If you’re looking for perspectives to get to a “go” decision for adopting CRM or expanding its use at your company, here are five strategic findings that may help you:
- Distribution leaders are targeting increased sales productivity as a strategic priority for improving profitability.
- Adoption of CRM is supported by many practical benefits that are relevant to distributor sales models.
- CRM enables practical strategies for improving sales effectiveness such as developing value-selling skills, and better sales coaching and performance management.
- Major questions of nonusers go to benefits for their specific needs, concerns about implementation, and uncertainty about return-on-investment.
- CRM has become a standard practice and an essential tool.
Distributors are adopting CRM 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.
Today’s CRM software are enabled on mobile devices and fills the gap by putting customer information at the fingertips of sales personnel, 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 sales personnel.
Among wholesaler-distributors that are not currently using CRM, 42% have actively shopped for CRM and 22% are in the process of implementing their first CRM solution. Other wholesaler-distributors are well along the adoption curve. If not actively shopping, almost all distributors are aware of CRM and have a working knowledge of CRM’s features and benefits.
One-third of distributors that have actively shopped have decided, at least for now, not to make a purchase and here’s why:
- Some are waiting for their management team to get onboard.
- Others are building a business case or waiting for improved business conditions and cash flow.
- For still others, it’s a matter of culture or a worry that salespeople will resist, arguing for autonomy or that CRM is a waste of time and effort.
- Others are looking for reinforcement in the advice of executives that they respect and look to for validation or encouragement.