How an SMB embraced digital transformation during a pandemic

As the pandemic caused demand for packaged foods to soar, SIGMA Equipment responded by implementing a CRM.

How an SMB embraced digital transformation during a pandemic

Article reposted with permission from MarTech Today.

Indiana-based equipment reseller SIGMA Equipment implemented a new CRM during the pandemic. At a company founded in 2003, and working from homegrown systems until last year, the implementation was a long time in the making.

SIGMA Equipment began as Sigma Packaging and has continued to serve manufacturers primarily with the buying and selling of packaging and processing machines in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, health and beauty and consumer goods industries.

The implementation of the CRM from Insightly came at a time when SIGMA Equipment was experiencing significant change in the needs of manufacturers during the pandemic, as well as internal organizational change.

Assembling a team to face the challenges

SIGMA Equipment was actually seeing an increase in demand for packaging and processing machines during the pandemic, which accelerated their need for change. According to the Division lead for the Appraisal Division, Randa Doleh, the marketing software prior to the new CRM had been developed internally.

“Given our rate of growth, we couldn’t continue to rely on the current software,” said Doleh. “We needed a scalable solution.” Implementation of the Insightly CRM got the green light.

SIGMA Equipment had taken on the task of looking for a CRM solution in 2019. At that time, they also expanded their marketing team to include a Marketing Director, Marketing Manager and Marketing Specialist.

Responding quickly with an out-of-the-box solution

When their company was hiring their new marketing personnel and selecting software in 2019, they couldn’t have known the kind of change that was heading their way.

The public health crisis that came with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the food supply chain, causing more consumers to stock up on packaged and processed foods. As a result, the mid-market business customers that looked to SIGMA Equipment for machinery came to the company in droves.

“Given our niche market, SIGMA has grown because of the software we use,” Doleh explained. She said that she was “impressed with the flexibility that came with the Insightly CRM, out-of-the-box.” It enabled divisions within the organization to develop customized solutions while also being connected. This allowed for more strategic decisions to be made when it came to serving customers and managing the growth.

“The main use for the CRM is for departments to communicate with customers,” Doleh said. “This spans across multiple divisions, and we all need a full view of the customer.”

Having this full view of the customer available to multiple teams also opens up strategic opportunities across departments. “If I’m in a meeting with our sales team, I’m allowed to take a step back and see what other divisions can benefit, which means we’re really able to scale our output,” Doleh stated.

Smaller organizations are ready to transform

Ohio-based business growth consultant COACT Associates, Ltd. works closely with many SMBs and sees common benefits to implementing a CRM. They use the CRM from Insightly themselves.

“A lot of smaller organizations don’t have access to great systems and reporting structures,” said Jennifer Nietz, Vice President at COACT Associates. “We encourage them to implement a CRM package. We’ve been on a couple platforms ourselves.”

She adds that specifically for an out-of-the-box system like Insightly, smaller organizations benefit from a really user-friendly solution. “It’s comparable to Saleforce,” she said. “But for a small manufacturer, we think Salesforce is too robust. They need to capture the key and basic information on customers and the sales pipeline. What we find is that clients just aren’t tracking this stuff, and if they do so, it’s on an Excel spreadsheet.”

Changes in buyer behavior are a significant reason for why businesses of all sizes need to adapt, according to Nietz. Even in the B2B space, “buyers are making their own decisions before engaging directly with the organization,” she said.

By simply ramping up their website, organizations will see an influx of potential customers and not necessarily have the infrastructure in place to handle the volume. Real-time access to customer records in a CRM across divisions will enable a company to keep up.

“In some instances there’s almost too much volume, and businesses can’t keep track of customers manually,” Nietz said. “I think there’s more of a realization that if you don’t go digital, you’re definitely behind.”

For SIGMA Equipment, their digital transformation makes it easier to continue to serve more customers. This month, they announced the acquisition of C&I Electronics, which expands their customer offerings to include the recycling of large machines and electronics equipment.

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