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Epistem boosts productivity using PrimaLink and Salesforce CRM

Epistem Contract Research Services has streamlined their research sales processes using technology partner PrimaLink and the Salesforce CRM package.

Alia Jafari CRM Manager for Epistem commented, "Salesforce CRM introduced us to a new way of thinking and working with PrimaLink we've delivered a flexible solution to improve our sales process and reporting capability."

Case study overview

The Challenge

Epistem is a specialist contract research organisation providing reliable, innovative research models, preclinical efficacy testing and clinical sample analysis to blue chip pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology and personal care industries.

As the company started to grow and became AIM listed there was a real need for more robust systems and reporting.

Epistem had been using a large ACT database which was becoming unwieldy. Managing customer information was difficult and different sales people had their own systems and ways of recording information about specific customer contracts.

In addition company sales people on the move where finding it difficult to access key customer information remotely especially when geographic time differences meant that telephone support was not always available.

The Solution

Having attended some useful workshops Epistem were even more convinced that Salesforce was the right solution for them. They approached Salesforce approved supplier PrimaLink who have extensive experience of customising and integrating Salesforce solutions for many different business types.

Ali Moiyed, PrimaLink Managing Director notes, "With many clients we find their customer data and processes have grown organically over time and their current systems just can't cope with their expanding business requirements." After a thorough understanding of Epistem's sales process and CRM needs, PrimaLink were able to show them that a Salesforce integration was the answer .

PrimaLink started by carrying out a data clean up, normalisation and reorganisation exercise. They also formed a new hierarchy of Accounts, Contacts and Groups within Salesforce. This provided a much easier and more efficient way of storing and retrieving customer information and the linkages between them.

The data was then imported into Salesforce and customised Sales Opportunities screens produced with specific relevant fields for Epistem. VisualForce was used to also provide correct validation to ensure information was input accurately by the sales team members.

A bespoke Sales Quoting module was then developed to enable pipeline contract research sales business to be tracked and monitored, including estimated finish dates. The quotes module enables the Epistem team to follow up and record each stage of the life cycle of a research project.

Customised reports were built and embedded in Salesforce to allow reporting of information by Country, Region and Groups.

The Results

Working with PrimaLink, Epistem now have a uniform and streamlined way of recording information around sales leads, customers and pipeline new business. In addition a customised reporting suite has been developed which can tailor MI to meet the needs of different areas of the company including board directors.

Sales negotiations and revisions to quotes are now more easily recorded which has improved audit trails and efficiency.

Company sales staff can easily and securely access key information about contacts and projects remotely and at a time which suits them, regardless of where they are in the world.

Alia Jafari, Epistem CRM Manager comments, "The new processes we have put in place using PrimaLink and Salesforce have been really well received by the sales team other business users. Everyone now has a uniform way of collating information and the customised reports have given us much more relevant detail."

Epistem hope to introduce the new Salesforce processes to their Biomarkers and Novel Therapies divisions. The Epistem sales team are also interested in the future opportunities presented by the mobile version of Salesforce CRM.

Ali Moiyed, PrimaLink Managing Director notes, "Once our clients see how Salesforce can be customised to fit their business they often find new opportunities for integration in other areas. This can unlock further process improvements, freeing up more time for businesses to focus on meeting their customer needs. "