DM's sales team was obviously doing well but Andy Jenks (Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Sales) felt the team wasn't effectively collaborating with him or each other. People were wasting time asking the same questions over and over again, best practices weren't effectively shared, and prospects were getting inconsistent information; these factors affected the top line. The team meant well, but being distributed and lacking a centralized knowledge store impeded their ability to work together effectively. They collaborated through email, a corporate wiki, a marketing encyclopedia portal, internal documents, and files. Developing timely, well-written responses with a consistent message across the company was key but involved sifting through too many sources of information and required Andy's heavy involvement.
Discovery Mining started using GroupSwim in early November of 2007. Andy initially rolled-out to his sales team and then added Marketing and Operations. The objectives for using GroupSwim were:
1. Provide one place to get information on the DM solution, sales process and RFI responses
2. Reinforce consistent messaging across the sales team
3. Reduce management time answering redundant questions
4. Share best practices and success stories across the teams
5. Leverage email-in functionality to smooth transition process
The primary barrier was breaking the team's habit of relying on emails to get questions answered and treating each question as unrelated to others previously fielded. Andy had to train his team to first look at the knowledge already consolidated in GroupSwim and attempt to answer questions for themselves. The adaption took some effort to reinforce and change behavior.
GroupSwim is now the "brain" for sales. The team consistently goes to GroupSwim to find answers and share information. By embracing the "email is for communication; not for information" mantra, the team has streamlined their email traffic and increased consistency across their communications. Andy estimates that he has gained "2 hours a day" from using GroupSwim. DM's product and customer requirements are complex, so questions and answers can vary widely. Since GroupSwim automatically tags all content and suggests related discussions and documents, the team is very successful finding the information it needs.
GroupSwim has also accelerated DM's ability to train new team members quickly and effectively. GroupSwim provides an ideal knowledge base for Andy's new team members to learn about DM's product, sales process, and company operations. Since RFIs, best practices, competitive information, technical explanations, and feature request/discussions are all in one place, DM has a perfect place for new employees and partners to learn.
Based on the team's newfound efficiency and freeing up Andy's time, Discovery Mining realized quantifiable value in the following
1. Increased deal flow - Andy has 40 hours a month he didn't have prior to GroupSwim. He thinks he is able to close at least 2 to 3 deals a month more with his newfound time and ability to focus on specific deals
2. Increased add-on sales - DM has experienced a measurable increase in sales from customers the team recently signed. He attributes a portion of this uptick to consistent messaging and expectation setting in the initial deal that they didn't have prior to implementing GroupSwim.
3. Accelerated training - Andy is able to get sales executives selling effectively in a matter of days versus weeks. This translates into faster productivity and more sales as his team hits the street quickly and efficiently.