How Distributors Improve Customer Retention A common rule of thumb in distribution is that it…
Timing is Everything in Sales – SMP Can Help
How many of the following issues frustrate you today?
- You face quarterly pressures to meet your numbers yet none of your customers’ projects are on the same timeline.
- You miss important shifts in customer spending that could either demonstrate new share of wallet opportunities or worse, a customer about to leave you for a competitor.
- You push hard for a earlier close which leads to bad decisions like unnecessary discounts.
- You waste time reaching out to your customers when they are busy or not ready to buy.
- You never seem to have time to prepare for customer meetings.
- Customer meetings run long because you spend time re-learning their needs and priorities.
These are all timing issues that could be solved by bringing together your CRM and ERP data into a powerful, self-serve BI solution. Here are a few examples of how having easy access to important data can help the timing of your sales reps.
When is the right time to talk to my customers about new products?
An important strategy for boosting profitability for many distributors is increasing share of wallet. Simply adding a few lines to every order can dramatically raise your profits. Unfortunately, not all of your customers understand your entire product line and may just be cherry picking you for particular brands. With a solid BI solution that combines you CRM and ERP data, you can fully understand each customer’s buying behaviors and compare them to similar customers to identify new opportunities for sales. This might come from identifying complementary products or by comparing the buying habits of similar customers. When you can see certain patterns emerging, your timing improves and you can offer the right products at the right time to the right customer rather than blasting product information to your entire list.
An interesting phenomena probably happens when a customer increases their spending volume with your company. Your reps feel successful because sales are increasing. However, unless you are a customer’s only source, their spending is increasing with other suppliers at the same time. That is a great time to have the conversation about your entire product line and the benefits and efficiencies of increasing the share of business they give to your company.
Is my quote follow up timely?
It is rare that a customer’s timing matches our own needs. We have our own sales goals and timing, they have their project and purchasing cycles. But that doesn’t mean we have to lose control over the purchasing process. It is easy to lose track of bids and quotes, yet SMP users are increasing their close rates by 25% to 30% on average with consistent follow up processes. SMP helps you by automatically creating follow up activities for your sales reps for any bid or quote over a certain dollar amount. That gives you better visibility into your entire pipeline, bridges the gap between your inside and outside sales reps and improves the timing of your follow up to help you win those important bids and quotes.
Am I about to lose a great customer?
Each of your reps has many customers to manage and so it can be difficult to monitor their spending habits over time. One of the key indicators of a good customer relationship is frequency; but do you reps have the ability to monitor purchasing frequency while they are chasing new deals? SMP’s platform can help you understand your customers’ buying patterns so that you can step in when there is a decrease in volume to save a customer’s business. Most customers don’t call about problems, they simply take their business elsewhere. By monitoring purchasing habits, your reps can intervene when there is a competitive offering in play. Don’t wait and give your customers a chance to have a great experience with another supplier. Let business intelligence tip you off to spending changes so that you can address your customers’ needs early before they stop buying from you.
Am I spending the right time preparing for customer meetings?
Most reps don’t spend enough time preparing for a thoughtful customer meeting. With SMP, you can generate real insights into the needs of your customers in minutes with self-serve data visualization. If your reps have difficulty getting to important data or they have to request reports from your IT team, they will often take the path of least resistance and skip preparation altogether.
In many cases, your customer’s timing may not let you prepare. They just closed a new project and need your help right away. SMP lets you access your data and customer information from a mobile device so that you can help your customer at a moment’s notice when they need your advice the most.