Design Within Reach (DWR), a retailer selling furniture online and through a contract sales force, has been using Salesforce.com to enable employees to connect and collaborate, and will soon be using the system to hone its quoting methods and targeted marketing efforts.
The company has been using the Salesforce Chatter feature to create an employee social network that has enabled the company to expand from individual sales to doing business with purchasing agents for major hotel chains, architectural firms and small interior design firms.
According to Bethany Kemp, VP of Information Systems at DWR, the ability to collaborate and access data from anywhere has been key to building the contract sales business. “The sales team has iPads, which are very useful when they are on the road visiting clients,” she said, adding that the reps can use iPads and iPhones for sales presentations, look up customer information in Salesforce, input information about sales calls and other opportunities, and place orders. Chatter also provides quick access to product-related queries such as dimensions, available finishes and inventory status.
Salesforce maintains records of all interactions with clients — whether by email, phone or the Web — so that DWR account executives can answer questions and solve issues quickly and efficiently.
Kemp said Salesforce Chatter enables the sales team to share success stories and strategize about how to solve problems across the company. Sales people also swap methods for closing deals that can help all members of the team, she noted.
Inventory management also is being streamlined with Salesforce, Kemp noted. Since the company imports a large portion of its products from Europe, it is important that the inventory information is accurate so that the sales staff knows when an item is expected to arrive. “We have taken that process from spreadsheets to the cloud where it is accessible.”
As the company moved to increase its contract sales business, quoting became a bigger part of the daily tasks, Kemp said. DWR is moving the quoting process from a separate system to Salesforce. “You don’t want to have four or five different quotes out there for the same client, and you want consistency in the quoting process.”
The next step, Kemp said, is to bring its marketing campaign management to the Salesforce platform. “This will enhance our ability to send and track targeted campaigns going forward.”