BioMedix Vascular Solutions is a fast-growing diagnostic device and software provider that focuses on detection and treatment of vascular disease. Facing upwards of 30 percent year-over-year growth, BioMedix needed more robust business systems that could scale and adapt to changing business needs. The company chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for its ability to support processes beyond traditional sales and marketing. BioMedix paired the solution with Microsoft Office 365, part of Microsoft Online Services. By leaving application management to Microsoft, BioMedix can focus on its growing business without worrying about scaling its IT infrastructure. The company also enjoys improved productivity with automated workflows and anytime, anywhere access to data on mobile devices and PCs.
Founded in 1997, BioMedix Vascular Solutions works to prolong and enhance lives through the early detection and treatment of vascular disease. Building on its success with specialized devices that detect peripheral artery disease (PAD), BioMedix, in 2004, released a new device designed specifically for medical staff in primary-care settings. Primary-care physicians send the results to vascular specialists through a secure, cloud-based solution and then use special software to track outcomes and personalize treatment.
“We are addressing the gap between the primary-care physicians that can diagnose the disease and the specialists who can help treat it,” explains John Romans, CEO of BioMedix. “By doing so, we are transforming from a medical-device company to one that focuses on software and healthcare IT. We use technology to enable the earlier diagnosis of a potentially debilitating disease and more customized and efficient care.”
Handling Increased Scope and Size. This strategy to extend PAD testing to the primary-care setting has proven tremendously successful, with more than 300,000 patients tested by using the PADnet+ device in 2010—up from just 65,000 patient tests in 2008 and 35,000 tests in 2007. To keep up with growth, BioMedix added employees at an annual rate of 50 to 80 percent. More than half of these employees—roughly 80 people—fill a mixed sales, consulting, and service role and help customers integrate and support a range of hardware, software, and online services. This sales team also participates in nearly 100 trade shows every year. Adding to the complexity of their job, the sales team must also adhere to U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules that regulate the sales and marketing of medical products.
BioMedix needed to revamp its business systems to handle increasing complex flows of information. “We had been using a customer relationship management system from ACT! Software along with several other custom systems we had developed in-house,” says Romans. “We needed a solution that could tie together different areas of our business and empower our people to accomplish more.” Employees spent too much time locating and reconciling data from different sources. Information related to billing, account activities, customer service, and sales activities was in separate systems and spreadsheets. Sales and service teams worked hard to retain customers with excellent service, but ascertaining such details as contract expirations, product use, or most recent contacts was cumbersome and often involved multiple phone calls.
Specifically, BioMedix wanted to consolidate the five disparate business systems it was using into just two integrated systems, one for customer relationship management and another for financial management. “We were looking for a solution that would help us capture best practices in sales and support, ensure regulatory compliance, enhance customer service, and manage our information more effectively,” says Romans.
Weighing Options. BioMedix considered larger software packages from Oracle and SAP but opted against those offerings because they were too costly and complex. For customer relationship management, the company initially leaned toward Salesforce.com, because senior employees had previous experience with that offering; however, BioMedix was also considering Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online because of the company’s connections to Microsoft in others areas of its business. As an independent software vendor (ISV) building on Microsoft technologies, BioMedix is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with an ISV/Software Solutions Competency.
“Everyone at BioMedix uses Microsoft Outlook. Because it fits right into that experience, we saw an opportunity to treat the rollout of Microsoft Dynamics CRM as if it were an extension of the same platform that employees were already familiar with,” says Romans. Ironically, Romans was reminded of the importance of people’s reliance on and proficiency with Outlook during a Salesforce.com demonstration. “I noticed the representative was using Outlook to manage his contacts,” he says.
BioMedix chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online because of its ease-of-use, familiar technology, and ability to reach beyond sales and marketing activities. The company also decided to migrate to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, a set of messaging and collaboration tools that includes Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, and other products delivered as a subscription service. BioMedix is also considering replacing its Peachtree accounting solution with Microsoft Dynamics GP for more comprehensive financial and supply chain management.
Meg Heim, Vice President of Marketing at BioMedix, used Salesforce.com at her previous employment and explains one way in which Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online differs from that solution. “Salesforce.com works great for sales transactions, but Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online went beyond sales to pull together all areas of our business,” she says. “Because the Microsoft solution works seamlessly with Outlook, we can automate workflows across sales, marketing, and operations in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to if using Salesforce.com.”
For help with implementation, BioMedix worked with a Microsoft Certified Partner. “We have a collaborative relationship with our partner, ” says Romans. “The company brings deep expertise in both business and technology to the table. Our Partner’s team not only helped with the technical aspects of the implementation but also provided insight into how we could improve our processes.”
The BioMedix implementation team and their Partner first examined and cleaned up the existing sales information in the ACT! Solution and then tested the conversion of that information. In total, BioMedix deployed Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to more than 150 people, including all the sales teams, who can access the solution remotely from both PCs and mobile devices. By using a train-the-trainer approach, their Partner coached a select group of users at BioMedix on how to best use Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. These people act as in-house solution specialists within BioMedix, answering questions and promoting best practices.
Sales Processes. BioMedix uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to make the most of sales opportunities by standardizing and automating processes and encouraging best practices when selling and servicing the company’s products. “With the solution, we have the support we need for a more methodical approach to sales activities,” says Heim. “For example, when we set up a new customer, we can set automatic task assignments 90 days and 60 days before their license expires.”
BioMedix set up Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to automatically capture information about how customers use the company’s testing devices and results-tracking software. Sales representatives use this information during customer meetings to demonstrate the value of BioMedix solutions and to help strategize how customers can make the most out of their investments.
Employees’ activities in the solution feed directly into an up-to-date sales forecast for BioMedix. “We have much greater visibility into our sales pipeline now,” says Romans. “Previously, the difficulty in putting together the sales forecast meant that we only did it once a month.”
Marketing Activities. The sales and marketing group at BioMedix uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to simplify the process of preparing for and following up on leads from nearly 100 trade shows each year. The solution accounts for different client types, such as podiatric clinicians, primary-care clinics, hospitals, and health systems. “We’ve dramatically simplified the complexity of identifying the most valuable prospects by reaching out to them with the right material, tracking interactions, and ensuring that we follow-up on opportunities consistently,” says Heim.
BioMedix also uses SharePoint Online to manage workflows and approvals related to the management of trade shows and the development of marketing materials. In doing so, the company has almost entirely eliminated paper-based tasks and made processes consistent.
Extended CRM. By taking advantage of the xRM application framework in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, BioMedix uses the solution to support “extended CRM” scenarios outside traditional sales and marketing. For instance, BioMedix configured Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to facilitate and track compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines for marketing and selling its medical devices. “We can use the solution for our quality assurance processes so that we follow the right step at the right time,” says Romans. “We’re implementing workflows that support this and that will enable managers to sign-off on changes with digital signatures.”
The company is planning other extended CRM projects, including retiring its custom-built central administration system for its PADnet+ devices and instead using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to track patient testing for billing and tester certification purposes.
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and cloud-based messaging and collaboration tools, BioMedix enables its sales team members and other employees to focus on activities that build the business. In the same way, BioMedix does not need to devote organizational resources to maintaining an extensive IT infrastructure or creating customized applications.
“We selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM from Microsoft for several reasons,” explains Romans. “We can focus on our core business, which is helping to create a continuum of care that addresses peripheral artery disease, instead of on managing an IT infrastructure. Online services also help us get up and running faster and deal with rapid growth. In addition, we felt that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a great solution for our extensive sales team in the field because they can securely connect to information from anywhere.”
Greater Business Velocity. With automated processes and productive business software tools, BioMedix expects to save approximately 25 percent of the time spent in trade-show management. What’s more, employees can quickly act on opportunities. Heim recalls one incident in particular that highlighted the power of the solution to speed organizational response. “We had just completed a trade show where we had identified 50 prospects,” she says. “When one of those prospects called a sales team member just two days later, that team member was able to immediately look up detailed notes about the prospect on a mobile device, including what his needs were and what materials he had been given, and then more easily secure a meeting. With the information that we have in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we’re acting faster than we could have before and empowering employees to close deals.”
Heim says that BioMedix employees now have more time to focus their efforts on activities that are important—meeting with customers and following up on prospects—instead of mundane tasks. “We’ve automated processes in ways that amplify the effectiveness of our employees,” she says. “They have access to information anytime and anywhere in the applications they are already familiar with. In consequence, we are already experiencing an increase in customer renewal rates.”
Freedom to Focus on Business GrowthBy trusting Microsoft to manage its business systems, BioMedix can more quickly respond to new business needs by taking advantage of the xRM framework for extended solutions in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. At the same time, IT costs will likely no longer scale in proportion to the company’s growth. “We can extend the xRM application framework to solve a number of business issues,” says Romans. “Instead of managing a growing portfolio of separate, unconnected applications, we can take advantage of a common framework to quickly build new, tightly integrated solutions.”
BioMedix’s growth has prompted the company to plan a move to new offices. With substantial reductions in the amounts of paper the company formerly used and needed to file, space planning is more streamlined. With paperless operations, BioMedix also achieves a significant mitigation of its environmental footprint.
Trusted Partners With the combination of a local partner that understands its business and Microsoft Online Services infrastructure, BioMedix has greater confidence in its IT infrastructure. “As a solution provider ourselves, we understand the importance of having the right partners,” says Romans. “The strengths of our Partner and Microsoft complement one another well.”
BioMedix expects to continue expanding its business management capabilities on the same technology platform. Currently, the company is preparing an implementation of Microsoft Dynamics GP to facilitate financial management. Microsoft Dynamics GP will integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, generating additional business process efficiencies.