After marching off the field, a college football team’s next stop is always where they started: their lockers. Happy quarterbacks will spray champagne on them; frustrated linebackers will slam their fists into them.
Not every locker is constructed to withstand such punishment. And that’s actually why Longhorn Lockers was founded: according to its VP of Sales, James Weiss, the company’s principals spent years working for competitors and struggling with the quality of their products before starting their own company. Where their competition would use wood, glue and nails, they’d use stainless steel and through-bolt construction.
Today, Longhorn Lockers’ customers comprise well-known sports programs including teams at Stanford University, Major League Soccer organizations and the San Antonio Spurs. But not long ago, they had a problem that was impacting sales: the reliability of their IT was hurting their image and hampering their ability to close deals.
In many ways, the locker business is just like a football game: you need to be good, but you also need to be fast. Without reliable IT, Longhorn Lockers didn’t have the speed to compete, even if their product was stronger.
Reliability is important, on a giant scale. Without it, we were dead in the water.James Weiss, VP of Sales, Longhorn Lockers
Longhorn Lockers builds and distributes high-end, custom-designed sports lockers for colleges, professional sports leagues and other organizations.
Industry: Sports equipment manufacturing
Headquarters: Venus, TX
Intermedia’s customer since: 2012
Company size: 20
One of Longhorn Lockers’ key sales tools is their three-dimensional renderings of proposed locker installations. Customers can open them and view them as videos from different angles. “We can show our client how the locker will look in their actual facility,” Weiss says.
These files are extremely compelling—but only if they can reach the client. But due to its rural location, Longhorn Lockers’ on-premises email server was constantly going down.
“There were days where we just couldn't work,” says Weiss. “In fact, I can remember one instance where the wind was picking up outside. It was a sunny day, but because of the wind, we weren't able to communicate and use our phones and e-mail.”
Another problem was mobility: the staff couldn’t sync their email between their devices. This resulted in some emails being overlooked while others were responded to multiple times. Not a great impression for a potential client.
These technology problems were impacting Longhorn Lockers’ ability to expand. “When you’re growing and doing business with Division I schools and professional teams, you want to come across as professional as possible,” Weiss says.
It was time for Longhorn Lockers to move their IT infrastructure into the big leagues.
Longhorn Lockers was introduced to Intermedia’s Exchange Email and Cloud PBX services by Mike Maendler, CEO of Technology & Beyond, an Intermedia partner who specializes in bringing companies’ IT infrastructures out of crisis mode and into the cloud.
“One of the neatest things about Intermedia is how easy it is to integrate Cloud PBX and Exchange Email,” said Maendler. “It's very seamless and quick to roll out."
Technology & Beyond helped Longhorn Lockers migrate quickly to Intermedia’s cloud-based services. With the increased mobility and improved reliability (Intermedia offers a 99.999% uptime SLA for both Cloud PBX and Exchange Email), their sales team quickly saw the difference.
Every employee gained the ability to sync email and calendars between all desktops and mobile devices. Employees can now connect with customers and each other even when they’re in the shop or on the road.
With Cloud PBX, customer calls are no longer missed. Even if a storm were to knock out the local power, the cloud-based system would automatically forward the calls to mobile phones. Call quality is also much clearer, especially on speakerphones, which allows customers to focus on the sales presentations instead of the line quality.
“One of the biggest benefits of increased mobility is being able to stay ahead of the curve,” says Weiss. “In fact, we were on the way back from a big show not too long ago, and we got a phone call, and it came down to us and one of our competitors, and because I was able to have access to my direct line that went straight to my cell phone, I was able to answer the questions, and it actually resulted in us winning the contract.”
Since transitioning to Cloud PBX, we haven't seen downtime. In fact, we've seen an increase in our productivity.JAMES WEISS, VP OF SALES
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“Intermedia’s Exchange Email and Cloud PBX have helped us take our business literally to the next level,” said Weiss. “This is not just in our productivity in regards to our lockers, but in our ability to communicate with higher universities and at the professional level.”
With reliable voice and data communications, Longhorn Lockers is better able to compete against much larger organizations. The company is landing new business, including with professional sports teams. More and more 400-pound linemen are using and abusing their lockers, and the company couldn’t be happier.
“With Intermedia and Technology & Beyond, our future is great,” added Weiss. “We just got more machines coming in; we've got more business going out the door, and that means more productivity. We know we're going to have a reliable service, so we can continue to focus on work.”