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.