Dossche Mills ups contract signing rate from less than 50% to 87% with Salesforce CPQ

Sep 26, 2023
  • sales, marketing and service

With over 5,000 customers in more than 50 countries, 1,200 products and 1 million metric tons of wheat processed annually, Dossche Mills knows a thing or two about complexity. To streamline its quote-to-cash process, the family-owned producer of bakery ingredients reached out to delaware. The goal? Reducing the time spent creating quotes, improving the contract signing rate, and freeing up the sales team to engage in active selling. Here’s how business insights, industry expertise, and a carefully considered implementation of Salesforce CPQ made it all possible.

  • Client: Dossche Mills, a family-owned producer of ingredients for artisan and industrial bakeries and the food industry in general.
  • Challenge: Streamlining the quote-to-contract process and optimizing contract renewals.
  • Solution: A guided implementation of the Salesforce CPQ pricing tool, based on industry best practices.

The challenge: all about time

“We have a team of about 40 account managers,” says Michaël Reyn, sales manager food industry Europe at Dossche Mills. “Some of these colleagues are responsible for over 100 clients, and most create more than 30 quotes during a busy week. Since our customers are located in multiple countries, there’s a huge complexity in terms of language, payments, and legislation.”

Up until recently, Michaël’s team has been working with a pricing tool that was built on top of the company’s existing ERP systems (which differ per country). As Dossche Mills continued to grow in size and complexity, however, the limitations of this basic pricing tool became more apparent:

  • Limited pricing guidance meant several variables had to be calculated outside of the tool, including logistic costs, contract volume proposals, fluctuations of raw materials prices, etc. The resulting errors caused friction for customers and an administrative burden for Dossche Mills. 
  • Due to missing functionalities like contract templates, account managers had to create a separate Excel file to draft up a contract.

“At the end of the day, account managers wasted a lot of time tinkering with a tool that couldn’t keep up with the everyday reality of the business. Time would be better spent engaging in active selling: meeting with customers, introducing new products, renewing contracts, … Something just had to change. A new pricing tool would be a good start.”

The process: 5 steps to success

But what should this new solution look like, and how could it be integrated efficiently into Dossche Mills’ existing IT architecture? To answer these questions, Michaël reached out to Olivier Everaert, Salesforce business expert at delaware, who proposed a proven methodology.

Olivier: “Our approach starts with a project charter, in which we try to understand as much as possible about the customer’s unique situation, define the criteria for success, and get a detailed overview of how the sales team should be working in the future. This gives us a clear view of the solution requirements as well.”

In the case of Dossche Mills, the essential characteristics of the new tool were clear from the onset:

  • User-friendliness: Sales professionals should be able to calculate prices easily, either in the office or on the road.
  • Structured approval process: When a quote exceeds a certain volume threshold, it needs to be automatically sent to the sales manager for approval first.
  • Price strategy differentiation: The sales professional needs to be able to adapt prices per customer, customer segment, and customer-product combination, based on cost-to-serve.
  • Digitizing related processes: Apart from pricing, related processes should be handled and integrated in the new tool as well, e.g., drafting quotes, signing contracts, calculating logistics costs, etc. 

Once the tool was chosen (spoiler alert: Salesforce CPQ turned out to be a perfect fit – more on that below), the joint Dossche Mills-delaware team created a backlog: an overview of all the tasks that have to be completed, including a detailed overview of resources and timings. “The backlog is a shared document that we finalize together,” Olivier adds. “It ensures that we have the same view of the project, and it allows the customer to ask targeted questions.”

The next major project phases are the data model design and build & validate. Here, the teams from Dossche Mills and delaware got together to build the solution and validate every new step on a weekly basis. “Having a single point of contact during the project was incredibly valuable: with one person overlooking the entire process, we didn’t have to organize endless meetings to explain our wishes and making small adaptations was quick and easy.”

With one person overlooking the entire process, we didn’t have to organize endless meetings to explain our wishes and making small adaptations was quick and easy.
Michaël Reyn, sales manager food industry Europe at Dossche Mills

The tool: tour de Salesforce

Based on the requirements defined above, Dossche Mills opted for Salesforce CPQ as its new pricing tool, where CPQ stands for Configure, Price, Quote. This powerful, cloud-based solution offers advanced and accurate pricing guidance for even the most complex product configuration scenarios. Particularly interesting for Dossche Mills are the optional features - including customizations such as automated contract renewal proposals – which allow sales reps to create quotes faster and with greater accuracy, and enable closer follow-up of impending contract renewals.

Salesforce CPQ process flow for contract renewals

The typical CPQ process flow for contract renewals, for example, looks like this:

  1. The account manager checks the ‘Contract renewals’ report. This report, which contains data from SAP, shows which customer contracts will be ending soon. More than listing the contract’s end date, it includes an expected end date, calculated on the basis of the agreed volume and the customer’s consumption rate. In this way, the sales representative has a realistic picture of which customers are up for contract renewal.
  2. From the customer page, a new quote can be generated in which all the relevant information, e.g., customer information, average drop size, raw material cost (updated every hour based on the Wheat Futures Index), payment terms, SAP production and logistics cost etc. is pre-loaded. 
  3. When product volume exceeds a specific threshold, an automated process is triggered where the sales manager and/or director have to give their approval.
  4. When the quote is approved internally at Dossche Mills, it can be presented to the customer. To this end, a personalized pdf file is automatically generated in the customer’s language. When the quote is accepted, it is turned into a contract that can be signed on a tablet (for sales reps on a customer visit), or via e-mail.
  5. Finally, the signed contract is uploaded into Salesforce and all involved parties are notified.

Zoom out: Salesforce

How delaware wields the Salesforce

Part of the delaware portfolio since 2020, Salesforce is a world-leading, cloud-based platform that enables businesses to optimize marketing, service, IT and – in this case – sales processes. While Salesforce CPQ is a great way to boost your quote-to-contract processes, there’s much more to discover within the Salesforce ecosystem. Our experts are here to help you find what you need, and get maximum value from it.

The results: sales team on steroids

“In the past, we’ve had some issues with renewing contracts on time,” says Michaël. “That caused problems further down the line with inaccurate pricing, credit notes, and a whole lot of unnecessary administrative burden. Thanks to delaware’s help and with Salesforce CPQ, this doesn’t happen anymore.”

But that’s not all. Thanks to the successful implementation of Salesforce CPQ

  • most contracts are signed the same day they are sent to the customer;
  • manual errors in contracts (wrong products, volumes, etc.) are greatly reduced;
  • management gets a live report on lost deals 
  • sales reps get quick insights into open contracts, quotes and the contents of the contracts.

Most impressively in terms of quantifiable results, however, Dossche Mills reports that: 

  • over 90% of contracts are now renewed on time, compared to only 70% before;
  • the contract signing rate went up from less than 50% to a staggering 87%;
  • account managers now spend just 2 minutes on creating quotes – freeing up considerable time each week for active sales work.

By the numbers

  • >90% of contracts renewed on time (vs 70% in the past)
  • Average quote creation time dropped from 5 minutes to 2 minutes
  • Contract signing rate went from under 50% to almost 90%

“Needless to say, we are beyond thrilled with these results,” says Michaël. “What made the difference, in my view, is having a single point of contact for all questions and adaptations. This, along with delaware’s industry experience, allowed us to really shape Salesforce CPQ to our needs, and get the most out of the tool’s features and benefits.”

“In the near future, we’re looking to further explore the tool’s reporting possibilities, which can give our C-level executives insights into country, sales teams, and product performance over time. Thanks to Salesforce’s low-code features, we can start experimenting quickly. It’s all very exciting!” 

Thanks to Salesforce’s low-code features, we can start experimenting quickly. It’s all very exciting!
Michaël Reyn, sales manager food industry Europe at Dossche Mills