When John R. Toomey retired after more than 30 years with PPG, he never dreamed that his own granddaughter, Erin Liefeld (Toomey), would be helping to set the stage to accelerate profitable growth at PPG. Erin tells us why she’s proud to continue the legacy of her family’s history with PPG and why she’s so excited to be a part of moving the company forward, fast.
A Legacy in the Making
Erin joined us 12 years ago and has gotten to know the company quite well throughout her journey. After originally joining the marketing team, she progressed to manage numerous PPG Paints stores, where she learned a lot about the inner-workings of the paint industry.
She then transitioned into finance, followed by training, before taking her current role two years ago, with responsibility for the launch of a customer relationship management (CRM) platform – ClientLink. Which is all quite a journey to where she is now.
Erin has also proudly shared that she has followed in her grandfather’s footsteps. Now retired, he is an avid PPG supporter and company shareholder.
It’s a big deal to my family that I now work for the company. PPG is definitely a household name in our family.
“A Solution Everyone Is Excited About”
Erin’s current role is CRM infrastructure senior manager, Architectural Coatings U.S. and Canada (AC USCA). She has been tasked with tailoring the ClientLink CRM platform to fit the needs of our business and driving adoption of the tool through guidance and support.
Her favorite part is being the liaison between IT, our vendor partner (SAP), and our business sales team.
I have the opportunity to translate the needs in a meaningful way across the teams, trying to bring them together for a solution that everyone is excited about.
The Home Depot team after launch of ClientLink in the first AC USCA markets in November 2019
Oiling the Gears of a One PPG “Selling Machine”
As lead for the ClientLink platform, she is motivated by the progress and adoption of the platform. The ultimate goal: creating a “selling machine” that will drive organic growth. Erin plays an important role in the company’s commitment to growth. As project manager for key transformation initiatives, she’s working on “oiling the gears of the selling machine” to position PPG as a world-class selling organization.
When you look at how all the gears of this transformation come together, unwavering use of the ClientLink CRM platform is at the center. It is the common language for all the businesses to track how we are doing.
While there is plenty of work ahead before all teams and businesses are using ClientLink and leveraging a single sales process, Erin is enthusiastic about the opportunity for “driving sales as ‘One PPG’”.
Instead of having many siloed sales teams, we will have a unified approach, providing everyone with visibility to major customer activities, and a platform through which we can support one another.
Staying Agile, Moving Fast
Erin tells us that the selling machine pilot programs are moving faster than any of our large projects ever have before, thanks to a lean and agile approach.
We are evolving, changing, and learning as we go. People are encouraged that there is one single vision for driving organic growth, and that we have a strategy and are investing in it and our people.
But investment doesn’t stop with the technology. There is a real focus on investing in our people too, helping to advance managers and sales reps with one-on-one training from expert sales coaches.
We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about how we are investing in the right areas for them, both personally and professionally. The team has been impressed by how quickly we’re implementing change!
Selling Machine project team working collaboratively, across Front Line IT, Digital Center of Excellence, Analytics and BI team, and AC Commercial Excellence in USCA and EMEA
Erin Leads the Way in Embracing Change
The project is measured by 10 key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be the same across all business units – something we’ve never done before. All data will be housed in one common location and measured the same way. Sounds simple, but it is harder to pull off than it sounds.
It will enable us to measure against ourselves and, most importantly, ensure we’re driving in the same direction. Forward, and fast.
For Erin, this is an exciting time. As she puts it, “we could be sitting back now, just focused on navigating the current pandemic and business environment. Instead, we are embracing change, challenging the norm, and building a culture of continuous improvement and growth.”
PPG is not the same glass manufacturing company my grandfather worked for all those years ago. But there’s a reason we are still here and still thriving. Because we are not afraid to embrace change.