Holcim EMEA expands BSI CRM for their customer relationship management

As a global group with Swiss roots, Holcim has stood for materials from which dreams are built for over 100 years: cement, gravel, and concrete. Sustainability and durability are values that apply to this global market player not only in floors, pillars, and roofs, but also when it comes to managing customer relations.

Customer relationship management is of great importance to the cement giant Holcim. Five years ago, the construction materials manufacturer worked with BSI to set up a transnational and cross-segment customer view in ten countries with the CARE CRM project. Now it is ready to take the next major step: the rollout of the upgraded CARE in 22 Holcim EMEA countries. This rollout is a component of the European Business Model, which involves issues that can be improved throughout the entire group. “The customer view plays a significant role in this regard,” explains Sandra Berger, Business Expert Project Manager at Holcim. The CRM Overall Project Manager knows the importance of a uniform customer view in global markets. It’s worth the effort: “Working has become much easier for the sales team through the CRM with its 360° customer view and uniform offer management, giving them more time to look after their customers.”

Important CRM milestones, challenges and findings

Offer management is one of the highlights of the CRM solution. When preparing offers, prices can be optimized by the sales representative using integrat- ed margin calculation. The customer’s credit data can be viewed at any time, and the system automat-ically notifies the sales rep in the event of delivery blocks or dunning levels. The CRM also ensures that offers containing special price discounts are reviewed. This validation can even take place on mobile devices to avoid delays in the process. Upon signature, offers are automatically converted to SAP contracts and executed. Even complex contracts with tiered discounts and refund agreements are no problem.

Sandra Berger von Holcim und Pieric Ferrari von BSI im Gespräch
BSI’s Pieric Ferrari knows Holcim’s processes intimately and offers valuable support to Overall Project Manager, Sandra Berger.

Furthermore, the automated 360° reporting to the management board, the integration of Lotus Notes and the handling of processes with mobile devices and smartphones make life easier for the Sales staff. “The validation of complex offers based on different country-specific rules is very much appreciated by our Sales department. Sales reps can now devote themselves to their customers and not the approval of processes,” explains Sandra Berger.

The CRM expert launched the project with a kickoff for each cluster – involving all the countries in that cluster. The basis for the success of the project was laid here by presenting the functions and advantages of the new system to employees and local project managers. “Change management is not to be underestimated when it comes to CRM introductions. Showing staff which new channels, possibilities and benefits the common solution brings is essential for its success,” explains the experienced project manager.

“BSI understands our business. This, combined with their solution orientation and vast process knowledge, extremely simplifies the collaboration.”

Sandra Berger, Overall Project Manager at Holcim

Benefits for sales reps, customers and the company

According to Sandra Berger: “It is important for the Sales department to be able to predict the customer’s future orders based on past purchases. Hence, the customer history is especially relevant; it supplies valuable information about sales potential among the various product groups. What makes it special is that the CRM runs completely integrated in Lotus Notes. When reading a customer e-mail, the rep is immediately presented with the most recent customer activities and reasons for contact.” Furthermore, data quality is assured by the sales rep – the ideal prerequisite for marketing activities such as trade fairs, mailings or campaigns.

The discount and price structure is very complex for this global player. Many doubted the seamless depiction in the CRM right from the start. “BSI develop-ed a prototype for us. Through skillful procedures and user reviews in two- to three-week test cycles for each country, we managed to successfully develop the crediting functionality that is so appreciated by our employees,” according to Sandra Berger.

“Change management is the greatest challenge. Such projects only function if all the players are involved early on.”

Sandra Berger, Overall Project Manager at Holcim

Ensuring success after the implementation

To introduce CRM in 22 very different countries is a major challenge; the subsequent efficient use thereof is equally so. “The key user structure contributed to the success of the CRM. The key users are in charge of ensuring that the CRM is used throughout the company once it is introduced, and also develop specific CRM strategies for their own country. Combined with support from management, this form of organization proved itself,” explains Sandra Berger and sums up: “The better we know our customers, the more targeted are our sales. Uniform processes and business analyses help the company with evaluations and accurate planning.”

“With BSI CRM, the sales department can devote itself to customers and not the approval of processes on the computer.”

Sandra Berger, Overall Project Manager at Holcim

The Project Managers

Holcim is a global leading supplier of cement and aggregates, ready-mixed concrete and asphalt, along with related services. The Group is active in 70 countries and has a headcount of around 80,000.

Sandra Berger is the Business Expert Project Manager at Holcim EMEA. The CRM expert began her career in the IT department at Intershop before she enriched her expertise as a CRM and business analyst manager at Hutchison 3G Austria and Cablecom Switzerland. She has boosted customer relationship sales efficiency at Holcim with her international CRM commitment since 2008.

Pieric Ferrari is the Holcim Project Manager at BSI. Holcim appreciates the constructive and solution- oriented collaboration with BSI. Sandra Berger commented on his teamwork: “We could hire Pieric. His process knowledge is enormous and made things much easier. This meant that the solutions we developed also really worked!”