Mannai Group turns customer-centric

Qatari company implements a customer relationship management (CRM) powered by Sales Logix solution to increase sales for its various business units and improve cross selling across the group's 30 plus divisions.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  October 31, 2004

|~|sage1.jpg|~|(L to R) Ivor D’Cunha, manager, Mannai Auto Division and Moni George IT manager.|~|Mannai Auto, which is part of the Qatar-based Mannai Group, has deployed Sage’s Sales Logix customer relationship management (CRM) software to improve cross-selling opportunities across its various business units.

The project has also created a central database from which the group’s automobile, consumer goods, engineering, construction, oil, gas, and other operations can access accurate information in a timely fashion — something it had been unable to do due to a lack of customer centric functions in its financials apps.

“We are a large company where each division has its own customer database. However, all the divisions were targeting the same customers and that was not helping the organisation as a whole. The company needed a common customer database and interface,” explains Moni George, senior IS manager at Mannai Group. “While [Oracle Financials] had the company’s customer database, it was very basic and didn’t have enough features to serve our customers properly. We needed a solution that had more advanced features,” he adds.

After analysing more than a dozen off-the-shelf CRM packages from a number of vendors, including Oracle, Mannai decided to work with Sage. The company says it chose Sales Logix 6.2 for a number of reasons. “Oracle CRM is no doubt an excellent package, but we didn’t need all those features. Also, it has a lengthy implementation cycle and is [comparatively] expensive and we did not want that. We needed a CRM that was easy to implement. Another reason as to why we went with Sage is because it provided excellent support and our employees were familiar with the product,” says George.

In order to avoid consulting, software licensing, training, maintenance and hardware costs, the company decided to tap into its inhouse expertise and take advantage of its partnerships with IT vendors. Mannai already had 600 IT users and an infrastructure comprising Unix servers and Windows XP clients. As for the additional storage capacity, it used HP hardware. Since the company is a HP partner, it managed to purchase the equipment at a competitive price. It is also a Sage CRM partner, so that helped reduce software licensing costs.

“We never had a project plan to factor the total cost of ownership (TCO) or return on investment (ROI), since it was all done internally. We have five Sales Logix certified employees who helped us with the implementation and training. All we had to buy was some storage capacity and CRM licenses. The costs were minimal,” says George. The company invested around US$25,000 to secure a subsidised CRM license priced at less than US$2000 per employee and the storage hardware required for the project.

As Mannai’s IT team set out to migrate all the multiple departmental databases to a single Oracle 9i database running on HP-Alpha Unix, which powers the CRM application, it managed to avoid the integration issues that can blight such projects.

“We have 60 dedicated IT staff experienced in implementation… so we didn’t face any issues while migrating or integrating. We wrote a script and brought it all under one umbrella and consolidated all the databases and integrated it with the ERP systems. Once that was done, we uploaded the data into the CRM system using the Sales Logix tools,” says George.

During the first phase of the three-month implementation, Mannai’s auto division went live with the sales, marketing, customer service, support, mobile solutions, business alerts & workflow, reporting and analysis modules. Sage Middle East trained Mannai’s IT division which is now deploying the solution across the company.

Like many businesses, Mannai was also faced with the challenge of turning high value prospects into customers through improved communication.

“Somebody who walks into a car showroom is a serious buyer and if not followed up within 24 hours, it is a lost sale. Mannai should be able to avoid that with the new solution,” says Shishir Srivastava, director at Sage Software Middle East. Now, when a prospective customer walks into Mannai’s showroom or enquires about cars via the telephone, details such as model preference, finance options and a contact point are recorded on Sales Logix. The system then reminds the company’s sales team to follow up on those prospects at regular intervals.

Furthermore, Mannai is now focusing on cross-selling to increase spend per customer and the company is running promotions to exploit cross-selling opportunities.

“We are now targeting customers with new product information, free clinic checkups and special service offers that we run from time-to-time. Information stored within the CRM database is shared across the division giving the company’s sales staff easy access to all relevant prospect information allowing them to proactively follow up with customers,” says Ivor D’Cunha, manager at Mannai Auto. ||**||

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