Executives in the distribution industry are following a very telling trend- utilizing advanced CRM technologies to drive sales productivity. Research shows that 61 percent of distributors are using some form of CRM, and over 60 percent of those not using CRM are actively shopping or already in the process of implementing a system.
What makes a CRM system valuable to any enterprise? Author and CRM expert, Mark Dancer has narrowed down the top 10 benefits for distributors utilizing CRM.
- Manage customer contact information. Perhaps the most basic of benefits, CRM helps salespeople create and maintain a customer database, from basic information about names and positions, to personal information about business goals, professional affiliations and family members.
- Manage sales pipeline or territory results. CRM has the potential to transform a salesperson from order taker to opportunity manager by improving a wholesaler-distributor’s process for developing opportunities and tracking progress across a step-by-step approach.
- Provide access to customer data for salespeople. CRM helps salespeople succeed by placing information including purchases, deliveries, rebates and credit status at their fingertips for better call planning, problem resolution and follow-up.
- Provide data for coaching by sales managers. CRM dramatically improves coaching by focusing conversations on actual customers and opportunities. As coaching guides sales behaviors, salespeople realize more and more success, strengthening the coaching process.
- Improve handling of leads and prospects. CRM upgrades lead handling by integrating multiple sources of leads (e.g., tradeshows, advertising, inbound inquiries, etc.) with the appropriate salesperson’s daily dashboard.
- Automate reports for salespeople and management. Without CRM, many salespeople and sales managers create their own spreadsheet tools to manage their sales process, which requires manual effort and results in poor planning and sales execution.
- Provide data for management decisions. CRM improves the quality and speed of decision-making. Experienced users of CRM live by two rules: 1) no decisions can be made without real and current data and 2) only data that comes from the CRM can be used for decision making.
- Execute marketing programs through salespeople. New levels of internal collaboration are becoming a priority for building a high-performing sales organization. CRM connects marketing and salespeople in automated, traceable communications.
- Optimize product mix sold to customers. CRM yields results by improving account and territory plans, tracking goals set for salespeople and providing visibility to sales managers, sales leaders and executives.
- Improve accuracy of sales forecasts. CRM improves sales forecasting by providing an accurate and detailed understanding of sales results by salesperson and territories, by products and brands, by peak and off-season efforts, and any other way that a distributor might track business results.
- 3 Reasons Why it’s Time to Take a Second Look at CRM Software (sbsgroupusa.wordpress.com)