Nobody ever said growing a small business was easy. After all, a small business owner needs to focus on increasing sales, marketing, and service productivity, while at all times remaining customer-centric. And that's just the business management side of things. For business owners such as Tammy Craddock of Jubilations Cheesecakes, the hands-on production of goods is also part of the job.
Jubilations Cheesecakes has been in operation since 1983, and is the brainchild of Craddock, who is a former schoolteacher and stay-at-home mom from Columbus, Miss. Craddock began her career as a home-based baker while raising her two children. She started off by baking breads and desserts for her friends and family, and ultimately began selling them. As the demand for her offerings increased, and her small business began to grow, Craddock decided to narrow her focus to her specialty, cheesecake.
In 1990, she also decided to move the operation from her home kitchen to a commercial facility, and expand her repertoire of cheesecakes: More than 40 flavors in a variety of sizes and slicing options are now available through her mail-order and e-commerce business. The business now boasts 20 employees, and its customers now include upscale restaurants and specialty retailers. But most impressive of all, Jubilations Cheesecakes are still hand-made.
The Problem of Growth
With more than 50 percent of Jubilations' volume being sold via a third-party distributor, and the volume of sales steadily increasing, the company had no way to track and maintain contact with its end customers: caterers and restaurants. So Jubilations Cheesecakes decided to implement Salesnet's online customer relationship management (CRM) application to track and maintain contact with its individual customers as well as to manage its relationships with distributors.
On a regularly scheduled basis, Jubilations uses Salesnet to request sales reports from its distributors in order to market itself to individual buyers. Jubilations automated the report-request process in order to ensure it maintains top-of-mind awareness with distributors, and not miss any opportunities to market its product to a new customer.
Today, Craddock also uses Salesnet to manage her direct-mail campaigns. (Although Jubilations Cheesecakses uses the Standard version, Salesnet recently announced the release of its Salesnet Express edition, targeted specifically at small businesses.) Using the application's Communication Manager functionality, Craddock sends personal letters to customers every week.
As a result of the implementation, Jubilations' success has been sweet it estimates that it has doubled the number of sales prospects in its pipeline since deploying Salesnet.
To further understand why Jubilations Cheesecakes chose Salesnet as its CRM tool, I spoke George Purnell, vice president of Jubilations Cheesecakes.
According to Purnell, the team at Jubilations needed to generate awareness of Jubilations Cheesecakes with restaurant chefs, managers, and owners because the business does not advertise a consumer brand. More specifically, Jubilations' goal was to increase contact with restaurants, which had been buying their products through third party foodservice distributors and had no direct contact with the Jubilations team.
"The fact that restaurants typically get their products from distributors and not directly from us is an industry phenomenon that every food manufacturer has struggled with for years," Purnell said. "With over a half-million restaurants in the U.S., manufacturers have continuously struggled with how to make the restaurants aware of their products."
L.R.: So, how and why did you choose Salesnet?
G.P.: We began with Leadminder (a vendor of software for marketing and lead prospecting), which was purchased by Salesnet. Leadminder offered the letter-writing portion of Salesnet, but Salesnet offers many more features. We simply learned of the Leadminder product through an Internet search.
L.R.: Did Salesnet customize the solution based on your needs?
G.P.: Salesnet has customized nothing for us, but they have tailored their training based on their thorough understanding of our processes.
L.R.: What's Jubilations' timeframe for evaluating competitive products? That is, how locked in are you to Salesnet?
G.P.: We're locked in only because Salesnet works for us. We currently aren't shopping for an alternative.
L.R.: How long did Salesnet take to deploy? And, how many departments/divisions were impacted?
G.P.: We are a small company with 20 employees. Salesnet affects three employees and our external sales force of brokers an additional 50-75 people. The time it took us to design our process was six months. Salesnet's portion was ready-made for us. We simply took about 90 days to set it up.
L.R.: What benefits were immediately apparent? For example, increased sales or customers.
G.P.: Additional customer awareness, additional sales, new customers, and more efficient prospecting.
L.R.: Can you talk a little bit about the results? What so far has been the return in investment (ROI)?
G.P.:The cost of Salesnet is so low that the ROI would be way over 1000%
L.R.: Is this Phase I of a larger deployment or initiative - if so, what comes next?
G.P.: We plan to extend the process to two other business channels and to eventually roll out licenses to several of our external sales force.
L.R.: What would you change if you were to do it again?
G.P.: Planned for more internal resources (people) to utilize the tool. Our ROI is high enough that we could have invested more in people earlier. But we didn't know that at the time.
Adapted from ECommerce-Guide.com.