“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
Bill Gates spoke those words which couldn’t ring truer than with the Tour de Force User Group. The annual conference is typically jam packed with breakout sessions, keynote speeches and support from Tour de Force employees, helping to make clients experience with Tour de Force as efficient and effective as possible.
The 2015 Tour de Force User Group Conference was held in the beautiful Tempe, Arizona nestled in between Phoenix and Scottsdale, in the heart of it all.
Beautiful Arizona sunset over Phoenix and Tempe
Day 1 – Welcome Session and Breakout Sessions
Marcie Palmer, Sales & Marketing Administrator for ETNA Supply and President of the TDF User Group, kicked off the conference with an overview of the User Group’s accomplishments for the year.
A successful user group shares thoughts and ideas with one another, and helps their peers should a question arise. To improve the process of sharing information between members, Palmer was joined by Brian Harrington, IT Director for Conveyor & Caster – Equipment for Industry and Vice President of the TDF User Group, and together they introduced the new user group member forum. Set up in a question and answer format, the forum is meant to connect users so they can share ideas, ask questions about how their peers are using certain features, share best practices related to the use of Tour de Force within their respective organizations.
The new Question and Answer Forum on the Tour de Force User Group website.
Palmer also introduced a CRM mentoring program that is meant to connect a new user of Tour de Force with a like business that has experience within the software.
In 2015, the user group board recognized the need for a personable opportunity to connect with other users more than just once a year at the annual conference. Palmer reviewed the success of a regional pilot user group that has been established in Michigan to create opportunities for members to meet once a quarter to discuss Tour de Force and their business needs. The board hopes to use the success of this group as a springboard towards creating more regional groups throughout the country.
Another success of the user group board in 2015 was creation of steering committees. Feedback on software is one of the strongest indicators of user adoption and drives the need for product enhancements. Two steering committees were established to help provide that valuable feedback to the Tour de Force development team. The first steering committee was designated to work with Tour de Force on the design of a new mobile platform, and another steering committee focused on the creation of a new Lead Management module.
Palmer closed the Welcome Session with information on education pieces provided for clients to get the most out of their experience with Tour de Force. Video newsletters sent out monthly by Tour de Force, monthly webinars, and white papers on the online forum written by users are all provided to clients of Tour de Force.
Throughout the conference there were a multitude of breakout sessions on topics ranging from sales, marketing, and IT to operations and administrator.
Shooting the Gap: Analyzing Sales Data Faster and How to Show Sales Reps Actionable Sales Prep with TDF was presented by Marcie Palmer and TJ White. One of the main points presented was a key difference in sales gap analysis between various distribution and manufacturing industries is knowing product dependencies.
Cory Comer of Heitek and Brian Harrington of Conveyor & Caster presented at Hey Bro – You Want to Funnel a Sale? Pipeline management and sales funnel optimization. Comer posed the question, “If you can’t show vendors your associated sales pipelines, why would they continue to pass you leads?”
Day 1 – Dinner and Awards Ceremony
Monday night offered a networking reception followed by dinner and awards presentation. Matt Hartman, President/CEO of Tour de Force, presented awards to clients who have been with Tour de Force for 10 years, and Innovation Awards for clients who are using the Tour de Force application in a unique way.
10 year awards were presented to Hartfiel Automation, Western States Controls Group, OEM Controls, Inc. and Hydra-Fab Fluid Power, Inc.
Innovation Awards were given to three different companies using Tour de Force in a unique way.
ABCO HVACR received an Innovation Award for their use of the Tour de Force API and the Event Manager Module to manage their ABCO University website. The Event Manager integrates to the website to manage classes, location, subscriptions and event confirmations. This has created a more streamlined and efficient process for ABCO University training classes.
Campbell Supply Co. also received an Innovation Award for their Quote to Opportunity automated process that they worked with the Tour de Force Professional Services Team to implement. This process gives them the ability to take quotes that are entered into their Epicor Acclaim ERP system, and automatically create an associated Opportunity in Tour de Force based on a set of pre-defined criteria. This process has eliminated the need for paper copies of quotes for the sales representatives, which has resulted in higher visibility on quotes and better accountability for those sales reps because quotes no longer fall through the cracks if the paper copy was misplaced.
Stemmer Imaging’s use of the Tour de Force Action Panel with their phone system XPhone earned them an Innovation Award as well. The Action Panel is a Tour de Force feature which displays a pop-up menu containing a wide range of available actions and historical views. STEMMER Imaging configured a link to the Action Panel from within their XPhone phone system, allowing a person making or receiving a call to access an Action Panel related to the person on the other end of the phone call. This was a huge process improvement from the team at STEMMER, who were previously using a search function to locate the Contact while they were on the phone call. The employees who utilize this function love how efficient it has made them in their various positions.
The Innovation Awards are new this year, and will continue to be a part of the conference in the years to come.
Day 2 – Tour de Force Keynote and Breakout Sessions
Day two was initiated with a keynote address by Tour de Force President/CEO Matt Hartman. During the presentation, Hartman outlined who Tour de Force is as an organization and provided insight into the company’s Mission Statement and Executive team. He then dove into a review of the company’s performance over the last five years, facts about the companies who use Tour de Force, a review of what the organization has accomplished so far, and a look ahead to what’s in store for 2016.
Hartman then gave the audience a sneak peek into the new web and mobile interfaces that the development team has been working on in 2015. The “ooh’s and aah’s” from the audience said a lot about what they thought of the changes and the direction of the interface!
Lastly, Hartman introduced the new Team TDF referral program meant to reward clients for referring new prospects to TDF. For a full explanation of the referral program or to refer someone, visit www.tourdeforceinc.com/refer today!
Attendees left Tempe motivated, with new ideas, new features to implement to their systems, and new friends. Tour de Force clients are a part of the Tour de Force family, and the conference is a family reunion unlike any other. Be sure to watch the blog for information on the 2016 conference!