Engel SA - South African subsidiary of Engel Austria, the global supplier of injection moulding machinery used to make plastic products ranging from coldrink bottles to cellphone casings - uses ACT!, the customer relationship management (CRM) application from Softline Pastel, to maintain optimum levels of sales-orientated contact with its more than 2000 customers.
"Our old software was not suitable for bulk electronic mailshots," says Engel SA client liaison consultant, Gayle Pitout. "For one thing, it did not allow me to group customers in ways that would enable me to send them new product information that is directly relevant to them. Because of the enormous range of products that our machines make possible we have customers in most industry sectors. So we have to tailor our product and other sales information to the interests of given sectors, in order to capture their interest.
"Now, with the latest version of ACT!, which has been customised slightly to meet our specific CRM requirements, I can send out bulk e-mails to particular categories of customers - at the touch of a button.
"The solution therefore enables me to work faster, much more efficiently, and to much better effect in terms of keeping customers informed and, as a consequence, generating sales."
Although Pitout does call on external consultancy assistance occasionally, she is able to customise ACT! functionality and make changes to the database herself, as well as incorporate the company's branding on mails and documentation generated within the system.
Softline Pastel managing director, Steven Cohen, says that keeping technology simple to use without compromising the sophistication of the functionality required is the key to equipping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for technology-driven growth.
"As Gayle Pitout points out, the users of technology need to be free to adjust the way they interact with customers or suppliers - or even colleagues - in order to continuously improve their own performance and, therefore, that of the business. That adjustment of personal performance should not require the constant presence of information technology (IT) specialists to update or alter the technology accordingly. That is just too costly, time-consuming - and inhibiting of employee initiative."