Case study

Lionel’s Veterinary Supplies

Skynamo ensures a healthy sales system

Established in 1992, Lionel’s Veterinary Supplies is a service-driven company focused on the provision of products which enhance the health, well-being and performance of animals. The veterinarian wholesale company’s 30-person sales team represents several national and international producers of animal health products. Selling just short of 6,000 different stock items, they supply products to co-ops, vets and the commercial agriculture sector.

Lionel’s Veterinary Supplies uses Skynamo to (i) track customer conversations recorded during visits, (ii) seamlessly create a single conversation with each customer based on the various conversations with multiple reps, and (iii) check stock and place orders.

  • 80% less time on unnecessary conversations
  • 25% annual growth in sales
  • Customer visits increased by nearly 200%

Before Skynamo

A huge communication gap between role players 

Being a service driven company that aims to exceed customer expectations, communication between the office, warehouse and sales reps in the field is of utmost importance.

“There was a huge communication gap between these three role players within the company, which effectively slowed down our service delivery,” shares Jannic Zietsman, a regional Sales Manager at Lionel’s Veterinary Supplies. “Ordering was done via email which meant one-way and delayed communication. Accurate information was not readily available.”

Insufficient data

Apart from not having accurate information available in real-time, it was difficult to properly capture and store customer data in a relevant and accessible manner in the first place.

“Initially, when I started here back in 2005, we carried flip cards containing all available customer info”, remembers Zietsman.

Whether it was using the cards, the later introduction of Excel or the previous installation of sales software, the means of making customer information available to reps were all paper-based, technologically outdated and prone to error. On top of this, sales reps were sent out with files full of outdated information that was irrelevant to customers’ current needs and any questions which came up during consultations.

Duplicate and incorrect orders

The Lionel’s Vet product list contains many very similar products, which created confusion for both the reps and the customers and resulted in many duplicate and incorrect orders. The old email ordering method with its delays and lack of insight into product details and stock levels meant that reps provided only broad descriptions and not the exact codes of the often very similar products.

“It sometimes became a bit of a guessing game based on the customer’s description and the order details provided by the rep,” says Zietsman.

"We would be unable to be as productive as we currently are or continue to deliver the same level of service to customers without Skynamo. When comparing our achievements to that of industry colleagues who don’t use Skynamo or who aren’t using it optimally yet, we’re certainly outperforming them."

Adopting Skynamo

Recommended by a Skynamo competitor 

Prior to adopting Skynamo, Lionel’s Vet was using sales software designed for the automobile manufacturing industry. It was very limited in terms of addressing Lionel’s Vet’s unique needs, as it only had basic features for a company with a relatively limited range of vehicles.

“We constantly experienced problems with the software and they actually suggested Skynamo, one of their competitors, as potentially a better fit for a company like ours with such a large range of stock items,” smiles Zietsman.

Lionel’s Vet has found Skynamo’s ‘form’ feature to be very useful. With the help of Skynamo’s training team they’ve built a number of custom forms designed to capture customer information that is particularly important to them.

Since Skynamo

Open communication channels

“Skynamo completely opened up the line of communication between the office, warehouse and sales reps in the field,” shares a delighted Zietsman.

Every role player within Lionel’s Vet now has access to all information they need from each other. Every department in the business now uses the same line of communication – either via Skynamo’s mobile sales app from the field, or the field sales management software in the office or warehouse.

More useful information 

Skynamo enabled Lionel’s Vet to build up a database of useful intellectual property. Information is now detailed, contextualised, and easily accessible. Reps are able to serve customers better because they have easier access to relevant and up-to-date information, while managers can implement better long-term sales strategies.

“Better data capturing helps us do better planning and budgeting for the year ahead as we have a much more accurate idea of what happened in the past,” explains Zietsman.

Greater transparency improves rep manager relationships 

“What I value most about Skynamo is the fact that all information is always fully available to everyone at once. The app brings more transparency to our sales team and company.”

Zietsman is able to pick up on shortfalls in execution or efficiency before his reps communicate it to him. Reps are sometimes hesitant to admit to their managers when they are unsure about something but now Zietsman is able to initiate these conversations and help his reps get back on track again.

“I can be much more proactive as a sales manager and lead the difficult discussions, which is to my reps’ benefit. We spend about 80% less time in conversation but our conversations are so much more fruitful,” shares Zietsman who found that Skynamo helps them get to the root of matters far quicker.

Accurate order-taking 

Skynamo’s mobile sales app and field management software means that reps always carry a compact database with them while they and the back office are able to update that information on the go. Reps can immediately confirm product details and stock availability with customers and update them with any relevant information they need.

“Skynamo allows our team to be in direct contact with each other and ensures that the right products are ordered, as incorrect orders are picked up on fairly quickly. Accurate ordering saves everyone, including the customer, so much time. Product images and product detail are uploaded to Skynamo for reps to help customers identify the exact products they want to order,” says Zietsman.

Greater field oversight and insight 

“The first thing I do every morning is make a cup of coffee and read my Skynamo report to see what’s going on. I’ve got 10 reps working in the three Cape provinces and I immediately get an idea of what is happening in each area.”

Zietsman knows immediately where there are problems that need to be addressed and where things have been going well. He is now able to report back to his reps based on the daily information they give him.

Reports are also very helpful when Lionel’s Vet receives customer complaints about reps not visiting often enough, enabling Zietsman to back up his reps and address issues where applicable.

“I can pull out reports and explain to them how reps have been working on their accounts or have in fact been paying them regular visits. These conversations strengthen customer relationships, showing them that we are actively addressing their needs while we become of aware of unmet needs that still need to be looked into,” says Zietsman.

25% annual growth in sales, customer visits increased by nearly 200% 

Lionel’s Vet has seen a 25% year-on-year growth in sales revenue over the last four years. This is massive when you consider that the biggest co-op they work with strives for an annual growth of 11%. This could largely be ascribed to the fact that they get around to their customers much more often, increasing their daily visits from around 3 to a consistent 8 since the implementation of Skynamo.

Reps are better trained

The only time the company receives negative feedback from its reps about Skynamo is when they want more training to be able to use it better. They never receive complaints about the app or software.

“We’ve found that the better they understand Skynamo, the easier it makes things for them and the more the company benefits from the information they gather,” says Zietsman.

Skynamo also assists managers in recognizing where reps lack product training, enabling Lionel’s Vet to continually up-skill their employees.

“The reports help us identify exactly where shortfalls are. For example, if products are selling slower than we expect, we can rectify it by putting our reps on supplier specific training,” says Zietsman.

Managers enjoy more freedom to step away from work 

Digital reporting reduced the daily time spent on admin which means everyone can switch off from work earlier than they used to, and get regular downtime. Going away on annual leave became much more do-able for regional sales managers.

“Skynamo’s mobile sales app allows me to respond to any urgent matters that comes up while I’m away. I can take leave without constantly worrying that something might go wrong at the office, without it being a case of taking work with me on holiday,” concludes Zietsman.