In the healthcare sector, reputation is everything. So being as professional as possible in all areas is essential for a company looking to build business. That’s particularly true if you’re a smaller player wanting to punch above your weight in a highly competitive marketplace, like pfm medical UK.

A subsidiary of a German parent company, pfm medical UK supplies high-quality medical products to the NHS, private hospitals and laboratories throughout Britain. The largest of its three business units, Histotechnology, generates over 50% of the company’s turnover.

“That’s something we couldn’t have achieved without Act!,” says Head of Sales and Marketing Sue Wollington. “When I was hired in 2009 to set up the Histotechnology unit, there was no effective CRM in place. But I just knew we couldn’t grow as a business without one.”

With her previous CRM experience limited to ProspectSoft, Sue began researching alternatives. She quickly realised that, since pfm medical UK was already using Sage accounting, Act! was the obvious solution, given its ability to link the two.

That was seven years ago. Now, Act! is very much a core component of the company’s success and Sue is very much an enthusiastic advocate.

With some 1,500 contacts spread across 350 accounts, managing sales of products that range from lower-value, frequently-bought consumables through to high-ticket capital equipment with much longer purchase cycles, requires both power and flexibility.

“Given the amount of information you can get out of Act! and the way it can track and monitor business on a daily basis,” she says, “my team just couldn’t survive without it.

“With Act! you have everything you need in one place, so even if one person’s on holiday or has left the company,” says Sue, “there’s someone else who can pick up on it. That gives us a lot of agility, as someone’s always available to help a customer – because there’s nothing worse than being pushed from pillar to post.”

It’s a coordinated approach that demonstrates to customers that everyone in her unit is ‘tuned in’, something that marks out the company as efficient and at the top of its game.

If more evidence were needed of Act! and her office team working in harmony, Sue can point to a 99% next day and on time delivery rate – something that their much larger competitors can only dream of.

A truly customised CRM

“We’ve now got Act! pretty much the way we want it. Our Act! Certified Consultant has been very good at supporting us and tweaking the system so we now have customised columns and a database that is segmented in the way we want.”

However, Sue is also conscious that no matter how tailored Act! is to their needs, even the best CRM system in the world can’t deliver if it’s not fed accurate, up-to-date information.

That’s why she has established strict standards about the way the database is maintained and data inputted. She also ensures that the system is fully synchronised every day, so everyone is working from the most current information.

From her own point of view, Act! is indispensable to Sue when it comes to preparing the quotations that are such an essential part of business-building, which thanks to Act! she says are “considered the most professional in the whole company.”

However, not one to rest on her laurels, Sue is looking to improve them even further by adding images of consumables, for example, to make them more visually appealing.

Powerful add-on capabilities

Sue is also very appreciative of the add-ons available for Act!. She’s particularly enthusiastic about Handheld Contact.

“When you don’t want to carry a laptop around, or there’s no internet connection, you still have access to customer and product data, which means my sales team can access notes and input data when they’re on the road. That cuts down on their admin time, so they improve their productivity and get more done.”

Creating an international impression

The success of Sue and her team using Act! hasn’t gone unnoticed. So it’s now being rolled out to the company’s other two UK divisions.

Sue hopes to persuade her German counterparts to do the same, now that they are starting to see what a powerful business tool Act! is.

“They are always impressed that I can give them such an accurate picture of our sales and product mix, which is something they can’t do,” says Sue.

Apart from such internal salesmanship, going forward, Sue is keen to use Act! for more email marketing campaigns, and to further segment the database so they can achieve ever more targeted marketing.

For this vibrant medical supplies company, that could be the prescription for an even fitter future.