Based in the Yonne department since 1969, the French subsidiary of the German Berner Group is a leader in omni-channel trading, specialized in consulting and the sale of chemical products, fastenings, tools, PPE, and technical consumables for professionals in the mobility, construction and industrial maintenance sectors. Berner provides a full service and professional consulting in more than 20 European countries.
Faced with the continuous acceleration of its customers’ expectations and the digitalization of its sales relations, Berner is capitalizing on its half century of experience to evolve with and for its customers. Berner France is therefore now looking to the future by developing a services and customer experience-based omni-channel strategy encompassing the web, telephone, the field and the sales outlet.
- Establishment of the French subsidiary in 1969;
- 100,000 customers;
- 25,000 product references;
- 1,500 employees, 1,000 of them in the sales force;
- turnover exceeding 235 million;
- 3 sectors of activity: construction, mobility, industrial maintenance;
- 2 sales outlets in the Lyon and Lille regions.
Maximizing the sales network’s performance
With around 1,500 employees in France, 1,000 of them in the sales force, optimizing sales performance is a critical issue for Berner. On the one hand, the company must be able to ensure optimal market coverage while on the other hand creating coherent and reliable rounds for its field sales staff.
With customer satisfaction at the heart of Berner’s strategy, being in control of its territory was a must if it was to remain as close as possible to its customers and offer them products and services appropriate to their needs.
With the advent of geo-marketing, Bernier had quickly embraced the challenge of geographical optimization to develop its activities. The company was quick to abandon paper printouts and photocopied administrative and road maps, deploying instead a modern infrastructure that would prove to be a powerful decision support tool geared to sales performance.
The solution brought by GEOCONCEPT
The first building block was the cartographic representation of the network and sales territories. To pivot from a piecemeal approach to a national view of its network, Berner chose to turn to an established player capable of helping it to maximize and develop its network’s potential using geographical optimization tools.
Nowadays, the company uses the Geoconcept Sales & Marketing collaborative solution to access authoring, consultation, information sharing, geographical analysis and online reporting tools. Coupled with data mining tools and its own customer data, Geoconcept Sales & Marketing enables Berner to generate daily sales sector viability monitoring. The solution also enables the sharing of high-value ad hoc or specialist geo-marketing studies (on customer typology for example) directly on the Intranet, for sales staff and management.
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"GEOCONCEPT has successfully supported our development and remains attentive to our ambitions. We are proud of the path we have travelled together. Moreover, we are continuing to enhance the tool as our requirements evolve. In response to new omni-channel challenges and emphasizing our strategy of being close to our customers, we especially rely on the tool to create a network of regional shops, combining on-site product availability and deliveries."
Towards perfect territory mastery with Opti-Time
In addition to geo-marketing studies and reports, Berner also chose to partner with GEOCONCEPT to implement a personalized appointment planning management solution for its field sales forces.
With the sectors defined, each Berner salesperson prioritizes customers to be called on. Opti-Time’s powerful geographical optimization engine looks for and identifies the best round plan based on the constraints specified by the company and its customers. The tool proposes other relevant appointments, not just those defined as being a priority, to supplement the salesperson’s schedule. It is then up to him to decide any adjustments he wants and allow the tool to guide him from a personalized interface in the Berner in-house CRM solution.
“Before, rounds were organized from day to day, leaving us little latitude to reorganize schedules should unforeseen circumstances occur. Nowadays, the intelligence of the Opti-Time system enables us to prepare the rounds directly with sales staff once a month, while conferring the ability to make adjustments between successive scheduling runs. It is an undeniable time-saving, while increasing the entire team’s flexibility and performance.”
Bénigne Fournier, IT Director at Berner France
Thanks to Opti-Time, sales managers can clearly and instantly see the rounds achieved in the field to evaluate their team’s performance. A further benefit is the ability to create personalized interfaces and monitoring tools enabling the sales staff to use the tool to maximum advantage.