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Kingfisher International (Manufacturer and Distributor Improves Channel Management with Dynamics CRM ) Kingfisher International manufactures and

distributes testing, repair, and verification equipment for fibre optic networks in the telecoms, datacom, defense, and automotive industries. The company has approximately 3,000 customers in 70 countries serviced through a network of distributors. Kingfisher customer relations were hampered by an existing customer relationship management (CRM) system that could not track multiple contacts and contracts with its larger clients, and did not integrate with its mail and accounting systems. In 2004, Kingfisher implemented Microsoft CRM 1.2. In late 2006, the company upgraded to Microsoft CRM 3.0, integrating it with Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Office Outlook. Kingfisher now keeps detailed track of even its biggest and most complex customers. The company also provides global round-the-clock customer support, and has learned to develop sophisticated and targeted marketing campaigns using its customer contacts list. Situation
Established in 1986, Kingfisher International (Kingfisher) designs and manufactures testing and repair equipment for fiber optic communications networks. Based in Melbourne, Australia, the company has approximately 25 local staff that service over 3,000 customers in approximately 70 countries, mostly in the telecommunications, data communications, defense, and automotive industries.
Kingfisher s customer relations needs were highly complex. Although most products were sold through distributors, the company needed to track the sales process to customers in order to make its marketing, product management, and customer service activities as effective as possible.

A bad system will always win over a good person. Bruce Robertson, Technical Director, Kingfisher International

Things can get very complicated, says Bruce Robertson, Technical Director, Kingfisher. We get end users coming to us some of the time we need to deal with them ourselves, sometimes we need to refer them to the distributor. Plus we get a lot of incidental enquiries, which we need to manage. Then we also need to do the classic sales tracking activities, which includes working out success rates for our sales guys.

The company had used customer relationship management (CRM) packages to help manage customer relations since 1991. In 2004, Kingfisher employed a CRM product based on an Advantage database. However, the system was inappropriate in two critical areas.

First, Kingfisher had a small number of very important customers, such as incumbent telecommunications companies, who bought and operated a large amount of equipment to test different parts of their networks and business. Their existing package was not optimized to deal with this scenario. Says Robertson: The problem with the system we were using was that there was no way of bolting the contacts to the organization. The result was that we could have two sales guys or distributors in the same building working on different parts of essentially the same project, and even we didnt know. You simply couldnt track all the people concerned. Beside the potential for confusion, this was also a defective way to manage a client. Without a whole client view -- which included client history -- Kingfisher found it difficult to know exactly what the clients technical situation was, or how to enforce company-wide agreements, and make client contacts aware of negotiated discounts. If you dont have good case management, then its very easy to not know whats going on, says Robertson. Second, its existing CRM package did not connect with any other Kingfisher systems. In particular, there was no automatic link between customer records, emails, and accounts. There was no integration with email, and most of our communication happens via email, says Robertson. Our correspondence needed tight integration; instead it was chunky. And because there was no integration with our accounting system, we had an extra administrative burden as data had to be entered into both systems if a prospect became a sale. As the companys client base extended rapidly overseas, Kingfisher became convinced that whatever it did, the company couldnt maintain service levels without new technology. A bad system will always win over a good person, says Robertson.

Solution
In 2004, Kingfisher began to investigate new CRM packages that could manage its complex customer relations and integrate with existing communications and administration. They engaged Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Professional Advantage to advise. The customer wanted a fair degree of autonomy with their system, says Peter Dijkema, Senior Account Manager, Professional Advantage. They wanted to write their own reports from their database, which they couldnt do with their old system. And because of the complexity of their customer relations, they wanted the flexibility to integrate specialist third-party applications for certain types of tracking.

If possible, they also wanted their CRM system to integrate with their accounts system, which was Microsoft Dynamics GP. What they had in mind was that prospective customers and orders would flow straight through to sales in Microsoft Dynamics GP.
Professional Advantage advised Kingfisher that the initial release of Microsoft s CRM package would suit their requirements. In particular, Microsoft Dynamics CRM was suited to the needs of Kingfisher s modest headcount.

The Microsoft CRM product wasn t specifically designed around policy enforcement, and this suited the way our engineers, sales engineers, and regional managers wanted a CRM system to work. Bruce Robertson, Technical Director, Kingfisher International

It was the right size, says Robertson. A lot of CRM packages are designed to enable very big companies to enforce top-down arrangements, for example, call centers, where managers need to enforce certain rules. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM product wasnt specifically designed around policy enforcement, and this suited the way our engineers, sales engineers, and regional managers wanted a CRM system to work. They just wanted something that was simple and straightforward to use. And the fact that we didnt care about policy enforcement also reduced implementation costs. Microsoft CRM 1.2 was successfully implemented by the end of 2004. According to Dijkema, the Outlook feel to the CRM interface made it easier for Kingfisher staff to learn how to use. Although this was the first release of Microsofts CRM applications, it resolved the need to be able to allocate multiple contacts to the same client.

Then in 2006, Kingfisher learned that the upcoming Microsoft CRM version 3.0 was scheduled to include sophisticated marketing and sales lead tracking functionality. Because of their huge client base, Kingfisher was interested in the new marketing campaign tools, says Dijkema. This would enable them to send out emails to customers with specific products, help them research the response, and calculate the return on investment. Consequently, in late 2006 Kingfisher upgraded to Microsoft CRM version 3.0, taking the opportunity to integrate the CRM system with its mail system.

Benefits
By implementing Microsoft CRM 1.2, and then upgrading to CRM 3.0, Kingfisher developed a robust and detailed customer relationship system that could track and store all important client interactions. Kingfisher could market itself to existing customers effectively, provide fast customer support, and maintain its database efficiently.

Better customer service

A comprehensive view on how its customers use its products has enabled Kingfisher to refine its marketing and improve its customer service. We can take an organizational view of our customers, says Robertson. This means that we know how to handle deals and discounts. We can see what they have already, so we know what is suitable for them when we get enquiries. A better understanding of our clients means we can also predict what problems the organization will have. This means we can offer much better customer support. We can also look at the case history, see if problems keep recurring, and work our customer specific remedies. Microsoft CRM 3.0 has also improved Kingfishers ability to provide around-the-clock support for its customers.
Says Robertson: Since CRM contains all customer details and case history, we can pass on jobs to our sales offices in the UK and US if we re needed outside of Australian business operating hours. This was impossible before, because of the paucity of information. Now we can provide 24hour support. Emergency back-up Bruce Robertson, Technical Director, Kingfisher

Our team work has improved. It s a great team tool.

Robertson cites a recent emergency situation at one of its American partners as evidence of how much more robust Kingfishers customer systems are.

He says: We had a distributor in the US. One day the CEO walked out and took all the distributors customer information with him. We got a call from his staff saying, Were stuffed, we dont even know who our customers are. Because Kingfisher had records of all their customers in CRM 3.0, and CRM 3.0 is linked with Microsoft Office Outlook, Kingfisher could restore the distributors customer information and help it pick up where the CEO had left off. We were able to send them all their customer details in two hours, says Robertson. This was extraordinary. But we were also able to send them all the emails that had been sent by their company to the end customers, because they are linked in CRM 3.0. This saved them.
More efficient team work

Integration with Dynamics GP has reduced manual data entry requirements and allowed staff to concentrate on revenue generating activities.

We have two or three staff less in administration, and an increased emphasis on recruiting and retaining quality staff, says Robertson. Now we have fewer people just cranking the handles and more people delivering sales and marketing. Microsofts latest CRM version also helps improve the way that staff work because it helps staff keep track of the CRM processes. In version 3.0, you can set up a sales lead, says Dijkema. This initializes and assigns a whole range of activities that need to be completed as the lead becomes a prospect. Its a very team-oriented package, adds Robertson. We can push activities around the organizational stack, and the person who started an action can see what happens.
For example, regional sales managers can see if a task has been completed because they have full visibility on their jobs. Alternatively, sales managers can see who a particular job was assigned to if they think it might impact a particular customer interaction. Our team work has improved. It s a great team tool. Marketing campaigns

We have two or three fewer staff in administration, and an increased emphasis on recruiting and retaining quality staff. Bruce Robertson, Technical Director, Kingfisher International

Kingfisher has taken advantage of the improved marketing campaign tools in Microsoft CRM 3.0 to increase and refine customer contact without having to employ professional marketing expertise. You generate a list out of your contacts and then it helps you devise a campaign. It helps you create a specific marketing activity like product-specific emails, then track the execution and assess the results, says Robertson.

This is incredibly helpful, because good marketing people are at a premium. This tool makes it all happen. We can do more and better marketing and it simply doesnt cost much.
Adaptable and evolutionary

Finally, one of the chief benefits to Kingfisher has been the ability to augment Microsoft CRM 3.0 functionality with specialist third-party applications. One of the reasons we chose Microsoft was because its very good for integrating additional packages, says Robertson. We were particularly interested in a product called C360 which constructs a sales and marketing relationships matrix around individual clients, so that we see all the players in a particular deal. This facility is a definite strength, because it means we can add on the bits that really make the package fly. In fact the ease with which we can integrate third-party software is just terrific.

Since 2004, Kingfisher has steadily evolved its CRM on the Microsoft platform, and in mid2008, it was actively assessing the benefits of the follow-on release, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.
By providing access to the CRM database through a virtual private network, CRM 4.0 would enable Kingfisher to share customer information with its worldwide network of distributors. Good marketing people are at a premium. This tool makes it all happen. We can do more and better marketing and it simply doesn t cost much. Bruce Robertson, Technical Director, Kingfisher International

Implementing Dynamics CRM 4.0 would conform to Kingfishers policy of steadily evolving its own CRM capabilities with Microsofts product releases, says Robertson. As far as we are concerned, its steady as she goes.

Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.

For more information about Kingfisher International products and services, call +61 3 9757 4100 or visit the Web site at: www.kingfisher.com.au