THE COMPANY: Diana's Bananas
Industry: Food and Distribution
Company Size: 31 Employees
Prophet CRM User Since: 2010
America is a great country. Where else can you take a stick, a banana, some chocolate, and create not just a business—but a business that has grown every year for the last 15 years? Welcome to home-grown, Chicago-based Diana’s bananas; a company that now distributes their fun, unique, and delicious frozen confections all over the United States.
Of course, the recipe for success is not quite that simple. According to co-founder and owner Bob Carmody, the company’s success comes from their commitment to making the world’s BEST frozen, chocolate dipped bananas. To realize this goal requires an uncompromising mindset. Although the milk and dark chocolates used in the process are made from only the finest bar chocolate, it is the company’s excruciating standards surrounding banana selection and processing that sets Diana’s Bananas apart. Rigorously selected for size, shape, color, flavor, and texture, once the bananas are chosen they are peeled and flash-frozen in the jungles of Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Mexico to lock in their taste.
It’s not just a commitment to quality—but also to being the best—that has allowed Diana’s Bananas to grow tenfold in the last 15 years. “When your goal is to be best, decisions are easy,” Bob explains. “You just go with what will produce the best product. All other options fall off the table.”
Bob’s commitment to being the best doesn’t stop at his product. To grow a niche business in the mature and crowded confections market, being the best has to be a part of everything Bob’s small company does. In 2010, Bob realized his growing business needed a high quality process to manage his growing network of brokers and retailers. Since Diana’s Bananas are distributed through multiple independent brokers, who in turn sell to the large grocery retail chains like Kroger, Bob needed a tool that tracked broker-retailer relationships to make certain that what he agreed to with brokers was being properly executed among the retailers. After all, what good is putting together a great promotion if the broker forgets to place their orders and the retailers run out of product on the first day?
Enter Prophet CRM. Bob was intrigued with Prophet from the outset because of its unique embedded relationship with Microsoft Outlook. Bob looked at other CRM solutions including SalesForce and Goldmine, but realized that having a CRM system within a program he was already using and familiar with offered a unique value proposition. Today, Bob uses Prophet CRM to manage all of his broker relationships and promotions.
Promotions are entered into Prophet Opportunity manager, allowing Bob to track key information and dates, including the associated broker. Using Prophet CRM’s Excel-like “GridView” and “Next Step Date” features, Bob is able to efficiently follow up on broker commitments well in advance to make certain the brokers are doing their part as promised. “I call these my loose shoelace reports,” Bob explains. “I follow up with my brokers to make certain they execute per our agreement. Prophet tracks what I need to follow up on and when I need to follow up well in advance. This way, if the shoelace is loose, there is ample time to correct the situation. What I want to avoid is brokers missing deadlines and tripping over a loose shoelace and ending up with a broken leg, which obviously hurts us as well.”
Bob also uses the information he tracks in Prophet CRM for quarterly reviews with his brokers. In preparation for these meetings, Bob sends each broker the list of promotions and other information associated with their account. This creates a strong foundation for discussion and accountability during the meetings.
“I would be insane without Prophet,” Bob declares. “Prophet gives me the ability to watch all opportunities. It allows me to know I have a handle on my business in a simple and efficient way as I could ever imagine. It allows me to grow with more complexities without having to add administrative overhead to my company.”