Navico Group Ensures Consistency through Acquisition with Brite

The collaboration between Navico and BRITE began in 2013, initiated by Mastervolt—later part of Navico Group under Brunswick Corporation. Since kicking off their partnership over a decade ago, Navico and BRITE have both gone through major transformations, including rebrandings and acquisitions. Through these shifts, both teams have steadfastly focused on refining Navico’s Salesforce solutions to continuously heighten transparency and efficiency for both internal operations and customer interactions.

Discover how Navico shifted from a landscape of disjointed systems, error-prone customer service processes, and Excel-reliant sales teams to a connected, high-octane sales, service, and marketing engine.

TL;DR: Top Results at a Glance

  • Data Consistency and Operational Efficiency: Successfully integrating multiple ERP systems with Salesforce Navico improved data flows, consistency and operational efficiency across the organization – spanning four ERP systems and 17,000 product lines.
  • Improved Customer Service Processes: The automation and synchronization of service processes, including RMA case management, reduced manual errors, resulted in faster response times, and increased customer satisfaction
  • Enhanced Customer Trust and Satisfaction: Through the integrated systems, customers gained the ability to track the status of their orders, warranties, and service requests in real-time. Customers are better informed about the progress and resolution of their inquiries.
  • Skyrocketed CRM Adoption: Through targeted training and support, BRITE helped to increase Salesforce adoption across Navico’s sales team from around 50 to 130 users, retiring Excel as the go-to for sales managers and thus leading to better data utilization and reporting accuracy.

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From Shaky Beginnings to a Strategic Mission

Navico Group, a leader in marine electronics and advanced systems for RVs, military vehicles, and other autonomous platforms, is known for its specialized products like chartplotters and sensors, primarily serving B2B customers. Over the past decade, Navico has grown through strategic acquisitions, which introduced challenges such as disparate systems and the need for enhanced data synchronization and process streamlining.

When Stephanie Roller assumed responsibility for Navico Group’s Salesforce CRM at the end of 2019 after Mastervolt had been acquired by Navico Group, the partnership with BRITE had mainly addressed immediate needs, such as service request tracking and action planning. This was no longer enough for the requirements of Navico and thus, they were questioning how well the budget was being spent and evaluating alternatives.

Therefore, Stephanie had some critical conversations with Hans Neele, CEO at BRITE, and Merwin Vink, Salesforce/Business Consultant at BRITE. They redefined their collaboration, ultimately strengthening the partnership. Under Stephanie’s leadership, the focus pivoted to strategic sales process enhancements and integrating new tools like Marketing Cloud and an order portal. This shift marked a strategic turn, moving from reactive problem-solving to strategic planning.

“There was some dissatisfaction, as there were questions about the value we were getting for our money. At that time, we even considered negotiating with a different company. However, I personally had very constructive discussions with Hans and Merwin. They made promises which were ultimately honored, significantly improving the service we received”

Stephanie Roller, EMEA Inside Sales Manager & Salesforce Administrator at Navico Group

The Challenge: Responding to Growth Pains

Although acquisitions, expanding product lines, and overall organizational growth are positive developments, they bring their own challenges. In 2019, Navico Group was struggling to bring together disparate systems to maintain operational efficiency, pull meaningful analytics and ensure customer satisfaction. Together, Stephanie and Merwin identified the following key challenges to tackle:

Challenge 1: Lacking Systems Integration

Navico inherited ERP systems from various acquisitions. These disparate systems hindered the flow of information. For instance, customer data was not shared efficiently across the company which led to inconsistencies in customer service and a lack of sales reporting. Aligning pricing structures and synchronizing data across different ERP systems and product lines proved difficult—but was essential for providing consistent and accurate company-wide information.

Challenge 2: Inefficient Service Process

Navico’s service process was cumbersome and error-prone. A clear overview of all customer requests was lacking, and for each customer email about warranties, complaints, and returns, service reps had to manually create an RMA (Return Material Authorization) case. The two systems used to handle and manage these RMA cases—ERP for orders, shipments, and stock, and Salesforce Service Cloud for customer service and sales—were not properly synchronized. Customers didn’t have any insight into the status of their RMA cases, leading to frustration on all fronts.

Challenge 3: Slow Salesforce Adoption and Utilization

Convincing the sales team to adopt and fully utilize Salesforce was a significant hurdle—not least due to suboptimal integration with other systems. Many team members preferred familiar tools like Excel, which limited the many benefits of a unified CRM platform such as reporting and performance tracking.

Solutions and Results: Simplifying Complexity

The common denominator among those challenges? Reducing complexities in system integration, process standardization, and internal adoption of new technologies. Over the past five years, Navico and BRITE have addressed several implementation and improvement areas. Here’s an overview of their most significant efforts across the established key categories:

Systems Integration Solutions

The integration of Navico’s systems was a pivotal part of their collaboration with BRITE and the foundation for other improvement projects. Here’s how they tackled it:

  1. ERP and Salesforce Integration
    Navico linked its four ERP systems, acquired through various mergers, directly with Salesforce. This integration allowed customers to view pricing and place orders within Salesforce, upgrading the customer experience and operational efficiency.
  2. Salesforce and SAP Integration
    To further streamline operations, Salesforce was integrated with SAP, automating the generation of serial numbers when orders were processed between the systems. This reduced manual intervention and accelerated order processing.
  3. Integration of Salesforce with Proprietary Systems
    BRITE facilitated numerous integrations to eliminate system toggling and allow for better data retrieval. One key integration involved incorporating a compliance checking process within Salesforce via SharePoint. This allowed sales managers to view the compliance statuses of customers within Salesforce itself. An integration with Microsoft Power BI created a 360 view of the customer.
  4. Marketing Cloud Implementation
    Instead of building another integration, Navico replaced its “very old” and expensive marketing tool. Upgrading to Salesforce Marketing Cloud and thus utilizing a native integration with other Salesforce products allowed Navico Group to do proper mailing, have a nicer formatted look for their communications and enable better targeted marketing.

“BRITE has a team of experts capable of making virtually anything happen within Salesforce. If there’s a feature or an interface I’m not happy with and want changed, they can do it—because they have coding expertise. That’s really the crux of it.”


Solutions for Streamlining Service Processes

Finding ways to improve the customer service processes served a dual purpose: it provided customers and partners with greater transparency and smoother case handling, while simultaneously reducing the workload for our customer service agents.

  1. Automating RMA Cases 
    To address the cumbersome and error-prone service processes, BRITE helped implement a new service management strategy within Salesforce. This included automating the creation of RMA cases whenever a customer email was received. Integration with the ERP systems allowed synchronization of orders, shipments, and stock information, significantly reducing manual entry errors and shortening response times.
  2. Community Service Portal
    Customers can now track the status of their orders, warranties, and service requests in real-time via a community portal based on a combination of the Service Portal and Salesforce Knowledge. Some customers are even able to place orders online, honoring existing discounts and payment terms. Notably, some premium partners and distributors began using this portal to collaboratively address issues.

Salesforce Adoption and Training Solutions

To boost Salesforce adoption within the sales team, Stephanie and Merwin took several proactive steps.

  1. Targeted Training and Support
    Stephanie conducted targeted training sessions to showcase Salesforce benefits and lift productivity. To address resistance to change, she created custom how-to videos and offered one-on-one support. Merwin assisted by developing training materials and helping to answer queries behind the scenes.
  2. Integration Enhancements
    A direct connection between Salesforce and SharePoint was established to simplify compliance checks for new customers, allowing sales managers to view compliance statuses directly within Salesforce.
  3. Improved Sales Team Collaboration
    avico has centralized its account planning in Salesforce. By using Quip within Salesforce, multiple salespeople can now collaboratively manage a distributor’s account plan, evaluating performance and identifying areas for improvement. Distributors can engage in their own marketing or participate in broader Navico Group campaigns, initiating these directly from the account plan.

This hands-on approach helped to gradually increase comfort levels with Salesforce, leading to higher adoption rates across the team. Today, Salesforce has officially replaced Excel for customer relationship management.

“When I first took over the Salesforce implementation, I sometimes felt unsure about how to conduct trainings or explain things in detail. During those initial stages, Merwin was a huge support. If I didn’t have time, he would step in to prepare the necessary how-to materials and videos. This help was instrumental as I was just starting to get a handle on things.”


Conclusion and Outlook: The Future Looks Brite

The collaboration between Navico and BRITE has tangibly strengthened Navico’s operations, notably through the integration of Salesforce which optimized processes and better data flow across multiple systems. 

Looking ahead, Stephanie is hoping to deepen and expand the partnership between Navico and BRITE further. With six different Salesforce instances currently in use across the Navico Group globally, a major initiative over the next 5-10 years will be to merge these into a single unified system. Stephanie is actively working to position BRITE as Navico’s global consultant for their worldwide Salesforce strategy. Her reason for that is quite simple:

“I know I can rely on BRITE. For example: about a year and a half ago, we faced a global security incident. I needed to quickly assess whether Salesforce was the entry point for the virus. BRITE was incredibly responsive. Not only did Merwin answer my call right away, BRITE’s team worked with our IT through the weekend to support us. That’s rare.”