Customer Case Study

Electrical Distributor Closes New Hire Knowledge Gap with Proton

May 8, 2024

Annual Revenue

The Backstory 

In 2022, a large electrical distributor faced a significant challenge: 20% of their highly experienced and knowledgeable sales team is set to retire in the next 5 years. This posed a significant problem, not only because of the time and resources it takes to train new sales reps to match this level of expertise but also the added challenge of finding top talent in today's landscape with the rise of remote work and labor shortages.

The Goal

The company’s VP of Sales was tasked with finding a solution to this challenge that would stand the test of time. “I like to think about what comes next: what makes [the company] a viable business 20 years from now, long after I’m gone.”

Choosing Proton

Proton was the first predictive tool the company invested in. The VP of Sales wanted a solution that looked into the future instead of merely analyzing the past. “Understanding the past does not guarantee success in the future”, he explained. In Proton, he found a tool capable of breaking down data silos, removing the admin burden of juggling multiple platforms, and giving direction to the company’s outside sales team.

Impact & Results

According to the VP of Sales, Proton has proven to be a valuable investment, paying for itself within just a few months. Following a successful pilot, its use expanded across the company's divisions.

Today, the electrical distributor is much less worried about onboarding new sales reps and capturing institutional knowledge from veteran sellers. Proton has made it easier for new hires to become productive quickly. A standout example is the hiring of a young man with experience selling cowboy boots but no background in the electrical industry. Equipped with Proton's mobile app, he had immediate access to customer information. From day one, he could engage in knowledgeable conversations with customers—an achievement that previously would have been unattainable for someone new to the industry.

Sales reps use Proton to get a complete overview of customer info and their daily tasks, including cross-sell suggestions and reminders for following up on quotes. Proton has broken down the company’s long-held belief that their sales cycle was extensive. “We used to say, ‘There’s nothing we can do today.’ Now, we can take action right away and expect immediate impact.” Today, the company closes quotes in a matter of days, instead of months.

Proton’s AI-generated recommendations have helped the company’s outside sales reps increase sales during their daily customer visits, aptly coined "milk runs" for their repetitive nature. Even the most skeptical, seasoned reps have been surprised by Proton’s suggestions. One example of this is a sales rep who, after looking at a customer's account page in Proton, saw a recommendation to talk to them about heaters. When the rep walked into the customer's office, he noticed a heater sample on their desk, supporting the accuracy of Proton's recommendations. 

Closing Thoughts

For a long time, distributors grew sales by adding more sales reps. But now, with more people working remotely and the tough competition for skilled workers, this approach is too expensive. The good news is, with the right CRM software, distributors can sell more without adding headcount. When hiring becomes necessary, they can look beyond the usual talent pool, assured that the software will enable new reps to quickly adapt and effectively serve customers, regardless of their prior industry knowledge.

Check out our other case studies

Ready to make Proton your secret weapon?