GERS Modernizes Sales Operations through Salesforce and Summit One

May 18, 2022


How a Global Engineering Firm Achieved Organizational Efficiency through a Robust Salesforce Implementation

GERS is an international electrical engineering consulting firm that serves a wide range of
industries and institutions, helping to make electrical systems safer and more efficient.

Founded in 1981, GERS grew its business organically and expanded to multiple countries
without ever establishing a formal, dedicated sales team. They expanded thanks to their
industry reputation and the strong relationships their technical directors forged with their clients.

In July 2023, Charlie Gers and Leinyker Palacio began building a formal sales department from the ground up. Focusing on outbound sales, nurturing existing client relationships, and other sales-related tasks, they sought to accelerate growth and reach new markets.

The Challenge: An Outdated CRM with Limited Capabilities

Modern sales teams require sophisticated technology to organize and optimize their efforts, and a powerful CRM is essential for an international business like GERS. Until Charlie and Leinyker began their work building the new department, the company relied on an outdated, homegrown CRM with serious limitations.

“The information in our CRM was all over the place, and everything had to be entered
manually,” says Charlie.

The legacy CRM could not take them to the next level, due to its:

  • Inability to search customers across emails, calls, contact info, etc.
  • Zero automation capabilities to make their sales motion more efficient (everything was
  • Zero automation capabilities to make their sales motion more efficient (everything was manual)
  • Disorganized data silos leading to duplicate entries and misalignment across the Sales team
  • Extremely limited reporting capabilities
  • Challenges classifying and targeting prospects and clients at different stages of the sales cycle

These shortcomings made it impossible to analyze the sales process for any given account or evaluate their pipeline of work to develop a data-driven sales strategy. Given these challenges, Charlie and Leinyker turned to Salesforce to take advantage of its wide range of features, including its user-friendliness, reporting capabilities, automation, and its ability to integrate with other internal technologies in their tool stack.

Understanding the complexity of the task ahead—from data migration to intricate customization—the GERS team turned to Summit One to guide their transition.

“We chose Salesforce because we were already familiar with its features, its accessibility, and how user-friendly it is. It’s the number one CRM in the world for a reason.” —Charlie Gers, Account Executive

Seamlessly Transitioning to Salesforce

The Summit One team worked with Charlie and Leinyker to thoroughly understand their needs before migrating a single line of data. After all, GERS had more than a decade of customer data living on their legacy CRM, and losing this historical information wasn’t an option.

Summit One’s Nick Milsner, Mike Ausevich, project delivery, and customer success team worked with GERS to plan four stages of the implementation: Discovery & Design,
Customization/Integrations, Data Migration, and Reporting.

Stage 1: Discovery & Design

The Summit One team understood that a successful Salesforce transition required careful planning coupled with a clear understanding of GERS’ vision and needs.

Approaching the engagement from a Design Thinking perspective, Summit One encouraged collaboration and diverse perspectives from the employees who would use the new CRM.
Seeking to understand and empathize with their day-to-day experiences, Summit One worked with Charlie and Leinyker to identify ideal solutions to every challenge.

While such an in-depth discovery phase isn’t required for every engagement, Summit One understood the complex requirements associated with transitioning from a very old legacy CRM.

Also, given that GERS was building a sales department from the ground up, it was essential that the new Salesforce adoption fully aligned with their vision and the sales processes they planned to adopt.

Stage 2: Data Migration

Data migration from GERS’ legacy CRM to Salesforce’s Sales Cloud required careful planning, with Summit One mapping out each line of data that would flow into the new system.

Since the legacy system had many data streams with generic names, unclear attributes, and misaligned relationships, it was vital to ensure that each piece of data appeared in the right
place within the Sales Cloud data model.

Transitioning from an old system meant translating large sets of unclear and disorganized data for prospects, customers, sales activities, and proposal data to a well-organized relationship database.

Summit One took the following steps to achieve successful data migration:

  • Data Extraction: Extracted Lead, Contact, Account, Activity, Opportunity, and Proposal data from the legacy CRM.
  • Data Transformation: Converted and mapped data to align with Salesforce’s Sales Cloud data model.
  • Data Loading: Migrated transformed data into Salesforce, while preserving relationships.
  • Data Validation: Thoroughly verified and validated all migrated information.
“The migration was transparent and we didn’t lose any data,” says Leinyker. “The whole experience was positive.”

Stage 3: Reporting and Forecasting

Summit One recognizes that effective reporting is critical to building a data-driven sales strategy. This not only involves being able to migrate reports from a legacy CRM, but it also requires the creation of new sales and forecasting reports that provide powerful insights—something the Summit One team achieves regularly.

While production of these critical reports was limited in GERS’ legacy CRM, Summit One ensured that Salesforce's vast reporting capabilities were customized to replicate all necessary old reporting features. Additionally, the team implemented forecasting reports in Salesforce to give sales team members a clear understanding of their targets versus actuals. This enabled them to make informed, strategic sales decisions and drive success.

Stage 4: Customization, Integrations, and Automation

In order to fully optimize Salesforce for GERS, the team required a full Gmail and Google
Calendar integration within the CRM. This allowed them to capture data automatically, sending it directly to Salesforce without a loss of data integrity.

By contrast, the legacy CRM required them to copy and paste customer emails and replies into the system. After the transition, emails automatically flowed into the CRM, increasing operational efficiency by as much as 40%. This efficiency gain enabled their Sales team to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time making sales and nurturing existing
client accounts.

Summit One’s work not only improved efficiency by greatly reducing time spent on data entry through automation—they also improved data integrity through data validation. Summit One
accomplished this by creating automations to reduce duplicate entries and ensure data quality.

Bolstered by comprehensive, high-quality data, GERS now has an easier time tracking leads, understanding where prospects are in the sales cycle, and assessing their pipeline of work. GERS can now trust that their custom data in Salesforce’s Sales Cloud (and reports derived from that data) is clean, accurate, and complete.

“The migration was transparent and we didn’t lose any data. They attended to all our needs and understood our requirements. Everything went better than we expected, and when it came to onboarding our team, the training materials they provided were very clear.” —Leinyker Palacios, Sales Director

The Result: Organizational Efficiency and Operational Excellence

A modern sales team is only as effective as the technology that supports it. Sales teams rely on accurate information, intelligent reporting, and data-driven insights that guide their strategy.

Thanks to their new, customized Salesforce CRM, GERS achieved the following results.

Greater Organizational Efficiency: All data is now consolidated and accessible in Salesforce’s Sales Cloud, rather than scattered and siloed

Big-picture View of Sales Efforts: New reporting features allow them to analyze their pipeline at every stage and plan accordingly

Individual Account Mastery: Account execs and managers can now see all activities and interactions with every point of contact in a given account

New Insights: Powerful search capabilities now make it easy to manage contacts, accounts, and activities

Resource Optimization: The fast, new Salesforce CRM has eliminated manual entry and
redundant efforts through accurate automation

Charlie estimates that the new CRM, with all its automation features, saves them 10-15 hours per week in labor that is better spent winning new business. In the end, he considers the
upgrade well worth the effort.

My advice to anyone thinking of upgrading to Salesforce is that it’s worth it. It obviously takes
time and money, but the optimization and efficiency that Salesforce and Summit One offer
produce a far greater ROI.” —Charlie Gers, Account Executive

Ready to Upgrade Your Legacy CRM?

Summit One is a Salesforce consulting agency that helps small businesses achieve operational excellence and get the most out of Salesforce.

We offer guidance with Salesforce implementation, administration, migration, and integrations—all at a reasonable price. Get in touch today and see what we can do for you.

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