Calavo Growers had long used spreadsheets to track opportunities with customers. With the move to remote working came a greater need for visibility and accountability to ensure smooth operations and better customer experience.
When I first arrived at Calavo Growers over three and a half years ago, we did not have a system to track how we were progressing on key accounts. We had difficulty keeping track of communications and how accounts were won or lost. And with staff turnover at the time, there was no real way to determine how these accounts were progressing. Sound familiar? Many sales organisations might face similar challenges.
My division of Calavo Growers produces avocado and salsa products for retail and foodservice accounts around the world. The sales part of the division operates with six regional managers, assigned to a different area of the United States, and one additional manager handling exports to Asia.
Our company has a global commodity that continues to see impressive growth. But here’s a specific twist: avocados have a specific shelf life. They require a tremendous amount of planning for planting and harvesting to avoid overpicking. If overpicked or even picked too early, we could face tremendous waste and missed sales opportunities. I knew that we would have to find a digital solution quickly to help us manage our sales pipeline and avoid stifling our growth.
Then COVID-19 happened. The urgency for my division to digitally transform became even greater. Given that the produce industry is very fluid and changes daily, it was incredibly important for us to have a single platform to access and view all opportunities. We needed a system to track our opportunities so that we could accomplish three goals: agility in our operations while protecting our employees, maintaining our relationships with our retail and food service partners, and ensuring continuous and steady growth post-pandemic.
Digital transformation for agility
As I looked for digital solutions, I had several discussions with my sales, accounting teams, and business partners, and Salesforce came up as being used in a variety of use cases. I contacted them and felt that the Consumer Goods Cloud solution tackled many of the challenges I was facing, and decided to subscribe. Then the stay-at-home orders were issued across the country. I knew we had to implement quickly. We worked to get our data into the platform, and because we have a smaller team, training up our sales managers was incredibly easy. From there, we were able to collaborate while everyone moved to work from home.
Keeping relationships with partners strong
Our team worked hard to stay in touch with our retail and food service partners. As they had conversations with each account, they tracked them all on the platform. The team was able to stay organised by assigning tasks for conversations and then immediately assigning follow-up tasks. This allowed us to remain in constant communication with our partners. We were able to know exactly what to anticipate for orders, making harvesting our crops more efficient and less wasteful.
Empower collaboration for business growth
Now that we have a CRM platform in place, we have a tool to help us plan our business better. We’re able to have full visibility into our accounts’ health, which allows us to have more productive conversations to help drive growth for both Calavo Growers and our partners.
I’m looking forward to getting the team back into the field to visit business partners and accounts. The digital transformation we’ve had over the past few months, fueled by the partnership with Salesforce, have allowed us to stay agile, delivering the same amazing experience we have delivered for the last 100 years.
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This blog was written and contributed by:
VP of Sales & Production