How Distributors Improve Customer Retention A common rule of thumb in distribution is that it…
Leveraging Data in Your Largest Deals
Large deals and large customers are tricky in many ways. Distributors often feel like they cannot approach their largest deals in the same way they do everyday orders. Many distribution sales reps see large deals as the ultimate proof of their own unique value to a company and are reluctant to open their deals up to too much analysis. They seem to believe that each large deal is unique and supporting data is scarce.
Our experience is that there is no deal that cannot be made better, larger, and faster with the right analysis of your data. Consider that for many reps and many distribution companies, 20% of their customers might make up 80% of their revenue. Why wouldn’t you go after the largest deals with the full force of data analysis behind you to help make your annual sales targets?
In fact, the opposite is often true with large deals. Without data to guide your team, each deal becomes harder to win. Without process and data, reps feel like they are alone in their efforts and are unable to employ hard-learned lessons from previous large deals. When big deals show up on the pipeline, teams often start flailing wildly to land them without discipline and at the expense of sales efforts in other deals.
The good news is that SMP users have access to all the data they need to help win large deals from their ERP data, CRM software, sales transactions and business intelligence tools. With easy-to-use data visualization tools, your team can use even small amounts of data to derive insights that lead to more wins.
Let’s look at four examples of how data can boost your execution in large deals.
1. Identified Opportunities
Winning large deals can take a significant team effort and that effort has an opportunity cost somewhere else in your business. Often, a distributor will send their top people into large deals as soon as they surface, hoping to swarm the prospects and demonstrate their deep experience and support. This may or may not be the best strategy for two main reasons. First, it is a resource intensive way to win large deals. What is the opportunity cost of sending your best employees in at an early stage of a customer relationship? Second, it may not match what the buyer really needs to make their decision. Imagine a builder working a large job on a tight schedule. It may be important to discuss logistics, delivery capabilities and send some experts to the job site. But technical resources and discussions might actually delay buyers who were already set on their products. You may see it as a huge advantage to send in your product experts, yet your prospect may simply see it as a distraction.
Instead of running the same large customer play you always run, what if you combined your CRM data with your ERP data to really understand what actions your team took that really advanced similar customers deals? Look at the large prospect in terms of both demographic data (size, industry, employees, etc.) and behavioral data (how frequent do you think they’ll make orders, what is their average order size, do they shop a particular competitor, etc.) and compare them to customers in your own CRM and ERP database.
This will lead to two very clear sales benefits. One is that you’ll actually apply the exact right activities and tasks that worked for similar customers. You’ll put your very best foot forward instead of making guesses. Second, you can present the data from similar customers into an easy-to-understand graph in a matter of minutes using SMP’s award-winning data visualization tools. Your prospect will be impressed by both your resources and your history with similar customers.
2. Closing Bids and Quotes
Most distributor sales reps spend a sizable amount of time and effort into getting their largest prospects to the bid or quote phase of a sales cycle. They’ve carefully listened to customer needs, selected exactly the right mix of products and services and convinced their prospects of your unique value sets. This amount of care is justified in large deals where you are competing against a crowd of competing distributors. But what happens once that quote is advanced?
You may or may not be surprised that 90% of the distributors we recently surveyed indicated that bid and quote follow-up is one of their top priorities. SMP created a unique process for following up on bids and quotes that result in an average of 25% to 30% higher close rates. We help you follow up with your bids and quotes in specific and measurable ways:
- SMP can automatically create follow-up activities for any bid or quote that meets a particular size threshold. That way, you’ll follow up on your most important large deals without worry and without creating follow-up activities on smaller deals.
- Your sales managers will also gain increased intelligence in analyzing your pipeline around larger deals.
- The increased follow-up and monitoring helps bring together your inside and outside teams in your large bids and quotes.
- You can spend time coaching your team rather than digging through quotes and data. That helps you shape each particular quote to meet the specific needs and competitive requirements of a large deal increasing your win-rate and profitability.
The larger the deal the more complexity you face. This is true for both you and your customer. How much time do you spend during negotiations dealing with complex pricing and rebate requirements, multiple orders with hundreds of lines, confusion between inside sales, outside sales, delivery questions and more? The slightest misstep anywhere in this complex area can lead to a large loss.
If you haven’t carefully tracked each meeting, call, customer requirement, customer preferences and more, you will probably lose your largest deals to more attentive distributors. It’s become more important than ever to have CRM in distribution. But leading distributors are taking it a step further by integrating their CRM, ERP data and business intelligence into a simple platform that anyone in your organization can use to drive deals forward. That platform is SMP.
The main reason the negotiation phase of a large deal can fail from complexity is a lack of visibility into the most important interactions and data from your sales team. Most distributors don’t have simple ways to allow their sales teams to even track and access important data, let alone analyze data to improve sales activities. How much more successful would your team be if all of the information they needed in their largest and most complex sales cycles were right at their fingertips in the office or in a customer location using mobile devices?
Win More Deals with SMP
Your largest deals are so important to your bottom line that it can cause a lot of distraction in your organization. It’s more important than ever in large deals to have a trackable and measurable process that leads to close. SMP provides your sales leaders the access to the important data they need to find, persuade and close large deals while giving a considerable amount of time back to your entire team – IT, sales, technical resources, management and more.