Gulf Drug Turns Sales Cycles From Complex to Collaborative with Salesforce

Gulf Drug Case Study Smaartt Salesforce UAE

Learn how this pharmaceutical company is cracking sales at speed thanks to a customised platform:

UAE healthcare company Gulf Drug works in a complex industry with long sales cycles across disparate departments. Sales reps work with a huge product portfolio, and on projects that range from equipping hospitals to implementing new medical devices.

Which makes getting the insights they need to seal deals and speed up the process a constant challenge. And in an industry as complicated and time-critical as healthcare – where people across the organisation are involved in the same tender processes – a customisable platform is essential.

“Around 70% of our requirements were known to us,” Aravind Rengaswamy, CFO & CIO of Gulf Drug said. “But we needed new functionality around workflows to support multi-stakeholder sales cycles and the quoting process. When you have multiple parties involved in a deal at once, you need all the customer information to be aligned.

“Once we started the journey with Salesforce, we realised we could take our existing processes and a new system and blend them together for an enhanced way of working.”

Realising the best approach, especially while navigating the first lockdown of the pandemic, was difficult. But now, the company has 250 Salesforce users and a more streamlined and customised approach to sales – and its innovation is only just beginning.



“Not only does Salesforce help our sales team work more efficiently, but it gives us greater confidence in our data and our decision-making.”

Aravind Rengaswamy, CFO & CIO, Gulf Drug


Centralise sales activities for smoother, faster cycles:

Gulf Drug started using a CRM platform in 2013, but as its requirements grew, the team needed greater functionality. “Our sales activities move fast,” said Rengaswamy. “We wanted to use automation to help our sales team work more efficiently, and have access to customised reports and in-depth dashboards and analysis.”

The company also needed a CRM platform that would support remote and mobile working – improving collaboration between teams, and ensuring all employees had up-to-date customer information.

So in 2020, Gulf Drug began to search for a CRM platform that could help them build a smoother and more efficient cross-team sales process, with greater visibility and alignment in serving customer needs.

“We used to say sales activities had to be recorded in two days, but now it’s instant,” Rengaswamy said. “Now you can finish everything on the same day and when you log onto your mobile in the morning, you can see everything you’re working on.”

This is especially important when it comes to sales in pharma and healthcare. During the tender process – whether that’s with hospitals or pharmacies – there are several parties across the organization involved. It’s not unusual to have several different representatives doing product demos and being in contact with the customer at one time.

“Sales is always a group,” Rengaswamy explained. “It’s not just about having one salesperson’s activities in one place. You need to see pre-sales information, product knowledge, and past complaints. Sales, product, and service people need to be aligned to create a good customer impression.”

Sales Cloud integrates with the company’s Oracle platform, which means everyone can work from a single application and with all the data they need for a 360-degree view of each customer.

And with sales processes that can take up to eight months from lead to opportunity, every moment counts.

“For one of our teams, the sales representatives are in Dubai and their solution engineers are in Jordan,” said Bhanupriya Singh, Salesforce Consultant at Gulf Drug. “Sales reps can now log leads from their mobile application and send information to their team members wherever they are. It makes turnaround times much shorter and the data more accurate.”

Automate business processes for an efficient approach to sales:

A huge driver for a customized sales platform came from the company’s complex and unique approach to pricing.

“When a typical project is, say, equipping a hospital,” Rengaswamy explained, “quoting is multidimensional and hugely complex. Cost-based pricing changes regularly depending on the volume of the product and other factors.”

Salesforce partner, Smaartt Digital, helped Gulf Drug design the right object model and drafted the requirements for the implementation of Sales Cloud to help solve the complexity in cost-based pricing and quotes. “Smaartt Digital understood our processes and the complexity aligning with all the department heads, and they architected an integrated and highly scalable solution meeting multiple departments and business units,” Rengaswamy said. “They took our requirements and mapped the Salesforce solutions and value additions to it.”

Changing the quoting process was a high-priority requirement. One of the company’s recent projects, equipping a hospital, involved 3,000 product lines that had to be individually configured into the previous system by a solution engineer.

“Teams have to check the pricing and factors like overhead charges, warranty details and transportation,” Singh said. “Salesforce helped us to create a customized system that speeds up this process using a high-code solution.”

When the new sales platform was first implemented, it was piloted first in the medical equipment department, which has long, complex sales cycles and complicated pricing processes.

“The product values are high, and the decision-making processes are more difficult,” Rengaswamy said. “We knew if Salesforce could meet the challenges in this department, it would be successful elsewhere – and it was.”

“Salesforce helped us to create a customized system that speeds up this process using a high-code solution.”

Bhanupriya Singh, Salesforce Consultant, Gulf Drug

Increase collaboration with smarter dashboards and reporting:

In healthcare, the tendering process is so long it can take up to two years for a deal to complete. This means regular check-ins on progress, as well as keeping track of every opportunity across the company, is essential.

Every week, Gulf Drug’s sales representatives have a business review meeting, where they discuss leads and opportunities across multiple departments. “With Sales Cloud, everything is displayed on a shared dashboard and people can see what they need on their home screen the minute they turn on their device,” said Rengaswamy.

“Salesforce has been a real paradigm shift. People can now send up-to-date information instantly and work remotely, moving straight onto their next customer. And we can do any level of analysis we need with these dashboards.”

For the pharmaceuticals department, this was particularly important, because they need features that allow for extensive reporting.

“They need to know how much of the customer base each team is covering based on customer segmentation,” Singh said. “That way they can identify priorities and ensure the right customers are being visited the appropriate number of times a month.”

Now, salespeople can easily measure performance while logging all their activities on time, as much of the data is filled in automatically.

“Salesforce lets salespeople enter the minimum amount of data while providing the maximum analysis of results.”

Aravind Rengaswamy, CFO & CIO, Gulf Drug

Align business units and centralize decision making:

The next phase of Gulf Drug’s process transformation will make sure everyone across the organisation has access to all the information they need in one place.

“Everything in our business review meetings used to be presented manually in Word and Excel,” Singh said. “We realised that whatever is happening outside the system needs to go inside the system.”

Using Quip for real-time collaborative documents and chat means information goes beyond just sales. For example, inventory and financials have been centralised and made available to everyone.

“Now, all our supply chain, sales and financial information is in one place,” Singh said. “This doesn’t just help our sales team collaborate, but streamlines collaboration across the whole business.

“Customising our system to align our business processes is just the first step. We’ve already seen improvements in time management, revenue, and customer satisfaction. In the future, we’ll roll out this way of working across the whole group.”

“Every salesperson wants to log in and see on their dashboard what they’ve done for the quarter, the week, or the day,” said Rengaswamy. “Having a 360 overview of past performance and the current sales numbers and pipeline visible in Salesforce is a big win for management. It helps to give a better understanding of company growth.”

Using Salesforce, Gulf Drug has turned its sales cycles from complex to collaborative. Now that the manual processes have been automated with swift actions that unite the whole business, success is much easier to come by.

“Having a 360 overview of past performance and the current sales numbers and pipeline visible in Salesforce is a big win for management. It helps to give a better understanding of company growth.”

Aravind Rengaswamy, CFO & CIO, Gulf Drug


Implemented by Smaartt
Published by Salesforce
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