As Red Sea Aquatics grew, it needed an integrated solution to connect multiple offices and support remote working. The company chose Act Premium to help it organise and automate business processes while also equipping employees with the data they need to deliver exceptional customer service.

In summary, Act Premium has enabled Red Sea Aquatics to:

  • Enjoy improved scheduling, dashboard and reporting capabilities for sales teams
  • Monitor, record, interrogate and follow up sales activities to increase efficiency, identify opportunities and benefit from greater customer insight
  • Obtain vital market intelligence before making decisions to take new products to market
  • Enjoy enhanced cash flow by logging all contacts with debtors in order to more easily recover overdue payments
  • Benefit from Group-wide usage of Act! allowing users to be more productive and responsive as well as enhancing global-wide communication

Growing in size and complexity

Stephen Halls is the Sales Director for North America & Europe, based at Red Sea Aquatics in Cheddar, Somerset. He explains why Act is proving an indispensable tool across the entire organisation, not simply in the UK.

“Here in Cheddar we run a field sales operation that comprises three sales guys on the road and a sales manager,” Stephen explains. “The main reason we selected Act, moving to Act Premium, was to ensure customer records were up dated, greater accountability and better reporting. Essentially, we need a system whereby our sales manager could easily monitor weekly sales activities and assist our sales people in growing the accounts.

“Primarily what happens is the sales team is responsible for putting the data into Act and making notes following customer visits. Then, at the end of each week, our sales manager runs a report which collates all this information so he can make comments and follow up accordingly.”

More than contact management

“We also use Act Premium to gather vital market information. At the moment, for example, we are considering adding a new product to our range and want to know what competitor products are already out there. So our guys are currently ticking boxes in Act to highlight which products are being stocked by which stores and within what price ranges. We can then extrapolate this before making an informed decision as to whether or not to go to market.”

“Act is also proving invaluable when it comes to recovering overdue payments. Our accounts department can log any conversations or emails they’ve had whilst pursuing payments. So, for instance, if a customer claims not to have received a phone call or email we’re able to provide details of when and to whom we spoke, thus aiding our cash flow.”

Further afield, the Group has been running Act across all its global operations. “Our Head Office, which also houses the Group’s IT resources, is based in Israel,” Stephen explains. “With the help of Xperience Group they are tasked with setting up Act Premium for our Chinese operation. Our French, Austrian, German, Belgian and Swiss operations are all using Act – and our US-based operation is currently upgrading from Act Pro to Act! Premium. Now that we’re operating in so many countries I need to be sure each of the locations is running in the same way. This is why, wherever possible, we’re using Xperience to support our IT. So far this hasn’t been possible in the non-English-speaking countries, but we’re already considering bringing in Xperience to assist with our US operation in Houston.”

A smooth transition

Back in the UK, Stephen explains they haven’t been running the Act! Premium for long, it’s still early days. “The upgrade took place in September. Our Xperience project manager spent most of the day with us initially upgrading the server and then dealing individually with each of the remote users. He did a great job and was also able to assist with some features of Act I hadn’t been using properly!

“How are we finding the new features and functionality? Well first of all we wanted to be sure that we could do everything we could do with the older version of Act!. The answer is ‘Yes we can – and more’. But, as yet, we haven’t really had time to explore all the new capabilities. But already we’re benefitting from its usability and ease of navigation, which is great given that we are not at all IT-savvy! And anything we don’t understand, we know we can depend on the guys at Xperience to walk us through in detail.

Not the cheapest option

“As a company, we simply couldn’t function as an efficient sales operation without a decent CRM system. Without a doubt Act Premium has added huge value. And with our IT operation based in Israel it was vital that we located a UK-based IT support partner. Considering we picked Xperience at random, we definitely made the right choice. The level of support has been consistently faultless and professional, and although we are one of their smaller clients, we are always made to feel valued.

“Xperience wasn’t the cheapest option but at the end of the day it’s all about delivering value. There is no question in my mind that whatever we spend or have spent to date we get back in bucket-loads in terms of our ability to look after our customers properly and manage their accounts.”

About Red Sea Aquatics

Since its inception over 25 years ago, Red Sea’s vision has been to create a world in which marine and reef aquariums are the aquariums of choice for all hobbyists. Red Sea is committed to providing complete reef solutions, allowing hobbyists to focus on the beauty of your reef inhabitants rather than worry about water chemistry or the suitability and compatibility of aquarium equipment.