Is It Time to Implement CRM?

There are many reasons to implement CRM in your business. We talk to distributors everyday who are struggling with growth, frustrated with new competitors and ready to change. Here are just a few of the reasons they pick up the phone to call SMP.

Late Customer Follow-up

With growth in any company comes growth in support needs. At some point, customer follow-up starts to slow down or even fail. Most distributors try to manage this through additional new hires, but simply hiring more employees does not give you the ability to scale your profits with your growth. You need technology to become more efficient and keep customers happy. What happens if a customer has to talk to multiple people in your company to solve an issue? Do they have to start over with each employee, adding frustration to everyone involved? Or can they follow the tasks and notes of every company and contact in an easy to use system to jump in at any point in the process with a well-rounded understanding of each unique customer?

Managing Data in Too Many Places

Every distributor has to manage data from multiple locations. Information comes in from your ERP system, emails and phone calls, purchasing, accounts receivable credit information, vendor communications and more. Only SMP allows you to access and consolidate all of these data steams into one application.

Without SMP, your view of each of your customers is incomplete. The information you need is scattered across many different departments. Operations teams have data around product, sales teams have sales information, support teams have conversation logs, marketing teams have segmentation profiles, finance has payment information and pulling all of this data together for an important customer meeting can be time-consuming and perhaps even impossible without a single system that combines ERP data, sales history and business intelligence tools.

Marketing Confusion

How do you know if your marketing campaigns are really working? Many distributors have trouble overlaying their sales data onto their marketing efforts in order to understand which marketing investments lead to growth and customer loyalty. Additionally, marketing is best served through systematic cadences and automation. SMP allows you to focus on the tasks that really work and create systematic, traceable and measurable processes around those tasks. Your marketing team is freed up to focus on revenue-generation rather than pulling new lists, setting up email campaigns and running reports.

Too Many Spreadsheets and Report Requests

You need your sales reps to get you reports and information in a timely manner so that you can make important decisions about forecasting, budgeting, cash and new investments. If each sales rep individually tracks their own sales cycles in separate spreadsheets, pulling this information together can be time-consuming or even impossible. You need to integrate all of your business systems together with easy-to-use BI tools to gather information about forecasts, vendor details, accounting and more.

Losing Business to Online Vendors

Your customers and prospects are turning to online sources in record numbers. According to a recent survey conducted by Acquity Group, 68% of B2B buyers now source their products online, up from 57% in the previous year’s study. The study shows that your customers’ buying habits are continuing to change in many dramatic ways:

  • Buyers who spend 90% or more of their budgets online doubled from 9% to 18%
  • 44% of buyers research products on their smartphone or tablet
  • 30% of buyers research almost all of their products (90%) online before purchasing – that is, before ever talking to your sales people
  • 6% purchased from Amazon Supply alone

The research shows that there is a large gap between the way B2B buyers are sourcing their products and the way B2B suppliers are meeting their needs. If you want to stay competitive – or even just stay in business – you must find ways to both compete against and add value through online channels. The key is integrating information from all sources – ERP, product history, sales history, CRM activity – in order to uniquely serve your customers and build special relationships that an online shopping cart cannot match.

Too Many Unanswered Questions

Many distributors don’t where to start in their quest for growth because they lack the ability to answer many important questions such as:

  • Where in the sales cycle do we seem to lose most of our prospects?
  • How do I solve communication issues between departments?
  • Do I understand why we’re suddenly experiencing a customer support backlog?
  • Which reps have higher close rates?
  • What KPIs should I be tracking for better success?
  • Which competitors are eating my lunch?

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