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CIMCO Building Innovative and Sustainable Solutions with Zoho – Six Five on the Road at Zoholics

CIMCO Building Innovative and Sustainable Solutions with Zoho

On this episode of Six Five on the Road, hosts Cory Johnson and Lisa Martin are joined by CIMCO Refrigeration‘s David Fauser, Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Strategy for a conversation on how CIMCO is leveraging Zoho to drive innovation and sustainability within their solutions.

Their discussion covers:

  • The innovative approaches CIMCO is taking with Zoho to enhance their refrigeration solutions
  • How sustainability is a key component of CIMCO’s strategy and its integration with Zoho’s tools
  • The impact of digital transformation on CIMCO and the refrigeration industry at large
  • Insights into CIMCO’s future initiatives in leveraging technology for business growth
  • The role of data analytics in shaping CIMCO’s offerings and customer experiences

Learn more at CIMCO Refrigeration.

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TRANSCRIPT

Cory Johnson: We’re back at the Zoholics 2024 conference in Austin, Texas with SixFive on the road. I’m Corey Johnson, Lisa Martin with me as well. And there’s no better way to understand what a product does and how well it does it, than to talk to the users of that product.

Lisa Martin: Definitely. We’re very excited to welcome David Fauser to the program, the VP of sales, marketing and strategy at CIMCO. David, thank you so much for joining us on SixFive on the Road today.

David Fauser: Yeah. Thanks for having me. I’m excited.

Lisa Martin: So let’s start by giving the audience just a little bit of a level set about CIMCO is, I know environmental sustainability, but give us that elevator pitch.

David Fauser: Sure. Yeah. We’re 100 year old company. So, we started back in the turn of the century, back in the 1900s. And we do refrigeration. So, back then our biggest competition was ice from Lake Ontario. People used to harvest the ice and they would use that to cool their things. And so we developed industrial refrigeration and then we went from there. So, we’ve always used natural refrigerants, which don’t cause any harm to the environment. So, as we’re looking at global warming-

Cory Johnson: So not freon.

David Fauser: Not freon. Yep. That’s right because those cause global warming. And so that’s what our designs include. That’s a sustainability angle. And so we design, we engineer, we manufacture, we install, and then we service industrial thermal systems. So, that’s what we do.

Lisa Martin: I looked at the website, over 7,000 customers now. Running marketing, talk to me about what your marketing organization was like before, trying to work with global customers, different systems? What were some of the challenges before you brought in Zoho’s technology?

David Fauser: Well, I think the company, for the most part was just repeat customers. And we weren’t really focusing on getting new customers, which sounds pretty crazy, but being a 100 year old company, you have those established networks. I think once we really our [inaudible 00:01:52].

Cory Johnson: Who do you sell to?

David Fauser: Oh, we sell to cold storage. We built half the world’s hockey rinks.

Cory Johnson: You really are Canadian.

David Fauser: Yeah. That’s right. And then we sell all sorts of, anything that requires some sort of refrigeration.

Cory Johnson: I’m thinking curling. There’s the Iditarod, I’m thinking of all the Canadian, I don’t know, there’s lots of things. But all over the world, not just in Canada.

David Fauser: Yeah. Well, mostly North America and we’re into a lot of food processing. A big part of our business is food processing, is getting food on people’s tables, from the farm to the fork, as they say. And there’s all refrigeration all in that whole process. So, we have about 130 salespeople, we’ve got 22 offices. So, from a marketing perspective, there’s a lot of repeat customers. But with the whole thing coming up with the sustainability angle, we said, “Well, hold on for a second. Our refrigerants can help a lot of other people out.” And we didn’t even have a marketing department.

Lisa Martin: Oh wow.

David Fauser: So, we started a marketing department.

Cory Johnson: Don’t tell her that.

David Fauser: Yeah. Well, it’s very important. Yeah. So, since we’ve been able to do that, share a story, then we’ve been able to get into new markets and new opportunities, and Zoho-

Cory Johnson: And market numbers.

David Fauser: New customers. Yep. Absolutely. So, now we’ve got new product line and we’ve got all sorts of interesting stuff happening. Yeah. Zoho is definitely a big part of that, for sure.

Cory Johnson: What was it when you first started using Zoho? When was this and what problems, what was your process before and after?

David Fauser: Yeah. Good question. So, at the company, because it’s so old, we had 22 offices, but it’s almost like the Darwin’s theory of evolution because we had all these branches, but everybody had their own way of doing things. New president takes over and he’s like, “Okay. We want to try to take a look at the bigger picture here, and we want to try to,” instead of competing as much small companies, let’s try to compete and take advantage of a bigger company. So, I was put in as a director of sales, branches had ACT in place and different things. So, we started with the CRM first. And so we went through a big process with that. It was two years. We interviewed all these different companies, and we’re not very unique in the sense of what our business process is, but we had stuff that was very important to us, which was we build this customized estimator.

And so we had all the big guys come in and it was crazy because I’d spent my whole life in sales, and then being on the other side of the table, now you’re making the decision on which CRM we use. That’s a pretty craziest spot to be in. Because now you’re the buyer. And so Zoho made me feel most comfortable, that they were going to be flexible enough. Nobody had ever heard of them. My IT department at our parent company was really saying, “Are you crazy?” Because that old saying, you don’t get fired from buying IBM. But I had the conviction to say that these are the guys that make me feel most comfortable and they’re also the best of value.

Lisa Martin: And how did they do that? We were talking to Sridhar, the CEO, a few hours ago and we attend a lot of conferences, and talk to a lot of business leaders. But I really found what he was talking about to be very unique in terms of the philosophy and the cultural importance that they placed on their employees to be able to deliver great customer experiences. Was that part of the thing that you saw that was unique about Zoho? The thought that you were saying, IT didn’t know it, and they thought it might be crazy for picking a solution? What really drew you?

David Fauser: Well, I felt that everybody else came with something canned. I felt like a number. And even with one company, I even called up their salesperson and coached them to say, “Okay. You’re coming to see us. Here’s what I need you to cover. This is the points.” Because they were going to be with our president. And of course they came at the same canned presentation, and I just was sinking in my seat. So, I felt that I would have this very customized solution, and I felt that the philosophies, I didn’t believe them at first to be honest with you. I did go to India with Zoho and I saw that it’s real. It’s not just talk. It’s real.

Cory Johnson: What’s real?

David Fauser: The culture. They take care of their employees. They have their own hospital. The food is amazing that they give to their employees. It’s all organic food that they give them. And everybody seemed really engaged and really happy. It’s like, “Hey, can I get a job here?” It seems like a place that I want to work. So, I was fortunate that they took me there. And then we went to the farm where they built, they grow a lot of food and yeah, it seems as though-

Cory Johnson: Wait, explain the farm because we haven’t talked about it in the show yet.

Lisa Martin: We haven’t talked about that yet.

David Fauser: He’s got this humongous farm that’s filled with children. He’s got schools there. He’s really helping the community out. He’s got jobs for people. He’s trying to uplift the community. He’s also looking for talent as well too for his company. So, he has ways that people from the community can actually get a job at Zoho eventually. So, he’s looking for talent in and amongst the people that are there and he’s uplifting the community. It’s a beautiful farm. It’s all organic, it’s very, I hate to say it, it’s such an organic approach to building his business, building the Zoho business.

Lisa Martin: It’s very unique.

David Fauser: It’s very unique. And he just seems very authentic. He’s more interested in talking about his farm than he was talking about Zoho, and very passionate about that. So, it seems as though he build Zoho up, and I’m talking from the outside here, I’m not sure. But it seems like from my perspective as a customer, he started Zoho to fund his farming and community, raising his community. So, that’s pretty amazing from a customer perspective to see that and very motivating, and made me feel happy that we’re part of that.

Lisa Martin: Did you get to advise them on roadmap, R&D? Is there any sort of symbiosis in your relationship with them to help them go, this is what we need, you don’t have it yet? Is that kind of relationship?

David Fauser: I’ve had conversations with all the senior staff from a very humble perspective on exactly how they could make my life easier. And so I felt that it was pretty authentic and I felt that they have my best interest at heart as a customer.

Cory Johnson: It’s so interesting. Have you changed your own sales process as a result of, not just the use of the software, which I want to talk about, but that approach?

David Fauser: I think so. Yeah. Because I think the thing is, really making our customers jobs easier. And I say that to our sales team all the time. We don’t need to sell them, we just need to focus on making their job easier. So, I think from that perspective, yes, I have changed my sales process, from that perspective.

Cory Johnson: My dad was in sales and he would say that all the time. He’s like, “I don’t have to sell anything. I just got to figure out if I could help them solve their problems and they’ll buy it.”

David Fauser: That’s right. And that’s exactly what it is. Yeah.

Lisa Martin: Speaking of problem solve, talk to me now, you know I’m a marketer, how has the marketing process evolved and changed as a result of leveraging the Zoho technologies? I imagine things are more streamlined, more automated, marketing’s happier, sales is happier, but give us that positive business outcome view.

David Fauser: Yeah. I think it’s pretty positive. For one thing, we’re lucky that I look after the sales and the marketing of the company, and I didn’t know how important that was until I actually started doing that. Because you could actually, I empathize with the marketing team and I empathize with the sales team, and then we try to work together. So, really the job that we see it of the marketing team in our company, and this is not unique by any means, but it’s define qualified leads for our salespeople. They need to enable the salespeople and help them with the messaging, with the content. And 50% of our marketing is internal. Because we’re creating these new products, so we got to figure out how do we market this to our people so they know what they are.

Cory Johnson: How many people?

David Fauser: We have 130 salespeople, but 1,200 employees.

Lisa Martin: Okay.

David Fauser: So, what’s the messaging? Again, it’s all very basic, for somebody of your history with marketing, but for us it was fairly new. But I think what I liked about the Zoho products specifically was, they were very easy to pick up and use. We didn’t get training on them. We had our marketing, we have our plan, we have our strategy from a digital perspective and how we’re going to create leads and create demand for our products. How are we going to run shows, like events through Zoho, the show app that we use? And it was all very intuitive and then it integrated with our CRM seamlessly. So, it was quite an easy experience, I would say [inaudible 00:09:24].

Cory Johnson: Your company’s so dynamic right now. I own stock at a company called Comfort Systems, and I’ve owned it for quite a long time.

David Fauser: I know Comfort systems. yeah.

Cory Johnson: They’ll probably buy your company at some point. They do a lot of acquisitions. But what has happened in their business the last four or five years, I’ve been following the company for 15 years, fantastic change relating to COVID and having, systems as more like H-VAC stuff and electrical. But post-COVID office buildings are different. And now we’ve got AI data center and cooling, which is a huge business. And I would imagine it’s impacting you.

David Fauser: Oh, it is. We’re just going to release our new product like any day now. It’s called Data Force One and use natural refrigerant, saves 30% energy for data centers, which is huge because data centers is all about incoming power. So, the energy bill, they don’t care about, but it’s the incoming power. So, our solution, we’re working with a major chip manufacturer, saves 30% energy over the other alternatives, which means they could have more, use that towards more storage or something like that.

Cory Johnson: The big numbers they put out yesterday were successful because their liquid cooling in their servers were so hot. That was a pun fully intended. I’m sorry. I can’t help myself. But So given that dynamism in your industry, it would seem like your need for this product is even greater. Oh, absolutely.

David Fauser: Yeah. Because again, it’s 50%, marketing’s internal, but also we’re now branching into district heating and cooling, where we’re heating and cooling whole neighborhoods with one system. We’re getting into data centers, we’re getting into EV cooling stations.

Cory Johnson: There’s also this thing called climate change.

David Fauser: Climate change was a huge driver. And so even when I say we’re in the refrigeration business, we’re not anymore. We’re in the thermal business because for every unit of energy you put into one of our systems, you get three units of thermal energy, which can be used for heating, cooling, or refrigeration. So, it’s about recycling that energy. And I don’t want to get through a big scientific talk on you here, but it’s the evolution of our products to solve the needs of climate change, get off natural gas and make sure that the refrigerants, if they do leak, they do leak, don’t end up in our atmosphere and cause more heating.

Lisa Martin: That’s huge. That’s obviously globally impactful. We’re talking about climate change here. But what I’m hearing, David, from your use case with Zoho is, it enabled you, you were selling to your install base for a very long time and enabled you to get into net new markets, net new business. In fact, I saw a case study on the Zoho website about CIMCO that said something about a 20% increase in sales that the technology has facilitated. I imagine it’s probably even more than that as you’re now getting into completely new products yourself.

David Fauser: Yeah. Earlier in the conversation I talked about this whole Darwin and evolution, and everything like that. So, just by bringing the salespeople together, putting them on one process, there was no right or wrong process. Nobody had a right or wrong process. We just took elements of all of them and made a process and then we were able to measure and manage, and coach. And I think from a CRM perspective, the biggest thing for me was, when we’re coaching with data, then we were able to really come from a good spot. We weren’t there to fire people. If you wear the sweater, you’re on the team, we would do everything you can to try to coach the people.

Cory Johnson: Hockey.

David Fauser: Yeah. The hockey. So, that was our philosophy, and that was one of the first things out of the gate that was really powerful for us. So, it was a long implementation. We went through every single branch and we had to sell them on using this, but we have 100% adoption for our CRM. Yeah.

Lisa Martin: That’s fantastic.

David Fauser: Well, because it’s meets our process. So, it was designed by sales, not by finance. No offense that finance people out there. Yeah. So it’s made for salespeople and so it makes their job easier. That was the main thing. And Zoho allowed-

Lisa Martin: And who doesn’t want that? Make my job easier. Enable the internal folks and the external folks to come together to deliver what customers need, make that experience as seamless as possible and it’s personalized and relevant. Last portion in our last 30 seconds, David, you have a breakout session coming up in a short while. Give our audience here at SixFive a overview of the top three things the audience today is going to take away.

David Fauser: Yeah. I think I’m going to just reiterate that Zoho is very easy to use. I’m not an IT person. I’m not a computer person at all. And I’m able to do changes. I’m able to do it myself. I don’t need to wait for an IT person to do something for me. So, most of the stuff I do myself within there. If I need to change something, do something, report on something, I have-

Cory Johnson: Low cap, no code.

David Fauser: No code. And I have no IT experience at all. So, I think that’s-

Lisa Martin: You don’t need it.

David Fauser: I don’t need it. And I think that all the products integrate together. I think it’s tremendous value. And I guess the third point that I would want to get across everybody is, it’s real, from a company perspective. You should feel good about working with Zoho and supporting them because I think it’s a good mission that they have. And they certainly have some good products available to help make your job easy.

Lisa Martin: Well, and you’ve seen that mission firsthand. That’s pretty cool, and that’s actually pretty unique. David, we so appreciate you joining us on SixFive-

David Fauser: Yeah. Thank you.

Lisa Martin: Sharing this story and all the successes that you guys have had. Congratulations. We’ll continue to watch.

Cory Johnson: Maple leaf, rangers. We’ve got more coming from the Zoholics conference at Austin, Texas, when SixFive live continues.

Author Information

Cory Johnson is the Futurum’s Chief Market Strategist and the host of the Drill Down podcast.

His peripatetic career has seen him in prominent roles as a hedge fund portfolio manager and investor, technology journalist and broadcaster. Fundamentally he’s an entrepreneur -- helping to start media companies such as TheStreet.com, the Industry Standard, Slam (the world’s best-selling basketball magazine) and Vibe. He was CNBC’s first Silicon Valley correspondent and later helped create the TV show Bloomberg West for Bloomberg TV and the radio show and podcast Bloomberg Advantage. He was a senior executive at the blockchain startup Ripple, a portfolio manager for Kingsford Capital and a principal at the Forensic Research Group.

Johnson is also an advisor to Braintrust, C3.ai, Prolly AI, Provenance Bio, Stringr and serves as a delegate to the Episcopal Diocese of California.

Lisa Martin is a Silicon Valley-based technology correspondent that has been covering technologies like enterprise iPaaS, integration, automation, infrastructure, cloud, storage, and more for nearly 20 years. She has interviewed nearly 1,000 tech executives, like Michael Dell and Pat Gelsinger, on camera over many years as a correspondent.

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