Sticking with Your Customer

3M Mexico gains efficiency and better information with CRM On Demand.

by Marta Bright, May 2008
3M Mexico, a subsidiary of St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M, credits its Oracle CRM On Demand (formerly Siebel CRM On Demand) system for helping it successfully implement a new strategy for customer relationship management (CRM) while providing critical business intelligence to implement effective and efficient sales and marketing efforts.

 

According to José A. Diaz, corporate marketing and strategic planning director, 3M Mexico, the company targets six main industries, but the medical and dental markets generate substantial profits and pose particular challenges. Doctors and dentists are very discerning customers and require personal attention from 3M field sales staff. However, because 3M Mexico is centered in one of the world's most congested and fastest-growing cities, a critical component of effective CRM is getting salespeople to a customer's office on time with access to the right data.

3M Mexico wanted to increase profitability by more-effectively managing how its sales teams managed their time, but wanted to avoid the high cost of purchasing and maintaining software by implementing a system that could be used and maintained remotely. The answer was Oracle CRM On Demand. Learn how the new system has helped 3M Mexico achieve its goals, while providing critical connectivity and database functionality.

For a company centered in one of the world's fastest-growing and most congested cities, a critical aspect of good customer relationship management (CRM) may simply be getting knowledgeable salespeople to a customer's office on time, with the right information at their fingertips. That was one of the challenges that 3M Mexico, a subsidiary of St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M, took into account when it started to look for a CRM system that would power a new strategy for customer relationships—and provide company executives with the business intelligence they needed to make sure that all of their sales and marketing efforts were as efficient and effective as possible.

With 65,000-plus products that include office supplies such as Post-it Notes, industrial tapes and adhesives, dental and healthcare products, telecommunication solutions, graphic materials, safety and security solutions, and other products from more than 40 diverse technologies, maintaining a good grasp on customer and business connections requires 3M Mexico to do much more than follow a paper trail of yellow squares. It requires looking for cost-effective ways to address common business questions, such as "how do you parse out customer information in a way that helps sales and marketing hone in on a particular segment?" or "how do you remain focused on building the research-and-development pipeline while maintaining an expansive enterprise system?"

3M's Mexico-based subsidiary, which has been operating since 1947, focuses on six main industries: industrial and transportation, telecommunications, consumer products, healthcare, display and graphics, and safety and security. Due in part to the area's population density, the medical and dental markets are sources for substantial profits for the company. They are also among the trickier markets to serve. Doctors and dentists make up a precise and discerning community, and keeping them satisfied and loyal to 3M products requires a lot of personal attention from field sales.

"If you approach this type of science-minded target market and you don't fulfill customer expectations, the customers lose faith in your ability to deliver and their loyalty diminishes," says José A. Díaz, corporate marketing and strategic planning director, 3M Mexico. "To be effective, we absolutely have to 'walk the talk': meet expectations in the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost." According to Díaz, doctors and dentists are always eager to learn more about 3M solutions, because they know the commitment the company has to making their professional lives easier, more efficient, and more successful.

Driving Profits in a Traffic Jam

It's very important to the company that 3M's salespeople avoid wasting valuable time stuck in grinding traffic jams. "Speed, effectiveness, and resource optimization are three of our greatest challenges," Díaz says. "We wanted to increase profitability by more effectively managing how the sales team managed their time, but we wanted to avoid the high cost of purchasing and maintaining software by implementing a system that could be used and maintained remotely."

 

As 3M began analyzing the on-demand CRM solutions available in the marketplace, management set a variety of criteria, including system flexibility and the vendor's overall breadth and depth of industry experience. The company also focused on identifying a software solution that was powerful in terms of connectivity and database functionality. "We wanted solid evidence that our potential CRM partner had a good understanding of our business needs, our business drivers, and our unique market verticality," says Díaz.

With those criteria in place as a benchmark, 3M analyzed GoldMine.com, Salesforce.com, and Oracle CRM On Demand (formerly Oracle's Siebel CRM On Demand). It found that Oracle's offering was ranked highest by far in the category of profit analysis. It also put the three vendors to the test by selecting two very divergent business divisions—healthcare and electrical—and mapping the divisions' disparate business processes to the software. Díaz says that when the company compared the business process mapping with the software functionality, Oracle CRM On Demand again ranked highest.

"Overall, when comparing what the software could do alongside our specific business needs, then factoring in 3M's vision of serving these different markets, Oracle CRM On Demand offered the most efficient and cost-effective solution," emphasizes Díaz.

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