Centralizing all customer data at VITO

Cathérina ElsemansSales Coordinator, VITO

About Company

  • European independent research organization in the field of cleantech and sustainable development.
  • Around 750 employees
  • Providing objective research, studies and advice that help industry and government to shape future policies.

 

Need for a platform to centralize fragmented customer data and unify the way of working

Challenges

  • Fragmented customer data and no single source of the truth
  • Finding a unified way of working across all business units
  • Need for user-friendly CRM solution

Results

  • Employees save time
  • Way of working is more structured
  • All information is centrally available
  • Seamless integration with existing tool stack
"Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales allows us to share information across business units and throughout the entire organization"

Connecting research opportunities at VITO

Claiming that VITO is changing the world for the better is by no means a stretch. They specialize in the transition to a sustainable future, with their research expertise ranging from all aspects of the energy transition to sustainable cities, circular economy, and climate research.  By engineering innovative solutions for governments, multinationals and SME's, and other research institutions, VITO is shaping the world of tomorrow. To centralize its sales activities across business units, VITO turned to Cegeka and implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales.


“Although VITO is a research center, we also have commercial and technology transfer activities”, says Cathérina Elsemans, sales coordinator at VITO. “We’re basically offering knowledge in the form of services, research and consultancy. So it’s definitely not your classic sales approach. Our multidisciplinary approach means we’re constantly on the lookout for research and cooperation opportunities.” 

 

HubSpot Video

 

Connecting customers, partners and researchers

The biggest challenge for VITO’s sales teams? Finding a unified way of working across all business units. “In the past, the information we kept on leads and opportunities was not available to everyone”, explains Cathérina. “The majority of our salespeople were working in their own spreadsheets and notebooks. Our customer data was fragmented and there was no single source of truth to manage accounts and leads.” 

Therefore  VITO wanted to implement a platform to centralize this data and unify its way of working. “We want to go beyond a CRM as an ‘address book’, and instead build a broad database of contacts for our marketing, sales and R&D teams”, Cathérina says. “Researchers work with  partners  and  come in contact with clients.We  want to be able to centralize all that information across all business units. There might be possible insights and information to share between stakeholders, in order to identify new opportunities.” 

 

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The requirements: usability, integration and standardization

“Our main concern was that the solution needed to be user-friendly. We had already tried implementing a CRM in the past, but we never succeeded in getting users on board. There was some scepsis within the organization”, Cathérina continues.

 

“We also wanted to stick to the standard as closely as possible, to avoid too much customization. Another requirement was a smooth integration with our existing tools like our ERP and possibly in the future HubSpot as well. After some market research, we found that Microsoft Dynamics 365 checked all the boxes. Our colleagues were already familiar with the Microsoft Office ecosystem, and it seamlessly integrates with external tools so our users wouldn’t need to change their whole workflow. Moreover, Dynamics allows us to share information across business units and throughout the entire organization.”

"We want to go beyond a CRM as an ‘address book’, and instead build a broad database of contacts for our marketing, sales and R&D teams”

- Cathérina Elsemans, Sales Coordinator at VITO

In close cooperation with Cegeka

“After putting out an RFQ for the implementation and support, Cegeka came out on top”, says Cathérina. “We’re very happy with the close cooperation. Our colleagues are all very busy, but Cegeka was very flexible in that respect. Moreover, they thoroughly advised us on how to adapt our processes to the standard to avoid customizations.”

 

“We really appreciated their open and transparent approach. And the support after go-live is excellent as well. It’s nice that the same people who did the implementation are now available for support, since they know the system and our organization very well.”

 

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Not another tool in the stack

The results? “We’re still in the phase where the end users are getting familiarized with the system, but the first response is very positive”, Cathérina says. “Our employees are saving time, and the way of working is more structured since all the information is centrally available. Meeting reports are shared in one database. If we’re starting a new project, we can immediately see if any other colleagues have worked with the organization or with contacts within the organization before.”

 

“The integrations are a big plus as well. Dynamics is not another standalone app on top of our toolstack which requires users to switch between tools. We can just keep working in our existing tools, and the information is automatically updated in the central database. The invoicing in our ERP is linked to Dynamics 365 Sales, and people are raving about the integration with Outlook and Office. Cegeka really helped us with the change management through workshops, tips and tricks, demo videos and manuals.”

" Our employees are saving  time, and the way of working is more structured since all the information is centrally available. "

- Cathérina Elsemans, Sales Coordinator at VITO

Future steps

Once the users are completely familiar with the new way of working, VITO has some future additions in mind. “We’re already working on continuous improvements, and we’re looking at marketing automation to have the entire flow from marketing to sales leads within Dynamics”, says Cathérina.

 

“Moreover, our researchers are not yet connected to our CRM . As a result, we might still be missing out on other collaboration opportunities. The next step is to add licenses for our researchers, so both the sales teams and research teams can benefit from sharing relevant contacts, expertise and networking opportunities.“

 

 

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