Customer Case Study

How Beauty Distributor Uses Proton CRM to Turn Data into Actions for Sellers

May 12, 2024

Annual Revenue


New hire ramp time reduction


Incremental revenue generated


Pitched product conversion

The Backstory

In 2021, Salon Services Pro (SSP), a prominent player in beauty distribution, faced a significant obstacle with their in-house CRM system. Guy Lacey, SSP's Vice President, sheds light on the issue:  “Our CRM was stuck in the past. It offered basic information, but it was generic and not tailored to our industry's needs." Motivated by the need for improvement, Guy set out to address several critical challenges with the introduction of a new, more advanced system.

Improving customer relationships management: With a team of over 40 District Sales Consultants (DSCs) each handling 400 customers, spotting and acting on buying trends was an uphill battle. SSP wanted their sales reps to actively promote new products. But the processes in place were time-consuming, prone to errors, and made it difficult to measure the effectiveness of the sales team's activities. Guy explains, “Before Proton, sales reps would meet customers, discuss products, and take notes on paper. Mondays were admin tasks. They’d translate their notes into an Excel sheet, which was sent to a regional manager. That manager would enter the info into another Excel sheet, which then got posted to an internal communications board. To check if a customer had made a purchase based on a sales rep’s recommendation, we had to consult the board, hoping the details were both present and correct. Then, we’d double-check it in our ERP system. This process created a giant disconnect between our activities and realizing our full sales potential.”

Handling turnover without losing stride: Turnover is a major hurdle in the beauty industry. Guy explains, "Turnover is a killer in our industry. When someone with 400 customers leaves, it's crucial we have a CRM so the new person isn't starting from scratch. We don't want our customers to feel like they have to reintroduce themselves every time." This concern underscores not only the immediate loss of a deep, personal connection that customers value but also highlights the potential for significant financial impact. Without a comprehensive understanding of each customer's journey, preferences, and history, hidden knowledge gaps can emerge, jeopardizing ongoing sales and risking the loss of the customer altogether. 

Easing the onboarding process of new hires: Training new DSCs was also a significant challenge, requiring them to quickly get up to speed with a large amount of info about their customers, including past interactions, preferences, and sales history. Guy described the daunting task for new hires: "When we hire new salespeople, we teach them about Salon Services systems, our company culture, and how we operate. That’s already a lot. But they’re also expected to know the history of a customer’s past 12 years with us, any issues, and their preferences. This information needs to be easily accessible to help them get started faster."

Choosing Proton

SSP's discovery of Proton marked a significant turning point. Guy saw Proton as more than just another CRM system. "People confuse data with information, thinking reports and spreadsheets are enough. But it’s just data—it doesn’t tell you anything without comparisons or actionable insights. What drew us to Proton was its ability to turn data into useful information.”

Implementation & Adoption

Introducing a new system can be a daunting task, filled with challenges and unforeseen hurdles. Proton made the implementation process easy. Guy shared his past experiences to highlight the difference with Proton: “Having gone through three ERP implementations, I often joke that I lost my full head of hair on the last one and dread the thought of another. Implementing Proton was the exact opposite. The API is well-documented, and the process to connect was very simple. Even when faced with our unique needs, like integrating our AirMiles process into Proton, the Proton team never turned us down. They embraced our requirements and offered tailored solutions. The quality and consistency of the staff members managing our account from inception to today have been unparalleled.”

Post-implementation, there was initial reluctance among the tenured sales reps to fully adopt Proton. Guy recounted overcoming this hesitation: “Salespeople believe they know their customers so well. They’re not thinking about sharing everything we sell with them and allowing the customers the opportunity to make the decision. One time, we said, ‘For one week, trust every recommendation that Proton gives you and talk with your customer about it.’ They had a 40% close rate on brands that they never would have talked about before. And you might think 40% is not a lot. But 40% of business that I wasn’t getting any of before? I’ll take that all day long.”

The Results

The deployment of Proton’s AI-powered CRM had an immediate and significant impact on SSP. “Proton gave us an opportunity to take our data and transform it into something that people can act on. We use Proton to keep track of our pipeline and monitor the conversations sales reps have with customers, including which customers receive product samples,” Guy noted. 

Adopting Proton significantly reduced the ramp-up time for new sales staff, with Lacey noting, "Proton has helped us to greatly reduce ramp-up time for our new sales staff. Today, it's around 60 to 90 days – just a third of what it used to be."

Chelsea Reddell, an DSC at SSP, highlighted the drastic shift in her sales approach, saying, “On my first day at SSP, facing the task of managing 417 customers, I was overwhelmed. Then we opened Proton and the anxiety disappeared. I had every client's metrics in front of me. I could see exactly what they were purchasing, what they weren't purchasing, and what the last person working the territory was working on. I could just pick right back up where they left off."

Chelsea Reddell gives credit to Proton for her success in surpassing sales goals, discussing her progress: "Before using Proton, I compared my sales performance with my coworkers. Now, I compete with myself because Proton lets me see my activities every day. When I started at SSP, my sales were okay. But after I really got into Proton, my sales skyrocketed. Proton hasn’t just helped me maintain and build my business; it's also helped me personally. It has made me a better sales rep."

Proton helped Chelsea master a consultative sales approach. Acting as a guide, it made it easy for her to spot and act on opportunities she might have otherwise missed. Chelsea recalls, “I noticed through Proton a salon we hadn't visited in ages. Driving by one day, I decided to drop in. Proton had clued me in on what one of the stylists was buying, so I brought it up. Her colleagues became intrigued by the level of support I was providing. Before I knew it, the entire salon switched to our line. Without Proton, I wouldn’t have known to go into that account; they weren't on my radar. This is one of my biggest wins to date and Proton led me there.”

Final Thoughts

Looking back at SSP's experience, it's clear that choosing a good CRM can really change things for the better. But, it's not just about having the tool—it's about how you use it. Guy has led the way at SSP, ensuring everyone understands the importance of Proton. He says, "It has to be something that's referred to in every conversation... If it's not, you'll get a short-term bump but you won’t get the sustained and scalable growth that we've experienced with the platform." This mindset has made Proton a crucial part of the company’s daily operations, from planning meetings to everyday customer interactions. What really makes a difference is the commitment of the people using it. 

Check out our other case studies

Ready to make Proton your secret weapon?