Customer Case Study

Chattanooga Tackled Retention with Proton's CRM

May 8, 2024

Sporting Goods
Annual Revenue

The Challenge

Chattanooga Shooting Supplies started 40 years ago when two hobbyists decided to turn their passion into a business. Today, it's one of the fastest-growing distributors in the US firearms industry. The company's B2B2B business model relies heavily on a sales force which makes up 30% of their total employees.

Despite this growth, in 2022, the company’s Director of Sales, Adam Crews, was thinking about three roadblocks that threatened to stunt further expansion:

  • Knowledge hoarding: Key info about Chattanooga's customers - their target markets, business goals, and more - remained undocumented. If a sales rep were to leave, the company would have to rebuild their customer relationships from the ground up. As Adam noted, "One of the things that kept me up at night is everything was locked up in our sales reps' heads. In order to grow, we need to know our customers better and understand their target markets. Without proper documentation, we’d lose touch. When a sales rep left, we’d have to start from scratch, which would lengthen our sales cycle significantly." 
  • Rushed relationship-building: The company's transactional business model often left sales reps with limited time to establish meaningful relationships with clients preoccupied with their own customers. Top reps managed to serve customers consultatively, but the company needed this from the entire team to hit its growth goals.
  • Customer and product retention: While Chattanooga excelled at securing and nurturing new business, maintaining long-term customer loyalty was a challenge. The company often missed early warning signs like a decrease in customer orders or a halt in regular product purchases. An improved, proactive response to such changes was needed.

The Solution

Realizing the need for a solution that could help retain institutional knowledge and foster better customer relationships, Chattanooga turned to Proton, an AI-powered CRM solution. The company wanted to arm all sales reps, not just the top ones, with a tool that would make them consultative and build stronger relationships with clients with the limited time they had.

The decision to choose Proton was based on several standout features:

  • 360-Degree Customer View: Proton provided a complete picture of each customer's activity, giving reps a treasure trove of insights to act on. No longer did they have to burn valuable time rummaging through old data to prepare for calls. The required information was at their fingertips, freeing them up to focus on delight customers through consultative selling.
  • Smoke Alarm for At-Risk Accounts: Proton proactively flagged accounts in danger of slipping away. Armed with this knowledge, reps could prioritize customer interactions and act fast to prevent business losses. Proton’s like a smoke alarm. If we see at-risk customers, I can call on my sales managers and say “Something’s going on here, we’re dropping off”.
  • Predictive Analytics: Proton's predictive analytics emerged as a game-changer, revealing unseen opportunities and potential risks. Adam recounted an incident where Proton flagged a surprising dip in a customer's spending on a certain product. Upon investigation, the client found a website glitch hindering product sales. By addressing this issue, Chattanooga not only recouped lost business but also enhanced their customer relationships. "We work with a customer who has a heavy ecommerce presence. We noticed a significant dip in their sales from one brand, so we reached out. We asked, "Hey, what's happening? Have you switched to a competitor? Is there something wrong with our pricing?" They hadn't even noticed the drop. On investigating, they found it was an SEO issue, which they fixed. We helped them identify a problem that, once resolved, boosted sales for both of us. That's what a true partnership looks like. It's consultative selling at its finest."
  • Due-to-Reorder Reminders: Another feature that impressed Adam was the 'due-to-reorder’ reminders. Given that most of Chattanooga's customers followed regular order patterns, any deviation was a red flag. This reminder system enabled the reps to ensure consistent orders, averting significant potential losses.

The Results

Since implementing Proton, the transformation within Chattanooga has been impressive. Adam highlighted the change in sales productivity, stating, "Proton’s added one day's worth of sales per month. Sales reps are getting a full day of extra sales revenue attributed to Proton."

Proton has evened the odds for Chattanooga's sales reps, providing critical insights for meaningful customer conversations, even within a transactional environment. "The Proton Score (a score that ranks customers by priority) means our sales reps don't need to dig through account history or juggle gap reports anymore. They simply hop onto Proton, see which customers are at-risk, and start reaching out. It's like Proton's answering the 'who do I call first?' question for you. Being good at sales is all about balancing selling with analyzing. When you use Proton, you basically become a sales analyst without even trying, because all the info you need is served to you."

Beyond boosting productivity, Proton has also significantly streamlined the rep onboarding process. "Our top Proton user is one of our newest employees. When she first joined, she struggled with not having established relationships. But Proton's predictive analytics helped her understand what our customers should be buying, which made her much more effective."

In fact, the first recruit to use Proton outperformed all other newcomers who were not onboarded with the tool, an achievement that truly attests to Proton's power as a CRM solution.

Additionally, Proton has also simplified the work of managers. Instead of juggling multiple screens and data points, managers can now get an accurate and detailed account health overview from Proton. This capability allows them to identify and swiftly address at-risk customers, paving the way for proactive management that was once a challenging feat to achieve.

The Future

Adam Crews sees Chattanooga’s adoption of AI technology as its competitive advantage. "I saw a quote the other day: ‘You're not going to lose your job to AI. You're going to lose your job to someone that's using it.’ That’s where we’re at. We want to be out ahead of our competition by doing things differently. And we know that we’re leading this charge within our industry."

Moving forward, Chattanooga plans to use Proton as a tool not just for intelligent sales and better customer relationship management, but to strengthen ties with vendors. Through Proton’s vendor reports, Chattanooga can clearly illustrate the value they provide to their vendors. By showcasing concrete data on pitch frequency and success rates, they affirm their role as a strategic ally to their vendors.

As the company grows, they are committed to onboarding new sales reps with Proton from day one, facilitating faster value realization.

Chattanooga's dedication to simplifying the work of its reps and its customer-first, consultative approach sets the stage for the company's long-term success.

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