Sales reps needed a mobile solution that would enable them to search products and write orders quickly at trade shows, and manage complex promotion-based pricing automatically.
Milwaukee Tool sales reps can now search their catalog and write orders on a mobile app that works offline and on the trade show floor.
Selling logic for customer-specific promotions is set up ahead of appointments in the app, enabling the correct promos and specials to apply to orders automatically.
Real-time data access has allowed Milwaukee Tool’s sales reps to cut the time they previously spent writing orders in half.
For manufacturers and distributors across industries, promotional pricing can be necessary to retaining key accounts. The fiercely competitive power tool industry is one such example—a selling landscape historically optimized around special pricing and promotion-based selling. According to Derek Erickson, Milwaukee Tool’s Director of Channel Marketing: “The power tool industry is very competitive. Without promotions and heavy advertising, you won’t get the market share gains you want. An account will likely go in a different direction.” This case study is an account of how Milwaukee Tool used Handshake to automate and scale their field sales operation without having to sacrifice their complex promotional and pricing structures.
The field sales rep plays a critical role at Milwaukee Tool. Typical of industries distributing technical products, the sales conversation is highly experiential, often involving demos and product education initiatives that are best done in person. For this reason, trade shows and field sales visits remain priority venues to showcase new products and write orders.
Before Milwaukee Tool automated order writing and submission with Handshake’s mobile app, their multi-step sales process was tedious and error-prone. At trade shows, a staff member had to be on hand at all times to enter orders into Excel. These spreadsheets were then saved on a shared drive—up to 200 files at a busy show. Back at headquarters, the customer service team would print all the orders and then enter them manually into JD Edwards, their ERP at the time. In addition to wasted time, reps often weren’t able to provide accurate order totals to buyers until hours after the sales conversation, given the number of specials and promotions that needed to be applied.
Due to the nature of Milwaukee Tool’s sales strategy, dictated by the promotions-based pricing model of their industry, the team was looking for an order writing solution that could accommodate their specific business needs. They needed a mobile solution that could manage complex promotions on the fly, so that their sales reps could be most effective at trade shows and field sales visits. In addition, the solution needed to be able to search Milwaukee Tool’s robust catalog by keyword, allowing reps to quickly answer product questions in the middle of busy trade shows.
After looking at several options, the team found Handshake Rep, Handshake’s mobile order writing solution, to be the best fit for their needs. Handshake Rep, a native mobile application, could be installed on reps’ mobile devices and would work offline, giving them the freedom to have an engaging sales conversation at stores or trade shows, regardless of whether or not they had Internet access. It also included the search functionality that reps needed to answer product questions mid-appointment. Most importantly, however, Handshake’s solution was able to represent Milwaukee Tool’s complex promotional pricing structure, a deal breaker for the business. According to Erickson, “When we realized that Handshake would be able to accommodate our promotions, that’s what ultimately closed the deal.”