Supporting STIHL

Virginia Beach-based STIHL Inc. is the headquarters for U.S. operations. STIHL Inc. employs over 2,100 people nationwide, with more than 1,900 in Virginia Beach, VA. The Virginia Beach facility is located on approximately 150 acres with over one million square feet under roof, where the company produces a full line of high-quality, handheld outdoor power equipment including blowers, trimmers, brushcutters, and multi-task tools, as well as the number one selling brand of chainsaw worldwide.

STIHL CRM Integration

STIHL was considering the implementation of a third-party add-on to handle the customer relationship management (CRM) data integration requirements. Due to the high cost of the add-on, Marathon suggested the alternate approach of leveraging a data warehouse to integrate their data with the CRM using web services.


The STIHL IT department worked alongside division sales and territory managers in 2012 to choose a new CRM system. Their current system was depreciating and they were looking for a system that better worked with their territory manager workflow and how they did business. After assessing the situation, they choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM. During the installation and testing process, STIHL enlisted Marathon to assist in migrating data into the CRM from the old system. Marathon also developed an automated process to update the CRM on a daily basis.

The Solution

The final product allows STIHL to manage accounts in their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and seamlessly replicate the updates across the data warehouse into the CRM. Marathon also handles extracting important data from the CRM to other systems in STIHL’s infrastructure. 


  • Updates accounts and contacts daily with the latest data from a variable amount of sources.
  • Handles importing data to SQL, transforming that data, and prepping the data into a format for the CRM updater application.
  • Follows CRM terms of service and only updates and adds data via web services.
  • The process is scheduled to run daily – however, it can be run on demand at any time.
  • Handles exporting of data out of CRM for other processes.
  • Another application handles one-time loads of data into CRM.

STIHL Booking Program

Each year, STIHL utilizes a program written and integrated by Marathon to book sales for the upcoming seasons. The “Booking Program” integrates with STIHL’s ERP system, which has a manually intensive booking capability. The Booking Program is a web application that integrates with the ERP system, extracting previous sales numbers, suggested future order quantities, substitution suggestions, particular dealer prices, and other data, and making them available in a more useful format.


After importing and processing the data from the ERP, the Booking Program allows each branch or distributor to create product groupings and ordering to make the ordering for the coming season easier for dealerships. Once the groupings and ordering are set in the application, they are used to generate customized spreadsheets that contain the data for each individual dealership. These generated spreadsheets are distributed to each of the territory managers and they meet with each dealership individually. The territory manager will assist each dealership with deciding on the booking order that will see them well-supplied with power units, accessories, and supplies for the coming season. Once the spreadsheet has been filled out with the order, it is imported back into the booking program so that orders can be exported to the ERP. The export is under the distributor’s control but is automated so that there is very little error or additional manual work that needs to be done to get the orders into the ERP. The booking system is used to coordinate more than 50% of all the sales that each of the STIHL branches and distributors make each year.


  • Allows two-way integration with the ERP system using a sophisticated data cleansing and validation process on import and allows automated export of orders back into the ERP system.
  • Allows prices to be updated in the Booking Program directly without need to re-export the data again.
  • Directly generates Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and then re-imports them to extract order data.
  • Allows each branch and distributor to customize their spreadsheet with address data and other information particular to them.
  • Allows each territory manager to present a spreadsheet that contains the previous quantities, suggested quantities, pricing, and ordering information to that dealership alone, reducing confusion and frustration.
  • Utilizes the STIHL user interface (UI) standards, including menu locations and coloring.
  • Integrates into the STIHL Enterprise-Wide Active Directory system. The integration controls what is shown to each user, customizing the list of territory managers, dealers, and order data based on the particular user’s Active Directory group membership.