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November 10, 2009

SAP CRM gives Abacus clear customer focus

Sales and bottom line boosted

By Vinod

Abacus Lighting has replaced its ‘creaking’ sales system with SAP CRM, making the business more transparent and boosting the outdoor lighting specialist’s bottom line.

Until April, Abacus was using Goldmine for its front-end customer work, but the software was no longer up to the job and wasn’t scalable enough for its expansion plans. The company, which provides lighting for stadiums, car parks and other outside venues, was looking for a CRM application that could drive sales, marketing and lead generation initially for 60 UK users.

As an existing SAP ERP customer of 12 years, adding the front-end CRM and BI components seemed a natural move to complete “the last part of the jigsaw”, according to Andrew Morris-Richardson, board director at Abacus. Morris-Richardson will be talking about the company’s implementation in detail at the SAP User Group conference, 23-24 November, Manchester.

“Marketing can now look at campaign management and analyse clientele at exhibitions, they can do lead generation and have a better idea which media to use to push marketing campaigns. It’s given us a resource we’ve never really had before,” said Morris-Richardson.

Sales directors are now able to see quotations and opportunities and better allocate time to those opportunities. “A whole world of information is available to them and they can analyse that information as well. It gives a much clearer picture of our order potential. It has affected our bottom line and one thing we hadn’t expected, it’s improved our gross profit margin because of a much more consistent pricing policy. Everything is more transparent across the business,” added Morris-Richardson.

Even though each project has bespoke requirements, the SAP application, implemented by Bluefin Solutions, has enabled the company to establish common best practice across the business and to analyse its win-loss ratios.

“We can identify where we’re going and we’re seeing our customers with a much clearer focus and we want to be able to use that to give them a much better service,” said Morris-Richardson.

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Implementing the application during a recession meant the company had more time to focus on really understanding the new software, which might have proved more difficult during boom times, believed Morris-Richardson. The company is now in a good position for the upturn.

The UK was a test-best for the CRM application and Abacus now plans to roll out the software to its European and Shanghai operations. Then it plans to begin getting to grips with the BI capabilities of the product.

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