Planning for the Coming Year: What We Heard at the Eclipse UFO Meeting

We recently had the opportunity to attend Encounter 2016, the annual meeting of the Epicor Eclipse UFO in Pittsburgh, PA. We were proud to support our many Eclipse-user distribution clients and business partners as well as meet new friends. We also had the chance to discuss plans for implementing CRM and business intelligence to meet the challenges of 2017.

What we heard didn’t surprise us. In fact, many of the distributors we met with echoed what we’ve been hearing are the top sales effectiveness initiatives moving into next year:

  • Analyzing customer buy cycles
  • Improving sales rep access to information
  • Implementing new CRM tools
  • Aligning sales and marketing
  • Revising their sales process

In other words, distributors are looking to improve their sales success through a combination of CRM, sales management solutions and business intelligence – something SMP calls the new distribution platform.

What kinds of changes are driving these initiatives? We discussed four main areas at the UFO meeting.

  1. The rise of next generation digital users. The last generation of workers learned the power of technology through hands-on experience. This next generation was born into it. They’re accustomed to having the tools and technology they need to do their job and they really don’t know any other world. They grew up doing Google searches in first grade. According to a Price Waterhouse Cooper study 59% of millennials surveyed said that state-of-the art technology was important to them and 78% said that technology makes them more effective at work. They expect easy-to-use and creative solutions that give them access to data across your entire company.
  2. Cost of ownership. The advent of cloud technology has also brought cost of ownership down, decreasing time and expense around networking and hardware.
  3. Better technology. Many of the business intelligence platforms in use until very recently could not scale well across a distribution company. They required heavy IT support and could crush networks with millions of transactions. SMP’s distribution platform takes advantage of superior technology for faster, better and more complex data analysis driven by your users.
  4. Access to data. For too long, distributors have allowed their different data sources to continue in silos, inaccessible to most of their users. SMP’s new distribution platform gives you access to data sources across your ERP, CRM for a full view of your company, your activities, your competitors, your customers, your prospects and your vendors.

Are you ready to meet these opportunities head-on in 2017? SMP, the New Distribution Platform can help you address all of these initiatives and more with an integrated approach to CRM, business intelligence and the data inside your ERP system.

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