About Tiger Coatings
Tiger Coatings fabricates powder coatings for a broad variety of applications: automotive, industrial, furniture, electronics, retail, appliances, and many more. A “powder coating” is applied as a free-flowing dry powder applied usually over metal, with numerous advantages over conventional liquid paint, including a hard finish that is more robust.
Tiger Coatings is a global company. The division of the company currently using Pipeliner CRM for manufacturing covers three industries in North America: architectural, lighting, and agriculture. The champion and power user of Pipeliner CRM within the company is Manny Mayer, the Architectural, Lighting. and Agriculture Product Manager, who brought Pipeliner into Tiger Coatings in 2011. There are 60 sales reps in this division on the Pipeliner system who report to Mayer.
CRM as Management Tool to Align Sales and Marketing
Mayer’s job description is an interesting one. “I literally work in between Sales and Marketing,” he says. “I tell Marketing what we need for these industries, and I tell Sales what opportunities we should go after — then I work with Sales to go after them. I establish contacts, assist with technical specifications, and get the products developed.”
Mayer uses Pipeliner to track sales in real time. “In my position, the most important thing is constant communication within the sales force,” Mayer comments. “Since I cover Canada through Mexico, you can’t always speak with 60 people and follow up with everything. So what I was really looking for was something like a Facebook feed, where sales reps input information. I have this running all day long, and can see where they go, if there’s any assistance they need, what exactly is discussed, and what our opportunities are. Pipeliner is real-time, so for me it’s much more relevant than having a report sent in once a week which I have to hover over for the next 3 days to decode.”
Another major issue that Pipeliner solves for Mayer is that of document management. Tiger Coatings runs an approval process to allow customers to purchase a particular product, and Mayer says that system used to be very chaotic. “I used to literally have a drawer full of paper with the testing that we’ve performed,” Mayer reports. “I need to keep it for many years in case something goes wrong. Now I just take all that testing data and upload it on Pipeliner. If there’s ever a problem I just go back and look it up.”
Mayer has been very pleased with Pipeliner’s development over the two years Tiger Coatings has been using it. He is especially happy with the auto-calculating fields in the latest version. He finds Pipeliner’s visual functionality useful, and he likes the way the visual features improve with each release.
Mayer is also very pleased with how responsive Pipeliner has been to any technical issues Tiger has encountered. Issues generally have been fixed by the next released version of the product. He points out that would never happen with a vendor such as Microsoft.
The Status Quo Had to Change
Mayer originally began searching for a “CRM for manufacturing” solution due to his frustration with their previous contact management system. The software was not Cloud-based and was therefore installed only locally on sales reps’ laptops. Mayer had no access to these individual installations and therefore no efficient way to track the sales in his territory; he had to rely on weekly written reports from each salesperson.
One major liability was that if a sales rep left the company, the rep would delete the sales data, and there would be no way to regain that information. Not being Cloud-based also meant that each laptop had to be constantly backed up in case of a hard drive crash.
Mayer was also dissatisfied with the user interface and was constantly struggling with it.
Evaluating Pipeliner CRM
When Mayer went looking for a CRM solution, he brought Pipeliner in for consideration, and tried it along with other CRM options.
The company was using SAP, so they considered a SAP CRM but it was too expensive for them. They also tried out the latest version of their previous CRM software, but Mayer found that even the latest version didn’t have the functionality they really required.
Another factor that contributed to the decision was that the Pipeliner sales rep provided a trial version that completely fit their model, including a trial database. “I think that was very helpful,” Mayer says. “It’s one thing to go on a vendor’s website and see some generic database for a business which has nothing to do with us. Our demo was modeled for Tiger.”
The final decision to purchase was made by the company’s VP Sales & Marketing North America, based on the fact that Pipeliner operated in the Cloud and the fact that the price was right.
From the IT side Pipeliner was evaluated by Tyler DeHeer, Tiger Coatings’ Network Administrator North America. He needed to answer such questions as: Would the product be stable on their platform? Would their hardware support it? He reports that it was an easy evaluation, aside from having to educate himself on the Adobe AIR platform (on which Pipeliner is based). From his standpoint the evaluation was simple.
Training and Rollout
The initial training on Pipeliner was accomplished in a single day. The training was conducted by the Pipeliner sales rep, who trained the reps as part of their yearly sales meeting. For all but the very technically challenged salespeople, training was and continues to be very easy and takes a day at most.
From the IT side, DeHeer reported that rolling out Pipeliner was extremely easy. He did have a frustrating issue with the porting of legacy database data, but he blamed that on the way that Act! data was formatted; it was impossible to port. In the end they decided to not even try—they just began with a clean slate.
Easy, Intuitive Administration
In addition to the painless rollout, DeHeer reports that administration of Pipeliner in its current version, is very easy. “I really appreciate the ability to create roles,” he said. “I can subdivide users by job requirement. If somebody only needs to see accounts and not see opportunities per se, it’s not a problem.”
“We’ve also got other departments, not just Sales, in Pipeliner at this point, such as people in Customer Support. Pipeliner accounts are set up for them where they’re only able to view data; they’re not able to change anything and they’re not able to see opportunities—basically reducing the risk that they’re going to mess something up.”
“I would recommend Pipeliner to others for sure,” Manny says. “A good CRM is essential for any business. For me, I like Pipeliner the best.”