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The Assessment for a CRM implementation and integration project: The case of Ethnicraft
Ethnicraft has been in business since 1995. This Belgian company sells furniture and decorative objects to retailers, interior designers, architects, office vendors, real estate developers, and hospitality professionals.
In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Ethnicraft looked into a solution that could support the activities of their commercial teams and enable them to collaborate better. Since the back office was running on SAP, they knew they had to find a tool that would integrate with SAP. While they were looking for a tool and an implementation partner, they came across Elixir Solutions. We are experts in integrating SAP and HubSpot, which is one of the best platforms for Marketing, Sales, and Service departments' alignment.
In order for us to be able to propose the best solution possible, we had to start from the business challenges of Ethnicraft. Discovering their pain points is essential to be able to propose the best functional and technical solution. This is why we start all of our projects with an assessment. Only then do we go back to the customer to present what we discovered, the technical solution, as well as a plan to implement it.
HOW DID THIS BENEFIT ETHNICRAFT?
This approach is quite unique for a HubSpot partner. It requires the customer, and the partner, to take the time, at the beginning of each project, to investigate and create a unique solution and project plan. But it is always worth it:
- It ensures that we implement a solution to the very problem that the customer has
- It increases the adoption of the solution
- It reduces the risk for the customer. And it gives them the opportunity to make sure that we have a good solution that fits them, and to confirm that we were the right partner.
To discover the challenges and issues that Ethnicraft was facing, there was no better place to start than at the core: the Ethnicraft team. We set up interviews with members of each team. This way, we could get a 360° view of the business and its challenges. By asking the right questions and discussing with the stakeholders, we were able to find out the core pain points.
Over the course of 4 weeks, we interviewed the following teams:
- Marketing: We interviewed the responsible of the Marketing team, asking them about the strategy, the marketing team’s organizational structure, their customers, the relationship with the Sales team, the marketing activities, and objectives.
- Sales: We discussed with the Sales Manager the work of the sales team, the objectives, the challenges, the different markets, the relationship with the back office, and some questions related to the SAP system they use.
- Service: Just like the other departments we asked questions about the way they were working and how they interacted with the other teams.
- CEO: With the CEO, we discussed the past, present, and future of the company.
- IT: For this project, we interviewed the IT responsible, because the project would require an integration with SAP. Therefore, we discussed how SAP ERP was used and set up. This was fundamental to propose a good solution architecture.
As you can see in those descriptions, we focused on strategic and operational questions, more than on the technical aspects (except for IT).
Each part of the assessment required different phases: we prepared the questions, ran the interviews, did write-ups of the interviews, and validated them with the different teams.
Based on what we discovered, we delivered a blueprint that showed the points of force and friction, the roadmap, budget, and suggested timeline for the project. We presented them to all the relevant stakeholders and they gave us feedback.
WHAT DID WE DISCOVER?
There were a few challenges that we were able to pinpoint:
- For all the departments: there was a need for a common database. They struggled to work efficiently together because this was missing. Another consequence was that the reporting was a long and difficult manual process.
- Marketing: the marketing activities were centered around traditional channels, with a traditional outbound strategy.
- Sales: one major issue was the fact that they did not have a framework for hunting new business which lead to inconsistent results in that area.
WHAT DID WE PROPOSE?
We proposed to work with each department to implement the right processes: structuring the sales process, implementing inbound marketing, making sure that the service team had the right processes. The project would also include working on the team alignment.
To support the new methodology, we needed a technical solution. The tool we chose to bring everything together was HubSpot. It can support all of the commercial processes. And since the teams would use a common tool, they would be able to use the same data. And on top of all of this, we were also going to integrate SAP and HubSpot, in order to make sure that the teams were aligned with the back office.
The project started in September 2020 and ended in July 2021. We divided the project into four phases :
- Phase 1: During the first phase, we covered the basics and essentials of the CRM, Marketing - by implementing email marketing-, Service and reporting aspects.
- Phase 2: In the second phase, we set up the integration between HubSpot and SAP
- Phase 3: In the third phase, we went further on the marketing onboarding, by presenting the inbound methodology and the different tools of HubSpot
- Phase 4: We enabled the partners for the mature markets and implemented other sales enablement features, as well as a feedback methodology.
Doing an assessment has enabled us to create a project approach that corresponds to the needs and the organization of Ethnicraft. By preparing the project beforehand, the implementation ran smoothly and coherently. The customer really saw the value of having an assessment.
Great CRM implementation & SAP integration partner
Ethnicraft worked together with Elixir to setup the integration between our ERP (SAP) and HubSpot. They guided us through the different steps to launch the CRM within Ethnicraft. Including advise on the implementation and initial setup of the HubSpot Sales module. This enabled us to progress quickly in modelling our processes and work on continuous improvements in HubSpot ourselves. The post implementation support team is thinking along with us, effective and fast.
Justine Leclef, Ethnicraft