Actuant: Consolidating CRM from five subsidiaries in the Salesforce Sales Cloud

Technology provider Actuant has phased out the CRM systems of five subsidiaries and replaced them with one system: the Sales Cloud from Salesforce. The project clearly demonstrates how Accenture can use cloud technology to quickly and efficiently achieve insight and synergy at a global organization.

Actuant supplies technology to major OEMs and manufacturing companies, and is the market leader in a large number of niche markets, such as motion control systems, hydraulic systems, and specialized solutions for energy companies. The company is organized into three technology divisions that include all kinds of more or less individually operating subsidiaries, including Power-Packer, Weasler, Maximatecc, Gits Manufacturing and Elliott Manufacturing. The entire group has an annual turnover of around $1.25 billion and operates worldwide in over thirty countries. 

A number of years ago, Power-Packer, one of Actuant's largest subsidiaries and a major international player in the field of hydraulic systems, implemented the Salesforce Sales Cloud to set up an international sales team. At the time, that project was a great success and has impressed the management team. Therefore, Actuant has now also introduced the Sales Cloud with all other subsidiaries of the Engineered Solutions Division (which includes Power-Packer). The sales organizations of five companies are now supported from the cloud through one comprehensible system.


Nico Höfte, Global Marketing Manager at Power-Packer, was the project leader who introduced Salesforce for Actuant. "The idea behind this project is that it enables us to better position ourselves for fast international growth," he says. "Power-Packer, for example, wants to double its turnover every five years. That can only be done by supporting your sales team with a good CRM system. Furthermore, we want to improve the synergy between the various subsidiaries of Actuant Engineered Solutions. Maximattecc and we, for example, supply the same companies. By using one system to work in, you can keep each other perfectly informed of the customer's situation. This allows you to monitor good customer relationships and better utilize cross-selling opportunities. In addition, a single cloud system provides management with excellent real-time insight into the sales funnel of the entire Engineered Solutions division."


Actuant chose Accenture to implement Salesforce and to phase out and replace the CRM systems of the various subsidiaries. "We have chosen Accenture after a long selection program, in which we assessed several vendors. Finally, Accenture's expertise in CRM implementations, particularly Salesforce, and their experience in the manufacturing industry, was decisive," said Höfte.


The project was, in particular, an organizational challenge. "We want Sales at all five organizations to have the same sales process, all working using a single system. This requires good coordination and communication, especially since all those companies are accustomed to operating independently. We therefore need a partner that can achieve this coordination and can ensure that all those companies will soon start working with one conceptual framework." Adoption by the employees was another challenge. "You have to be really on top of it to make sure everyone is using the system correctly and is entering high-quality data," says Höfte. "And, very important: that the project will continue after the go-live, and that the tuning of the system will be refined as well."


Accenture's consultants responded well to these issues. Input from Actuant employees was used to get a better understanding of the sales processes and to configure Salesforce. They also helped in the adoption by drafting training materials. In addition, any technical challenges were also met well by Accenture. The connection between Salesforce and Power-Packer's ERP system, for example, was previously done through a poorly documented Access link. Accenture replaced this by the Jitterbit migration tool, which enables Actuant to also connect other systems to Salesforce.


"The project was completed within time and budget," said Höfte. "More importantly, however, is what we can accomplish as an organization. We already have a much better understanding of the performance of all subsidiaries and the first synergistic benefits regarding sales will soon become visible. In addition, we have built a system that is really future-proof. For example, we may now also consider setting up a customer contact portal or a partner portal. We can also connect new ERP systems to the Sales Cloud. As an organization, we have therefore really made a move in order to achieve our ambitious goals."