How Distributors Improve Customer Retention A common rule of thumb in distribution is that it…
How IT Can Support Sales
Every durable goods distributor wants their salespeople to succeed. Success in distribution sales is usually a straightforward goal: you want to profitably add to your top-line revenues. Unfortunately, we meet distribution sales people every week who tell us that their companies are making it more difficult for them to meet their goals. Usually this difficulty is in the form of unnecessary administration time around data or not providing them with the right technology tools to make their lives easier.
Many distribution executives are turning to their IT teams to help support their salespeople with the right tools to close more sales.
Here are for ways SMP can help you improve the productivity and success of your sales teams.
1. Implement a CRM system that is both sales-friendly and distribution-specific. The right CRM system helps keep your sales team get organized in a way that is natural to them. By focusing on a distribution-specific CRM system, you can add focus and prioritization on your key business issues. SMP helps you prioritize your sales opportunities, follow up on tasks and action items, keep track of customer and prospect notes and improve productivity. At the end of the day, that means less time spent organizing data and more time for closing sales. Your managers will love SMP as well because they can see how frequently customers are contacts, total call volume, task completions and many other measures of sales activity.
2. Centralize the information sales people need. One of the biggest complaints we hear from both sales reps and executives is that they have to search in so many different places to find the data they need to serve their customers. Most larger distribution companies have ERP systems, business intelligence tools and report writers, email folders and maybe even corporate intranets and portals but this quickly becomes a system overload for the sales team that has to work to glean their information across these different tools. With SMP you get a centralized business intelligence and CRM system that has tight integration points to your ERP system so that sales reps can get all of the information they need in one place.
3. Provide mobile tools to your sales team. While many distribution companies have inside sales reps, every distribution sales team will have time spent in the field. In fact, the majority of many distribution sales reps’ time is spent visiting customers and job sites. They need simple, remote access to important customer and sales data through their mobile devices like iPhones and Android devices. That allows reps to use real-time data everywhere they go. SMP users save time y not having to reenter data when they get back from sales calls and they can respond immediately to customer issues and needs without having to call back to HQ. They can even add audio and text-based customer notes immediately after their meetings so the information is accurate and fresh.
4. Reduce IT overhead in supporting sales. One of the biggest concerns we hear from distribution CIOs is that implementing CRM is difficult and expensive. Then, once the CRM system is implemented, IT spends a lot of time training and supporting their users. With SMP, you’re getting a hosted sales management application so you’re not increasing your IT or hardware overhead. We provide regular training for our users and take on support so you can spend time on other mission critical issues facing the IT team. Because it is designed specifically for distribution sales, your team will find it easy to get started.