Beginning life in Sheffield in 1965, EDP is a specialist software developer for the builders’ merchant sector, which has created Quantum VS ERP.
It was created to succeed a series of legacy software products to facilitate “a new solution for builders’ merchants and wholesale distributors”.
With a track record of solutions such as integrated web tools, B2B document exchange, software as a service and application hosting, EDP launched its datacentre in Milton Keynes back in 2001. QuantumVS1 lays claim to having the first generation of web development tools that enabled users of legacy applications to build and publish fully integrated B2B and B2C websites and now, the latest versions of the modular ERP solution are being used by leading builders’ merchants nationwide.
PBM talks with Pete Clegg, Sales Manager at Quantum VS ERP software.
Q. How did you get into the industry and to your current position?
A. I’ve worked with the builders’ merchant industry for some years now, more or less straight from university where I studied Business & IT. My first job was with a software house implementing ERP systems within the security industry, so implementing ERP software gave me a really good grounding and understanding from the ‘other side’ when I moved into sales.
In 2010, I joined EDP as a Senior Account Manager and progressed to National Sales Manager in 2016.
Q. How do you feel the industry has changed in recent years?
A. Generally the merchant sector was slower to utilise technology but that has started changing and merchants are now seeing the positives and speedy benefits of successful IT strategies. In the highly competitive BM market, we are seeing the push for the efficiency improvements that we’ve developed within other industry sectors. Working cross-sector is a huge positive that allows us to develop functionality and solutions which may be usefully deployed across a more varied user base, as demand emerges.
The sales process is also much more consultative now — it can take considerable time from initial contact through to contract, so really learning about the customer and understanding the needs of their business is crucial.
Q. What are the current challenges facing your company?
A. IT is fast-paced and requirements vary, so I would say that our primary challenge is delivering successful customer implementations and that our software meets their expectations to produce the desired results, regardless of where the customer is on their product journey.
A challenge that actually offers us a great opportunity is that many of our competitors have been bought by large, often US-based, corporations. Whilst giving them huge marketing leverage, it also means that customers become “a small fish in a big pond”. By having specialist product and services teams we are able to respond quicker than most competitors, giving us a significant competitive edge.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
A. The ‘current market’ — with constant access to information via the web, buyers are more educated than ever. Even before approaching a salesperson, the customer has spent hours researching products and getting a general idea of the solutions available.
With the role of the buyer evolving, we appreciate that it’s important for our continued sales success to develop and evolve the way we sell and steer customers in the right direction and away from the latest IT fads.
Q. What has been the highlight of your career to date?
A. As a sales professional, there’s nothing like bringing a sale to a successful conclusion, both for ourselves and the satisfied customer, especially those where the negotiations last for many months, or even years. I guess the highlights are always going to be the latest new order which the team and I secure, but that’s the business we’re in!