How Lexmark transformed territory management and demand forecasting–moving from spreadsheets to simplicity
By Ram Krishnan
April 26, 2016
Lexmark, a $3.5 billion manufacturing company with more than 1,000 sales people globally, has acquired 10 software companies over the last five years. This M&A strategy came with challenges, including several overlapping (or even contradictory) technologies, systems, processes, and standalone CRMs from each acquisition. Lexmark quickly realized that these disconnected systems and overlapping business processes had to be streamlined—and this is where Salesforce, Anaplan, and Deloitte came in.
In Salesforce AppExchange’s recent video series, App Talks, Lexmark discusses the transformation it has undergone, from territory management to demand forecasting. The discussion centers on how Lexmark was able to combine their disparate sales teams into one organization, and adopted systems and processes that would allow them to share accounts and opportunities—all to better serve their customers across different geographies and sales channels.
Brett Butler, Business Architect with Lexmark’s WW Sales & Service Systems, said, “A lot of times, companies find that they have great systems in place like Salesforce for CRM and SAP for ERP, but these systems are at opposite ends of the business process. Companies then discover that they’re connecting the processes and the data with spreadsheets.”
Lexmark realized that despite their investments in front- and back-end sales support systems, there was a large gap in the middle. Butler recalled that “certain business processes are challenging to execute in a transactional system, so you often end up running them on spreadsheets—talk about a security concern.” However, once a company manages more and more of its business through spreadsheets, it quickly becomes a scalability problem—on top of a security concern.
Using spreadsheets, it took Lexmark more than a month to assemble its territory management and demand forecasting data, put it into spreadsheets, divide the data by region, and distribute it. Now by eliminating spreadsheets and utilizing Salesforce data within Anaplan, Lexmark has now revamped its territory management processes. Few key takeaways:
Automated sales territory management. Instead of a cumbersome, month-long manual territory management process, Anaplan enabled Lexmark to save a significant amount of time by automating much of the front-end data handling and sales input.
Accurate demand forecasting. By eliminating the endless cycles of reconciling an accurate demand forecast with Anaplan, this reconciliation process is now instantaneous compared to days thereby increasing forecast accuracy. When Lexmark changes a sales metric, it now rolls up from sales rep to district manager to regional geo and headquarters.
Simplified user interface. Anaplan’s intuitive user interface makes it much easier to view, digest, and utilize sales data. Instead of squinting at rows and columns in spreadsheets, Lexmark’s sales people can now gain immediate actionable foresights.
Time savings for the sales team. Lexmark’s sales territory management process is now efficient with Anaplan’s real time collaboration. By finding the right technology solution to bridge the gap between its CRM and ERP systems, Lexmark has freed its sales team from spreadsheets and given them more time to spend in front of the customers.
Your sales team should be out in the field selling, not tied up reconciling their forecast or territory attainments. Territory management and demand forecasting can be a time-consuming and complex process, especially in a large globally enterprise. But it doesn’t have to be—learn more about how Anaplan can deliver an accurate territory management process that empowers your sales team to thrive. Watch the full Lexmark territory management and demand forecasting story through a series of video interviews.
“In our old territory management process, we took a month to assemble the data. Then we took another half a month to put it into spreadsheets, cut it all up, and email our entire customer list globally—talk about a security concern. Now with Anaplan, we got rid of all the front-end data gymnastics and the simple user interface makes gathering sales input much easier, arming the sales team with more insight. Additionally, it’s easy to reassemble data and push it back—all that goes from weeks to seconds.”