Meet Subtotal Distribution

Company name: Subtotal Distribution

Company size: midsized company

In the surfboard industry, one company is making serious waves. Over 50 years, they’ve developed a proprietary method for creating surfboards that’s unmatched in the market. Each of their surfboards is handcrafted from start to finish by some of the world’s most skilled craftsmen. Their unique use of cutting-edge carbon fiber technology sets their boards apart, offering performance characteristics that you can’t find anywhere else as they are the only makers in the world delivering surfboards with such exceptional quality and performance.

This year, they’ve made a big shift towards handling all distribution in-house, which has brought its own set of challenges as the business navigates rapid expansion, including the addition of two new locations in less than two years. At this critical point, Paul Nett stepped in, bringing his wide-ranging expertise from marketing to operations. His role has been vital, particularly in overcoming two major hurdles: streamlining operations amongst a variety of systems and establishing efficient processes for taking pre-orders and handling B2B sales.

Discovering a connected system

The company initially leaned on QuickBooks Desktop for accounting, point of sale (POS), and managing wholesale orders. But when this system was phased out, they had to pivot. Lightspeed became their new go-to for their POS needs, and they shifted to QuickBooks Online for accounting. Yet, as their sales structure’s complexities came to light—juggling pre-orders and serving both individual and business clients—the gaps in this new setup became apparent. 

Managing their intricate inventory and sales, especially with high-demand items where they might have only 1 or 2 in stock, posed a real risk of double-selling. The challenge was finding a solution robust enough to handle their particular requirements while ensuring seamless connectivity with their existing systems. This integration between platforms was crucial for keeping everything running smoothly across all of their locations, with Paul emphasizing “We need to have that connectivity.”

Plus, using QuickBooks for sales was out of the question due to obvious risk of allowing everyone into their accounting platform, Paul soon realized they had to find another solution. 

“We’ve got to write orders to dealers. How are we gonna do that? How are we gonna tie in the inventory to our existing systems? How are we going to write orders from multiple locations? QuoteMachine has been that solution for us,”

QuoteMachine integrated seamlessly with their Lightspeed inventory, offering a streamlined solution to managing pre-orders and B2B sales. They were able to keep their data synchronized across all platforms and have real-time inventory updates accessible for their team, all without compromising the security and control of their financial information.

With QuoteMachine as part of their ecosystem, they were finally equipped with all the tools needed to handle the nuanced demands of their business. It transformed the way they approached their sales operations, ensuring that every handcrafted surfboard could find its way to the right wave, whether that’s a display shelf or directly into the hands of a surfer.

Communication meets coordination

Since integrating QuoteMachine into their operations, Paul and his team have started exploring the platform, highlighting several features that have made a notable difference in how they manage sales across their diverse customer base and multiple locations:

  • Product reservation for open orders: A critical feature for the team has been the ability to reserve products within open orders and having the inventory removed across all platforms to avoid double-selling products across their multiple channels. Paul explained, “We have limited quantities of our products, it’s not like we have 100 on hand of one design, you know? We only have maybe one or two. So it’s really critical that we have that ability to reserve products easily, and having that functionality in QuoteMachine has been really beneficial.” 
  • Setting price levels: Being able to set different price levels for specific customer types and locations has been a game-changer for them. It’s been particularly helpful for their Hawaii location, which serves both retail and wholesale customers through QuoteMachine. As these price levels are accessible during the sale, salespeople can easily adjust prices for the type of customer they are serving, simplifying the sales process for the team when managing B2B and B2C transactions in one platform.
  • Using internal notes for team coordination: The internal notes feature has been essential for team communication as it’s not only been beneficial for sharing important details to keep everyone updated on order progress, but it’s also allowed Paul to be able to answer questions from the team easily. Plus, having all internal notes recorded, tracked, and visible to everyone working on the sale, supports team coordination and helps everyone stay aligned on orders. 
  • Centralizing customer communication: Having a unified platform for customer communication has been very helpful. Paul highlights how the flexibility and ease of engaging prospects casually, without pressure, has improved the buying experience, particularly for customers that don’t quite know what they want. He adds, “Even though we’re still at the beginning stages of it, it’s been very beneficial for us to have this dashboard. Instead of having to jump back and forth between a text on a phone or emailing them separately, it’s all tied in one place. That communication portal has been one of the best things about this—that’s huge for us.”

“I’ve worked with other businesses before and they didn’t have this kind of forward facing way of doing sales. We would have to look at our spreadsheets to see what we have, call the dealers, let them know what’s in production–it was not really a clean way of handling B2B sales,” Paul observed.

“I feel like we’re making big strides as a small business and really moving the ball here in a new way with how we’re managing our B2B sales directly online with QuoteMachine and having it all tied into our inventory. I can see utilizing QuoteMachine on that side of things is going to help us grow a lot.”


The journey with QuoteMachine is just beginning, but the early impacts are promising, pointing towards further improvements in efficiency, customer service and connectivity in their sales processes.

Unlocking their sales potential

As Paul and his team continue to integrate QuoteMachine and grow familiar with its tools, there’s a sense of excitement about the potential for the features they’ve yet to fully take advantage of. The customization options on sales documents, in particular, are something Paul is eager to explore further to transform their sales interactions with customers. He explains, “Having the ability to add links to catalogs, attach PDFs, or even videos on the quotes is really nice to have. Especially when you’re dealing with someone that might be on the fence or doesn’t know much about a specific product, it gives us a chance to enrich that dialogue internally through QuoteMachine.” 

This approach allows them to create an engaging, seamless purchase experience that consolidates all necessary information into a single proposal, instead of having to go back and forth sending multiple documents. Paul noted the usefulness of these features especially at the quote stage to help them make a good impression when building that relationship with a lead.

“I think we’re going to be building our business around those features. Being in the sports industry, the more pro we look, the better, as a lot of guys in this industry are not doing any of this. That gives us an edge. So, that’s what I’m looking forward to– showcasing that ability and gaining confidence with these new potential dealers, or dealers we already have.”


Besides elevating the company’s image, Paul also sees a significant opportunity for their sales team’s development. “I can set our sales people up to have the basics to do what they need to do, but the good thing about QuoteMachine is that they can really grow into it. If they want to be a better salesperson, the features are all there for them to use … In time, I will be pushing them to use the tools because I think they can grow their ability to sell better because of it,” he notes.

Looking ahead, Paul is optimistic about exploring what the platform has to offer: “We’ve just scratched the surface on what it can do. This year, we’re really going to be diving deep into using QuoteMachine and I think it will really help us grow on the business to business front over the coming years.” 

Reflecting on the sales journey

Paul acknowledges there’s still much to learn and explore within the platform. His quick adoption and the support from QuoteMachine have been key in navigating and optimizing their sales workflow. As Paul continues to familiarize himself with all the tools QuoteMachine has to offer, he’s finding that it’s not just a solution for his team, but also a potential asset for other businesses to transform their sales process. “I would definitely consider companies that I’ve worked with, if I talked to them to say ‘this is definitely beneficial because I know how you used to operate and this is better.’”

“This is a really good solution across the board, especially if you’re selling B2B.”


With QuoteMachine, Paul and his team are not just enhancing their sales process but are also setting a new standard for efficiency and professionalism in the surfboard industry. Their story highlights the transformative potential of the right tools in the hands of a forward-thinking team.

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