Pioneering catering business increases CRM capability to retain customers and grow

Company Background

Pabulum provides a range of catering services to the education sector. Unlike many of its competitors however, Pabulum only provide the very best, regionally sourced food, over 94% of which is prepared fresh onsite at every school and educational establishment each day.  To deliver this exceptional service, Pabulum only serves schools within a 125 mile radius of its Hampshire-based head office. Despite this niche strategy, Pabulum is a thriving business with over 1000 employees and a fast growing turnover in excess of £23million per annum. With an unwavering mission to remain at the forefront of shaping the next generation’s passion for fresh food, Pabulum decided to review its customer relationship management strategy. Mike Richardson, Sales and Marketing Director, joined the company to lead a transformation project spanning every stage of customer contact, acquisition and retention.


Pabulum’s new sales opportunities come from 2 largely reactive sources – consultants supporting food procurement contacts for schools and ‘OJEU’, a European Journal which publishes upcoming contract tenders.  The small sales team had been using a CRM system from ACT but over time processes had adapted and use of the system had become sporadic.  With a largely reactive sales and marketing approach, Pabulum was struggling to plan and forecast within the business. Plus, as a company driven by genuine partnerships, they were finding that often they weren’t meeting the final decisions makers until the very end of the pitch process, hindering their ability to build understanding and add incremental value. With little market research or sales analysis being undertaken, delivering targeted, proactive marketing activity was virtually impossible. Mike comments “We had very little market opportunity data to support planning for our next stage of growth.  Although we were already a successful company, I knew we could accelerate that success with the right information, a more targeted approach and a stronger finger on the pulse of our pipeline. The catalyst came when I joined the first board meeting and had to give my pipeline projections for the next year based on assumptions rather than insights.”


Mike ran a tender process inviting solution partners for all the main CRM software packages, as well as bespoke CRM developers, to take part.  Concise CRM immediately stood out with a refreshingly different approach, taking the time to understand the business and challenges.  It recommended a cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution with a rich set of features to support sales, marketing and business planning activities, with the right mix of scalability, cost-efficiency and adaptability for a growing, thriving business.  Full integration with Microsoft Office products and Pabulum’s back-office finance system ensured that Pabulum was making a future-proofed investment choice which fully supported the business’ long-term focus on creating a strong CRM-led culture. Concise CRM designed and configured the CRM solution for a three-phase implementation. Phase one functionality was provided to the sales and marketing team, followed by subsequent development and launch to the Operations teams and then finally the Finance department. Detailed planning sessions were undertaken, new taxonomies created to support developing processes and historic data migrated into the new system.  End user training helped the sales and marketing team as part of the first implementation phase to quickly build confidence, become operational and embed the new CRM processes into their daily working life. 

The dynamic, new Microsoft CRM solution is enabling Pabulum to:

- Build and develop a centralised contact database for customers, partners and prospects

- Generate, track, progress and report on all sales opportunities

- Deepen customer intelligence to enhance service and identify account growth potential

- Develop profitability and probability analysis for new opportunities based on historic trends

- Create new account management plans and processes to boost contract retention rates

Business Benefits

Financial visibility

- With all opportunities captured and progressed within the system, Pabulum have increased pipeline visibility, enabling them to optimise opportunity conversion rates

- Weekly trading and sales meetings are now underpinned by real-time forecasting data and analysis aiding fast and accurate decision making

Deeper customer understanding, higher retention

- A single, searchable customer database gives Pabulum complete records on every customer as well as richer intelligence on needs, views and buyer behaviour

- New account planning processes have been introduced to ensure that customer satisfaction remains high and contract retention rates are maximised

- The CRM system will become the single central business hub for all customer related information, documentation and financial data

Insights-driven strategy

- Financial analysis can be easily generated for every stage of the sales process providing Pabulum with vital insights into ‘win’ probability and values

- Contract profitability analysis enables Pabulum to increase efficiency by proactively selecting new bids opportunities that will yield the highest return and long-term value

Targeted marketing higher ROI

- Armed with complete customer profile information, Pabulum can now develop and deliver highly targeted proactive marketing activity to create and build new relationships

- Greater ability to track results ensures that Pabulum can optimise ongoing marketing activity to meet company goals and grow revenues by 10% year-on-year

Greatest overall benefit…

“One of the best aspects has been the added-value Concise CRM gives us.  They understand that changing CRM culture is only partly about what tools we use.  They trained the team, got them excited about what the system could do, and advised on process development.  Implementing the core solution was the first step in a 3-year programme of system and cultural development; I have every confidence in our ongoing success with Concise CRM at our side.” Mike concludes.


““Working with Concise CRM has been superb. They know our business inside out and ensure we get the best value and functionality from the Dynamics CRM solution. They are truly an extension of my team, supporting us technically, guiding us with industry knowledge and helping us to gain greater efficiency. They’ve brought more expertise, integrity, honesty and fun to this process than I could have imagined.””
Mike Richardson, Sales & Marketing Director, Pabulum
““I now know when contacts are renewing, what’s in the pipeline and I can gauge probability of opportunity conversion. We have highly detailed growth plans based on real opportunity data and a greater level of customer understanding. None of that was possible before.””
Mike Richardson, Sales & Marketing Director, Pabulum
““The system will pay for itself in a year. By 2019, we want to have grown turnover by a third; the CRM system is a crucial part of that. With Concise CRM as our partner I have every confidence that goal will be met and exceeded.””
Mike Richardson, Sales & Marketing Director, Pabulum
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