Read an Excerpt From Mark Dancer's New Software Guide: "Getting the Most Out of CRM"
- Manage The Sales Pipeline With CRM Software
- CRM Software Reports Improve Sales Forecasts and Planning
Our research found that wholesaler-distributors are adopting CRM not for its own sake, but because today’s competitive markets and difficult economy demand that every aspect of the business, including sales, operate as productively and efficiently as possible. Every missed opportunity hurts the bottom line. Every less-than-delighted customer opens the door for competition. Modern warehouse operations and logistics services can ensure that the right product is available at the right time in the right place, but profits slip away if the sales organization doesn’t execute.
While every other function optimizes business results through clearly defined processes, actionable data and proactive managers, sales has stood apart. Executives and sales leaders have allowed, and often encouraged, salespeople to discover their own best practices without customer data and productivity tools. The result is sales results that are good enough by historical standards and sales management practices that are not prepared to jump to the next level of competitiveness.
Today’s CRM software, enabled by mobile devices, fills a gap by putting customer information at the fingertips of salespeople as they prepare for, interact with, and follow up after customer conversations, whether in the field, on the phone, or through online communications. Moreover, CRM jumpstarts effective sales management by focusing sales conversations on the current status of actual opportunities, supported by customer data, at a point where a new approach or better execution can make a difference, rather than after-the-fact performance reviews.
Successful wholesaler-distributors are finding that improved sales discipline and sales management complement the skills of top performers and provide guidance for developing salespeople.
As one executive observed, “Every function in my business runs on a long list of metrics, except sales. In sales, we have one or two metrics, and the data are usually outdated or not attributable to individual customer accounts. Decisions are made looking back at the history of sales, too often relying on anecdotes and storytelling.”
Benefits of CRM Software
Our research identified 10 practical benefits delivered by CRM features, realized through CRM use by salespeople and sales managers. These 10 benefits are relevant for all wholesaler-distributors, although the initial timing or priority of each benefit may vary by each wholesaler-distributor’s circumstances and capabilities.
Wholesaler-distributors that are not current users of CRM identified the same benefits, further reinforcing the fact that CRM is fast becoming a well-known tool for managing a sales force. Each benefit offers incremental returns for new users of CRM, while experienced CRM users achieve continual gains by leveraging the collective benefits of all features, working together. Our list of CRM benefits for wholesaler-distributors are as follows:
Manage The Sales Pipeline With CRM Software