as being modern and sophisticated in an industry that, until now, has never been sleek or flashy."