How an SMB embraced digital transformation throughout a pandemic


Indiana-based equipment dealer SIGMA Equipment implemented a new CRM during the pandemic. In a company founded in 2003 that worked from native systems until last year, the implementation was in development for a long time.

SIGMA Equipment started out as Sigma Packaging and continues to serve manufacturers primarily with the purchase and sale of packaging and processing machines in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, health and beauty and consumer goods industries.

Insightly’s CRM was implemented at a time when SIGMA Equipment was experiencing significant changes in the needs of manufacturers as well as internal organizational changes during the pandemic.

Put together a team to face the challenges

SIGMA Equipment actually saw an increase in demand for packaging and converting machinery during the pandemic, accelerating the need for change. According to Randa Doleh, Head of the Evaluation Department, the marketing software was developed in-house prior to the new CRM.

“Given our growth rate, we could not continue to rely on the current software,” said Doleh. “We needed a scalable solution.” The implementation of Insightly CRM received the green light.

In 2019, SIGMA Equipment took on the task of looking for a CRM solution. At this point, they expanded their marketing team to include a Marketing Director, a Marketing Manager and a Marketing Specialist.

Fast response with an out-of-the-box solution

When their company hired new marketing staff and selected software in 2019, they had no idea what kind of change was coming their way.

The public health crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the food supply chain, causing more consumers to stock up on packaged and processed foods. As a result, medium-sized business customers who turned to SIGMA Equipment for machines came to the company in droves.

“Given our niche market, SIGMA has grown because of the software we use,” said Doleh. She said she was “impressed with the flexibility that came with out-of-the-box Insightly CRM”. It enabled the departments within the company to develop tailor-made solutions and be connected at the same time. This allowed for more strategic decisions to be made when it came to serving customers and managing growth.

“The main use of CRM is for departments to communicate with customers,” said Doleh. “This spans multiple departments, and we all need a complete view of the customer.”

The complete view of the customer for several teams also opens up cross-departmental strategic opportunities. “When I’m in a meeting with our sales team, I get to step back and see what other areas can benefit, which means we can really scale our performance,” said Doleh.

Smaller organizations are ready to change

Ohio-based business growth consultant COACT Associates, Ltd. works closely with many SMEs and sees common advantages in the implementation of a CRM. You use Insightly’s CRM yourself.

“A lot of smaller companies don’t have access to great systems and reporting structures,” said Jennifer Nietz, vice president, COACT Associates. “We encourage them to implement a CRM package. We’ve been to a couple of platforms ourselves. “

She adds that especially for an out-of-the-box system like Insightly, smaller businesses can benefit from a truly user-friendly solution. “It’s like Saleforce,” she said. “However, we think Salesforce is too robust for a small manufacturer. You need to capture the most important and basic information about customers and the sales pipeline. What we find is that customers just don’t keep track of this stuff, and when they do, it’s in an Excel spreadsheet. “

According to Nietz, changes in buyer behavior are a major reason why companies of all sizes have to adapt. Even in the B2B space, “buyers make their own decisions before contacting the company directly,” she said.

Just by launching the website, businesses can see an influx of potential customers and don’t necessarily have the infrastructure to handle the volume. A company can keep pace with cross-departmental real-time access to customer records in a CRM.

“In some cases, the volume is almost too big and companies cannot manually track customers,” said Nietz. “I think there is more of a realization that you are definitely behind if you don’t digitize.”

For SIGMA Equipment, the digital transformation makes it easier to continue to support more customers. This month they announced the acquisition of C&I Electronics, which expands its customer offering to include recycling of large machinery and electronic equipment.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

About the author

Chris Wood has over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he was Associate Editor and provided original analysis of the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in technology and politics, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins to former Cisco CEO John Chambers to Vivek Kundra, who was named the country’s first federal CIO by Barack Obama. He is particularly interested in how new technologies, including language and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019 he moderated a panel on “Innovation Theater” at the Fintech Inn in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-oriented reporting in industries such as Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS and has contributed to fiction, criticism and poetry in several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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