Case Study – Mermaid Pools

Mermaid Pools

 

With over 55 years of servicing the pool and spa industry, Mermaid Pools has installed over 40,000 pools and hot tubs for Canadians. As members of the International Pool Group, they are committed  to delivering the best in quality and innovation to their customers. Mermaid Pools isn’t just a regular pool and spa retailer; they’re trusted experts in their field, dedicated to offering exceptional service and products in Canada’s national capital region.

Industry
Pool and Spa
(Retail + Construction)

Region
Canada

Company Size 
Mid market
(25 to 200 employees)

In 2022, the team at Mermaid Pools began looking for solutions to help them streamline their operations, improve their sales process and promote business growth. This case study will explore the challenges the team was looking to overcome along with the solutions that QuoteMachine provided that met their initial needs and also contributed to improving other parts of their operations. Tim Wilson, the manager at Mermaid Pools that led the implementation of a new system shares his insights, advice, and overall experience with the transition and working with the QuoteMachine team. 

Challenges: Navigating Complexities in Sales and Payment Processes

Before partnering with QuoteMachine, Mermaid Pools faced several challenges in managing their sales and payment processes. Their systems were disjointed, affecting not only their operational efficiency, but also their potential for growth. We’ll outline the key challenges they faced and why they turned to QuoteMachine for solutions.

Professionalism in Proposals

On the customer-facing side, one of the main challenges for Mermaid Pools was the difficulty in creating professional proposals that could accommodate the complexities of their sales. Due to the intricate nature of some of their sales, they relied heavily on excel spreadsheets that required constant manual updates to maintain. Not to mention the inability to take online payments was another barrier to closing the sale. Reflecting on this process, Wilson shared, “If our team had to make a sale during the pandemic, we had to depend on Excel spreadsheets to draft our quotes because of how complex some of the sales could get. We would then turn them into PDFs and email them to our customers to collect signatures. If we wanted to take payment, we’d have to take the card details over the phone, punch it into the terminal and scan or take a picture of the receipt to return to the customer. Extremely old school technology.” This process was not only time-consuming, but also prone to errors and inefficiencies. However, for a long time, they were having a hard time finding a sales software that could manage the sale while meeting all of the unique requirements and complexities of pool and spa sales.

 

Disjointed Operations Leading to Inefficiencies

The biggest challenge contributing to inefficiencies in Mermaid Pools’ processes was the lack of integration between the various systems they were using. This included Monday for lead tracking, Evosus for inventory, QuickBooks for accounting and so on. Even with a costly industry-specific software like Evosus, the fact that none of the systems “talked to each other” as Wilson put it, created bottlenecks and increased the risk of errors. This disjointed process also meant their teams were spending considerable time manually entering data to keep records accurate across all platforms they were using. 

This led to additional difficulties in staff training. Not only did they have to get trained on using complicated excel spreadsheets to make sales, but they also had to continuously manually update all these different systems to maintain operations. Training staff became a consequential hurdle for Mermaid Pools, impacting both efficiency and the potential to scale their operations. 

 

Handling Diverse Sales Models

Mermaid Pools’ unique business model further complicated their sales process. They dealt with both straightforward, fixed-priced products that were sold at the price displayed on the tag and more complex products, such as custom pools, which involved detailed pricing modifications and frequent negotiations. Finding a software capable of handling both types of sales simultaneously was proving a significant challenge for the team. 

All of this ultimately led the team at Mermaid Pools to begin their search for a solution that would help them with the following:

  • Simplify the generation of detailed, professional quotes
  • Integrate various operational aspects, including lead management, quotes, payments, inventory, and orders to be able to better track the customer journey 
  • Reduce manual data entry to lower the risk of errors
  • Enable quick and efficient staff training while providing management with oversight and control of the sales process
  • Accommodate the complexity of diverse sales models, from fixed-price products to customizable offerings with commission-based sales

Solutions: Streamlining Operations with QuoteMachine

Mermaid Pools found in QuoteMachine not just a solution to the immediate challenges they were looking to resolve, but also a tool that brought unforeseen improvements to other parts of their operations. Below we’ll be covering how QuoteMachine addressed their needs and the impact it had on their processes.

Generating Professional Quotes with Ease

QuoteMachine provided Mermaid Pools with a user-friendly platform for creating detailed quotes that were customizable to their branding and needs to reflect their brand and improve their professionalism. This user-friendly solution replaced their complex spreadsheet system, streamlining their quote generation. They gained access to a wide variety of tools for faster quote creation, including pre-built templates, online order forms, and bundles. But that’s not all. They also gained access to features such as custom attributes that allowed them to record detailed product customizations and negotiation tools on quotes that helped improve the speed of sale – among many others. Not only did the process become more efficient, but it also became easier for their team to manage sales while elevating their customer experience at the same time.

“While there are other softwares that do kits and pre-selected bundles, the seamless integration from that into an active sales process is something we didn’t find anywhere else.”

– Wilson from Mermaid Pools

Integrated Systems to Improve Operations

For Mermaid Pools, one key advantage of implementing QuoteMachine was its ability to streamline their operations by integrating various aspects of their business processes. According to Wilson, “QuoteMachine has been able to replace a bunch of functionalities and tie them together, which has been fantastic for us.” It integrated with their existing lead management software (CRM), accounting system, and point-of-sale (POS) systems to create a smooth flow of information throughout all the different platforms. Wilson elaborated further on this, “With QuoteMachine, we seamlessly tied together lead management, quoting, payments, order tracking, and inventory.” This integration improved collaboration across  different departments “really streamlined the customer journey as they moved through the workflow,” according to the team at Mermaid Pools.When it comes to the impact on their sales, they added that “the ability to track quotes and follow up – all in a single native ecosystem has been a game changer.” 

 

To conclude this point, the adaptability of QuoteMachine in working with various integrations was highly beneficial for their operations. As summed up by Wilson at Mermaid Pools, “Whether you use the same integrations as us or different ones, QuoteMachine itself is still something that can track your inventory, your orders, your customers, leads, quotes, sales, payments, and invoices. That’s as close as you can get to a complete integrated package that does everything you need.” This shows QuoteMachine’s capability to cater to a wide range of business needs. 

Minimizing Errors and Boosting Productivity with Automation

By integrating Mermaid Pools’ operations, QuoteMachine helped to automate key parts of the sales and administrative processes, and the need for manual input of data was  significantly reduced. As the integration automatically pushed necessary information across platforms, it also minimized the risk of errors. QuoteMachine’s automation went beyond simply maintaining consistency and accuracy of data across all platforms, it transformed how teams managed their daily tasks. By having access to tools that enabled them to schedule payment reminders or being able to automate personalized updates to customers about their orders, QuoteMachine helped them to save valuable time, allowing the team to be more productive. 

 

In fact, Mermaid Pools experienced remarkable improvements in operational efficiency. In less than a year of using QuoteMachine, they reported a 20% increase in efficiency with teams accomplishing more tasks in less time while still delivering exceptional customer service. The automation allowed them to streamline their workflow, resulting in quicker response times to customer needs and the time saved from manual entry was reallocated to more impactful tasks that contributed to the overall growth and success of Mermaid Pools.

Handling Diverse Sales Models:

Addressing the unique challenges of Mermaid Pools’ diverse sales model, QuoteMachine was able to handle everything from simple, fixed-price products to more complex, custom orders. The platform offered versatility in pricing and sales scenarios, and also allowed them to take online payments, securely store credit cards to process card-not-present transactions, and automate recurring payments. In addition to accommodating various types of transactions, this flexibility extended to managing the entire sales and order fulfillment process more efficiently. As noted by their team, “One really helpful aspect of QuoteMachine has been the ability to change who’s in charge of a job as it moves from a quote to an actual order. In the beginning, when we’re just making the quote, a salesperson is in charge. But after the sale is complete, we can switch the owner of the job over to our installation department. This lets us seamlessly move the sale from the front-end, the customer-facing side, to the back-end, the internal service side, using the same tools and interface to manage the entire process. It’s nothing like we’ve been able to do before.”

 

This also contributes to minimizing risk and liability since the entire process is recorded, linked together, and easily traceable, so anyone can easily find all quotes, orders, invoices, payments, appointments, and even customer correspondence that was related to a job. Not to mention, on top of being able to support different types of transactions within the same platform, QuoteMachine also helped streamline complex sales that require a lot of back and forth with customers. When comparing to industry specific softwares, this is what they had to say, “RB has branched out into like, fireplaces, but neither of those really have a sales specific function with quoting or supports negotiations with back and forth like QuoteMachine does.” 

The Transition to QuoteMachine

Adopting a new system can be daunting, especially for a company like Mermaid Pools, which had previously faced difficulties with staff training on their existing systems. Given the complex nature of sales in the pool and spa industry, it’s understandable why many businesses in this industry are slower adopters of technology. At QuoteMachine, we understand these challenges and are committed to providing quick and efficient onboarding to ensure our customers have a smooth transition to a new system. Understanding Mermaid Pools’ concerns, we were eager to learn about their experience with their transition to QuoteMachine.

 

As the one in charge of the transition, Wilson reflected on his experience saying, “It was smoother than I could’ve hoped for, and couldn’t imagine an easier transition.” He also added, “We made the change to a new POS system and QuoteMachine at the same time, which in hindsight was a bold move. However, QuoteMachine was the saving grace of the transition. We have yet to leverage some of the tools that QuoteMachine offers, but all the integrations worked and were as simple to set up as plug and play.” When it came to the support he received, he stated, “Right from the start, we received fantastic support.” Regarding his experience with the team, he further commented,  “With any business, it’s rare that you get a good experience from the front end when you’re in the purchasing stage, and have that positive experience track all the way to the post-purchase stage. That’s what QuoteMachine has delivered.”

Reflecting on the Journey with QuoteMachine

Wrapping up our exploration of Mermaid Pools’ journey with QuoteMachine, a key consideration remains: Would they recommend QuoteMachine to others in their field? Their response sheds light on the impact of the solution.

“I would definitely recommend QuoteMachine to others, and not only in our industry but across other industries as well – anyone involved in sales. It’s a fantastic tool. In the pool and hot tub industry in particular, there doesn’t tend to be a lot of early adoption of new technologies in general meaning there’s a huge potential to have a competitive advantage. Especially with something that’s as easy to use, and easy to train on, like QuoteMachine, you can really get out ahead of your competitors by adopting practices that increase your professionalism.”

– Wilson from Mermaid Pools

For businesses seeking a sales solution or facing challenges similar to those of Mermaid Pools, we invite you to discover how QuoteMachine’s agile commerce system can support your unique business needs. Schedule a free 1:1 call with our team to get advice from retail experts on refining your sales process. 

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