Case Mincon Inc.: Distribution channels monitoring brought to a new level.

The Rudolf customers Mincon

Case Mincon Inc.: Distribution channels monitoring brought to a new level.

We help Mincon Group North America to understand better their clients and what is happening in their sales channels, by visualizing it all, in real time.

One of the best known names in the world of mining and infrastructure, when it comes to hard rock drilling, Mincon Inc, a subsidiary of Mincon Group Plc (DUB) wanted to drill deeper into their field operations, gather better market understanding and visualize their sales channel operations and actions.

The Rudolf fills a white space within the CRM segment, creating “Smart sales tools apps”. This category comprises of sales and operational field force related apps, which are not CRM, but can increase the productivity of CRM and ERP. Or in some cases, these tools can be used as “stand alone”, replacing CRM altogether.

CEO of Nordic Industries Development, Juha Seppänen, says that MINCON Inc. is using the visual sales tool to receive a total visibility of their operations in North America. “We consulted the client. Being sales channel specialists, we built processes around the Rudolf platform.”

Basically this means, that everyone will immediately be able to see what is the situation, what has been done and what needs to be done next. But, there is also more than that. The whole system and methodology designed enables the client to visualize actions at all levels of their sales channels. “No CRM or ERP has been able to provide this type of information the way we do, visually.” Juha Seppänen adds.

Leveraging on new type of user experience, interactive visualization and mobility, The Rudolf also eliminates unnecessary reporting and email interactions. According to Mincon Inc. CEO Tom Purcell “using The Rudolf’s inbuilt reporting tool, the HQ obtains consistent and systematic client and market insights in real time. This is more powerful for data query purposes than written reports, that nobody has time to write and read. And, worst of all, you can’t really filter reports.”

The fact that MINCON Inc. saw the value in The Rudolf proves that a smart sales tool, which is nimble, easy to use and made essentially to answer the needs of sales people, is the future tool for dynamic and growth driven companies, who do not want the implementation burden of big and heavy CRM and all related apps.

 

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Tuomas Härkönen The Rudolf software

Contact us:

Tuomas Härkönen, Customer Project Manager

Tel: +358407773217
E-mail: tuo[email protected]

Luxottica Retail Group is managing their sales and retail channels with The Rudolf in North America

The rudolf customers Luxotica

Luxottica Retail Group is managing their sales and retail channels with The Rudolf in North America

LUXOTTICA GROUP NORTH AMERICA, the biggest premium, luxury and sports eyewear retailer in the world, use The Rudolf as a mobile retail and operations platform tool to visualize and improve operations management and enhance internal process control in their retail stores nationwide.
With over 2 500 retail stores in North America, LUXOTTICA GROUP owns brands such as Oakley, Ray-Ban, Prada, Sunglass Hut, Target Opticals and Lens Crafters just to name a few. Luxottica took The Rudolf to fill a gap in their IT-infrastructure, that no other software was able to do. They wanted to first of all, improve the information flow between the retail stores and the management, so that lag in crucial core processes, which directly affect the sales, would be minimized. The application needed to be simple enough to implement, easy for everybody to learn fast and visually effective, when it comes to illustrating different situations. Their own CRM system was too heavy, uncustomizable and not modern enough from the user experience point of view to be an alternative. By taking The Rudolf they gained easy situational awareness, enhanced communication in their core processes and took their market information gathering on new level. The fact that LUXOTTICA RETAIL GROUP saw the value in The Rudolf proves that sales channel management tool, which is nimble, easy to use and made essentially to answer the needs of channel managers and partners, is the future tool for dynamic and growing companies in managing their sales channels.

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Request a trial!

Try The Rudolf for free.

Tuomas Härkönen The Rudolf software

Contact us:

Tuomas Härkönen, Customer Project Manager

Tel: +358407773217
E-mail: [email protected]

WE SHOULD SIMPLIFY THE DATA GATHERING PROCESS TO PREPARE OURSELVES FOR AI!

There was a mind provoking article in the WSJ Smart Sales Tools Seek Better Data” by Angus Loten on 18th March 2018. It stated, how some companies, already awash with data, “are looking to fill a yawning gap in corporate intelligence on a key component of their sales strategy: Buyers.” According to Mr. Loten, data on commercial buyers is increasingly critical, as more businesses deploy digital sales tools powered by artificial intelligence algorithms, aiming to leverage insight to close more deals or simply know when to walk away. He added, that based on IT vendors and industry analysts “the smart sales tools are only as good as the data sellers plug in”. Bingo, music for my ears!!

So, let me start with saying that I sincerely believe AI is good for productivity and a game changer in the future of sales. Yet, most of the companies are not there yet. And as far as many SME’s are concerned, some are still running on Excel to track their sales and prospects. So, this made me think. Firstly, is AI benefitting only companies with a massive amount of data? Secondly, why companies do not have accurate data, although CRMs have been around for a long time? Thirdly, it seems that the same companies that sold us CRMs are now proposing us AI platforms as add-ons to their CRMs.

Finally, if the data gathering and filtering needs to be beefed up by AI, then the whole logic of lead generation and silo thinking has been wrong from the very beginning. That logic is about process, not about information per se.Am I the only one feeling that I have been sold yet again a new buzzword and “a layer over layer” of productivity?

Let’s start by fixing the basics? Many salespeople simply do not enter relevant and accurate information to their CRMs. This is the main issue. So, shouldn’t we first simplify the initial data and information gathering process to prepare ourselves for AI age? After all, what is so complicated about entering the “good” data and market information?

Could it be that CRMs are simply too complicated to be used in the field? Or should we fire all the sales professionals who do not provide “loads of good and valid data”? Technically, you need 3 things to understand your customers:

Firstly, a good set of questions to ask from your clients such as: What they buy, why, from whom, how many times per year…

Secondly, a fast interface with user friendly visuals and easy question forms to enter the data. If something is complicated and takes time, sales professionals will not use it. They rather concentrate on sales. This is why excel is still used in many companies, even some multinationals.

Thirdly, we need clear rules for systematic and consistent information gathering.

Is your CRM process delivering these features to you and is your organization adhering to these principles? I guess not. And adding some AI will not change that.

Why not? Simply because, too often the decision about what sales tool to use, is made by people who do not usually use them! Thus, the process has become more important than the result. Think about it. A hockey goalie has different gear than other players on the ice, even though, they play the same game. So, why sales professionals shouldn’t also have their own “gear” to make their life easier and get you the data you want for your AI.

 

The Writer: JUHA SEPPÄNEN (CEO of THE RUDOLF)
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Completely integrated company IT infrastructure – The future or a daydream?

The age of big mainframe computers and synthesizers was in 80’s. Many things have changed since then, yet too many companies still invest in legacy systems which are heavy, complicated and require an army of IT staff to run them.

In the last few years we have seen new innovative solutions entering to productivity and sales tool space. This should be very welcomed by sales professionals, as the case is rarely so, that a single big system, such as salesforce or AX/Dynamics, can serve efficiently everybody, even if they seriously try to convince you so.

So, how we manage to operate and sync all specific tools needed by different units within organizations. We don’t. That’s why the question is, who does these tools serve and what is their real value to user and “observer”? In fact, do we need all this data automation, at all cost? Clearly, management does not need the same tools than field force and vice versa.

 

The problem in a nutshell

The problem arises when companies find out that the system they use, whether fully fletched CRM system or ERP, does not answer to the need of all different areas of daily operations. Naturally, any management looking for competitive advantage should become interested in adding the new “efficient and better” tool to their IT infrastructure.

So, adding a new tool is approved. But the what happens when there are several different applications which all contain some amount of overlapping information? It is not difficult to see that maintaining all of this “up to date” separately in all different systems, is a task which is not only quite impossible, but does not make any sense when it comes to time consumption. But integrations on the other hand bring their own problems. In the best case it exists by default and even works faultlessly. In many cases it doesn´t work that well and sometimes it must be built in order to get something really useful.

Not all companies using CRM and ERP are big and can’t simply afford time and money to get this done. Sure, the optimum solution would be that we sync this overlapping information automatically, so it is always the same and updated in all of these different systems. Those who have been dealing with integrations, knows that this is not without challenges.

Let´s think of a simple example: we want to integrate our customer overall information (just name, address, contact person, sector and other criteria, without any situational information) between two systems. What does it require? Well, let´s assume first that this information is up to date in system 1 and we want to get it synced into system 2. System 1 has an interface of functions that can be used to fetch this information and then it has to be decided what field in system 2 corresponds some field in system 1. When this is clear the data can be copied from system 1 to system 2.

So what we see here is that there has to be a component which acts kind of an interpreter between the two systems. Ok, whose “job” it is to provide this component then? Of course this works so, that smaller system providers have to provide these components to connect to bigger systems, because the leading CRM companies don´t see any reason to build connections to systems which are not really globally renowned or they do not contribute to their ecosystem in positive way. On the contrary these smaller “apps” might even be taking away some revenue from the incumbents.

Still, it is clear that even covering those two big ones there is many and many more systems still out there that we are not providing connection by default. We of course can build the connection to almost whatever system but it would be a customization project then, unless there are many companies desiring the connection to that particular system.

 

How to validate if integration is worth doing?

Here the real headache arises. The customer may see value in tool that answers to a specific area of sales but if it doesn´t integrate with their core system, does it make any sense? What is reasonable cost to buy this connection as a customization? How can you measure and reflect the cost in productivity or in saving of time so that it is worth the investment? Hardly any of us have a direct answer to these questions.

Here we have to go back to the basics and think first how it would work. Would the connection need to be two-directional or is one-directional enough. If one of the two systems is clearly the system where the data entry happens (new data is created) it may be enough that this data is created there and then transferred to the other system where it is further processed then. If something has to go to the opposite direction, then it has to be two-directional. It can be said that creating two-directional connection is at least twice as much of work than creating one-directional, many times even way more.

Company´s internal data process flow becomes vital and it has to be clear. You have to think what particular information you have to transfer and how often is enough. And this depends really about what information we are talking about and what are the systems, there is no general answer.

And now coming back to the original question. Yes, the integration of all systems in company IT infrastructure is going to be reality in the future but when interviewing different companies now it comes apparent that currently it is still a daydream. I believe we are just taking our first steps to that direction. The integrations between systems are already a business of it´s own, but it most probably will grow exponentially.

Before we are there, where all systems talk to each other seamlessly and effortlessly, we have to still rely to our own common sense. We have to

  • first identify what is the purpose and output of different systems in our IT infrastructure.
  • Then we have to identify which is the share of the data that is common to these different systems.
  • Then we have to identify if the direct integration is absolutely crucial or is the use case and the need something you can manage by transferring data through manual operations.
  • Finally if the answer is that we really need an integration, we have to clearly and specifically be able to demonstrate how it works in reality.

As the doing of the integration comes only fifth after these steps, maybe the discussion should not start from how you can integrate it, when presenting a new solution. I think the first thing is still, what do you achieve with it.

 
The Writer: Tuomas Härkönen, Director of Technology, THE RUDOLF Oy
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