EH Smith's head office in the West Midlands.

Integrated sales success

Published:  28 April, 2014

Fran Smallman, commercial manager for EH Smith, explains how using an integrated business intelligence and CRM software solution has significantly increased the company’s sales performance and productivity.

The management team at EH Smith, one of the UK’s largest independent builders’ and timber merchants, was looking for the ultimate sales solution; it had to be intuitive, enabling self-sufficiency at branch manager and depot sales levels. It would also need to provide every user with independent and tailored streams of information and analytics – from product, branch and customer spend patterns, through to rebate and performance management – without reliance on the IT or finance departments.

It was vital that the solution could empower the team to optimise every opportunity. With the complex nature of our data, the ability to customise and drill-down quickly was crucial.

Enter Vecta, a software solution designed for the manufacturing, distribution and wholesale sectors that combines business intelligence and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. The fully hosted service provides users with access to customer buying patterns.

Before implementing the software solution, EH Smith was keen to share information more efficiently. The team, particularly those out in the field, spent too much time producing and analysing sales data. Now, it can spend that time taking action, based on the information Vecta delivers.

Valuable cost savings

Adopting Vecta to strengthen and drive the company’s sales growth has also helped to improve operational efficiency at EH Smith. Vecta has become an invaluable part of its day-to-day toolkit – from a management and operational sales perspective it’s a useful and powerful tool.

It has resulted in significant time and cost savings for our business. It’s safe to say that producing the required quality and volume of information to support our management, sales and purchasing decisions is unachievable without it.

Adoption impact

Using a range of dashboards and automated alerts, the team can now immediately recognise gaps in spend, product link-sell opportunities and potential difficulties relating to lost or drifting customers.

Generating detailed information on opportunities and drilling to view any aspect of results has proven to be simple and relevant to all aspects of the business. Vecta streamlines our sales process and helps overcome barriers to business growth.

Previously, we spent hours analysing and producing management reports. I can now deliver in excess of 85 detailed and customised reports in an hour, representing huge time and cost savings. Other benefits include:

  • The ability to access complex information quickly without being an expert in data analysis
  • Branch managers get straight to vital information for effective decision making
  • The speed and accuracy of the information delivered ensures our efforts are spent on improving performance.

Every user gains controlled self-sufficiency providing them with all the sales information they need at their fingertips.

For our branch managers and sales team, the dashboards and simplicity of the expanding results view is particularly useful. Productivity has vastly improved and the team now has a single-source view of the important details they need to manage customers and meet targets. We have found that the latest Cloud SaaS service has revolutionised Vecta, producing considerable efficiency gains as the solution is easily and quickly tailored to suit individual business needs.

It’s now possible to have a bespoke system without the difficulties and disruptions typically associated with set-up and adoption of new software systems. Customised views are achieved easily and quickly, making it simple to log in and concentrate on specific areas of responsibility.

Responsive support

Clearly, aftercare and guidance are vital elements of any new system implementation. The support we receive from Vecta is first class – the company continues to work closely with its customers long after the purchase is made and give regular input as to future product developments.

EH Smith also discovered that VECTA can be a useful tool for a purchasing team. Using the same technology, Vecta gives the company a range of factual purchasing knowledge, allowing them to manage supplier relationships, spend and rebate analysis easily.

Optimising purchasing operation, customer care, nurturing the best possible relationships and expanding on purchasing range is essential for our business. With Vecta, we can make our interactions with every customer and supplier visible and comprehensible from all angles.

We are now equipped with the full facts, around the clock, which saves time and results in more efficient selling, monitoring and purchasing. Suppliers prefer to sell in larger volumes, as this tends to result in better pricing, so our customers also benefit, making for a win-win situation all-round.

This article first appeared in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of Builders' Merchants News.

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