The Company: About iQ Fuel
For Thomas Johansson, CEO of functional sports drink startup iQ Fuel, speed and impact are how the success of his company is measured. Talking from his home in Stockholm, Johansson describes how iQ Fuel has “exploded” onto the crowded energy drinks market in Sweden.
“What we are doing at iQ Fuel is bringing a new, healthier category of functional drink to the market, one without caffeine, without taurine, without sugar — without all the negative health effects usually associated with energy drinks.”
It is a bold and worthy mission, although the odds of success are stacked against any startup. But what Johansson and his team realized when they embarked on this venture less than a year ago was that they could shorten those odds dramatically by building their business model around the right technology.
The Situation: Better Decision-making
“Everything has happened so fast,” says Johansson, reflecting on the development of the company. “And when things go that fast, it is crucial that you have the right technology behind you.”
iQ Fuel’s disruptive, fast-moving business model relies heavily on its dedicated field sales teams who travel around Sweden having conversations with stakeholders interested in stocking and selling their drinks.
“When you work like we do, you need a system to connect everybody,” says Johansson. “Like an umbrella.”
The Solution: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central
Critical to the success of this infrastructure is the cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP system and the Dynamics 365 Sales Professional CRM system it integrates with, which has been implemented with the additional support of Swedish Microsoft partner NAB Solutions.
The integrated ERP and CRM system helps iQ Fuel manage their core business processes such as finances, HR, and supply chain. “It allows us to harness data from multiple sources across the business,” says Johansson. “So we have insight into everything from the number of drinks we’ve sold through specific resellers, to the number of customers that visit particular stores.
“We now have the full overview of our business,” he adds. “From activities of the sales team to the details of our resellers and stores— day by day, hour by hour. And we have control over it at every moment we need it.
“Ultimately, it helps us make better decisions,” he concludes.
The Results: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Implementation
The impact of the solution has been immediate since it has gone live, with a 20 percent increase in sales meetings, orders up by 15 percent, and sales boosted by 10 percent.
“The technology has given us a more professional appearance to our customers,” says Johansson.
“With Power BI drawing from the data contained in our Business Central and Sales Professional solutions, we can instantly paint them a picture of the success of the company — the profit margins and numbers of customers who buy our products. They’re not used to the data visualizations you can achieve with Power BI, so they really love it when they can see an overview of everything we do during our sales meetings.”
But the benefits of the technology have gone beyond simply making the company more successful with their sales targets. It has also enabled the company to become more efficient — and attractive to the best sellers.
“With the Business Applications system, our sellers save significant time, as they don’t need to switch between applications,” says Johansson. “They have everything they need at their fingertips when they’re traveling, which definitely makes us a more attractive company to work for.
“It used to take our sales reps an hour and a half to write down what they had done on every visit,” he adds. “Now they can record and share everything instantly using Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Teams. They can plan better, and when they’re with the stores, the information reaches us in the office in real-time with this system.