“A well-oiled machine since Skynamo is plugging our customer leaks”
Triangle Lubricants was established in 1997 with the prime objective of providing a better service to Shell customers. Being renowned for their prompt delivery promise, customer service is one of their main priorities. The Triangle Lubricants case study discovers how the Skynamo field sales app enabled the company to guarantee deliveries within 24-48 hours, helped them retain and grow their existing customer base, and created an environment of trust within the sales team.
- – 97% on-time delivery success rate
- – 17% increase in sales
- – Doubling monthly customer visits
- – Better rep retention
- – 2 hours less spent on daily admin
Triangle reps operate in an industry where customer retention and satisfaction are key. Their focus is not always so much on selling to new customers but on selling a wider range of products to existing customers. Skynamo ensures that managers have great insight into customer needs and that reps are faultless in their order taking and service delivery.
Delivery guarantees weren’t possible
Triangle couldn’t make delivery promises due to delays between actual order placement and those orders being entered into their system. “Orders came here on a paper form, had to be manually entered into the system and had no time stamp to measure it from,” shares Triangle Lubricant’s Sales Manager, Christoff Sonnekus. Failing to measure the actual average time it took from order placement to product delivery, meant that it was impossible to guarantee delivery times to customers.
Customers “leaked” to competitors
Volume is king in the lubrication business, but competition is fierce in this industry, so the focus is on retention and growing sales from an existing base. “We will always aim to grow our customer base, but more important is selling more to existing customers. 70% of our business focus is looking after existing customers and making sure that they are happy,” explains Sonnekus.
Triangle Lubricants has more than oil leaks to worry about. Failing to deliver an optimum service means that even loyal and otherwise satisfied customers turn to competitors for certain products in their range. While Triangle might retain the customer, they may begin to “leak” as they turn to competing brands for products existing in Triangle’s Shell range.
“A vehicle has about eight lubricant and liquid components. What tends to happen is our reps focus on their ‘bread and butter’ product lines like oil or break fluid, because that’s where they make their money. Reps from other companies then step in and sell another component, like grease for example, simply because our reps are not focussing on that.”
Paper system inevitably led to errors
Despite Triangle’s hands-on commitment to service delivery and near faultless record, errors inevitably crept in with the old paper system. “Someone forgetting the correct order details just once could mean losing a big customer along the way.”
Not enough face-time with customers
Reps used to spend 2-3 hours per day in the office filling out their call sheets and getting quotations out to customers. They used to travel back-and-forth, taking orders and submitting order sheets to the office. Each Triangle rep did fewer than 100 customer visits per month.
Not spending enough face-time with customers further resulted in a lack of understanding of customer needs. “It is difficult to predict or respond to customers’ behavior and provide good service if you do not understand their needs in the first place.”
‘Negative’ questions bred distrust
Without having proper knowledge of what is happening out in the field, sales managers couldn’t but approach reps with ‘negative’ questions.
“All our interactions were about me checking up on them, whether they were doing their jobs out there. I empathize with the challenging nature of a rep’s work and it felt like these ‘negative’ questions added to that pressure and created a feeling of distrust between us.”
"Skynamo’s been a great help in building brand loyalty. We’ve reduced reps’ time in the office from an average of three hours a day to the amount of time it takes them to pick up and return their company vehicle. As a result, we’ve been able to more than double the number of customer visits we make."
Less time in the office results in more quality time with customers
Triangle chose Skynamo to get their reps out of the office and in front of customers, because relationships are incredibly important to the sales process for Triangle. Thanks to Skynamo, Triangle reps now see customers more frequently and spend more quality time with them.
With more time being spent on visiting customers, reps are able to build stronger relationships, which is core to Triangle’s business. “Customers buy the rep first, then they buy the Triangle brand, and only then do they buy the Shell brand,” argues Sonnekus.
Perfection is now a possibility
Skynamo allows Triangle reps to log order details while they are with the customer, who can then confirm the order in real-time. This ensures that the right orders are delivered at the right time.
“Small but crucial errors are eliminated during order taking. There’s no more talk of the one that got away,” shares a smiling Sonnekus.
Making and keeping delivery promises
Triangle’s website now proudly states, ‘delivery within 24-48hrs’. Being able to commit to delivery times and now boasting a 97% on-time delivery success rate built a lot of trust with customers.
They couldn’t make this promise before, because merely logging an order took up to 12 hours at times. Orders are now placed with the press of a few buttons and the delivery process is immediately underway. Nearby customers sometimes receive their products within minutes.
“Since we’ve gone online with Skynamo, we’ve had situations where our rep is still with the customer when their order arrives. How’s that for service delivery!”
Skynamo helped plug the “leaks” – sales increased by 17%
Skynamo has been key in helping them plug product “leaks”. It is now easier for reps and management to identify trends and discover why a customer stopped purchasing certain products from their range.
Skynamo’s visit forms provide Triangle management with a way of ensuring certain questions are asked regularly during customer visits, which enables them to stop “leaks” of products to competition. Skynamo ensures that they also cross-sell other products to minimise the risk of “leaks” to competing brands.
“Skynamo’s impact on our business has been a 17% increase in sales volume from our existing base last year and an expected growth in revenue of about 15% this year.”
Doubling the number of customer visits and getting better at sales
The average number of customer visits per rep since switching to Skynamo has more than doubled to over 200 per month. “We saw an increase in monthly sales simply because we’re visiting our existing customer base more regularly.”
Apart from visiting customers on a more regular basis, Triangle now also has better insights into their customers’ buying needs and habits and how to approach potential customers. “Skynamo helps us understand and anticipate customer response behaviour. We know when and why they don’t buy products and are able to work out how we can sell better in the future.”
Triangle reps have also become more effective at cold calling and lead management. “Our cold calling is also much more effective. Skynamo helps us approach people with the right info from day one.” Managers are now able to track calls, always knowing who has been called, how they’re responding and whether they have been followed up. “In the past I had to remind reps to follow up on cold calls – I no longer need to do that.”
“I no longer bug my reps with ‘negative’ questions”
“We retain our reps better, because we make their lives easier,” shares Sonnekus who empathises with his reps and the challenging nature of their work. “Skynamo enabled me to be more involved in the field with my reps. I can help them navigate difficulties out there, coaching them from the back office while they visit customers. I no longer need to ask ‘negative’ questions to check up on them, but rather ask ‘positive’ questions to help them sell better.”
Managers run through rep visits and comments with them on a weekly basis and they strategise together about how they can do better in the field. “It doesn’t feel like I don’t see my reps regularly anymore, as we are still in contact all the time.”
“Less checking-up-on and more coaching, along with the updated information provided by Skynamo, results in technically strong reps who add value to customers. Skynamo ensures that Triangle has informed reps who operate as consultants out in the field.”
“Transparency creates more trust, and free time!”
“The transparency created by Skynamo means that we can treat our reps as responsible adults, which leaves them feeling respected. The result is that trust is bred within the sales team, not only between me and the reps, but also among the reps themselves,” adds a proud Sonnekus. “I don’t sit around all day worrying about what my reps are up to and they don’t duplicate calls and step into each other’s territories. Everyone is on the same page.”
“I am connected to what my reps do out in the field and am constantly aware of which tasks need immediate attention and which can wait. I know when their day’s work is done or how we can reschedule things if someone falls ill, for instance.”
Manager and reps alike are also benefitting from more time away from work, rather spending time with family or on leisure activities. “Previously, every rep had to send me a full report at the end of the day, now I have real-time access to reports as they are updated. Skynamo is constantly open on my laptop and I check it continually and leave comments to my reps on the calendar. Full, immediate and accurate insight into rep activities saves me at least two hours per day on admin, which means we can all get home earlier.”