Customer Success story: Feralloy

A CRM system as strong as steel.

With Salesforce, Feralloy’s CRM system demonstrates the same strength and dependability as the flat rolled steel they process.

Who is Feralloy?

Feralloy Corporation operates as one of the country’s largest high volume steel processing companies. With an extensive network of plants throughout the United States and Mexico, Feralloy brings over 60 years of experience to the table as they deliver high quality processed flat rolled steel. Their hot rolled, pickled, cold rolled and coated sheet products ship to manufacturers and producers relying on the support of Feralloy’s steel supply networks.

Feralloy Project Fast Facts:

  • Industry: Manufacturing
  • # of Employees: 650
  • # of Users in deployment: 55
  • Platform: Salesforce
  • Integrations: STAR ERP (IBM iSeries), Box

The Challenge:

  • Feralloy didn’t have a centralized software application to track and manage their existing client relationships. When a member of the sales team left the company, so did their customers’ information.
  • Prior to CRM, Feralloy’s different business units each utilized an informal ad-hoc sales process. This made communication between their four unique business categories and employees within each category extremely cumbersome.
  • Feralloy’s sales team didn’t have the tools they needed to effectively manage existing client relationships and nurture prospective business.

The Solution:

  • Salesforce deployment // Workload type: sales
  • One-way batch integration from their ERP system STAR (IBM iSeries) to Salesforce using Jitterbit to manage the integration.
  • Custom-branded Salesforce1 Mobile deployment

The Result:

  • By replacing the antiquated legacy system, Feralloy positively changed their team’s preconceived ideas about CRM and gave sales and marketing a tool they were motivated to use.
  • With CRM, Feralloy manages their employees more effectively thanks to improved visibility into their team’s performance.
  • Feralloy provides more value to their customers with the insights garnered from CRM, allowing them to more effectively manage their steel inventory.

Why CRM? Why now?

Feralloy needed a customized CRM that could support the highly customized solutions they provide to manufacturing hubs throughout North America. Prior to selecting Salesforce and partnering with Sonoma Partners, Feralloy had no formal CRM system in place. The business was managed through Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and basic verbal and email communication.

To truly understand their need for CRM, you have to understand how Feralloy, and many organizations within the wholesale and distribution industry, sell. Feralloy’s team engages in two types of sales: transactional and programmed.

Transactional:

  • Much shorter sales cycle
  • Closing a sale in 1 to 2 steps
  • Smaller in size, dictated largely by how much inventory space a customer has available and how they want to receive the steel products
  • Buy what you need when you need it

Programmed:

  • Longer engagement, can take 5 steps and up to 5 years to close
  • Designed for customers who have a repetitive need, buy the same product at the same pace
  • Buy what you need knowing you’ll always need it

Feralloy knew it was time to invest in CRM when a high priority member of their sales team left their organization, taking personal relationships with them. While the types of sales they engaged in were clearly defined prior to deployment, a formalized sales process was nonexistent. Without a formalized CRM system, their remaining team members had no way to access the important information and vital insights needed to support and service an existing account after the employee exited.

CRM for better customer service.

Not only did Feralloy see CRM as a tool that could solve their internal challenges, they knew it could help them extend greater value to their customers. With an integration between their ERP system STAR (AS 400) and Salesforce, Feralloy can help their customers manage their inventory better, and provide them with what they need, when they need it.

With better reporting capabilities, dashboards around pre-production planning, and a more regimented sales process, Feralloy now has the tools they need to help their clients better manage their inventory, better forecast, and make better business decisions when it comes to inventory management.

Bottom line? When Feralloy manages their assets more efficiently, they drive profitability. The same goes for their clients.

CRM for better employee management.

Five years ago, Feralloy largely hired from within the industry, bringing on seasoned veterans that had decades of experience and a deep understanding of the ins and outs of the steel trade. With CRM, Feralloy can hire and ramp up new sellers even if they don’t have 20+ years of industry experience thanks to knowledge management tools and streamlined onboarding processes. With CRM, Feralloy isn’t just investing in a tool that helps their employees work more effectively; they are investing in their future.

CRM for better mobile capabilities.

Feralloy entered the CRM platform evaluation process knowing their initial deployment needed to provide mobile access to their users. Their outside sales team can be on the road up to four days a week working multi-state territories. Mobility isn’t a nice to have – mobility is a must.

Leveraging Salesforce1’s native capabilities, Feralloy opened its employees’ eyes to an entirely new visual data experience. Prior to implementation, their sales team organized their accounts and territories on paper. Not only did this method prove to be ineffective for sellers on the road, but it didn’t help the organization with data cleanliness. With geopointe information, people can visually see where their accounts are located and immediately identify whether the Account actually belongs to them. The previously laborious task of reassigning Accounts is easier than ever, and the use of the mobile application improved the accuracy of their data.

Lessons learned for the future.

If Feralloy was to implement CRM again, here’s what they would do differently:

  • Have more in-depth conversations about key processes and how these translate into Salesforce, including Account structures, Contact migration, and de-dupe strategies.
  • Scale back the expectations and scale up the value-add. Expectations were very high for Phase 1 of the project, when most of the tangible value-adds of the system wouldn’t hit end users until Phase 2.
  • Implement a CRM champion within each division and have this person in place from day one of the project.

As Feralloy continues to add to their Salesforce deployment in Phase 2, their future plans include mobile enhancements, refined training processes, and an ongoing commitment to end user adoption and change management.