How Port Container Services is finetuning lead management with CRM

Small Australian business invests in local customer relationship management platform

Newcastle-based company, Port Container Services, is proving you don’t need to be big to get value out of customer relationship management.

The 10-year-old company specialises in the conversion of old or decommissioned shipping containers, turning them into everything from site offices and accommodation to dangerous goods storage facilities, which are then sold or leased to a wide range of clients across Australia. The company employs 40 people.

According to Port Containers’ general manager, Steve Byrnes, the decision to invest in CRM was driven by a rise in customer inquiries digitally.

A search of available solutions led Byrnes to pass over more well-established competitors in favour of the small Australian company, Tall Emu.

“Because our industry is fairly niche, we’ve got a large product range, and we deal Australia-wide, I needed something that could be customised,” he said.

Tall Emu is a Sydney-based company that started in 2002 as a custom software developer before consolidating its knowledge into Tall Emu CRM.

According to chief executive and product manager, Mike Nash, Tall Emu’s experience of working with smaller businesses had shown that off-the-shelf CRM products were either too expensive or too basic for that market.

“If the system doesn’t do preciously what the customer wants, we found we were called in to do it for them,” Nash said. “We were extending more and more CRM systems, and after a while we thought we should write our own.

“We are trying to pull big corporate capabilities down into an off-the-shelf package. But the dirty little secret of CRM is unless it is properly implemented, it doesn’t actually work.”

How marketing automation, CRM upgrade is paying engagement dividends for ResMed
Nissan Motorsport revs up sponsorships with CRM

Byrnes said one of the original requirements for Port Containers was that the solution be able to integrate with its QuickBooks accounting solution (the company has since switched to MYOB), but its functionality has been extended significantly.

Byrnes said the partnership with Tall Emu has made a “massive difference” to his business. Nash added Port Containers is typical of many Tall Emu clients.

“A large bulk of our clients are in regional Australia,” he said. “They have never used CRM before, so they are typically using things like Excel spreadsheets and Outlook. But recently we have been winning business away from other CRM companies.”

Nash said Tall Emu integrates with accounting and other business systems, and can be pre-populated with customer data to determine where leads are coming from, making it useful from the outset.

“What our system tried to do is integrate in with all the business systems that people use and it tries to make business owners lives easier,” he said.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook:, or check us out on Google+:

Signup to CMO’s email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How can a brand remain human in a digital world?

Some commentators estimate that by 2020, 85 per cent of buyer-seller interactions will happen online through social media and video*. That’s only two years away, and pertinent for any marketer.

James Kyd

Global head of brand strategy and marketing, Xero

​Relevance and substance are the keys to marketing’s future

Marketing’s evolution and increased value-add to organisations is making headway in one essential direction: Driving brands to achieve maximum relevance in the heart and minds of customers.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Why doing your job well is the key to innovation

The words ‘power company’ and ‘innovation’ probably don’t seem like a natural combination. In fact, when I first went for a marketing role with an electricity company, I semi-dreaded the work I thought I’d be doing.

Catherine Anderson

Head of marketing, Powershop Australia

Lok knocks it out the park and predicts the future...“People are starting to understand they own their own data, and this will come to a ...


Data regulation key to marketing innovation

Read more

It needs to come from the top. It's not just about buy-in from the leadership team, leadership should be part of the development process ...

Stephen Houraghan

Why getting intimate is key to creating a great customer experience and optimising customer value

Read more

When was this article posted?


Report Reveals the Channels That Really Influence Consumer Purchase Decisions

Read more

sorry, I did not see that my first attempt already posted.


5 ways Australian Unity is driving innovation

Read more

Examples of their "innovation": have had problems with them in their "innova...


5 ways Australian Unity is driving innovation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in