Standard Beverage + Zendesk: A sales solution designed for legendary growth

From its humble beginnings as a small family business to a leading distributor of alcohol, Standard Beverage has always set itself apart with an innovative eye for change. So when major industry transformation came knocking in 2019, the company looked no further than Zendesk Sell to help it usher in a new era of growth.

Standard Beverage

"We looked at a number of different CRM tools and Zendesk Sell was by far the easiest to use. And that's what we need for our sales reps, because we throw a lot of new systems at them all the time. In terms of adoption, Zendesk Sell blew away the competition. We knew we could hit the ground running with it."

Roger Drake

Application Specialist at Standard Beverage

"Zendesk Sell is an easy to use solution that helps everyone collaborate on different accounts, and gives everyone visibility into ongoing activities and captures institutional knowledge, which is important especially as we're growing really rapidly."

Roger Drake

Application Specialist at Standard Beverage

Products used

Industry

Wine & Spirits

Headquarters

Wichita, Kansas

Employee Size

400

Years in business

70+

300%

Customer account growth

+66%

Sales reps

From its humble beginnings as a small family business to a leading distributor of alcohol, Standard Beverage has always set itself apart with an innovative eye for change. So when major industry transformation came knocking in 2019, the company looked no further than Zendesk Sell to help it usher in a new era of growth.
Since 1949, Standard Beverage has kept customers happily imbibing as the leading distributor of fine wines, spirits, and beer in Kansas. Founded as a small family mercantile business by Sam and Elenore Rudd in Wichita, the company has grown to employ over 400 employees spread out over multiple sales and manufacturing facilities throughout the state.

Fueled by an innovative spirit and a keen dedication to customer service, Standard Beverage has adeptly navigated numerous complex industry changes over the years. One such significant change came in early 2019 with the passing of Senate Bill 13 — new statewide legislation that allowed for the sale of beer with up to six percent alcohol to be sold in CMB (cereal, malt beverage) retail stores (up from just over three percent).

Previously focused on selling directly to liquor stores, Standard Beverage suddenly had the green light to expand its presence with grocery and convenience retailers under the new legislation. But to fully capitalize on the opportunity, Standard Beverage leadership knew it needed additional sales expertise — which led them to hire experienced sales executive Roger Drake.

Once hired, the task set before Drake and his team was daunting. “We didn’t really have that many grocery and convenience store customers. When the legislation passed we suddenly went from about 1,500 grocery and convenience customers to 7,000,” said Drake. But to fully capitalize on the opportunity, Drake knew that Standard’s sales approach would need a complete overhaul to get it up to the task.

A Need For Scalable Sales Capabilities

Before Drake’s hiring, Standard Beverage had no real sales solution or centralized process in place — with most reps storing customer information in their computers or memories. As a result, information sharing was a big challenge, leading to operational inefficiencies or information loss when reps left the company.

“Reps were writing things down on pieces of paper and they kept information in their heads because they had the same customers forever,” Drake explained. “Going from 1,500 to 7,000 customers, there was no way we were going to be able to sustain that.” Drake also knew that these challenges would only become more complicated as he added more reps to his team to accommodate the new sales volumes.

With the impending legislation change, Drake realized that his team needed an easy-to-use sales CRM that would streamline Standard’s sales process while also making it easier for reps to gather client details while out in the field. The solution also needed to be from a vendor that could help Drake and his team hit the ground running while providing exceptional support.

After evaluating numerous Sales CRMs, Drake and his team unanimously decided on Zendesk Sell for its ease-of-use, mobile-readiness, and the fact that they already trusted the Zendesk brand and team. “We looked at a number of different tools, and what really set Sell apart was that it was by far the easiest to use and that’s what we needed for our sales reps,” Drake shared. “Sell blew away the competition.”

Hitting The Ground Running with an Intelligent CRM Solution

Following a quick implementation, Sell’s intuitive and easy-to-use platform meant that Standard’s sales reps could quickly onboard and start using on the job. As a result, Drake’s team was immediately able to better track and collaborate on account details — which was essential for helping them grow to 7,000 customers under the newly expanded legislation.

The team also quickly discovered Sell to be a great ally while reps were on the road. Like most sales reps, Standard’s team spends a lot of their time out in the field visiting customers. Before implementing Sell, Standard’s reps would jot notes down in the notepads to be added to their client files (if at all) back in the office. Now, thanks to Zendesk Sell’s industry-leading multiplatform mobile app, the company’s reps are able to easily log client details while out in the field through the convenience of their phones or other mobile devices. And it’s not just sales reps that use Sell — Standard Beverage’s drivers also use the Sell mobile app to find their way to new customer sites, identify who to contact onsite, and ensure they are following delivery protocols.

Thanks to the improved efficiencies in Standard’s sales processes, Drake was also able to onboard the additional sales reps he needed to help the company sufficiently scale to its new customer base — up to 250 reps from 150 in a short six months.

Standard Beverage has also been able to fine-tune its sales processes and improve its efficiencies with Sell’s host of collaboration features, as well as custom fields, which ensures that reps capture key information for each account, like liquor license and delivery times.

Knowing that the team can always count on Zendesk Sell for support has also been a huge relief for Drake and his reps. “Zendesk’s support is always great,” Drake said. “They’re always quick to help us when we need it.”

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