Salesforce: “A powerful and common tool to increase our sales force”

As part of its “Ambition 2023” strategy, GEODIS focuses on organisational transformation to increase its sales revenues significantly. A mutation that this global French logistics leader could not accomplish without providing its teams with a unified view of its clients and a common sales management solution. With the help of EI-Technologies, GEODIS developed a custom Salesforce CRM tool, whose deployment, started in November 2019, to end in 2021. We asked Olivier Voisin Chief Technology Officer at GEODIS about the project:

GEODIS key player of the logistics industry
Olivier Voisin
Olivier Voisin, Chief Technology Officer at GEODIS

A common language

Present in more than 60 countries, GEODIS is a key player of the logistics industry. However, for some years now, the group has engaged in an extensive digital transformation: “One of our Group’s objective with ‘Ambition 2023’ is to increase our sales potential and to better understand our customers. Historically, the company has been organised around these 5 vertical businesses: Supply Chain Optimization, Freight Forwarding, Contract Logistics, Distribution & Express and Overland Transport. This silo organisation used to hinder a 360° client view, and especially our cross-selling capabilities” , Olivier Voisin explains. Sales but also customer knowledge and performance optimisation of the KPIs used by the teams are at the heart of this initiative. “We gave this business-based organisation a regional dimension. Each region is responsible for its market and can rely on appropriate business expertise. But to do this, digital transformation was inevitable.”In fact, marketing different product ranges using several management tools at the same time represented quite a challenge for the sales force. “The sales processes had to be aligned“, Olivier Voisin said. GEODIS therefore chose to deploy a single Salesforce platform. This strategy required a cumbersome client referral beforehand. “The project needed a 360° client view to be successful. Two years ago, we launched our ‘Master Data Management’ initiative in order to identify each client and its hierarchical and geographical organisation, in order to finally have a unified database. This database could, for example, allow a key account manager in the United States to discuss with her/his colleague in Asia to refine her/his sales approach to a prospect and to better identify any potential need in her/his area”, Olivier Voisin said.

Towards a gradual deployment

Indispensable, this repository must nevertheless be implemented in a suitable and robust CRM tool. Then, in March 2019, GEODIS and EI-Technologies started developing a customised Salesforce platform. “EI-Technologies has demonstrated during the RFP its ability to mobilise a professional team, able to answer to GEODIS’ top management’s questions during workshops, as well as to prototype, argue and reiterate. This requires both hard skills and soft skills”, the IT Director shared. Among the operational objectives: providing GEODIS sales force which a tool to facilitate practice sharing, to increase cross-selling operations, while providing the top management with a suited management solution and an optimal visualisation of sales opportunities. “We have therefore defined a common platform, compatible with all businesses and regions, and taking specificities into account the specificities. Then, we agreed on a deployment schedule per region and per Line of Business”, Olivier Voisin explains. A pilot version of the CRM was thus deployed as early as November 2019 in Germany and for the tele sales staff in Asia on two Lines of Businesses: Contract logistics and Freight Forwarding. Besides, the solution will be continuously deployed in other regions and businesses throughout 2021.

Taking the human dimension into account

To comply with this ambitious schedule, the team dedicated to change management at GEODIS also relied on EI-Technologies, and its partner EPAM, for the sales forces to fully take ownership of the new CRM tool. “Training is critical.That is why we have two training teams. The first core teams shall train regional and local trainers. And the second teams, composed of these regional and local trainers to train end users, Olivier Voisin describes. This multiplies our initial integration capacity. It also helps us customise messages and contextualise the stakes onsite”. And satisfaction has come knocking: “In order to achieve a highly strategic ambition for us, we needed a supportive, responsive and agile partner.And EI-Technologies, with its very constructive approach and reliability, is up to the task!”

For more information on the Salesforce solution deployed by EI-Technologies at GEODIS, kindly refer to the strategic analysis of the project here.