In the earliest days of ForteIS, Premium Beverages came to us with a problem. They needed a digital customer relationship management solution that provided all the tools their sales representatives need, without the heavy complications of big name CRMs. From this relationship, the first iteration of our Rhino CRM system was born – and to this day, 7 years later, Coopers Premium Beverages and ForteIS continue to work closely together to produce a constantly adapting user-friendly program.
We sat down with Trish Hardy, Sales Support and Administration at Coopers Premium Beverages to discuss how Rhino has empowered their sales reps and supported their business throughout the years.
Creating a purpose-built CRM for the liquor industry
“There was a close relationship between ForteIS and Premium Beverages from the initial development of Rhino,” Trish explained. “We were lucky enough to be able to direct them with regards to what we wanted in it. The first version of Rhino was really built around us and our direction to ensure we got benefits from it.”
“The core of what we wanted was simply an electronic call card that doesn’t snow our reps under. We needed something that helps them plan and really supports them to be efficient. Rhino does exactly that,” she continues.
But the development of Rhino didn’t stop after the first iteration. “ForteIS have been able to adapt and iterate on Rhino as the industry, market and products have changed. They’ve been very, very adaptable to what we want.”
Empowering salespeople to work independently
“There’s a lot of adaptability about Rhino that we get to pass on to our reps in the form of autonomy,” Trish added. “Rhino lets them plan their journeys each week, and really run their day-to-day activities as if they were operating their own small business. With all sales activity logged into Rhino, we get everything reported back to us automatically so we can provide support as it’s needed.”
In Rhino, sales reps only see a limited view of the accounts they’re actually working on, meaning they can focus directly on their customers. “Our reps only see their universe – they’re not getting bombarded with everything. A NSW sales rep is only seeing his data, his accounts, it’s all really personalised to ensure it’s helping and not hindering our team.”
In particular, Trish sang the praises of two features which support reps in their daily activities: the Journey Planner and the supplementary Territory Performance Plan module.
“The Journey Planner is very good for the reps,” Trish begins. “We have an expectation for their number of calls each week, so with the Journey Planner, our reps can figure out how to set up their week. It gives them a plan for every day, so they know how many calls they have to do and which customers they’ll be talking to.”
“In the back end, we can see where our reps are, how long they’re spending in a call, and if they’re doing the right amount of calls. This isn’t about breathing down their necks, but rather it helps us identify any problems and provide support. Reps can also look at their own reports at the end of each week and reflect on their performance.”
The Territory Performance Plan (TPP) is a module ForteIS developed specifically for Premium Beverages. “We wanted a way to help our reps monitor and reflect on their performance in a really personalised, targeted way,” Trish explained. “So we went to ForteIS and asked them to develop a module.”
With TPP, Coopers Premium Beverages reps get to sit down with their state manager and work out where they are and what they want to achieve. Those goals are then loaded into Rhino, with every rep having a specific growth objective for each of their accounts. So, as reps meet their objectives over a six month period, they can take photos to track progress and monitor their objectives as they work towards them.
“Our reps get to see their progress and Rhino reports it back to us automatically,” Trish elaborated. “Thanks to Rhino, our reps are empowered to set their own goals – we don’t provide blanket targets. We can use Rhino to give them the tools and support they need to stay on track with both their own professional development and in meeting the goals of the business.”
“They’ve really taken ownership of it and that in itself has helped to grow business,” Trish added. “I think it’s also made reps more aware – they think a bit more about the minutia, like if a display looks good or if all the pricing is right. It helps them stay on the ball.”
A seamless back-end CRM solution
In addition to simplifying the Coopers Premium Beverages reps’ everyday lives, Rhino has helped to increase visibility across the business with its simple dashboard view and smart reporting functions.
“Reps follow up their customer visits with photos and evidence of how promotions are locked in,” Trish explained. “This gives immediate feedback to our marketing team so we can tailor-make marketing initiatives to unique states and areas. The extra visibility to reps’ every day activities gives us insights that we can use in both sales and marketing. We can send reports to marketing and say “this works here, this doesn’t work there” and they can make more informed decisions based on that.”
Trish also sang the praises of Rhino’s friendly user interface and reporting features. “Reporting is so simplistic, and so easy, especially compared to larger CRMs. This is what we want – something straightforward and easy to use.”
Ongoing support from a dedicated team
“There’ll always be issues with technology, when it changes and people have to adapt,” Trish began. “But our reps get a straight line to ForteIS and that means they get support when and where they need it.”
“They use an online support system so we can see where jobs are at and get live updates. Once an issue is logged, we instantly get an email back saying they’re on to it, and they really do fix problems quickly. What’s more is that they won’t close a job until you’re 100% happy with the result. They show a real dedication to helping our reps and supporting us as a business.”
“The team at ForteIS really go above and beyond,” Trish continued. “Our reps are out there to sell beer. They’re usually not aware of all the ins and outs of the technology, but the ForteIS team will take the time to educate our reps about the tech as its needed”
“And they really understand the liquor business. That’s been such a big thing to come out of our partnership, working with us, they really do know what the liquor industry needs and they design their software around that. They’re constantly looking for new ways to make it easier for the guys to use the tablets.”
ForteIS and Coopers Premium Beverage have a lasting relationship built on mutual understanding of the liquor industry and the intrinsic needs of salespeople. Through our partnership, we’ve been able to grow Rhino into a powerful tool purpose-built for the liquor industry, and just as well-suited for a myriad of other verticals.
To learn more about how Rhino can elevate your sales team performance and visibility, reach out to Forte IS to book a free demo today.