How Distributors Improve Customer Retention A common rule of thumb in distribution is that it…
Building The Next Generation Distribution Sales Rep
Modern sales and marketing technology has changed the playing field in distribution sales. Are your sales reps ready to compete? What does it take to meet the new challenges in distribution sales and what are the top characteristics of success for the next generation of distribution sales reps?
More and more distributors are investing in the right technologies to improve their consistency in sales, improve productivity and share information across sales teams. Unfortunately, not all reps are up to the task of taking advantage of their CRM systems for maximum effectiveness. It’s not uncommon for us to talk to distributors who still track their customer data in separate spreadsheets and emails.
Are your reps ready to step up? Here are four characteristics of the next generation distribution sales rep.
1. They Know Their Customers
Sales reps who use SMP can understand their customer from all angles by combining sales and interaction data from their CRM and customer, sales history and product data from their ERP. SMP allows your reps to have anytime and anywhere access to very rich customer data and interpret that data in easy to generate reports and dashboards. It’s no longer enough to limit your understanding of your customer to industry, branch location and customer size. SMP allows you to combine many important elements of your customer relationship so that your reps can create rich profiles including activities, purchasing histories, buying behaviors, associations, communications, events, vendor interactions and more.
Further, all of these data points and elegant visualizations can be easily shared across your various teams. It’s easy to see all of the various interactions all of your employees have had with each customer without having to pick up the phone and call an inside rep or customer support specialist. That results in more customer knowledge but also a unified customer experience across all of your teams.
2. They Sell Wherever the Customer Is
You’ve undoubtedly heard a lot about the power of mobile sales tools and mobile sales enablement. The real power of selling with mobile devices is not just the convenience of accessing data on your phone or tablet. The real power is in being able to meet your customer where they need to be met. The next generation of distribution sales reps will be able to sell wherever their customer is.
Giving access to your CRM system with mobile tools is an incredibly powerful competitive advantage, especially for sales reps who work in the field. Mobile CRM makes it easy for your reps to serve your customers with order status, availability, support issues and more. Most importantly, they can share information and problem solve when they are right in front of the customer instead of waiting to get back to the office and following up.
One thing the next generation of sales reps won’t need is a powerful memory, because with the right mobile sales tool, their entire CRM database becomes their portable brain. Your reps can schedule meetings, take calls, enter notes and more directly into their mobile device while the ideas are still fresh, rather than waiting to enter all of their information when they get back to their office. Mobile sales tools allow your reps to drive important in-person meetings based on real data and previous interactions so your meetings never get stale with the same old conversations.
3. They Are Faster and More Productive
The next generation of distribution sales reps simply outsell their competition because they are faster and more productive than other reps. The best way to make your reps more productive is not to simply invest in CRM, but to invest in a real distribution platform that is designed for your industry and their productivity. That is the power of SMP.
If your reps currently complain about their CRM system, it’s probably because it wasn’t designed for distribution. Most CRM systems were designed for manufacturing and contracting, not distribution. Those old fashioned CRM systems try to shoehorn your unique distribution processes into their systems. As a result, your most ambitious sales and marketing employees feel that using a tool that doesn’t meet their needs is a waste of your time.
SMP is different. It was built from the ground up with distribution in mind. From easy to understand user interfaces, to simple dashboards and reporting, your sales reps will immediately love and use SMP. By encouraging their use of CRM, SMP will increase their overall sales productivity and efficiency.
SMP is more than just entering data. It’s about accessing, visualizing and interpreting data quickly to help them reach their goals faster. It’s about automating simple tasks like marketing, emails, activities and reporting so that your reps can spend their time where it really matters – selling new deals.
4. They Love Analytics
Many distribution sales reps shy away from analytics because they lack tools or the tools they have are not integrated or are too difficult to use. Yet, modern reps know that analytics is what drives greater success in an increasingly competitive industry.
With SMP, you don’t need to hire analytics experts. You can still hire great closers with deep distribution expertise in your industry. SMP’s data analysis, reporting and visualization tools are so easy to use anyone can succeed at data analysis from their first day with your company. You reps will be using data to find their best customers, prospects, opportunities and open quotes and bids right away.
With SMP, your reps will have access to all the data they need to succeed from both CRM and ERP. But more importantly, they will be able to visualize their data in ways that make sense to them. In addition to powerful prebuilt reports and dashboards, SMP’s data tools are so easy to learn that each rep can slice and dice their own data to come up with their own insights for greater sales.