When Amy Clark [IT Business Relationship Manager, J.R. Simplot] took the stage to present at Smoke Jumpers XV, she offered an impactful message: without a defined sales process your CRM initiate will fall flat.

Amy Clark Simplot Presentation

But you’re thinking; We have a defined sales process, right?

Think about it from an IT perspective… you may not in the terms required for a CRM initiative. Amy and her team realized that for Simplot’s data dreams to come true, they would have to be incredibly thoughtful about the approach, the inputs and the desired outcome.

As part of the sales process road-mapping, it was critical to involve cross-functional teams. Involving customer service, demand planning, and other stakeholder groups not only as part of the upfront design phase but through UAT, training and into production. This helped to instill accountability and responsibility.

Simplot hired SaaSfocus to be their CRM partner. Amy emphasizes that this helped a lot. Simplot could rely on their consultant’s experience and bypass the challenges observed over time from past collaborations. SaaSfocus helped Simplot design, develop and deploy a scalable CRM solution.

Simplot logo


Simplot’s commitment to one sales-facing tool was also critical to their success. Salesforce would become the go-to-market tool for the sales team. The team knew they needed to overcome the reliance on multiple systems that established a rotating door of duplicate work. One system. One stop. One less headache and adoption improves.

Salesforce is the center of account management at Simplot. The application provides all spend, all sales and program information, and opportunity management capabilities. The entire demand plan work flow was incorporated and everything ties back to the ERP.

Like Land O’Lakes, Simplot has an engagement with Datassential and their firefly universal operator database. Firefly connects bits of data in Simplot’s CRM to offer a full customer snapshot. And with this insight, Simplot is implementing targeted marketing campaigns to grow the business.

The CRM initiative synergizes information beyond sales data. Insight to QA complaints, findings and resolution are in the works. Customer service is operating in the system and logging customer cases. Sample management processes will help the business tie samples to sales and provide feedback to product managers.

“The biggest carrot was business planning,” says Clark. Sales teams who have visibility into what their targets are, what their YTD sales look like, the probability of opportunities closing, and where they will finish the year, can devise realistic achievement plans. With this data access, fueled by Blacksmith’s foodservice TPM and other key resources, they are more likely to use the system.

When planning your data integration project, start with a design plan road map addressing:

  1. Account Management
  2. Opportunity Management
  3. Lead Generation & Management
  4. QA
  5. Customer Service
  6. Sample Management Requests & Tracking
  7. Business Planning

And be sure to consider these recommendations from Amy Clark’s experience at Simplot:

  1. Define a sales process that IT can develop around
  2. Hire a CRM partner and leverage their experience
  3. Involve cross functional teams from all departments that touch sales and the selling process
  4. Commit to one tool – the CRM (for Simplot, Salesforce) needs to be where Sales goes for ALL information
  5. Accept that the CRM will evolve and your work will always be in progress

With careful planning, strategic partnerships and cross functional alignment your CRM initiative can be a success.

This article is based on Amy Clark’s keynote presentation at Smoke Jumpers XV. View exclusive Smoke Jumpers resources HERE.