Developing a tailored solution for Think Spirits


Think Spirits is a highly credible distributor of premium spirits and liqueurs in Australia. With a select range of contemporary liquor brands backed by continual year round trade support and targeted consumer activities, Think Spirits boasts a great deal of recognition among the local liquor industry.

With roughly fifteen sales reps, Think Spirits leverages local representation in all states and territories of Australia to ensure their premium brands are available nationwide. Resting in the palms of those reps responsible for growing business across the country is the powerful but simple CRM tool, Rhino by ForteIS.

We sat down with Graeme Ewens, Sales and Marketing Director of Think Spirits to discuss his experiences with Rhino and the team at ForteIS.

The beginning of a strategic CRM partnership

Rhino is their business at their fingertips, and that’s all anyone wants from a CRM, isn’t it?

“We started using Rhino probably about six years ago – even before my time in the business,” Graeme explained. “We represent over 40 premium brands such as Stolichnaya and Malfy’s Gin, with a strong presence among on-premise sellers. With a large portfolio of high-value brands and a vast network of bartenders and venues, we needed a CRM that was specifically built for purpose.”

“That’s where Rhino comes in. As I understand it, Rhino already had an existing footprint in the liquor industry, building for the purpose of other breweries and distributors. So not only was the team at ForteIS producing a CRM catered directly to businesses like ours, but they have an intimate understanding of the industry and what we and our sales reps need.”

Rhino is a CRM system that enables better customer conversations.With documents and data at the tap of a finger, sales reps can manage customer conversations with ease.

It’s this understanding of the industry that has helped us design Rhino around the way real reps in the liquor industry – and other sectors as well – work. Graeme elaborated on how Rhino has helped Think Spirits reps complete their everyday tasks efficiently.

“The data in Rhino is the most up-to-date information we can give our reps,” he explained. “It’s updated instantaneously so long as there’s an internet connection, so we can be confident our reps are meeting customers armed with relevant, contemporary data as much as possible. And that same data feeds back to our office so we can see what’s going on and help out if we’re needed.”

“So that really gives them complete autonomy. Our reps can open Rhino at the start of their day, week or month and plan everything out. Using the Journey Planner, they can organise their schedule and ensure they’re maximising time with customers and delivering the best results. They can set their own objectives and track their target progress in the app – really, they can’t run their business without Rhino.”

“Rhino is their business at their fingertips, and that’s all anyone wants from a CRM, isn’t it?”

Business right at your fingertips. That's the power of Rhino.Business right at your fingertips. That’s the power of Rhino.

Flexible, adaptive, Rhino

Graeme spoke about working directly with the team at ForteIS to develop adaptive solutions perfect for Think Spirits’ unique business objectives.

“The team at ForteIS are so responsive to what we need. They’re both flexible and adaptive. Sandy and the team are sure to really tailor everything to us, and that comes through especially in the modules they’ve developed that are unique to Think Spirits. For example, activations and bartender membership platform integrations that we’re able to track and monitor within the Rhino interface.”

Think Spirits unveiled their own bartender rewards program in 2013. A product of their own design, the Think Rewards Plus program allows venues to accumulate points according to the number of bottles ordered, incentivising the sale of Think Spirits products. While ForteIS isn’t involved in the program itself, we’ve developed integrations with Rhino to simplify conversations around Think Rewards Plus.

With Rhino, Think Spirits sales reps are able to have more relevant, targeted conversations with their customers.With Rhino, Think Spirits sales reps are able to have more relevant, targeted conversations with their customers.

“Rewards Plus gives us a different way of communicating with our customers, but Rhino gives us a way of tracking them,” Graeme explained. “Data from our rewards platform and other systems is integrated into Rhino. We can see members within venues and venue performance, so it allows them to talk specifics and target brand and activity within venues.”

Simply put, the Rhino integration pulls data from Think Spirits’ bespoke rewards program and displays it simply alongside other customer information, so when sales reps meet with venues they can refer to that information and speak in real numbers. So all customer conversations are relevant and effective.

Beyond our custom development, Graeme spoke highly of Think Spirits’ long standing relationship with ForteIS.

“They have really good customer service,” he began. “Our main point of contact is Sandy, who from a relationship manager perspective is fantastic. Nothing is ever too much trouble, she takes the time that’s needed. They’re always free to provide training and if we do have a hiccup or need a solution, the team are quick to jump on board and work through it with my field guys.”

Think Spirits enjoy enhanced visibility and a simplified, streamlined day-to-day workflow for their sales rep thanks to Rhino. Furthermore, with the addition of bespoke modules and integrations, Rhino has helped to enhance customer conversations and enable stronger relationships. To find out how Rhino can support your broader business strategies, reach out to Forte IS to book a free demo today.

Find out how Rhino charges through the nonsense of CRM.

How Rhino sets Weleda Australia reps up for success


Weleda is an international brand of natural and organic skin care, that was established in Europe in 1921 by the philosopher and humanitarian Dr. Rudolf Steiner.

While Weleda products have been available in Australia for some time, it was just over 10 years ago that the first local office and warehouse facilities opened. Now, with excellent growth, as more and more people seek to rely on safe, natural and organic care Weleda, continues to develop.

In 2017 Weleda joined with ForteIS’ homegrown CRM system, Rhino to ensure efficiency and reliability for its sales team.

We sat down with Sabine Grayson, National Sales Team Manager for Weleda Australia to discuss how Rhino has enhanced the business.

Promoting transparency with a powerful CRM

“Before Rhino, we had sales merchandisers who were on the road and they didn’t use a tablet or any tech – they’d write manual reports,” Sabine explained. “This was all well and good, but when a sales rep would leave the company, and someone else would have to take over their accounts or their territory, there was usually never a complete paper trail to accurately know what went on in every store.”

Using Rhino, Weleda sales reps are empowered to log every point of customer contact, including contact details, store displays, stock levels and customer conversations. The straightforward interface makes logging this information easy, which then feeds back to Weleda’s office to create a secure database that keeps reps and the business up to date with their customers.

“By having the Rhino CRM system in place, it became easier for us to see what happened in the store, what products the store is carrying, when customer information changes, everything. It can all be captured in the customer file on the CRM database. When a rep leaves, it’s much easier to hand over a territory. All the notes are there in Rhino so it’s just a clean, easy handover.”

Thanks to Rhino, Weleda reps are able to access the information they need when they need it.Thanks to Rhino, Weleda reps are able to access the information they need when they need it.

So why Rhino? We asked Sabine how Rhino delivered convincing points of difference over other CRMs in the market.

“It says it on the website: Rhino was made for reps by reps,” Sabine recalled. “Rhino doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles we don’t need, but has exactly everything we do need. I’ve used other CRMs from major names before and not only are they very expensive, but you end up paying for things you simply don’t use or that can actually get in a rep’s way.”

“While Weleda is an international company, we’ve only been in Australia for 10 years so we needed a CRM that gave us what we need, within budget and wouldn’t overwhelm our reps. Rhino just made sense for us.”

How Rhino elevates the whole business

Even just the basic functions of Rhino are incredible.

Through using Rhino, Weleda has gained access to data they didn’t have before – which in turn has enabled reps to be more efficient in their jobs and created visibility across the whole business so the senior management team can plan effectively.

“Our reps are a lot more organised thanks to Rhino,” Sabine added. “They have a check list in the app of what they need to do at each store, so no one’s forgetting anything. Everything’s at their fingertips, because all the call cards and documents are in the app. It’s especially helpful that they can email documents like catalogues and order forms to stores straight from the app, if they don’t have paper copies with them. Everything our reps need to do their job effectively and tidily is in the palm of their hands thanks to Rhino.”

Rhino's Call Card function keeps reps up to date with customer information.Rhino’s Call Card function keeps reps up to date with customer information.

In addition to digital document support, Sabine also praised the photo module, which allows direct visual feedback from reps.

“The photo module has been fantastic. If our reps do a display or anything in store, they can take a photo and log it directly alongside the customer and call files. And then reps can look back at those photos and see how displays have been set up, which is especially helpful when taking over an account. They can see what’s working with each display, and if they see something from the competition in stores then they can take a photo and save that as inspiration or as something we need to strive to do better than.”

“We have another module that allows us to list our products, and reps can check through those products while visiting a store. So we can see where we’ve got products distributed, what sort of stock levels the stores have.”

“Rhino has the option to basically track the reps, but we chose not to use that because just the paper trail alone creates a lot of accountability,” Sabine explained. “Our reps are logging the calls and getting every detail of our customer interactions. Plus, because Rhino supports push notifications, we can flick our reps a message if we need to and they can see a notification from us instantaneously.”

“To be honest, even just the basic functions of Rhino are incredible. The customer details are always up to date and the call cards mean we always know exactly what’s happened in the stores.”

A strategic partnership like no other

Sabine spoke about the lasting, positive relationship Weleda enjoys with ForteIS.

“They are so responsive, supportive – they’re just amazing. I can only highly recommend them. Every time I’ve had anything I need, they’ve been quick to come back with a solution. They’re always happy to provide additional training when we bring in new reps. They really bend over backwards to support you and your business.

Since 2017, Weleda has enjoyed the undeniable benefits of enhanced accountability, visibility and organisation granted by Rhino. Would you like to empower your sales team to achieve more in every day? Reach out to Forte IS to book a free demo today.

Find out how Rhino charges through the nonsense of CRM.

How Rhino’s ease of use helps Spirits Platform grow


Spirits Platform was created in August 2015 by its senior management team alongside brand partners Remy Cointreau and Zamora.

Since its inception, Spirits Platform has been supported by the strength and resilience of Rhino, the simple CRM system by ForteIS. We sat down with Ben Inglis, National Sales Manager, and Marie-Claire Piga, Director of HR, Finance and Operations, at Spirits Platform to discuss how Rhino has supported their business over the last five years.

Moving up in the CRM world

We’ve been able to build strong KPIs in Rhino, which will ultimately result in increased sales.

“Spirits Platform was really born from the ashes of Suntory Australia,” Ben explained. “When Suntory Australia closed its doors, the Suntory brands went to Coca-Cola Amatil, but other third party brands needed to find a distributor for the Australian market. That’s really how Spirits Platform came about – those of us left from Suntory Australia set the business up and part of that was finding a CRM that we could use.

Prior to Spirits Platform, the sales team used a custom CRM system developed in-house. With the dissolution of the company, the team needed to find a new solution – that’s where Rhino came in.

“Our relationship with Rhino developed over our CRM needs within the new company and coincided with ForteIS having a platform specific to the liquor industry ready for us to use,” Marie-Claire recounted.

“What we found,” added Ben, “was that Rhino’s capability and functionality for the end user was far superior to what we’d experienced previously. Better still, it was all handled externally. As a small business, we didn’t have the manpower to set up an internal CRM, so to go to the market and see Rhino, which was better than what we’d previously developed for ourselves, was fantastic.”

Since the beginning, Rhino has supported Spirits Platform in managing successful customer relationships across the country, providing heightened visibility and easily accessible data for Business Development Managers.

“The biggest benefit is really to our Ambassadors and BDMs,” said Ben. “When they’re working in a customer call, it’s so easy to quickly put their marketing activity into the call card and navigate around what’s happening in the call. For us, the main goal for a CRM is that the sales team are using it and that it’s a genuinely valuable tool for them – and Rhino is exactly that. Because they’re actively using it, and it’s not getting in their way, we’re getting accurate business data all day, every day while our reps get more face time in front of their customers.”

Marie-Claire spoke to the overall business benefits of Rhino: “We’ve been able to build strong KPIs in Rhino, which will ultimately result in increased sales.” Meanwhile, Ben explained that the straightforward back-office portal of Rhino meant that if they needed to do any additional data manipulation, they were able to effortlessly export the required data.

Thanks to constant developments and a strong partnership, Rhino is able to adapt and meet the changing needs of Spirits Platform reps.Thanks to constant developments and a strong partnership, Rhino is able to adapt and meet the changing needs of Spirits Platform reps.

Developing a CRM with their business

While Spirits Platform’s business grows, they’re able to have Rhino grow alongside them to meet their changing needs.

“What I really like about Rhino,” Ben enthused, “is that you get to see how different people choose to use it. That’s led to a number of alterations ForteIS have happily implemented based on how our reps use the system and what we need from them. A lot of the new features we’ve introduced over the years have come directly from the minds of our team, so they’re directly relevant and actually get used.”

Marie-Claire echoed this sentiment, adding: “There is no doubt that the CRM features have improved immensely over the five years, so we are looking at a CRM much different to that initially implemented. This has resulted in greater ease of use which translates into more effective calls and better planning.”

As an example, Spirits Platform were interested in changing the top-level modules that appeared when reps first opened the app to those that were more relevant to the data they wanted to collect. We were happy to make this change quickly.

“We wanted our reps to update their meeting notes more often so we could pull that data at the end of a quarter when we sit down to review their progress, and have an accurate paper trail of how they’ve developed and how they’re tracking on their goals,” Ben explained.

Accurate KPI and meeting notes help Spirits Platform reps have more informed, meaningful performance reviews.Accurate KPI and meeting notes help Spirits Platform reps have more informed, meaningful performance reviews.

Not just a supplier – a partner

Both Ben and Marie-Claire credit the continued excellence of Rhino to their strong relationship with the team at ForteIS.

“We met Sandy and Laura five years ago and the relationship has gone from strength to strength,” Marie-Claire elaborated. “Sandy is incredibly supportive in meeting our changing needs and working with any other business partners within our universe. We cannot fault the relationship that has developed over this time. It’s the sort of relationship that yields great results for all.”

“Sandy and Abdul are fantastic. Abdul’s an absolute machine,” Ben added. “Some things are super easy and Abdul gets it done really quickly – that’s something I really like about our relationship with ForteIS. I don’t have to feel pressured into paying huge amounts of money for a simple change.”

“It’s so important that we’ve got a relationship where we’re always working together to make the system better. If the system’s great then no one’s ever looking to move. And if you’ve got someone helping you achieve that as best they can, you’re only ever going to both succeed.”

Over the years, the dedication and collaboration between ForteIS and Spirits Platform has led to the creation of a highly tailored, successful CRM system that delivers real results to the business. If you’d like to learn more about how Rhino can transform your customer relationship management, reach out to ForteIS today to book a free demo.

Find out how Rhino charges through the nonsense of CRM.

How Rhino brings immediate benefits to Brooks Australia


Brooks Australia is a family owned Australian business with a key focus on delivering fire protection systems for domestic and commercial applications, ultimately striving to protect families and businesses alike. With a history dating back to 1959, Brooks Australia has become synonymous with quality fire protection across the country.

In May 2019, Brooks Australia adopted ForteIS’ CRM system, Rhino, to support their sales team and provide greater visibility across the business. We sat down with Shane Sweep, National Sales and Marketing Manager for Australia and New Zealand, to discuss how Rhino is already benefiting the business after only a few months.

Taming the wild with Rhino

“Part of the reason for going to Rhino was that it’s simplistic in its approach,” Shane explained. “We had a CRM in place prior to Rhino, but it wasn’t providing the information we were looking for. We wanted dashboard data and more visibility of call records, provided in a way that was easy to both use and view.”

“I’d used Rhino in a previous business, so I was already aware just how straightforward and user-friendly it is. Having dealt with ForteIS in the past, I also knew that they’re always helpful in the rare instance of an issue. They’ve also been very flexible with the development of our CRM package to suit our needs.”

“It’s giving us a better opportunity to manage the business and see what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, which is huge. It means we can confidently inform plans to change how we’re approaching the market.”

With Rhino, Brooks Australia sales people are able to enter and access data much more easily.With Rhino, Brooks Australia sales people are able to enter and access data much more easily.

Key features of Rhino

Shane spoke about a number of key features of Rhino that were of particular use to his team. Among these features were the dashboard view, simplistic reporting, call cards and journey planning.

“The journey planner really allows for better organisation and time management,” said Shane. “Meanwhile because Rhino is so easy to use, the call cards get updated regularly. That means it’s easier to access customer data and our reps get improved information recollection to help with customer development and follow up. It’s so easy for our reps to access the information they need, when they need it, so all our customer interactions are heightened.”

“From a management point of view, the dashboards are extremely valuable, and the smart reporting functions mean we have the ability to drill down into key areas of business planning.”

While the relationship is still young, Brooks Australia is already seeing benefits to the wider business. For more information about how Rhino can bring the same excellence to your sales team, reach out for a free demo today.

Find out how Rhino charges through the nonsense of CRM.

Rhino and Coopers Premium Beverages: A partnership built on understanding


In the earliest days of ForteIS, Premium Beverages came to us with a problem. They needed a digital customer relationship management solution that provided all the tools their sales representatives need, without the heavy complications of big name CRMs. From this relationship, the first iteration of our Rhino CRM system was born – and to this day, 7 years later, Coopers Premium Beverages and ForteIS continue to work closely together to produce a constantly adapting user-friendly program.

We sat down with Trish Hardy, Sales Support and Administration at Coopers Premium Beverages to discuss how Rhino has empowered their sales reps and supported their business throughout the years.

Creating a purpose-built CRM for the liquor industry

“There was a close relationship between ForteIS and Premium Beverages from the initial development of Rhino,” Trish explained. “We were lucky enough to be able to direct them with regards to what we wanted in it. The first version of Rhino was really built around us and our direction to ensure we got benefits from it.”

“The core of what we wanted was simply an electronic call card that doesn’t snow our reps under. We needed something that helps them plan and really supports them to be efficient. Rhino does exactly that,” she continues.

But the development of Rhino didn’t stop after the first iteration. “ForteIS have been able to adapt and iterate on Rhino as the industry, market and products have changed. They’ve been very, very adaptable to what we want.”

With an intimate understanding of the liquor industry, ForteIS shaped Rhino to suit the way liquor sales reps work.With an intimate understanding of the liquor industry, ForteIS shaped Rhino to suit the way liquor sales teams work.

Empowering salespeople to work independently

“There’s a lot of adaptability about Rhino that we get to pass on to our reps in the form of autonomy,” Trish added. “Rhino lets them plan their journeys each week, and really run their day-to-day activities as if they were operating their own small business. With all sales activity logged into Rhino, we get everything reported back to us automatically so we can provide support as it’s needed.”

In Rhino, sales reps only see a limited view of the accounts they’re actually working on, meaning they can focus directly on their customers. “Our reps only see their universe – they’re not getting bombarded with everything. A NSW sales rep is only seeing his data, his accounts, it’s all really personalised to ensure it’s helping and not hindering our team.”

In particular, Trish sang the praises of two features which support reps in their daily activities: the Journey Planner and the supplementary Territory Performance Plan module.

“The Journey Planner is very good for the reps,” Trish begins. “We have an expectation for their number of calls each week, so with the Journey Planner, our reps can figure out how to set up their week. It gives them a plan for every day, so they know how many calls they have to do and which customers they’ll be talking to.”

“In the back end, we can see where our reps are, how long they’re spending in a call, and if they’re doing the right amount of calls. This isn’t about breathing down their necks, but rather it helps us identify any problems and provide support. Reps can also look at their own reports at the end of each week and reflect on their performance.”

The Rhino Journey Planning feature helps to set sales people up for success every week.The Rhino Journey Planning feature helps to set salespeople up for success every week.

The Territory Performance Plan (TPP) is a module ForteIS developed specifically for Premium Beverages. “We wanted a way to help our reps monitor and reflect on their performance in a really personalised, targeted way,” Trish explained. “So we went to ForteIS and asked them to develop a module.”

With TPP, Coopers Premium Beverages reps get to sit down with their state manager and work out where they are and what they want to achieve. Those goals are then loaded into Rhino, with every rep having a specific growth objective for each of their accounts. So, as reps meet their objectives over a six month period, they can take photos to track progress and monitor their objectives as they work towards them.

“Our reps get to see their progress and Rhino reports it back to us automatically,” Trish elaborated. “Thanks to Rhino, our reps are empowered to set their own goals – we don’t provide blanket targets. We can use Rhino to give them the tools and support they need to stay on track with both their own professional development and in meeting the goals of the business.”

“They’ve really taken ownership of it and that in itself has helped to grow business,” Trish added. “I think it’s also made reps more aware – they think a bit more about the minutia, like if a display looks good or if all the pricing is right. It helps them stay on the ball.”

A seamless back-end CRM solution

In addition to simplifying the Coopers Premium Beverages reps’ everyday lives, Rhino has helped to increase visibility across the business with its simple dashboard view and smart reporting functions.

“Reps follow up their customer visits with photos and evidence of how promotions are locked in,” Trish explained. “This gives immediate feedback to our marketing team so we can tailor-make marketing initiatives to unique states and areas. The extra visibility to reps’ every day activities gives us insights that we can use in both sales and marketing. We can send reports to marketing and say “this works here, this doesn’t work there” and they can make more informed decisions based on that.”

Trish also sang the praises of Rhino’s friendly user interface and reporting features. “Reporting is so simplistic, and so easy, especially compared to larger CRMs. This is what we want – something straightforward and easy to use.”

Rhino empowers state managers to support sales reps as and when needed.Rhino empowers state managers to support sales reps as and when needed.

Ongoing support from a dedicated team

“There’ll always be issues with technology, when it changes and people have to adapt,” Trish began. “But our reps get a straight line to ForteIS and that means they get support when and where they need it.”

“They use an online support system so we can see where jobs are at and get live updates. Once an issue is logged, we instantly get an email back saying they’re on to it, and they really do fix problems quickly. What’s more is that they won’t close a job until you’re 100% happy with the result. They show a real dedication to helping our reps and supporting us as a business.”

The team at ForteIS really go above and beyond,” Trish continued. “Our reps are out there to sell beer. They’re usually not aware of all the ins and outs of the technology, but the ForteIS team will take the time to educate our reps about the tech as its needed”

“And they really understand the liquor business. That’s been such a big thing to come out of our partnership, working with us, they really do know what the liquor industry needs and they design their software around that. They’re constantly looking for new ways to make it easier for the guys to use the tablets.”

ForteIS and Coopers Premium Beverage have a lasting relationship built on mutual understanding of the liquor industry and the intrinsic needs of salespeople. Through our partnership, we’ve been able to grow Rhino into a powerful tool purpose-built for the liquor industry, and just as well-suited for a myriad of other verticals.

To learn more about how Rhino can elevate your sales team performance and visibility, reach out to Forte IS to book a free demo today.

Find out how Rhino charges through the nonsense of CRM.

How Rhino elevated DeBortoli Wines’ sales and systems


The DeBortoli Wines story began over 90 years ago, from humble beginnings making small amounts of dry table wine to worldwide critical acclaim. Over the years, they’ve experienced international success with Noble One, and developed a strong national distribution with the support of warehouse, logistics and Account Managers across Australia and beyond.

With continual success and growth, however, came the dilemma of outgrowing systems. Fortunately, the team at DeBortoli Wines discovered Rhino and they now embrace the customer relationship management (CRM) system to break down silos, support their sales team and create a database of information they never had before.

We sat down with IT Manager Bill Robertson and Business Analyst Janine Harper to talk about how Rhino has enhanced their organisation.

Moving on up to Rhino

Before turning to Rhino, DeBortoli Wines used a combination of in-house systems for over five years. “Our original system was focused on sales force automation but we really needed it to grow into full CRM,” Janine explained.

“All options were considered, from redeveloping the existing system to going to market, with the redevelopment option abandoned due to the time required and the scope of requirements.” Bill commented. “In the end, a range of options were reviewed with our Sales Advisory Committee, with Rhino winning out for a variety of reasons.”

Not the least of those was Forte IS’ familiarity with the liquor industry vertical. Though extremely flexible and now used within many sectors, Rhino was originally developed to address the unique needs of the liquor industry.

“The Forte IS team have a strong understanding of the liquor industry, and have been very flexible working with us to adapt the system to our needs. We’ve found them to be good partners to work with,” said Bill.

From vine to table, DeBortoli is bringing viticultural excellence to all of Australia with the help of Rhino.From vine to table, DeBortoli is bringing viticultural excellence to all of Australia with the help of Rhino.

“Another of the main reasons was that Rhino promised full API integration and they worked with us to get it all set up,” Janine added.

Not all CRM solutions have APIs readily available, and the team here at Forte IS were in a position to develop an effective API that allowed for strong integration with DeBortoli Wines’ back end enterprise systems.

“This was particularly valuable for us because we didn’t want to double handle data. If you don’t have that integration you run the risk of double maintenance of all your customer masters,” Bill explained. “You don’t want to have to maintain a customer database in your corporate systems and your CRM, so the integration was crucial and the API was critical to that.”

How Rhino has enhanced DeBortoli Wines’ business

Bill and Janine break down the many benefits they’ve seen from working with Rhino into three main areas: Visibility, Ease of Use and Flexibility.

1. Visibility

“Being able to collect and analyse data that’s come directly from the trade has been a big plus,” Janine observed. “Before, a lot of our customer information was entered manually and held in spreadsheets that weren’t accessible to everybody. We couldn’t analyse and report on them as well as we can now.

“So, it’s provided visibility for the whole business as to how our customer relationships are going.

“Rhino has provided the platform for us to grow our areas in front-end trade. We’re able to manage areas better in the sense of supporting sales managers, seeing how they’re servicing our customers and what’s required of them. It’s enhanced our ability to capture data as and when it happens, report on it and set up KPIs for our Area Managers to help them manage their customers better.”

Rhino helps DeBortoli Wines' area managers service customers nationwide.Rhino helps DeBortoli Wines’ Area Managers service customers nationwide.

2. Ease of Use

“Rhino’s actually provided our sales team with a tool so they can do their jobs a lot smarter and quicker,” Janine enthused.

“Of course there’s an in-between stage where we’ve got to get certain Area Managers up to speed, but it’s half-and-half. Some took to it like a duck to water and others required more training. Fortunately, Forte IS set us up with a train-the-trainer programme so we were prepared to assist our team” Janine said.

“Something that we noticed in early selection, and was supported by feedback from our staff later, was that Rhino is quite a lot easier to use than a number of other CRMs, in terms of the Area Managers’ workflow,” Bill added. “There’s also an app as well as the online version, and the app was quite handy because our Area Managers aren’t always able to have constant connectivity. So, being able to run in offline mode and synchronise as soon as a connection is available is actually quite an important practical consideration.”

3. Flexibility

“What’s been so fantastic about Rhino is that we could hit the ground running.”

“For us, the team at Forte IS are partners rather than just suppliers. They understand our business and our challenges better than we expected, so we can have more effective dialogue,” Bill explained.

“They’re a bit of a Goldilocks organisation in size, really. If you’re dealing with a major international company, it’s hard to get a voice in and get them to consider the things you might need to make a solution effective for you. But if you’re working with a micro company or building in house, there’s always going to be a shortage of ideas or resources to develop the application effectively. Forte IS are big enough to do a great job but small enough to be flexible and work with as a partner.”

Janine echoed these points, and added: “What’s been so fantastic about Rhino is that we could hit the ground running. By using Rhino, we managed to put in a brand new system, integrate with our existing ERP software in a short amount of time and get our Area Managers out there using it quickly.

Our Area Managers are using Rhino and we’ve got a full database of information now that we never had before. It all went smoothly, we’ve introduced a number of new processes on both sides, and within a year we had everyone up and running on the system.”

Are you ready to leverage the same practical benefits that have enabled total customer and sales team visibility for DeBortoli Wines? Reach out to Forte IS to book a free demo today.

4 powerful business benefits of a simple CRM system

Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy needs to be underpinned by an appropriate system – and one that your sales team feels comfortable using in their daily role.

There's a lot of sense in opting for an easy-to-use CRM to increase buy-in from users and get the best results for your business. What other key benefits can be gained from a simple CRM system?

1. Improved transparency

Leave the age-old problem of knowledge sharing where it belongs – in the past. 

A simple CRM system breaks information silos.

The best sales people aren't just great at delivering a pitch – they understand your customers. So well, in fact, they can anticipate your customers' needs to identify what to sell, when, and how. They learn your clients' businesses inside and out to offer a genuinely helpful, positive customer experience.

That's a lot of value in one person's head.

All that value represents risk. What if your best salesperson were to get sick, go on holiday or worse, leave? Your customer relationship can't simply go on hold – you need their knowledge to keep your business running. That's where a CRM comes in.

Contact management is among the most common use cases for CRM system. Used properly, a contact management CRM means there's always an accessible database of customer information that anyone on your sales team can make use of. This breaks information silos, overcoming the risk of difficult transition periods when a new salesperson takes over an account.

2. Mobile field teams

In practice, the transparency granted by a CRM system means your sales people will always have an answer for your customers, no matter where they are. Cloud-based CRM systems allow for constant updates, enabling real-time movement of information between different sales people. Offline functionality also means that information can be stored on your sales peoples' devices for easy reference on remote business sites.

Some CRMs, such as Rhino by Forte IS, include straightforward messaging functions, empowering back office staff with a fast and direct way to communicate with sales people in the field. A message can be sent straight to any salesperson's device via push notification.

A simple CRM empowers your sales people to have more meaningful conversations.A simple CRM empowers your sales people to have more meaningful conversations.

3. Healthier customer relationships

Automated CRM functions allow your sales people to stay aware of the most important opportunities to your business. 

You might know a customer like this: They're low-touch, never asking for much and seemingly content with their current service. It's entirely possible for your sales people to neglect this relationship, as there's little pressure to do otherwise. 

But situations can change for your customers overnight – and they won't necessarily tell you as much without you asking. That's why call cycles and gap analysis reports are vital for ensuring customers are called on regularly and positive customer relationships are maintained. Regular check-ins mean your sales people can stay on top of how your customers' business needs are changing. In turn, they can identify opportunities to adapt the service or product package customers are currently receiving to better suit their needs – cementing your business as a trusted strategic partner.

4. Clear, actionable data

Lastly, a CRM system is a powerhouse of information about your customers and sales strategies. 

Every point of contact within a customer account should be recorded in your CRM system, building a vast database of customer communications and sales history. With Rhino, this bank of knowledge can then be presented in a number of off-the-shelf or custom reports, or exported as a .csv file for even further manipulation. 

Smart business reporting lets you look past your sales numbers and see the bigger picture of your company's performance and identify areas for improvement.

Your CRM system should simplify your sales process, not complicate it. For a CRM that puts your business needs first, request a free demo of Rhino today.

What are the most critical features of a CRM?


By now, you probably know your business needs a powerful CRM system to help you manage contacts and accounts. Choosing the right CRM system is the next step.

In a market so saturated with convoluted solutions, it can be hard to understand exactly what features you need to ensure your chosen CRM delivers great uptake rates and improved customer relationships.

In this article, we break down the most important features to look for in a CRM system.

1. Basic CRM features

There are a few basic things every CRM system should be capable of handling to be considered a functional tool. Core CRM features include:

  • Contact management: Building a searchable, organised database of customer information.
  • Call planning: Enabling smarter, more centralised call planning to ensure time is optimised, territories are serviced and customer relationships are nurtured.
  • Simple reporting: Creating visibility and insight into customer health and sales team performance.

These key features enable your team to work digitally within parameters of a single cloud-based data repository for all of your customer information.

Woman using a CRM system on her tablet, calling a customer and smiling.The right CRM allows your sales people to plan and execute meaningful business calls.

2. Ease of use

We’ve written at length about the importance of user friendliness in CRM systems in our blog post ‘7 reasons to adopt a user-friendly CRM system‘. Nonetheless, it bears repeating. If there’s one thing to take away, it’s this: nearly three-quarters of experienced senior executives surveyed would trade CRM functionality for ease of use, reports industry observer Niall Byrne.

3. Integration

Integration is crucial to ensure your CRM fits into your wider technology suite. Unless you plan to hinge your entire digital strategy around your chosen CRM, it’s important to check the system is capable of integrating with your existing (or future) enterprise resource planning (ERP) software or digital systems. Powerful CRM systems should connect with an API to allow for real-time integration, supporting the ease of use and reducing administrative load on your sales team and managers. Alternatively, depending on your existing systems, data transfer via FTP server should also be an option for your chosen CRM.

4. Automated and customisable reporting

While reporting is a basic CRM feature, it should be flexible. No two businesses are the same, so you need to have the freedom to manipulate data to gain insights uniquely critical to your business.

Customisable reporting allows you to segment your reports according to demographic and industry, customer health, value, sales period and other key dimensions needed to inform your business decisions and sales strategy.

Flexible CRM reporting ensures you can gain insights relevant to you.Get more relevant insights with customisable CRM reports.

5. Remote access

Our lives are spent on-the-go, doubly so for busy sales people who attend frequent face-to-face meetings. For this reason, “cloud-based” has moved beyond being a buzzword to an expectation. Sales people must be able to access CRM data from any internet-enabled device, so the information critical to their next meeting is available when and where they need it.

That said, some meetings may take place away from areas with mobile data coverage. In these instances, it’s important your sales people can still access and update customer information. Ideally, your CRM should be capable of hosting information locally and automatically backing up to the cloud upon reaching a connection.

6. Security

With cloud hosting can come security concerns. You need your CRM to promise rigid and secure hosting services to protect against cyber attacks or accidental breaches. Look for a CRM tool with customisable user access privileges to allow for careful management of sensitive data.

For a CRM that offers everything you need with none of the hoopla, turn to Rhino by Forte IS. Book a demo today to find out more.

Customer relationship management just got simpler. Find out how Rhino chargers through the nonsense of CRM.

How to choose the best CRM for your business


The right CRM is an incredible tool that amplifies your sales team’s performance like never before. When a CRM system fits your business perfectly, the results are amazing. Innoppl Technologies reports that a strong CRM system leads to a 43 per cent boost in sales quotas, while Trackvia and Capterra also claim it can generate a 41 per cent revenue increase and improves customer satisfaction and retention by 47 per cent respectively.

However, without asking the right questions you might find your choice of CRM becomes more of a hindrance than a help. What questions do you need to be asking to find the right CRM for your business?

1. Who are you?

The CRM you choose should reflect who you are as a business.

First consider how many salespeople will be using your CRM. This affects how the CRM will fit into your budget in terms of per-user fees and training, as well as how user-friendly you’ll need your system to be. The more people using any software, the more opportunity there is for something to awry, so simplicity is key.

Meanwhile, your ultimate goal is most likely to grow your business. With that growth, you’ll be hiring additional salespeople and need to ensure the CRM you choose is able to scale up with you and accommodate a higher volume of users without breaking the bank. Training and ongoing support from your CRM provider can help to ensure your staff are confident in using the CRM and promote greater ROI.

You might also like to request a demo of a CRM that interests you to ensure the system supports your business.

Your CRM system should match who you are as a business.Your CRM system should match who you are as a business both now and in the future.

2. What are your CRM goals?

Next, consider what you want out of your CRM in the short-term. Before business growth, you probably have certain ideas about how your CRM system should affect the day-to-day operations of your team.

Enhancing the customer experience is a major function of CRM as both a system and an ethos, but what does that look like in your business? It might be better organisation among salespeople, simpler contact management and call cycle establishment, or boosted transparency of sales team performance. Once you know what you’d like your CRM to achieve, you can start to look at the key features of systems on the market and find the right match. Be wary of CRMs that do far more than you need, as these can often incur completely unnecessary expenses and affect user uptake.

3. What are your sales team’s biggest roadblocks?

A CRM system needs to make life easier for your sales team, not create additional admin.

A CRM system needs to make life easier for your sales team, not create a Big Brother effect or additional admin. When selecting a CRM, it’s important you talk directly to your team about what is getting in their way. For some, this may be trouble juggling multiple contacts and remembering key dates or deadlines. Others may feel they don’t have time to focus on the customer when concerned about their own reporting.

You want your CRM system to simplify every process your sales team has to go through. If it neglects key points in the workflow for your team, it may only serve to amplify frustrations around that particular task, and thereby impact system adoption.

Learn about your team’s workflow and ensure your CRM will enhance all steps in the sales process.

4. How much does the CRM cost?

A CRM is a fantastic investment, generating ROI as great as $5 for every $1 spent, according to research.

Pay attention to the price of the CRMs you’re considering. That 5:1 ROI may sound promising, but it’s not going to apply to every system. If you’re signing a contract for an expensive CRM, you may just find yourself wasting cash if it turns out to be more than you needed.

Likewise, always question a free or very cheap CRM. Odds are, these will only feature the lowest functionality of more high-performing systems and will frustrate your team. There are also often hidden costs that arise for add-ons like running reports and extracting your own data.

Straight-forward, powerful and supported by a dedicated team - a CRM should be an asset to your team.Straight-forward, powerful and supported by a dedicated team – a CRM should be an asset to your business.

5. How easy is it to use?

InsideCRM data has shown that ease-of-use is the most in-demand feature for a CRM system. There are a number of factors that create a user-friendly experience in a CRM, including:

  • Mobile access,
  • Automated reporting,
  • Approachable graphic user interface,
  • And more!

We could go on about the importance of simplicity in your chosen CRM – and we have. Read our article, “7 reasons to adopt a user-friendly CRM system” for more on this subject.

6. How much support comes with it?

Finally, it always helps to know you’re not alone when handling new software in the company. Choosing a CRM with a local support team means you can access help with just a quick phone-call, email, or even a face-to-face visit from a trusted team member. While many larger CRM businesses have support lines, getting the solution you need right away can be tedious and barred behind excessive processes that only serve to slow you down.

Knowing the people on the other end of the support line makes communication and problem solving that much easier.

The team at ForteIS are available to help you get the most out of Rhino – a CRM that enables your salespeople to focus on what really matters. For more information about our CRM, contact us today.

Find out how Rhino charges through the nonsense of CRM.

7 reasons to adopt a user-friendly CRM system


If you’re thinking about adopting a CRM for your business, we reckon that’s a pretty smart idea.

A CRM system is a flexible piece of software underpinning customer relationship management practices. With the right CRM system in place, your salespeople can more easily plan calls, collate and access client information on the go, and generate sophisticated reports.

The problem is, there are so many sales CRM systems out there that it can be hard to figure out which is the best option for your business. Do you prioritise price? Popularity? Functionality? No matter the sector you work in, your top priority should be user-friendliness

Let us tell you why!

Data from InsideCRM shows that ease of use is the most desirable CRM benefit. That alone should be enough of an incentive to opt for a simple CRM system. After all, appealing to the desires of the people who will use the system every day should be paramount.

1. Your salespeople want a user-friendly CRM

“What about functionality?” you might ask. Well, 72 per cent of experienced senior executives would trade CRM functionality for ease of use, according to a survey reported by Niall Byrne.

2. You need buy-in from your salespeople to see return on investment (ROI)

On that note, it’s vital you’re meeting the needs of your salespeople – every dollar spent by your business must count for something.

Choosing a sales CRM that is difficult to use is a fast way to lose money, as your staff may quickly reject the software or find that trying to use it only slows them down. Without sufficient uptake, it’s impossible for your business to see significant ROI from a CRM.

Prioritise user-friendliness when choosing a CRM.A user-friendly CRM lets your best salespeople focus on growing your business.

3. Your CRM should exist to make life simpler, not complicate it further

Let’s think about what a sales CRM is really for. Yes, it can help you store customer information, keep communication records up-to-date and plan calls – but the whole purpose underpinning these functions is simplified processes. Without the streamlined workflow that the right sales CRM can offer, records can become lost, miscommunication becomes a real threat and maximising face-time with your customers takes that much longer to plan for.

For your CRM to be effective, it has to succeed at making menial administration tasks quick and easy. This means it must be user-friendly, not a confusing distraction to your best salespeople.

4. Your new staff need to hit the ground running

Similarly, onboarding processes are difficult enough as is. You spend countless hours and dollars trying to find the best salespeople for your business and you need them to be productive as soon as possible. Effective onboarding is critical to reducing the time-to-productivity of new recruits, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

A CRM system alone cannot (and should not) play the role of an effective onboarding process, however the relative user-friendliness of your staff’s tools should be considered here. When a CRM system features intuitive design and a comfortable user experience, your newest team member can pick up the workflow more easily than otherwise.

5. Your salespeople need access on-the-go

It’s rare for salespeople to spend more than a day at their desks. Your team is out and about, making the most of valuable face-time with your customers. This means they need access to your CRM system no matter where they are. A user-friendly CRM should be accessible on any device, in any location.

For example, Rhino by ForteIS is available as a CRM with online and offline functionality. The system can be accessed on any device with an internet connection for live updates and seamless data integration while on-the-go. The local version requires an Android tablet that stores information locally and can be accessed without a live connection. It’s not uncommon for salespeople to slip out of internet service areas, particularly if you’re visiting customers in rural areas or using a device that isn’t enabled for mobile data. So, an offline version with local storage is also available that can communicate with the online system when connected to the internet and ensure your sales team have what they need, when they need it, making it all the more easy to use.

Your salespeople can perform their best anywhere in the field with a user-friendly CRM.With a user-friendly mobile CRM, your sales team can access the information they need, when they need it.

6. Your business relationships matter most

The conversations your sales team have are so crucial to the wellbeing of your business. It’s absolutely vital that they are able to give your customers the face-time and attention they deserve, to make them feel valued, respected and comfortable in the partnership.

CRM technology should support your team in making these conversations count, without becoming a transactional database or determining the language they use. No customer wants to be called a lead, prospect or contact, and many complex CRMs can cause your salespeople to start thinking of customers in this way. In turn, that can begin to seep out into communication and remove the human aspect that makes effective salespeople so compelling.

Your chosen CRM system should be simple and stripped back in order to support your salespeople without being overbearing and dictating the tone of their customer relationships.

7. Your salespeople need to spend less time creating reports

Lastly, you need real insights that only effective reporting can bring. However, creating reports is another activity that may not directly help your team make sales. So it’s better if your salespeople aren’t spending too much time building activity reports at the end of the week.

The right CRM for your business should eliminate the need for manual reporting, and ensure that generating automated reports doesn’t become a confusing or overwhelming task. A sales CRM such as Rhino can produce effective activity and exception reports with minimal effort, based on the data entered throughout the week.

A CRM system has the power to see your sales team perform like never before, but the wrong one can be a serious detractor. Talk to ForteIS about Rhino today, a simple CRM that enables greatness.

Find out how Rhino charges through the nonsense of CRM.