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How a 50-year-old Company Finally Started Using a CRM

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Author photo: Grace Lau

Grace Lau

Imagine: a family-owned 50-year old building materials company that didn't have much experience adopting technology.

Sure, there were spreadsheets and Outlook Mail... but that was about it.

That was the company that Tony Jenkins (who is now Tamlyn's Director of Sales) came into about a year and a half ago.

For someone who’s been using CRM for almost 20 years, it was jarring.

“The reports we were pulling were just crazy. There was no customer information. So I researched a couple different solutions and found Copper. I just started using it on my own just to see if it was something that would make sense for us moving forward.”

Turns out, it made a lot of sense.

One month to onboard.

“I’ve used other CRMs over the years” says Tony. “You basically need a team to implement them. They’re just too complicated.”

As Director of Sales, Tony leads about 15 salespeople (both inside and outside sales) who haven't really used any type of technology before. He needed something that was simple and easy to use. And most importantly, quick to set up. (Time to value anyone?)

Tamlyn got started with Copper on the first of January. By the end of the month, everyone on the team was ready to go with their new CRM. It wasn’t difficult to see why.

“It doesn't take a rocket scientist to run Copper. Now with the other CRMs, you might need an engineer. But Copper is really simple, especially the way the navigation bar is broken down between leads, opportunities, and customers.”
Tony Jenkins, Director of Sales at Tamlyn

Tamlyn’s Sales team has varying levels of experience with technology. So as expected, the adoption patterns have been pretty diverse. What Tony has noticed is that the more quickly the sales representatives adopt the tool, the more quickly they’re seeing positive results.

“It was interesting to watch the team become energized as they noticed the efficiency and productivity in their workday once they started using Copper. The ones who were slower to adopt are starting to jump on the bandwagon now because, well, they can see from their peers that it’s the key to success.”
Tony Jenkins, Director of Sales at Tamlyn

“It’s our single source of truth.”

A big selling point for Tony? The email connection with Gmail—and the unexpected surprises that pop up because of it. Here's a quick look at it in action:

“Sometimes, there may be somebody who’s not in Copper today, even though someone on the team has been communicating with them. The minute that person gets added to Copper with the right email address, it pulls in their email history, which is extremely helpful to the next person who manages that relationship.”

Tony recounts numerous times when his team has used Copper to uncover important information about customers, “We also had instances where inside salespeople left the company and took their knowledge with them, but we could still go back through all the emails and get the information we need."

“We’re not just in Texas anymore—we have people across the country and communication would be tough if not for Copper which keeps everything in one, accessible place.”

A long-term vision for lasting relationships.

Whether Tamlyn’s customers are lumber dealers, distributors, architects, contractors, or installers, the team’s goal is to keep them for as long as possible.

“We believe that one of the keys to strong relationships and repeat business is being prepared for every client meeting with plenty of background on the account. Copper helps us do that. For example, on the mobile app, the sales rep can quickly review how many orders this customer has placed in the past, and when.”

Many of Tamlyn’s customers provide repeat business and referrals—the construction world is pretty interconnected. Focusing on relationship-building, even when the actual purchase may not come to fruition until later on, has been a key component to Tamlyn’s strategy. And of course, they track every step in Copper.

Like this:

“I'm doing a project right now in Kentucky, and neither the lumber dealer nor the general contractor that I'm working with is stocking my material. But if we can manage them well and build that relationship, that will help us down the road when more of these jobs come up. They'll look to us.”

That’s why it’s crucial that Tony’s team can track a project from the very beginning, even when a prospect contacts them months in advance.

“We can’t just go two months without contacting someone and then all of a sudden have to find out what's going on. Copper reminds us to follow up—it's our internal checklist and moves the deal forward. Because if we’re not on top of it and pushing them through the funnel, our competitors will try to get in there. Copper’s huge for us.”

Some final advice from Tony for other businesses that are thinking of finally making the move to using a true CRM?

“Be patient. It's not going to happen overnight but as long as you’re consistent and the CRM’s process is intuitive to your team, they’ll understand the impact and be more open to adopting new technology.”

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