Success Story

Laying the foundation for an integrated CRM process platform: Eberspächer introduces Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales

Products Microsoft: Power BI, Dynamics 365 Sales
Sectors: Automotive supplier industry
Processes: Sales
References: Eberspächer

With the help of the cloud solution Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, the sales processes at Eberspächer’s Climate Control Systems business unit are now standardized, consistent, and transparent across all locations. The solution will be gradually expanded to create a comprehensive, integrated process platform for Sales, Marketing, and Service. ORBIS SE was tasked with the solution's introduction, a template-supported roll-out, and cloud CRM optimization.

Eberspächer Climate Control Systems International GmbH

Head office: Esslingen am Neckar
Products: Systems and components for exhaust technology, vehicle heating and bus air conditioning systems, air conditioning systems for special-purpose vehicles, and vehicle electronics
Locations: 80 worldwide in 28 countries
Employees: 10,700 worldwide (2022)
Gross sales: 6.4 billion euros (2022) according to IFRS

The temperature inside a vehicle plays a significant role when it comes to road safety. In summer, air conditioning systems ensure that drivers keep a cool head and concentrate better, while in winter, pre-heaters clear the windows of snow and ice, heat the interior to a comfortable temperature, and enable fuel-saving, environmentally and engine-friendly warm starts. 

A top ten automotive supplier in Germany 

The smart thermal management solutions, which Eberspächer Climate Control Systems develops, produces, and sells to around 5,500 B2B customers across the world, are in widespread use. Founded in 1865 and based in Esslingen am Neckar, the Group is a leading international system developer and supplier in the areas of thermal management, exhaust gas cleaning, acoustic systems, and electronic components, and is also one of Germany's top ten automotive suppliers. In 2022, the family-run company generated gross sales of 6.4 billion euros and engaged 10,700 employees at 80 locations.
Source image: © Eberspächer

Illustration of Hydronic S3

As part of its long-term strategy, Eberspächer is working on intelligent solutions for clean mobility without reliance on fossil fuels, with the aim of securing its leading market position and achieving further growth. Production is also being geared towards sustainability and is to be carbon neutral by 2030; several excellence initiatives have also been implemented in Purchasing, Production, and Supply Chain Management (SCM). 

Integrated cloud CRM instead of a “software jungle”

Continuous, efficient, and transparent business processes in all areas are a key factor for future market success and transformation. Eberspächer is laying the foundation for this through the cloud solution Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales covering the sales processes at Eberspächer Climate Control Systems International GmbH.

“The cloud CRM is also the starting point for setting up a centralized and integrated process platform for Sales, Marketing, and Service, which is based on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer engagement solution in combination with Microsoft Power BI for efficient reporting.”

Stefan Geiger, Head of International Sales, Business Unit Systems and Solutions, Eberspächer Climate Control Systems International GmbH

Stefan Geiger, Eberspächer Climate Control Systems International GmbH

Until recently, the individual sales locations in over 20 countries generally used local IT applications or, in some cases, Microsoft Excel, to manage their sales processes. The result was a kind of “software jungle” with a heterogeneous database; a situation that significantly impacted the efficiency and transparency of processes.

Uniform and transparent sales processes

Things are different now: the new CRM consolidates all information in a central database within the Microsoft Cloud – think single point of truth – and manages this in a standardized and high-quality manner. This ensures that processes along the entire sales pipeline, from initial customer contact through to ordering, are harmonized across individual locations and handled consistently, efficiently, and in accordance with legal and compliance requirements. 

The current 350 users working in Sales (this will rise to 500 once the project is complete) are benefiting from the high level of transparency available. This is having a positive impact on productivity as they have round-the-clock access to all the data they need and are always in the know about customer-related activities as well as the status of sales opportunities and projects. Contacting existing and potential customers and communicating with them is also much easier and more efficient. 

The same holds true for when an employee needs to be covered due to illness, vacation or further training, and when new Sales team members are hired. And if an employee leaves the company, their knowledge remains in the cloud CRM and consequently also within the business. Considering that an account manager looks after up to 30 customers, this is an invaluable advantage. 

Creation of offers in SAP from CRM

The centralized data storage has also made it possible to establish standardized and meaningful reporting of key sales figures with Microsoft Power BI. And by using the Documents Core Pack (DCP) add-on, creating offer and order documents in Microsoft Dynamics 365 is also quick and easy. 

The unidirectional connection between the CRM and existing SAP ERP system enables real-time access to prices and conditions stored in SAP during the offer creation process as well as directly via the CRM interface, and the creation of the offer in SAP,” explains Lukman Ahmed, Head of After Sales at Eberspächer Climate Control Systems. In future, CRM and ERP will also exchange master and transaction data bidirectionally so that customer orders can be created in SAP from the CRM. 

Change management as a success factor for CRM 

The success of this CRM project was primarily down to the fact that we involved all employees and managers working at our international sales companies right from the start. We used effective change management to create a positive mindset for cloud CRM and the standardization of sales processes. This has played a significant role in the software's acceptance.”

Lukman Ahmed, Head of After Sales, Eberspächer Climate Control Systems International GmbH

Lukman Ahmed, Eberspächer Climate Control Systems International GmbH

Choosing the right IT partner was just as crucial. Management found this in ORBIS SE, which has extensive expertise relating to CRM processes and Microsoft Dynamics 365. Thanks to the collaborative teamwork of everyone involved, the cloud CRM was launched on time and on budget. 

ORBIS has been on board since the end of the project's pilot phase. The internationally active IT service provider first stabilized the existing pilot installation of the cloud CRM, developed the future solution and process design, and carried out comprehensive refactoring to increase end user acceptance. The roll-out then took place using a predefined global CRM template, which is largely tailored to the process requirements of local sites, but can be adapted or expanded to a limited extent if required. 

Expansion into a comprehensive cloud CRM process platform

Stefan Geiger sums up a positive experience, “Thanks to cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365, we have eliminated information islands and can now carry out our sales processes using standardized, efficient, and transparent processes.” The fact that a hyperscaler like Microsoft can invest in exactly the state-of-the-art security technologies that the company itself cannot is another positive factor according to Stefan Geiger. 

And the transformation continues: sales processes are being continually improved and expanded, and soon it will be possible to create orders in SAP directly from the CRM. The next step is to expand the cloud CRM to create an integrated process platform for Sales, Marketing, and Service. End customer and partner service processes are to be standardized and optimized using the cloud solution Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service together with a portal based on Microsoft Power Pages. There are also plans to create a low-code app based on Microsoft Power Apps so that internal orders can be processed more efficiently. 

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