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At the end of the day, we foster relationships. With FreeAgent, we’re providing more value to our customers, better relationships, and we know that will translate to business.”

Cheese Guys FreeAgent Case Study Works Better

Cheese Guys

BRIGHTON, MI

Industry

Food Products

Favorite Feature

Activity Timeline

Impact

Instant visibility of customer touchpoints

Centralized data ➡ Decreased meeting prep time

Provide more value to customers

  Rapid reporting

To brie or not to brie

The story of the Cheese Guys begins nearly 70 years ago when a savvy mushroom and olive importer realized that the restaurants he was selling to were using a lot more cheese than they were mushrooms and olives. Where some would see defeat, the founder saw opportunity. With the help of his son, they would go on to establish the Cheese Guys- North America’s preeminent experts in cheese.

The Cheese Guys mission is to educate, demonstrate and communicate all things cheese. Their team of experts is spread across the country from coast to coast, providing industry insights into trends, cooking techniques, business strategies, and more. They work with salespeople, restaurateurs, educators, and cheese producers to offer guidance and support. If a pizza shop needs advice on how to reduce costs- they can call the Cheese Guys. If a distributor needs guidance on how much inventory to stock- they can call the Cheese Guys. If a salesperson needs help positioning a new product to a client- they can call the Cheese Guys. 

  • Relationship-focused
    Connecting producers, distributors and restauranteurs through expertise
  • Quality-obsessed
    Ensuring the best product and processes available
  • Passionate
    An deep held love for all things cheese         
  • Curious
    Always open to knew flavors and experiences

The company started in the 50s selling olives and mushrooms to restaurants like Pizza Hut and Little Caesars. Our founder quickly realized that these restaurants used a lot more cheese than olives or mushrooms.

At the end of the day, we foster relationships. Even if someone doesn’t want to buy from me, I still want to help and support them in some way.”

FreeAgent CRM Cheese Guys Case Study
FreeAgent CRM Cheese Guys Case Study

Challenges

The Cheese Guys is a partner of Gordon Food Service, and as such, they must develop their business right alongside them. This means, as GFS expands its business from 4 states to more than 30, the Cheese Guys have had to grow to accommodate the change. In just a matter of years, the Cheese Guys have tripled their workforce. As with any company that experiences such growth, the Cheese Guys have found that the systems they were using before weren’t enough to support their growing team.   

At one time, spreadsheets and a dropbox were sufficient to keep track of all the calls and meetings that a Cheese Guy would have in a month. If you needed to go back and find some information from a previous month it took some time but it was manageable. As the team grew, however, the time it took to locate a previous restaurant visit or cheese tasting became more and more burdensome. What’s more, tracking a relationship history was challenging using this method, and sharing important information to support the GFS sales reps was a long process. Add in the need to share information across regions, the turnover of staff over time, and the desire to have more visibility into the overall day-to-day of the business, and it became clear that the Cheese Guys needed something to help.

Initially the reason I chose FreeAgent was the interactions I had with their team. They were outstanding compared to other vendors.

In the last few years, we’ve tripled our workforce! The systems we were using before weren’t enough to support our growing team.
Tracking relationship history was a huge challenge, and sharing important information to support the sales reps took too long.
Add in the need to collaborate across regions and the turnover of staff over time, we were beyond ready for FreeAgent.

When we turned on FreeAgent, we gained instant visibility into the overall day-to-day of our business.”

The Cheese Guys needed to:

  • Centralize their account data
  • Share account data with sales reps
  • Provide their partners with data-based reports 
  • Empower their consultants
  • Nurture long-term customer relationships
  • Reduce the amount of data and processes managed in Excel spreadsheets and Dropbox
  • Eliminate data attrition resulting from turnover 
FreeAgent CRM Cheese Guys Case Study

With FreeAgent, the sales reps have all of the information they need to perform. We used to have to copy and paste it manually from a bunch of spreadsheets.

The Activity Timeline with a full account history has been a huge benefit for our team. The ability to instantly see tracked interactions over time from the beginning of that relationship is a game-changer ensuring proper care and attention is being paid to the right contacts.”

The Solution

The Cheese Guys knew they needed a CRM to help them manage all of their account information. While they aren’t transactional salespeople by trade, they do spend a lot of time fostering and nurturing important relationships with sales reps, restaurants, producers, distributors, and the like. Ensuring that the proper care and attention is being paid to all of these important contacts is vital for their business. 

The Cheese Guys began looking at the usual CRM suspects— Sugar, Zoho, Salesforce- but none of these provided the customer-focused feel that the Cheese Guys were looking for. As a company that makes its living based on developing strong relationships, the Cheese Guys wanted a partner that had the same values. When they discovered the team at FreeAgent CRM, the Cheese Guys were quick to recognize a kindred spirit. Here was a team that wouldn’t hesitate to jump on a call, or even fly out to deliver a training session face-to-face. The care and expertise that made the Cheese Guys so good at what they do was mirrored by FreeAgent in their customer-first approach.

The Impact

  • Data-based reporting for the C-suite
  • Increased visibility across regions
  • Improved collaboration with sales reps
  • Decreased preparation time for consultants
  • Reduced time spent searching for information

While the whole team loved the greater visibility that the FreeAgent platform provided, it was their customers and their partners at Gordon Foods who seemed the most excited for the change. Suddenly, the Cheese Guys had exact numbers in regards to visits, phone calls, meetings, and all manner of touchpoints that a client could want to assess effectiveness and efficiency. This data could be compiled quickly and easily, and it could be presented in sleek and detailed reports that C-Suite executives love. This provided another way for the Cheese Guys to serve their customers better, and for a company that prioritizes their client relationships above all else, this was a valued feature.

The events of recent years have left the food and restaurant industry in a place of recovery, and it will not be an easy road ahead. Now, more than ever, experts like the Cheese Guys will be integral in supporting these businesses by providing the knowledge and expertise that they have developed over decades. FreeAgent is happy to stand alongside them in this endeavor and support them every step of the way. 

The improved visibility that FreeAgent provided the Cheese Guys was evident immediately. Suddenly, a consultant up in Michigan had access to the entire relationship history of all of the restaurants in the area. If that consultant moved regions, all their work and interactions would be available for the next Cheese Guy or Gal to utilize to keep those relationships strong. Getting a new team member up to speed was faster and easier as well, and when a team member left they didn’t take all their knowledge with them. 

Just finding a CRM to store information wasn’t enough. We needed one that can be easily customized to our needs. The C-Suite are data guys, so they love it. There is a good value for our customers too, because they see we are investing in the future. FreeAgent works exactly how I would want it to, and every week I discover a new feature, so the value keeps increasing. A benefit that we didn’t anticipate before we did this was just how much our customers would love that we have a CRM. We can show them how often we’ve reached out, where we went, what we discussed, and so on. We’re providing more value to them, better relationships, and we know that will translate to business.”
Mike- Cheese Guys FreeAgent Case Study

Michael Bauchman

Director of Sales | Cheese Guys

FreeAgent CRM Cheese Guys Case Study
FreeAgent CRM Cheese Guys Case Study
FreeAgent CRM Cheese Guys Case Study

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