Parlor Skis is a Boston-based custom ski manufacturer founded by three young entrepreneurs who share an affinity for building products and a passion for skiing. An unfunded startup, the company has a niche market in the New England ski community. Early on they realized the need for a solution to help grow their fledgling business. They adopted HubSpot CRM in January 2015 to solve the growing pains of a young company looking to scale its business quickly. They found a solution within HubSpot to manage both their sales cycle and ski production system, and have since quadrupled production within one year.
increase in sales 2014/15 ski season
increase in leads
At Parlor Skis, our designs are inspired by how we ski. We believe there's always a better turn and a more perfect run down the mountain. When we design a ski, we think about what terrain it will open up and what turns we can make. We make skis that are fun to ski on and adapt to changing conditions. All friends from college, we leverage a lifetime of racing, training, and enjoying the woods to know what makes a great ski; and we combine backgrounds in building and design to create them. We build skis entirely by hand from the highest quality products. We incorporate the latest trends in ski design, with a keen eye towards the history of the sport, to craft a product and experience to enjoy.
Parlor co-founders Mark Wallace, Jason Epstein, and Pete Endres met at Williams College and ski raced together on the NCAA eastern circuit. Each has skied since they could walk, beginning as little bombers at their local ski clubs. After college, while Mark was chasing the dream as a competitive international racer, Pete and Jason began “real world” careers in renewable energy and real estate development, respectively.
All three men share an affinity for building things, and of course a passion for skiing and a deep love for the sport. With experience, knowledge, passion, a vision for the perfect quiver, and an old funeral parlor to bring ideas to life, Parlor Skis was born.
Starting out as a young startup, a lot of growth at Parlor Skis had mainly been due to grass-roots marketing efforts. The New England ski community is tight knit, so a lot of new business came from word of mouth recommendations and client referrals. When new leads and customers engaged with Parlor Skis, either on the phone or via their website, the entire client relationship had been managed through gmail and excel. "That system quickly became both cumbersome and time-consuming," said Jason Epstein, Co-Founder of Parlor Skis.
As their client base grew and the number of variables involved in creating custom skis got more complex, the trio at Parlor Skis realized they needed a more systemactic, scalable solution if they were going to reach their sales goals. They soon were turned on to HubSpot CRM and decided to give it a shot.
"Finding a solution with HubSpot has been great," explains Pete Endres, Co-Founder, "HubSpot CRM integrates both manufacturing and customer relationships which was very important because the line between when manufacturing starts and when customer contact stops had been very blurry for us."
Using HubSpot CRM, a lead is generated when a visitor on their site completes a "skier profile," which asks for their email in addition to general skier information such as, "What is your home mountain?" and "How do you like to ski?". Now, all of Parlor Ski's contacts are in one centralized, customizable database instead of the former combination of spreadsheets, memory and sticky-notes.
Once the lead is created, a task is automatically sent to Pete and Mark notifying them that a new lead had been assigned. Several of the fields on a lead's contact record are custom fields that provide production staff all the information needed in order to build the custom skis.
After speaking with the client, Pete or Mark then use the Deals app in the CRM to begin processing the order. They are able to easily drag deals from stage to stage as they progress through the pipeline.
A unique way Parlor Skis is using HubSpot CRM is as a part of their physical manufacturing process. As soon as the customer's payment has been processed, their order becomes a ticket that is printed out in their local shop. The ticket outlines everything in the deal including specific graphics, length and customizations of the skis to be built. The ticket follows the skis around the shop as they are built, ensuring the production staff can follow the order correctly the entire way through the production process.
"We have many details to manage on any particular order. HubSpot CRM allows us to track every detail of an order and help us deliver a high-quality product that our customers expect," shares Pete.
HubSpot CRM not only has improved the way Parlor Skis is able to process and manufacture, it also has improved their overall sales aptitude. Before HubSpot, the team was using excel and gmail to record, track and manage their sales process. They were wasting valuable time having to input and track information manually.
Now they are immensly more efficient by having one centralized hub for all customer contacts. HubSpot CRM works in the background to track and analyze all their communication efforts with clients. Every time a lead or client is in contact with their company, it's recorded and tracked through the CRM's Timeline feature.
A key example of this is when Pete takes an incoming call directly from a client, which happens daily. Pete may know that they've had a conversation or even demo in the past, but uses HubSpot CRM to quickly pull up the contact's timeline record and see all of their activity and skiier information. "All of these things help me tailor that customer conversation," says Pete. With specific client information and history at his fingertips, Pete's sales calls are more effective by allowing him to have a much more focused and productive conversation.
Another benefit Parlor Skis has received from using HubSpot CRM is a notable reduction in lead loss. Prior to HubSpot, it wasn't uncommon for leads to slip through the cracks or go dark during their long customer acquisition life cycle. "There are a lot of sniff testers out there," says Mark, "a lot of folks would demo skis and then go completely dark on us, which was frustrating."
Now the trio is able to easily stay on top of hot leads and move them through the sales process. The CRM allows them to schedule a reminder activity after a set period of time after a sales call has been logged automatically.
In addition, because of custom field configurations they're able to easily segment contacts according to important stages in the customer lifecycle. For example, they can pull a single list of prospects who have demo'd skis and send them specific content or offers that are most relative to someone who has already tested out a pair of their skis. Mark explains, "this is functionality that we never had before and allows us to have much better targeted messages and ski offers that have helped create and close more deals."
Now the Parlor Skis is experience growth and success using HubSpot CRM, they're planning to expand both their staff and business. In terms of staff, they are planning to hire someone to use Hubspot extensively for their sales efforts. They also have "ambassador" positions which are folks who represent their brand at various ski resorts, these people will also integrate into Hubspot.
As far as HubSpot product adoption is concerned, they definitely plan to look into the inbound marketing platform. Mark shares, "as with any small company, we have to be wise about how we spend money. But based on how the CRM has helped us we're pretty well convinced Hubspot's other tools could really help us grow, and we plan on looking into this in the coming months."
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