Around the end of 2017 Hotel Vanajanlinna implemented a sales development project that paid itself back in just a couple of months. In the project, best practices in sales and leadership were brought into a seamless ensemble, making use of new digital platform economy tools.
Starting points for the project
Vanajanlinna was built in the early 1920s under Doctor Carl Wilhelm Rosenlew as his hunting estate and started operating as a congress hotel in 1998. In addition to its historical atmosphere, the hotel is also home to Finland’s only European Tour Courses golf course. The castle’s kitchen, which uses locally produced ingredients and features refined and top-class cooking staff, ensure successful events for guests.
The majority of Hotel Vanajanlinna’s sales are B2B. Its online presence and newsletters usually draw in interest in the hotel’s services. The most effective sales practice has been proven to be contacting clients to identify upcoming event-planning needs.
Hotel Vanajanlinna’s sales are special in that they sell events months in advance. Sales are forecasted and managed in two dimensions of time: On the level of day-to-day work and the level of the events’ dates. The multiple sites whose sales are to be monitored individually also bring an additional dimension to reporting. Until the end of the year, sales were monitored and reported on with salesperson-specific Excel worksheets.
Anna Räntilä, Supervisor of the Sales Team at Hotel Vanajanlinna, explains: “Delivering reporting on completed sales and forecasts to the executive board with personal Excel sheets required several hours of work every week.”
Goals for sales development
There was a desire to develop effective client contacts so that they could become more regular, on-going and be easily monitored. Another goal was to make better use of the newsletter communications, for example as a guide for client contacts wherein those that were interested in the letters would rise to the top of the contact list. The third goal was to build on measures used by management to make them automatic and real-time in order to have the information visible at all times without a need for manual work.
Undertaking the project
From the beginning it was clear that a CRM system more advanced than separate Excels was needed for client management. A CRM system would keep the information available for all and guide day-to-day work. The implementation started with a survey of the different applications and suppliers available.
“When we were interviewing suppliers, looking over specs lists and checking price tags it felt like we were in the market for a rocket to the moon”, Räntilä laughs, “that’s not what we need – we need something that will make our day-to-day work smoother and guide us in concrete decision-making.”
Pipedrive came up in looking through the CRM software offerings available. “I was immediately drawn to its (Pipedrive’s) clarity and accessibility, but we were left wondering how those two time dimensions and separate reporting for our multiple sites could be possible. Then we found Let’s do !T, whose expert seemed to understand what we needed right away and was able to show us how we could get all of that done with Pipedrive quickly and easily.”
1. The CRM
The first goals of continuity and the monitorability of work are at the core of Pipedrive. In Pipedrive, all items requiring action are clearly visible in a single glance and sales guidance based on activities brings regularity and continuity to operations.
“You can get started right away with Pipedrive and you don’t have to start your day wondering what needs to be done. Furthermore, all conversations with clients and e-mails as well as internal comments are easily accessible in one place. This way we have more time for actual sales work instead of spending time scraping information together and trying to remember things,” touts Anna.
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2. Better use of the newsletter communications
By combining Pipedrive and MailChimp into one intelligent ensemble with Pipechimp, available on Pipedrive Marketplace, the result of newsletters conveniently guiding client contact work was achieved. It uploads the interested leads from the newsletters automatically as sales leads in each managing salesperson’s sales channel. “This way we can contact people who are interested in our services right now,” says Räntilä.
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3. Automatic and real-time measures used by management
The requested site-specific and real-time measurement in two time dimensions was implemented with a few additional Pipedrive fields and a dashboard service, which looks for the data to present directly in Pipedrive and presents it as clear graphs. The metrics travel with you and are viewable on your smart phone, so the information management needs is always available.
Pekka Poukkula of Let’s do !T, who led the implementation at Hotel Vanajanlinna, says: “Technically one of Pipedrive’s best features is how easy to modify it is as well as its API interfaces, which allow it to be connected to any system. In this sense we can flexibly build a suitable ensemble for any company’s needs and with no need for data input or searching on a number of different systems. Costs and schedules are kept in check and moderate this way, too.”
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Anna Räntilä is pleased: “The goals we set for the project were met and went above and beyond our expectations. Pipedrive clicked for us as a part of our day-to-day work and implementation was painless. All of our salespeople saw the added value immediately, which is why we couldn’t imagine working without it. After a few months of use I can say that the project has already paid for itself in added sales. Now we have a solid chain from newsletters to metrics through sales. Next we’ll start guiding the content of our newsletters based on our sales metrics, at which point the process will be complete.”