Customer Case Study

Richards Supply Bridges Communication Gap Between Inside and Field Sales with Proton’s CRM

July 9, 2024

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The Backstory

In 2023, Richard's Supply, an industrial distributor led by President and CEO Eric, recognized that while their sales process was solid, there was room for improvement. They faced challenges in transforming reactive sales reps into proactive ones and fostering collaboration between inside and outside sales teams. Eric described the issue as “church and state,” with frequent communication breakdowns and finger-pointing. Managing their opportunity pipeline with a spreadsheet was no longer sufficient. It was time to graduate to a more robust CRM that could bridge these gaps and drive sales growth.

Choosing Proton

Unlike traditional CRMs that focus on tracking call reports and filling in data, Proton offered much more. Eric shared, "Proton is a customer relationship management tool that allows us to very easily look at customer activities like quotes and orders. But it's also a sales stimulant, helping us grow our business through recommended products. With Proton, we can be a better partner to our customers by helping them keep track of past purchases and keeping our salespeople engaged in finding ways to help our customers improve.”

Getting buy-in

Given their mixed experiences with previous software tool implementations, it was crucial for Proton to be more than just a “flavor of the month.” Previously, the company had tried to build a cross-sell capability by adding recommendations to their ERP with another software, but the tool didn’t gain adoption. This made it even more important for Proton to deliver a lasting solution.

Eric was confident that Proton would succeed where other tools had failed because it addressed a real pain point for the end users. "We presented Proton as a really good communication tool between our inside sales team and our field outside sales team," he explained. "Our more tenured employees appreciated this because it solved a pain point they had been feeling for a long time. This led to quicker adoption of Proton."

He emphasized the importance of involving end users in the decision-making process: "Anyone who's looked at traditional CRMs in the past should broaden their perspective on what this tool can do. It's really important to have conversations with the end users ahead of time to ensure your team is on board with what you're doing, and it’s not just the management team making the decision."


The implementation process for Proton at Richard's Supply was smooth and well-received by the team. The company adopted a 'train the trainer' model, which proved effective. One of the standout successes of the implementation was the unexpected quick adoption by tenured employees. "Our expectation coming in, as with any new technology, was that our younger employees are going to be faster adopters than our more tenured team. But what we saw with Proton was both sides adopting it pretty quickly."

The success of the implementation was further supported by effective communication. Eric noted, "I think the communication was really good from the start. And so it made it more seamless than previous implementations we've done." The 'train the trainer' model was particularly effective because it involved peers teaching each other about Proton, which facilitated better adoption and engagement among the employees. "It was their peers teaching them about Proton, and it was more hands-on," said Eric. "It wasn't just a head on a screen telling them what to do. It was somebody they've worked with for a while that was able to highlight the virtues of it."

Early results

A month after going live, Richard's Supply has already seen improvements. "Proton’s helped us open those lines of communication and bring a lot more accountability between the inside and outside sales teams." The AI-driven recommendations are helping drive a more proactive sales approach. The recommended items and items due for reorder features have given the sales team more to discuss with customers beyond just taking orders, enhancing customer interactions and satisfaction. Eric remarked, "When a CRM works, everybody gets on board pretty quick. So far, we've had a lot of wins. That makes it contagious; if everybody sees that guy got that sale, they want to get the next one."

Looking ahead

Looking forward, Richard's Supply is excited about the potential for continued growth and enhanced sales performance with Proton. The company expects to see increased lines per order, better pipeline visibility, and more proactive sales efforts, ultimately driving profitability and business growth.

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