Effective customer relationship management helps retailers improve customer experience and boost sales, but can become an organisational mess for sales reps who are expected to know as much information about hundreds of customers in the same way they would know their personal friends.

Introducing the PredictX Customer Hub – a revolutionary step in guiding a retail chain to sales success. It has been used across 85% of the sales team within the UK’s largest B2B timber and builders merchants – Travis Perkins.

Why create a Customer Hub?

The Customer Hub was developed when B2B retailer Travis Perkins, approached the PredictX development team with a pressing request: they wanted more insight on their customers.

With over 600 branches and 200 tool hire outlets supplying more than 100,000 product lines to professional tradespeople and self-builders, their sales team truly had their work cut out for them. Each of the 140 Sales reps had around 150 clients to manage.

New technology and an over saturation in communication means that Sales and Marketing is transforming to be less about the hard sell and more about the relationship you have with your customers. These relationships are not based on social connections but rather the connections you build the second the customer swipes their card – a history of transactions. Customers desire a sales team that understands their needs and targets their services to them. This can not only improve profits but also improve customer satisfaction and experience.

Travis Perkins stored most customer information in spreadsheets shared by email and an external Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Although the tool was helpful, the reporting was often outdated – delivering insights too late to take action upon.

In August 2017, Travis Perkins executives started to notice a gap between the customer data they had and the customer data they wanted.

“We wanted to be close to our customers. Before the Customer Hub, the Sales team were making a lot of assumptions about who our customers were and what their needs are. Now, we have an accurate 360 degree view of our customers.”

Hemal Morjaria

Introducing the Customer Hub

In early September the Customer Hub was born. It was an advanced solution to delivering timely customer insight. Offering a deepdive into each customer within its database- the Customer Hub outlines areas of focus for sales reps. It examines:

  • General information surrounding the customer’s business
  • Current customer needs
  • Customer buying history – offering a complete basket analysis.

“The biggest value to Travis Perkins is around the breadth of data they now have at their disposal. It gives them everything they need to know about that customer, without having to collate it from multiple systems,” said PredictX Business Analyst Manager and co-creator of the Customer Hub, Andrew White.

The Customer Hub has transformed Travis Perkin’s access to data from 50 to 100%.

“It is all there at our fingertips, from sales trends, to marginal trends and to opportunities of products,” said Morjaria.

The Customer Hub in action: how does it improve sales?

1. It identifies positive upselling opportunities

When using the Customer Hub, sales team members receive real-time alerts when a customer stops buying for a while – prompting them to get in touch. Access to the customer business information and past buying history allows sales teams to know which products to suggest to customers. For example, if one client buys a lot of hammers, they are most likely going to need nails.

“It has allowed us to see our customers in a different light. We are able to segment our customers to review the performance associated with each one. This includes the type of products they buy and what they do as a business. Through this, we can understand their needs more inclusively."

Hemal Morjaria

2. It motivates the sales team

“The Customer Hub is a one-stop shop for the sales team. We can immediately view the top 150 products for a customer. This analysis used to take a day and a half. It is now instant. A Sales rep used to take half a day accessing the information to prepare for a customer meeting. It is now automated on their laptop, phone or iPad, removing the need for papers that could easily be damaged. Now we can have decent conversations” said Morjaria.

The Customer Hub acts as a sales rep’s analyst/PA allowing sales reps to focus on what they do best – selling the product. Morjaria reports Sales reps now have more time to ring their customers.

“When reps love their jobs, customers can sense it, and the results are always better. Technology that improves reps’ workflow and productivity not only makes them more efficient, but also helps them sell better. When reps are bogged down by trivial tasks, it creates frustration that can impact sales success.” said RingDNA CEO Howard Brown.

3. It helps executives make better decisions

The Customer Hub started as a tool meant primarily for the Sales functions of the business, however it soon got rolled out to the Executives at Travis Perkins – transforming the way they made decisions. Executives now had the data analysis to answer fundamental questions such as how they sell as a business and how they train their sales team.

What next for the Customer Hub?

“We would like to develop a more complex algorithm that does a single product recommendation,” said PredictX Business Analyst Aleena Ashary. “The product currently has three widgets containing insight: one based on declining spend, one based on customer type, and another general basket analysis widget. We want to merge all three algorithms into one analysis.”

We also aim to provide targeted, real-time notifications that pop up as the Hub opens – informing the Sales rep key insights that need quick action, such as a gap in customer communication or declining sales.

“We want more action oriented reporting,” said Marjoria.

As the data surrounding sales becomes increasingly complex, perhaps this new tool can help sales teams do their best work – selling a product.