Magazine Article | July 1, 2002

Put The 'C' In CRM

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

With CRM, a medical device manufacturer expands its knowledge of customers and annually saves more than $200,000 in administration expenses.

Integrated Solutions, July 2002

The sales rep was feverishly scribbling notes from his appointments with physicians in his notebook. His hands could barely keep up with his ears, so needless to say, his notes were less than legible. At the end of the week, he faxed his notes to the data entry clerk so she could update the database. Monday afternoon, after the clerk finally tracked him down, he received the usual spiel about how she couldn't read his writing. Five phone calls and two weeks later, the database is updated (although the accuracy of the data is questionable) and a report is generated. Sound efficient? Well, Cytyc Corp. didn't think so either. That's why it adopted a CRM solution that allowed the company to slash more than $200,000 in clerical costs and update databases without manual data entry.

Market Research And CRM Go Hand In Hand
Cytyc (Boxborough, MA) is a medical supply company that develops, manufactures, and markets products for medical diagnostic applications primarily focused on women's health. The company distributes its products to medical laboratories throughout the world that in turn sell its products to healthcare providers. In 1997, when Cytyc had a sales force of 75, it didn't appear that manually tracking sales calls, customer visits, and market research was a substantial problem. A year later, however, its sales force doubled in size, and its administrative expenses skyrocketed. With 150 sales reps, it took too long to consolidate data and produce reports.

Coinciding with its exponential growth in the last few years, Cytyc discovered the value of developing product-marketing partnerships with other companies that sold complementary products. "By partnering with other companies that offer products complementary to ours, we can offer a value-added service to the physicians and expand the impact of our sales effort," says Annette Brewster, director of marketing operations. For instance, one of Cytyc's main products is the ThinPrep Pap Test, a new system used for cervical cancer screening. If a company has a product that complements cervical cancer screening, Cytyc can include these products in the sales discussion during ongoing calls with physicians. But, in order for Cytyc to position itself as an organization with a world-class sales force, it needed a system for capturing and reporting on sales rep activity and the impact of that activity. Cytyc would have to do a lot of market research to find out what kinds of testing OB/GYNs are doing, what kinds of tests insurance companies cover, and what types of objections they may encounter.

To answer the demands of sales growth and desire for expanded partnerships with other healthcare companies, Cytyc rolled out a CRM solution to its entire field sales force in January 2001. With the new solution, Cytyc's 200 field sales workers enter data into laptops and upload data on a daily basis to a centralized database. The solution enables Cytyc to systematically capture consistent, mission critical data about OB/GYNs and medical laboratories, which plays a big part in enabling the company to form strategic partnerships that are an essential part of its continued growth.

Manual Data Capture: Slow, Inaccurate, And Costly
Cytyc's problem was that they were using handwritten notes to capture sales calls, and then faxing their notes to headquarters at the end of the week. This manual process for capturing data was very slow for the salespeople, as well as for the data entry clerks who had to key the information into a database. "Many sales people weren't taking responsibility for their data collection," recalls Brewster. "Notes came in messy and often incomplete, which required data entry clerks to follow up with sales people to get the right information. Additionally, once all the data was recorded into the database and reports were generated, the data was already about three weeks old." Even if this method of capturing customer information wasn't costly, the turnaround time on reports would not be acceptable for making timely marketing decisions.

Integrate Data For Improved Customer Service
After researching several CRM solutions, Cytyc chose StayinFront's (SIF) (Fairfield, NJ) Visual Elk and Panorama. The solution comprised four basic components: a centralized application that resided on a database at headquarters, laptops (with scaled-down versions of the database stored on them), synchronization software, and reporting software. The implementation, which began in October 2000, entailed installing the software on 200 laptops, determining how much data each sales rep would have access to, and integrating Cytyc's QAD (Carpinteria, CA) MFG/Pro ERP (enterprise resource planning) system with its CRM solution. Through custom programming, Cytyc integrated its two systems, thus enabling sales reps to be able to view customer ordering information and forecast future orders.

With the new solution in place, sales reps enter data into forms on their laptops, which incorporate drop-down menus for more efficient data entry. The data entry templates include built-in validation rules, which help ensure salespeople enter the proper data into the form before closing out of the application. "If a multi-physician office performs 300 Cytyc system tests per week, the salesperson may be tempted to attribute all those tests to one physician," says Brewster. "With the SIF solution, if the salesperson enters more than 100 tests for a physician, he gets a pop-up screen telling him that his entry is not valid and he cannot proceed to the next field until he corrects the error."

Unlike before, when salespeople faxed their data sheets to headquarters at the end of each week, data is now uploaded to the corporate database on a daily basis via a dial up connection from the salespeople's homes. One of the features of the SIF product, called Command Center, is used to synchronize the process of uploading new data to the central database. "The synchronization module works with Microsoft Exchange," says Bill Roberts, director of information services. "The sales rep clicks an icon and the software automatically copies all new data into an e-mail attachment and sends it to the centralized database. Next, the server searches for new data that has been pushed to the CRM system's database from the ERP system and downloads the new information to the sales rep's laptop via Exchange."

Faster, More Accurate Reports
Getting the data quickly and accurately back to the central database with minimal human intervention is one benefit of Cytyc's integrated solution. The other benefit is the reports Cytyc generates with its data. For instance, Cytyc may invite a group of physicians to dinner to hear about its ThinPrep system. After the presentation, a sales manager can have his salespeople follow up with the physicians and track their responses to the presentation. The manager can run a report to see if all physicians were contacted and learn what their objections were to switching from traditional pap smear testing to the ThinPrep Pap Test. Afterward, Cytyc can implement a marketing campaign designed to overcome specific objectives by the following week. One may wonder whether this kind of response time to corporate data is overkill. But, Cytyc's one-year net income growth of 67% from 2000 to 2001 speaks for itself. In fact, the company's ThinPrep now has 57% of the U.S. market share. And, with several partnerships formed, Cytyc's forward growth appears strong.

Although it's difficult to calculate how much of Cytyc's growth can be attributed to its integrated CRM solution, Annette Brewster knows that the savings in administrative costs can be attributed to automating its processes. "Considering the size of our sales force today, which is over 200, I would say that our solution is saving us more than $200,000 per year," says Brewster. "We've been able to move our data entry people into new roles where they can help us analyze our data, which is a more valuable function."

Perhaps your business is spending too much time collecting data manually. Maybe salespeople are complaining about having so much information to write down, or your data entry personnel can't keep up with the incoming data sheets. This may be a sign that it's time to clean up your act like Cytyc did and take your business into a whole new era of CRM.