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Helping Macmillan Learning implement Salesforce CRM in a very short timeframe to meet their business challenges

The Background

Macmillan Higher Education (MHE) which is now part of Macmillan Learning develop world class content and provide pioneering and interactive teaching tools.  MHE facilitate teaching and learning opportunities partnering with educators and institutions to enable the learner to achieve more and to improve their  individual outcomes.

MHE had a legacy CRM solution in place which was slow and unintuitive and with over 250 dedicated sales reps this was not a recipe for a happy group.

In 2013 MHE decided to review the CRM market place, they selected Salesforce as their global CRM platform and then began their search for a strategic Salesforce delivery partner.  Ribbonfish won the contract as they had a very simple idea enabling MHE to meet their business requirements and go live in a very short timeframe.

Steve Devlin – Former CTO, Macmillan Science & Education

“Two things really make them different from other companies of a similar size and in that area. One is the integrity. They only look to take on projects they know that they can deliver, and they’re always completely honest about whether they’re the best company to do a certain project. But I would also say that equally important is the innovation and the amount of effort they put in to researching new ideas on their own time and bringing that to me as a customer…” 

The problem

The key driver for MHE was simple, it was to increase sales! The objective was to deliver a CRM solution that was intuitive and not only easy to use but could be accessed and utilised anytime, anywhere on any device. The system needed to be populated in a timely fashion providing customer insights and real time reporting but reps needed to save on admin time and spend more of their days on campus.

MHE wanted to replace their legacy solution and implement Salesforce Sales Cloud within a few months, before the start of the next selling season. The problem with such a short timeframe was the plethora of integrations between the legacy solution and the other business and digital systems within the organisation. These integrations had evolved over many years and were complex and esoteric.

The Solution

Ribbonfish were selected to deliver the CRM solution for MHE:

  • after provision of great testimonials from other clients
  • demonstrating a clear and deep knowledge of the publishing sales process
  • extensive experience of the legacy solution
  • CRM capability

But they were also selected for the very bright idea that would see MHE reaping the benefits of Salesforce in a very short space of time and without unpicking and redeveloping the myriad of integrations.

Ribbonfish proposed an incremental delivery.  The key was to retain the old, legacy system as a middle tier with its interfaces to product, ordering, identity and access control systems in-tact and have Salesforce integrate with the old CRM platform only.

Saving time on the integration services in the first instance enabled Ribbonfish to focus on the elements of the system that would provide the return on investment for MHE.  The focus was on the design and ease of use significantly reducing training and take up time.  And of course on the functionality, creating a CRM blueprint for higher education publishers incorporating sampling and pipeline analysis.

The outcome

Ribbonfish provided MHE with a CRM system built on the Salesforce platform developed to meet their requirements and they implemented it within a few months ready for the selling season of 2014.  The system was rolled out to the sales team initially, followed by marketing and editorial.

Rather than reps spending a day a week on administrative tasks, they are able to keep the data up to date and of good and consistent quality “on the go” leaving them more time to spend on campus.  System adoption has been fantastic partly due to great champions within the business but also the simplicity of use of the tools and the benefits of real time reporting and the provision of one source of up to date customer data.

Subsequently Ribbonfish were engaged to replace the legacy customer service solutions with Salesforce Service Cloud and are implementing the open source middleware WS02 for Macmillan Learning replacing all the isolated point to point integrations with an Enterprise Service Bus.

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