search.ch

search.ch, the Swiss search engine and information service, manages its directory sales team with Salesforce. The field sales executive selects the potential customer using a view specially created for search.ch, plans his weekly visits and documents the outcome of the negotiations. As a result, management has a clear insight into the activities of its field sales.


search.ch offers companies directory advertising so that they can be found more easily and quickly. Until now, a field sales executive worked with Excel lists, taking potential customers from them, setting up appointments that he entered manually in the Outlook calendar and sending concluded contracts to the back sales office by post. The latter then recorded the contracts in the ERP system, issued invoices and calculated the commission for the sales executive. The field sales executive only found out how much he had earned at the end of the month and the management had no day-to-day transparency about the activities of and contracts concluded by the sales team. «The entire sales process was a black hole, as it were, there was no management at all», says Marcel Allemand, Commercial Director of search.ch.

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«Thanks to Salesforce, management has an insight into the activity of the sales team at all times.»

Marcel Allemand,
Commercial Director of search.ch

As the sales team for display advertising was already using Salesforce, the decision was taken to implement Salesforce for the directory sales team too. Salesforce is designed for field sales teams with large data volumes in particular. search.ch primarily makes full use of the standard functions of the cloud solution. These have been extended to include a customised view that facilitates fast, efficient filtering of accounts and recording of telephone calls, appointments, opportunities and contacts on one page.

PARX delivered the solution for the search.ch sales team in six months. Marcel Allemand says of the collaboration with PARX: «I found PARX to be very professional, cooperative and approachable. Our requirements were always addressed quickly. I would like to thank Bettina Wilhelm in particular for that.»

Account management – efficient processing of potential customers

All of the address data of search.ch is imported into Salesforce via an interface with the ERP system. That comprises thousands of addresses every day, all of them potential customers. The difficulty lies in efficiently selecting addresses with the greatest potential for turning into firm contracts. In order to address this issue, the field sales executive works in Salesforce in a view specially developed for search.ch (custom view). He only sees the accounts relevant to him. He can filter these using various criteria, such as location, last contact, industry or how long they have been in the directory, and record telephone contacts and plan appointments directly in the view. All of the appointments are saved in the Salesforce calendar and he does not need to keep any other diary. He documents the outcome of customer visits in Salesforce with «Contract concluded» or «No contract concluded» and enters any contract number. This data is imported into the ERP system via the interface and the commission calculated is sent back to Salesforce. Sales therefore has an up-to-date insight into sales performance for the month – a large motivational factor.

Case management – overview of all critical cases

Problems or unusual changes to contracts are recorded in Salesforce as cases, which makes their status transparent at all times. Communication between field sales and the back office takes place quickly and directly via Chatter, the Salesforce chat function. This significantly reduces e-mail correspondence between field sales and the back office, reduces the customer response times enormously and creates additional transparency.

Transparency about the achievements of the sales team

«Thanks to Salesforce, management has an insight into the activity of the sales team at all times», says Marcel Allemand, Commercial Director of search.ch. The number of telephone sales calls and customer visits, the number and value of the contracts concluded can be analysed at all times. As the data about companies that have opened recently now reaches the sales team very quickly, it opens up new, highly promising opportunities for Sales. Field sales staff always have access to updated data on the move and can look for more potential customers on the ground. «Whatever the route by which a customer has come to search.ch, the details are saved in Salesforce and the entire customer correspondence and history (whether the customer has paid, for example, done so promptly, received reminders, etc.) can be seen at a glance. The sales executive can target the customer effectively as a result», says Marcel Allemand.

Through Salesforce, field sales staff have a modern tool at their disposal, can carry out their work efficiently and view up-to-date information about their commission, which makes them much more motivated. It has been possible to shorten induction times by simplifying complicated processes and doing away with various Excel lists. Marc Allemand also emphasises the huge increase in efficiency: «Communication between field sales and the back office has been simplified enormously because everyone is working on the same system. Thanks to Chatter, it has been possible to eliminate a large proportion of internal e-mails.»

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«I found PARX to be very professional, cooperative and approachable. Our requirements were always addressed quickly.»

Marcel Allemand,
Commercial Director of search.ch

The example of search.ch shows how Salesforce can make a huge contribution to boosting efficiency in companies with a strong focus on field sales by making just a few customisations.