Lassila & Tikanoja wanted to standardise operating methods within its sales organisation and put customer data to better use throughout the organisation as a whole. Strategy lies at the heart of Lassila & Tikanoja’s CRM project. L&T wants to turn our consumer society into a recycling society by improving its customers’ material, energy and cost efficiency. Improved customer understanding will play a key role in realising this goal, and L&T is seeking to achieve this with the aid of CRM.
The Digia team quickly picked up on what was vital for us. They were both flexible yet assertive. They wanted to make sure that, when we had to make choices, we understood what we were implementing. I’ve been very satisfied with Digia overall.
Elina Peuhkurinen, CRM Project Manager, Lassila & Tikanoja
“Historically, we’ve had quite strong silos that we’re seeking to remove with this project,” says CRM Project Manager Elina Peuhkurinen. She is responsible for developing customer management and sales at Lassila & Tikanoja.
Lassila & Tikanoja’s services are divided into four main divisions: Property Services, Environmental Services, Industrial Services, and Renewable Energy Sources. Each division has its own sales organisation with its own tools and processes. Operating methods have sometimes been highly varied.
“At worst, different sales personnel visited the same customer on the same day without the others knowing. We wanted to make these activities standardised and systematic in order to project a unified image to our customers,” says Peuhkurinen.
The time was ripe for the CRM project, as there was a general desire for standardised operating methods and a new culture.
“We have people who’ve witnessed the best that CRM can bring in other organisations. Our sales directors were 100 per cent behind the project, and senior management wanted to create a single, standardised model for L&T,” says Peuhkurinen.
A couple of dozen suppliers submitted initial tenders for the CRM system.
“We wanted to be offered all of the significant solutions in Finland,” says Peuhkurinen.
A Microsoft-based solution was deemed to be one of the most suitable alternatives for L&T’s architecture, and this criterion was used to whittle down the potential suppliers to six. In the end, two suppliers were requested to lead two workshops and a recap event for L&T’s project team.
The project team’s task was to evaluate how chemistry and cooperation would hold up to a tight schedule.
“We weren’t testing the functionality of the system, but rather the supplier’s ability to lead this project and get the best out of us. We were looking for an experienced team. A tight schedule leaves no room to practice with beginners,” says Peuhkurinen, laughing.
L&T quickly built up a good rapport with Digia.
“The Digia team quickly picked up on what was vital for us. The entire project team felt that Digia had a genuine desire to make a real effort on this project,” says Peuhkurinen.
The project began in April 2015. After implementation during summer and autumn, the first training sessions were arranged for users in October 2015.
Changing operating methods with the introduction of CRM posed the greatest challenge. It was quite an achievement for the business functions to move from their own processes to a shared process in only half a year.
“In theory, the sales process is quite generic. But different organisations have different business requirements and starting points, which meant we had to make generalisations. However, we managed to create a single L&T process that everyone could genuinely stand behind,” says Peuhkurinen.
When opinions occasionally differed, it was useful to have a partner that could see things from the outside and give recommendations.
“Some of our people were facing a new challenge – there were those who’d never used CRM before. The Digia team was able to provide the necessary challenges when our barrel of wishes exploded all over the table,” says Elina Peuhkurinen, laughing.
Peuhkurinen says that it was important for the team to be both flexible yet assertive enough to come up with the most rational solutions. For example, L&T did not implement all of the integrations and customisations that were technically possible.
“Digia was able to give us clear options for different situations, along with their advantages and disadvantages. They wanted to make sure that, when we had to make choices, we understood what we were implementing,” says Peuhkurinen.
“Whenever we had questions or needed options, Digia was able to deliver. They were able to express their opinions in the right way, and knew what things were more or less important for us. I’ve been very satisfied with Digia overall,” says Peuhkurinen.
CRM and the associated new operating model have made the entire organisation more target-oriented, systematic and transparent. When everyone has all of the information at their disposal, the greatest possible benefits can be reaped throughout the organisation. For example, production now has a longer-term outlook on upcoming work.
“Our operations require people and equipment to be physically present. It helps us greatly when we have a longer-term idea of when and where we need to move our equipment,” says Peuhkurinen.
The sales organisation was the first to introduce CRM in autumn 2015. L&T wanted CRM to be a tool that would actually support sales and management rather than merely providing reports.
Sales cycles are long, sometimes even years. Now that CRM provides a good overview of customerships, it enables communications and marketing to support sales from the very beginning of the sales funnel.
“From the perspective of an individual salesperson, the greatest benefits of CRM relate to sales funnel management. You can better plan your own activities over the long term rather than on a daily basis in response to urgent emails,” explains Peuhkurinen.
CRM likewise generates transparency and consistency in noting leads, as information about sales opportunities is recorded in one place. This is why L&T’s customer services were also among the first to adopt CRM: leads obtained from phone calls to customer services are also directly recorded in the CRM system.
“The CRM system is a place to collate customer data from a variety of different sources. Not only facts and figures, but an overall understanding of our customers. Tenders, agreements, leads, everything,” says Peuhkurinen.
“It gives us a better overall understanding of our customers and an idea of their existing potential,” she says.
The work is nowhere near complete – in fact it is only beginning.
Lassila & Tikanoja’s goal is to be a customer-oriented organisation and, with the aid of CRM, customer information will be an even stronger foundation for development.
Lassila & Tikanoja is a service company that is working with its customers to change our consumer society into an efficient recycling society. But what then are the services that will enable each customer to achieve the best possible material, energy and cost efficiency?
“The better we know our customers, the better service we can provide. We don’t offer services from our perspective alone. Strategy therefore lay at the heart of the CRM project,” says Elina Peuhkurinen.
However, when it comes to introducing CRM, Peuhkurinen thinks it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew at the start.
“Although we began the project by envisaging how our world could look in 2020, we knew that we needed to move towards that in stages. Now, we wanted to quickly implement a system for the sales organisation to master,” says Peuhkurinen.
“These days, you can’t do business without proper IT systems to support you. We’ve invested in our systems, and know that we’ll need to keep investing in them in the future too,” says Peuhkurinen.