Germany has produced more companies in the past who have become one of the world leaders in their industry than any other country. One of those companies is Teupen Maschinenbau which has been providing people with work platforms for 40 years so that they might reach their lofty goals more quickly. The crucial factor for the success of this medium-sized company from Gronau in the state of Northrhine-Westphalia was providing customers with added value through innovative products which were generally not even yet in demand at that time.
One example of such an unconventional, technical solution by Teupen was the development of the first work platform on a chain chassis in 1987 which turned out to be a real milestone within the industry. «We built a completely new market as pioneers during the late 1980s», explains Florian Büscher, Marketing Manager at Teupen. «We installed the technology of our trailer platforms onto a normal mini-excavator chassis. The first presentation caused quite a sensation but nobody took us fully seriously. By now, these types of platforms have become their own category and are being built by other manufacturers as well.» However, Teupen remains the only manufacturer of chain work platforms in Germany and the only one worldwide who is specialised in this area. «We can honestly say that we are not only pioneers but are also trendsetters and market leaders», adds Büscher proudly.
Marketing Manager at Teupen
The foundation of the success is the quality and the knowledge of the experts who work for Teupen in all types of different areas. But the company did not want to solely rely on this fact and its market position. «Our unique selling proposition is certainly the technology we implement into our platforms. But we have to remain honest. There will always be manufacturers who can produce a similar technology and will offer it at a cheaper price. That is why in the future, we have to be perceived as a company who manages customer relations better than the competitors do», adds Marketing Manager Büscher. The factor speed plays a crucial role in this: «We have to reply to requests faster, offer solutions faster and understand our customers’ challenges faster.»
The digitalization process has changed the expectations of customers in the work platform industry as well. «70% of the machines sold in our industry are purchased by companies who lease them again. These are companies worth billions who are globally active and have demanding requirements for us – in terms of speed but also in terms of communication and the business transaction as a whole», explains Büscher.
As for many other German medium-sized companies, the existing infrastructure at Teupen could not cope with these higher requirements. There was no CRM solution in place and only a somewhat outdated ERP system was available for customer data management. At that time, there were many stand-alone solutions which caused increasingly more problems while the maintenance costs started to outweigh their benefits. That is how Florian Büscher, who is not only in charge of Marketing for the company but is also involved in Strategic Sales, began to search for a new solution in 2013 in order to modernise the Sales Department as a first step. «Once I had looked at the Sales Cloud as leading technology on the market a bit more closely, I was convinced quite quickly that this would also present the best solution for Teupen. We had a multitude of insulated, stand-alone solutions and my primary plans for the Cloud were the creation of a future-oriented solution which would provide us with an extensive overview of all relevant information about our customers and enable us to work more speedily.»
For the implementation of the Sales Cloud, Teupen was supported by PARX, a service provider for Salesforce solutions with years of experience resulting from 750 projects for more than 300 clients in the German-speaking region. «In PARX, we found a partner who always understands exactly what Salesforce is about, where the strengths lie and how the solution can be best adapted to our individual specifications», summarises the Marketing Manager. «We used this expertise in order to connect Salesforce with third-party solutions, for example.» Thanks to AppExchange, the worldwide largest marketplace for business applications, Salesforce customers have the option of selecting from a wide range of applications for Sales, Customer Service or the Integration with ERP systems and to use these solutions immediately. Teupen, for example, uses apps for the automation of marketing campaigns and the configuration of product prices for tenders. As part of the introduction of the Cloud solution, it became apparent that the digitalization process requires a change process in Teupen which will go far beyond technical questions and challenges. «The technical implementation of the Sales Cloud went smoothly and quickly,» says Büscher. «However, changing the habits of employees, in some cases after decades, was a much more laborious process in comparison.»
At Teupen, the Sales Cloud is used by approximately 30 Sales and Marketing employees who profit from different factors in their daily work: Employees used to send tenders to customers via Word documents and follow up at any unspecified date. Nowadays, this process is completely covered by the Sales Cloud. Employees always have up-to-date information about customers – and can act accordingly. This enables complete transparency of the tendering process and makes a structured management of the market possible. The work platform manufacturer is now able to create shorter sales cycles as price negotiations can take place more quickly and in a more structured manner.
Marketing Manager at Teupen
The new ERP system by SAP, introduced in 2014, will also be integrated with the Sales Cloud. The plan is to use the ERP system as a back-end system which provides all required customer information. Salesforce will function as the front-end tool and also represent the communication flow. «In order to be able to optimally manage our customers, we initially needed an ABC analysis of our customers,» says Florian Büscher. For this analysis, Teupen also used the Sales Cloud and can address customers in the future even more based on their individual needs: A-customers, for example, through direct contact by a Sales Representative, C-customers through a mailing.
«It must be our objective to know more about our customers and to be able to access this information at the push of a button. Whether it be in Sales, Customer Service or Marketing», states Büscher. «That is how we can systematically determine the right moment to contact a customer and make him an offer. Examples are active reminders that service maintenance for the machine is due or a conversation about purchasing a new machine once the one currently used has amortised. We see a lot of opportunities for up-sell and cross-sell options.» For this path, the Cloud will continue to play a central role. «Teupen has recognised that the service and a generally closer relationship with the customer can act as a lever in order to distinguish oneself from lower-priced competitors. On the basis of the experiences with Sales Cloud and with the idea of establishing a central platform for customer-related processes, the company now also relies on the Service Cloud and the Community Cloud by Salesforce», explains Matthias Hussl, member of the management at PARX. «That way, Teupen can improve service quality and generate new potential for revenue at the same time.»
Using the Service Cloud in the future, Teupen will collect all the information about customers and the devices they use in one central location, the machine file. Apart from technical details, this information will include operating manuals, circuit diagrams as well as details regarding previous maintenance, repairs and other services. The machine file enables complete service processes, from customer contact centre to field service. Since lifting platforms are subject to serious legal requirements regarding regular maintenance, Teupen customers tend to have a high degree of interest in options which enable more efficient service management. Due to this reason, Teupen sees lots of potential in the business with multiple-tiered Service Level Agreements, guarantee extensions and other added services. Using the Community Cloud, Teupen will also grant its customers direct access to their machine file in the future. Since maintenance services are also frequently carried out by repair shops of large construction machine lessors, they will have the option of using the Community in order to quickly and simply access the know-how about Teupen machines and expanding it systematically.
Like many other medium-sized companies, Teupen has not yet reached the goal of its digital transformation but Florian Büscher sees the company on a good path. «We have addressed our deficits and are in the process of optimising our processes.» Summarising all relevant customer information in one central place was a decision from which Sales, Customer Service and Marketing profit alike. «This way, we can ensure that every employee has an extensive overview about each customer and thereby knows exactly what to do for whom», explains the Marketing Manager who also sees a newly grown acceptance of the new digital technology within the company: «The employees appreciate the transparency we have created through the organisational changes. They can participate more actively in decision processes and this improved structure of our work also leads to increased economic success. We see lots of potential of managing the market more systematically and methodically using the Cloud.» Looking at the requirements of the digitalization process, the experts for working up high are certain: Teupen Maschinenbau will only be able to defend its leading role if it continues to fulfil customer expectations quicker and better than the competition.