Using CRM to Enable Your Field Reps

Being a field sales rep in distribution is hard. Your customers depend on you to provide specialized industry expertise while customer demands are growing more complex every day. Field reps are a critical link between customer needs and your own value added services and having the right technology in place can support and enable your reps. Your CRM strategy is the first place to start in helping your field reps achieve more success this year.

Commit to Total CRM Adoption

The first step in enabling your field sales reps is making sure your company culture has fully embraced their CRM system and connected it with your ERP system. Otherwise, without accurate customer information, none of your enablement strategies will work to their fullest. With up-to-date CRM information, they’ll be able to make solid account plans, provide you with accurate forecasts and better manage quotes and bids.

With access to good data, your field sales reps will no longer stumble around in their sales meetings with customers. There’s no worse feeling to a sales rep than being caught off guard with a simple question or request because the rep didn’t have time to prepare while running from one call to another. We’ve all been surprised by unexpected questions from customers – delivery status, billing issues, product information, stock levels. Unprepared calls make your customers feel uneasy about working with unprepared reps, even to the point of being confrontational. These situations open you up to competitive replacement.

By providing the right tools, your field sales reps have access to the important data inside your CRM and ERP systems when they need it. Wherever that meeting leads, your rep will be ready. When your reps see the power of SMP, they’ll want to keep their customer information up to date for their own benefit and not just because their managers have compelled them.

Go Mobile

The more time your field reps spend in the field, the more effective they are in making new sales and servicing customers. Unfortunately, without a mobile strategy for your reps, they have to call or return to the office to run reports, analyze data, enter customer information and perform other sales administrative tasks. SMP allows your reps to extend your CRM and ERP information in the field on their mobile devices. They’ll have all the customer information they need right on their device while they are talking to customers. Reps won’t be slowed down having to check in with the office to answer questions, they can serve the customer right in their own location.

Many distributors are confused where to start with their mobile strategy. SMP has made significant investments in mobile-friendly technology to make it easy for you to dive right in. Because SMP already combines your CRM and ERP data in one place while providing easy-to-use business intelligence and dashboards, you can immediately extend the capabilities of your office technology to your reps in the field.

Help Them Follow Up on Open Bids and Quotes

We all know that if we had better follow up on quotes and bids we’d be able to close more orders. Many distributors lack the ability to track and execute on their open bids and quotes. SMP has created a distributor-centric process for following up on open bids and quotes and our customers are telling us that they are increasing their close rates on those bids and quotes by as much as 25% to 30%.

SMP automatically creates follow-up activities for your sales reps for any bid or quote over a certain dollar amount that you specify. The helps bridge the gap between inside and outside sales and increases your visibility into pipeline activities. You can then spend more time coaching your team on important bids and quotes and improve the overall accountability of your sales team. Any time your reps spend less time tracking and managing quotes, reports, communications and paperwork is more time they can spend on revenue generating activities.

Combine CRM and BI for Account Planning

Your business is built on your relationships with customers. The reason a distribution-centric CRM system is so critical is that it gives you a 360-degree view of your customers sales, trends, activities, meetings, product mix and more. SMP takes it even further with tight integrations to your ERP system. But no matter how rich your data is, it is meaningless to your reps if they cannot easily get to visualize and analyze that information.

SMP makes it easy to build your own drag-and-drop data visualizations so that you can understand the activities, trends and patterns that lead to future successes. Giving your reps the ability to make their own visualizations means that they can better connect the dots between customer patterns and their own sales behaviors to increase their sales effectiveness.

These visualizations make it easy to create story boards that assist you in account planning and in preparing for customer meetings. You will better understand the data in your system and relate it back to your important customers. Your reps can easily identify products, services and sales approaches that they know will work based on your data. This minimizes the amount of preparation time your reps spend on account planning while at the same time improving their account insights and sales execution.

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