Case Studies

How Jeni’s Ice Cream Uses a CRM in Sales, Marketing & More

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Grace Lau

If you’ve had Jeni’s Ice Cream before, then you understand exactly why its creative flavors have gotten national press over the past few years.

But how does Jeni’s actually get its delicious ice cream into stores? How do they get stocked in your favorite neighborhood shop?

We’ve got the scoop. (You know we had to.)

How does an ice cream brand sell ice cream?

Jeni’s sells ice cream not only in scoop shops across the country, but also through wholesale distributors and on their website. We got to chat with Jillian, who manages the organization and logistics of the wholesale side of the business.

Basically, Jillian’s job is to build and maintain the most efficient internal processes in order to find wholesale customers and make orders happen. Communication and relationship management make up a huge part of that job.

Her department is made of sales representatives who are responsible for bringing on new clients (like stores and distributors) and a team in the office (spanning sales, operations, and field marketing) that manages current customers .

Before Copper, Jeni’s was using another CRM. Though this was a well-known CRM, Jillian quickly found that it wasn’t being used.

“I came in, looked at everything, and realized that the CRM we were using wasn’t a good fit,” she says. “It wasn't being updated, nobody was able to search for information easily, and it just wasn't user-friendly.”

After looking at her team’s processes, how they were (or weren’t) using their existing CRM, and what was needed, Jillian had to decide to either stick with that CRM or move the team to another solution.

Spoiler alert: They moved.

Good news: the team already knew what it needed.

When Jillian asked her account managers what they needed, they overwhelmingly said, “Customization. Lots of it.”

Why did they need so many?

Here are just a few examples of what the managers needed to know about each contact: What are the SKUs in customer X’s store versus customer Y’s store? What is this customer paying versus someone else? Can we easily categorize all our different types of customers?

“That’s how we decided to go to Copper,” recalls Jillian. “It was just easier to get into, and it gives our team exactly what it needs: an easy-to-use system that we could quickly customize to fit our business model.”

All about the relationships.

Jillian’s team handles a huge range of relationships. Direct customers (usually mom-and-pop shops), larger stores and markets, distributors… to name a few.

In fact, Jeni’s often manages the relationships with not just customers (e.g. Whole Foods), but also with the distributors who are getting the ice cream to that Whole Foods—and it’s up to the sales managers to manage those relationships.

Everyone has a hand in building relationships. And with a headcount of about 600 and growing, Jeni’s has big scaling goals with Copper.

(Hungry for some ice cream?)

On jenis.com, there's a Where to Buy page that shows all the locations where you can find Jeni's ice cream. The information that feeds this page comes straight from Copper. Thanks to the team’s diligent management of relationships with distributors and retailers, it’s pretty easy to find—and enjoy—some delicious ice cream.

Psssst: here's how to find some Jeni’s near you.

Ah, custom pipelines.

One of the things the team loves about Copper is the pipeline view of new customers.

“We get a lot of inbound inquiries from people interested in opening a wholesale account,” describes Jillian. “We have to be able to manage these requests efficiently—and we can, with Copper.”

Of course, there are also plenty of prospects that Jeni’s actively pursues—many of which become repeat customers. Naturally, these relationships are carefully tended to.

“Before Copper, we weren’t consistently keeping track of each account’s stage in the sales process. Now, by using Copper’s pipeline, we’re more organized and we close deals faster. That just wasn’t possible before.”

And just how quickly can the team close a deal?

“If it’s a smaller mom-and-pop shop, we can get everything done within a week.” And that’s including the vetting process.

For larger stores, relationship-nurturing plays an even more important role, mainly because of the longer deal cycles. “If you're dealing with a big market or a distributor for Whole Foods, it could take months to sort out all the details.”

Even for those deals, Copper has sped up the process.

“The team finally has all the information it needs in one place,” says Jillian. “We can actually see which stage everything is in—whether we have their paperwork and we're vetting them, or if we’ve closed the deal and we're just setting them up in our system. Copper just makes it easier for us to stay on track.”

So which specific features does Jillian like the most? The two that most busy managers would be hooked on are drag-and-drop pipelines and automated reminders.

“It’s so simple. You’re just moving a block of information along the pipeline,” she says. “But that has really kept everyone on top of what each person on our team needs to be doing for that customer.”

“I’m also a fan of the automated reminders. Now, account owners are reminded to complete a specific set of tasks for each stage of the opportunity as soon as they advance a deal. Before, it was just too chaotic and easy to forget about things because we weren’t consistently tracking each stage of the process.”

Even non-salespeople use CRM.

And it’s not just the sales team that’s loving Copper. Jeni’s wholesale field marketing manager (a.k.a. the person who oversees grocery store sampling programs) uses Copper too.

“Copper has been super helpful for her—she can track what she needs for different events and how successful each one is,” says Jillian.

She isn’t stopping there either—the team has plenty of plans for how they’re going to use Copper for employee goal-planning and other strategies within the wholesale department.

And last but not least, Jeni’s is using Copper to make sure that customer information is updated and that the team has as much detail as possible on every customer. When one “customer” can have over 500 locations, that’s especially important.

Now that the team is proactively using a CRM in their everyday work, Jillian has a new goal in mind for the wholesale department: to see how efficient they can possibly be. Yet another idea she has is to use Copper data to create an internal dashboard of Jeni’s top 20 customers so the team can be familiar with their most-prized customers. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

“For us, discovering new things we can do with Copper is an ongoing creative process. We love it.”