Suomen myymäläkaluste (later SMK) is the forerunner in new and refurbished shop furniture. In its’ 20 year history the company has grown from a local business to a country-wide product and service specialist. SMK offers its’ customers a wide range of display cases, fridges and freezers for the needs of stores, restaurants and the food industry.
Due to a recent growth in their business they realized a need for the modernization of their sales tools and process. SMK chose business design company Vere as their partner for this development work. Before starting the development project with HubSpot the company was overburdened by the manual workload of requests for proposals especially regarding their sales of new furniture. CEO Teemu Lahtinen summarizes:
- During the recent years it had become clear, that our online visibility in the new furniture market needed a lot of improvement. Also our sales process was extremely time-consuming and required a large amount of back and forth emails. In addition, we were simply not getting enough requests for proposals.
Modernizing the sales process through sales enablement efforts
Vere and SMK started to solve the problem by thinking big. Instead of just shifting old ways of working into a new tool, why not take a completely different approach and modernize the entire new furniture sales process? The objective of the project was crystallized into two main goals:
- Aiming to automate the sales process as far as possible
- Cutting the average sales process time by 30 % (first inquiry to deal)
To reach this goal a unique combination of HubSpot CMS, HubSpot CRM & Sales and HubSpot Marketing as well as sales enablement best practices were required.
A large amount of effort was put into designing the website in a way that appealed to the buyer persona and was natural to interact with
How to make it happen?
The project was initiated by building a website in a completely new manner. A large amount of effort was put into designing the website in a way that appealed to the buyer persona and was natural to interact with. The products were categorized in an intuitive manner and powerful search functionalities were built.
SEO efforts were further emphasized by building a pillar pages around the most prominent themes they wanted to be found in Google with. In order to further help the customer, a chatbot was created to support and guide the customer on the new website.
It was clear from the start, that SMK wanted all their new products to be listed on their website and the possibility for customers to request proposals online. In order to fulfill these needs, we started by evaluating different ready-made shopping cart options, but none of them seemed to fit the needs.
The client didn’t want to make transactions online and rather wanted a way to easily pick the products into a “shopping cart” and to send a request for proposal to the sales personnel. This was requested in order to enable the sales personnel to price the requested package in a competitive manner and continue with 1-to-1 sales approach afterwards.
Most of the existing options had their revenue model tied to the transactions, and didn’t support this kind of functionality. Others were too bloated or outdated to be used effectively on the site.
The custom shopping cart functionality
In order to fully meet the client’s need, we built our own shopping cart functionality on top of the new HubSpot website. This enabled the customer visiting the site to quickly and seamlessly request a proposal on all the products they were interested in.
The products listed on the website can be easily selected and added to the shopping cart both on the listing page and on the product page itself. On the product page users see different variations of the product and can add any of these into the shopping cart.
The shopping cart element is always visible on the product listing and product pages in the upper right corner, but expands as the user adds products to the cart. After the user is satisfied with the products in the cart, they can write additional information / questions related to the request and change the amount of products on the shopping cart itself.
Naturally flowing shopping process
The back-end side of the shopping cart was built by using HubSpot forms. When the user submits the form, the information is sent to Vere's server, which masks the HubSpot related details from curious eyes. The server functions as a reverse proxy and sends the data to HubSpot using HubSpot’s API. This method was chosen, because we wanted the user to stay on the same page while avoiding noticeable page reload. HubSpot’s cross-domain policy doesn’t allow direct submission, so external server was the way to go.
After building the shopping cart it was connected to the HubSpot Sales deal pipeline through a workflow. Automated emails were created as triggers to let the staff know that they have received a request for proposal. This was done to make sure that the entire process flows as naturally and seamlessly as possible.
Entire shopping process flows naturally and seamlessly using HubSpot forms, APIs, Sales deal pipeline and workflow.
The client still maintains the product information in Excel as they did before. When they need to update their offering, we automatically generate a JSON file from the excel and update it in HubSpot. Because the amount of the products is reasonable (100+) we modify DOM to include the products in the product listing page. Load time stays reasonable and the user has an instantaneously functioning search experience.
The search functionality
The listing is updated immediately when a used checks new boxes in the search form. If nothing is checked in a particular category, all products in the category are shown. The immediate response and intuitive use makes the comparison and overview of the product options easy and fun to use.
What does the end result look like?
After the project was completed, the once very manual process flows in the following way:
- Potential customers are lured toward the website to view and filter different products utilizing inbound marketing.
- When the customer finds one or more products they are interested in, they are offered the possibility to request a proposal by adding the products into their shopping cart.
- When a customer submits the form, a deal is automatically created and passed to an SMK employee who now has a comprehensive understanding of the needs of the customer.
- The proposal is delivered to the customer, which he/she either accepts or declines.
Steps 1-3 are all fully automated by utilizing HubSpot’s various tools. After the automation, the organization was trained in utilizing the new stack of tools, the new automated ways of working and the basic principles of sales enablement.
A truly win-win situation for the customer and SMK
CEO Teemu Lahtinen states:
- The results of the project were nothing short of amazing. The average length of the new furniture sales process is 50 % shorter than before. In addition, we have seen a 20 % increase in requests for proposals. Moreover, the average size of our new furniture deals have seen an increase and the overall quality of the inquiries are significantly higher than before. We could not have hoped for better results.
The end result of the project was truly a win-win situation for both SMK and their customers.
Teemu Lahtinen concludes:
- Compared to the time-consuming sales process we used to have, the new process is remarkable. After the customer has completed the automated part of the process all we need to do is send the proposal and close the deal. Our customers also seem very happy with the renewed website design. All expectations we had for this project were truly exceeded.