Howard Lind, President and CEO of Cicoil, says, “I’ve been leading and managing industrial salesforces for a long time, and I’ve used a lot of different software packages, including Sugar, Salesforce, Goldmine, Lotus Notes and many others. I would say Pipeliner is by far the best one I’ve used—a perfect mix of functionality and ease of use. I give Pipeliner a ten out of ten.”
Cicoil is a manufacturer of high-performance flat cables and cable assemblies. They supply product to military and aerospace customers, semiconductor capital equipment customers, robotic automation customers and also to medical automation customers. All products are manufactured at their Valencia, California facility, and sold to customers throughout the world. They have sales reps and distributors throughout North America and throughout the world as well.
The Pipeliner Connection
“We use Pipeliner to connect our people, and to keep everybody in touch with leads and quoting activity and engineering activity,” Lind continues. “The people using Pipeliner are myself and other management here, and everybody who is involved in the sales process. We have two outside salespeople in North America, and then three inside engineering people that do the quotations. So Pipeliner is used to manage all of our customer contact and quoting activity.
While Cicoil has some standard products, most of the business is tailored to customer needs. Lind explains. “We’re usually quoting some sort of a custom cable, cable assembly or the like, and we have engineers work on that. We were able to customize Pipeliner so that all of our quotes are done 100% within CRM. Everybody can see them and update them. We do everything from leads to quoting to all the tracking activity within Pipeliner.
Pulling the Pieces Together
It wasn’t always so easy, according to Lind. “We used to have to keep track of quotes on spreadsheets and emails going back and forth. Then there were all these different lists—engineering had a list and sales people had different lists.”
Now, that’s all changed. “Now everybody is looking at the exact same information and it’s constantly updated,” Lind says. “That’s a huge benefit, because now there’s not things slipping through the cracks. Like, ‘Oh I thought you were going to quote it!’ Or, ‘What’s the most important thing to quote?’ We actually set up a priority ranking system within Pipeliner, with which the sales guys rank the quotes and the engineers basically quote things based on those rankings.”
Features They Love
There were several features that sold Cicoil on Pipeliner. The first thing that attracted their attention was Pipeliner’s visual functionality and its ease of use.
Another very important feature was Pipeliner’s customization, so that Pipeliner could work with their quotation system. Yet another was the Pipeliner’s interoperability with Outlook. “Most of the correspondence happens within email,” Lind expaians. “We wanted that to be able to be posted right to our system, versus people having to type it in separately which nobody does.”
Of course, if salespeople don’t take to a CRM application, it loses a huge amount of ROI. Pipeliner, however, has the reputation of being the CRM the salespeople love to use—and this is no less the case with Cicoil. “We actually just had a sales meeting a few weeks ago and the feedback was 100% positive,” Lind relates. “They love using it. and they like that everything is right there and they can look up and find the quotes. They like that they can do the quotes themselves if they need to – they don’t have to wait for emails, or wait for this or wait for that. They get instant response.”
Another selling point for Pipeliner was its mobile CRM features. “Salespeople like the mobile platform,” Lind continues. ”That was another requirement—we wanted something that worked on the phone, because these guys are traveling all the time. They can look up and find information, find phone numbers and emails, and communicate with people while they’re on the road or in their car.”
Rollout and Administration
A major consideration for most companies when it comes to CRM is its cost of rollout and administration, in both time and money. For Pipeliner customers, including Cicoil, rolling out Pipeliner is incredibly cost-effective.
“It was very simple and easy,” Lind says. “We paid for the training and setup package which Pipeliner did for us, which was at a real reasonable cost. Once they set it up, we all went on and used it. We had an hour and a half training session and then we were up and running. Our engineers are able to get in there, customize it and create custom reports and custom views exactly the way we need to. We were pretty much up and running immediately.”
Some CRM applications require at least one full-time administrator. Not so with Pipeliner. “There’s very little administration,” Lind reports. “We just use it, it works well and we don’t have any issues.”
“I would absolutely recommend Pipeliner to other companies,” Lind concludes. “For a mid-size company such as ourselves, Pipeliner is a good fit. We don’t have an IT department, and we needed something quick and easy that we can figure out ourselves and get up to speed and get up and running right away without a whole bunch of training, overhead and customization costs. But at the same time, it’s powerful and what we really need.”