CRM Moves Backcountry from Tasks to Customer Focus

Blog Post created by Employee on Feb 22, 2018

Backcountry is the parent company of four business units that specialize in gear for wilderness adventures and outdoor sports, including biking, skiing, snowboarding, climbing, fly-fishing, hiking and camping. It operates: Backcountry, MotoSport, Competitive Cyclist and the Germany-based Bergfreunde. Backcountry and MotoSport use Sugar for sales, mostly B2C. 


Headquarters: Park City, Utah

Other offices and manufacturing: Oregon, Virginia, Costa Rica and Germany

Founded: 1996

Use case: Sales


Challenge: Implement a Customer Relationship Management platform that has scalability, extensibility, customization options and helps improve customer relationships.


Solution: Sugar Enterprise, cloud-hosted, with integrations for ERP and marketing automation.



  • Sales strategy becomes customer-focused
  • Increase in sales call volume because of CRM efficiency
  • Improved pipeline reliability


How a software platform changed a sales culture


There are strategic changes, and then there are small unrecognized moments that produce important outcomes and moments of clarity. 


Peter Tew, senior product manager for Backcountry, an international wilderness outfitters firm in Utah, has seen both.


While he focused on increasing user adoption for the company’s new CRM, the unexpected moment of clarity came in identifying how Sugar was driving a cultural change about customer orientation.


Like many companies, Backcountry staff logged and carried out rote tasks. It sold items, set up sales calls, responded to customer inquiries and provided customer service. But the tasks lacked goals, context and customer insight.


“We’ve turned that around, and in Sugar, we have a customer-centric view of our jobs instead of a task-oriented view,” says Peter.


Backcountry sells differently today because the progressive profiling logged in Sugar gives the sales team more insight into customers and more sales opportunities.



The company also I-framed a widget in Sugar called “Outdoor Passions” that lists each customer’s hobbies, sports preferences, clothing and shoe sizes – even the customer’s last adventure.


Sales reps don’t have to open a different database to get the consumer information; it displays within Sugar when sales calls up a customer profile.


Here’s an example from Peter about how that information in Sugar leads to a sales conversation:


“Let’s say you bought hiking boots. We’re going to call and ask how they are, what you’re planning to do with them. If they are for walking around, I’ve got nothing else to say. But maybe you say you are using them to climb Kilimanjaro. Then I say, ‘I climbed Killie and there are a few things I recognized I wished I had. Would you like me to send you an email about that?’ ”


Backcountry recently tripled its sales staff.


“We wouldn’t have been able to expand our sales staff and get the returns without Sugar,” Peter says. “Now we have accurate reporting on tasks and email, and that is changing behaviors for the good.”


Finding the Right CRM Partner


Choosing a CRM – whether you are moving from an old one or implementing one for the first time – is a challenging task that must leverage C-level support.


Peter says Backcountry started with a field of about 20 candidates, then short-listed Sugar, Salesforce and MicroSoft Dynamics.


Cost-efficiency and scalability were keys, as usual.



But Sugar’s personalized, extra-mile sales approach won the deal.


“I really liked that the Sugar rep listened and proposed a solution without trying to do a lot of upsells; it was a natural process. It took two weeks to get all the stuff signed and purchased and developing,” says Peter.


“Of all the third parties of Sugar’s size or bigger that I’ve worked with, this was the smoothest experience I have ever had, and the relationship and gotten better and better,” he adds.


Backcountry and MotoSport went live with Sugar within two months.


Peter used in-house developers. They had no prior experience with CRM but found Sugar’s documentation clear and easy to follow, Peter says.


It led to that dramatic moment of proof.


“The business processing was the big thing. I knew Sugar could do it, but when I saw it happen for the first time I was like, ‘Oh, man, this could be huge for us,’ ” Peter says.


With millions of data points, being able to identify a customer by phone number or by searching the email topic filed is huge for his sales staff.


Planning the Long Journey


Already, the Backcountry business units are identifying unique ways to expand Sugar’s capabilities.


MotoSport, which sells dirt bikes and gear, is working on customizing some of the Sugar fields to accommodate more specifics about its catalog. Information such as manufacturer, make and model of its bikes.


“I know we will be finding more uses for Sugar as we grow into it,” Peter says.



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