Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors
July 21, 2016  |  ByMark Dancer, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow
NAW-Top Concerns Distributors Have About Adopting Customer Relationship Management – CRM

We found that wholesaler-distributors that have not adopted CRM are cautious, seeking greater assurance that their investments of time and cash will deliver results for their businesses.

Few distributors reject the premise that there is a fundamental need for automation of the sales management process, much as automation has improved other aspects of their business. Despite wariness expressed about overhyped CRM, most distributors are genuinely excited at the prospect of leveraging customer data by putting it in the hands of salespeople and managers. However, they demand a tool that will work in a sales environment, is easy to use, integrates with other systems, and doesn’t require excessive ongoing management of software versions and hardware platforms.

In our online survey, we asked nonusers to rank their concerns, as shown in the chart above. Their number-one issue was earning an acceptable return-on-investment on CRM, followed by worries about implementation, fit with business needs, and software costs (too expensive).

It is very important to note that only a very small fraction of nonusers indicated that CRM is not at all a fit. This finding means that nonusers are looking for answers. In our interviews, we asked experienced distributors to help answer nonuser concerns and share their perspectives.

The common message from distributors that are experienced in the selection of a CRM vendor, implementation, and ongoing use is to first consider how your sales process can be improved to deliver better sales results, productivity, and profitability and then figure out how CRM can help you achieve these objectives. Talking to other distributors is a highly recommended approach for learning about CRM and the potential to improve business results. In Getting the Most Out of CRM, we offer another approach built around a sales effectiveness framework designed specifically for distributors. This framework is introduced as a management tool to help distributors determine the most likely areas that CRM can help a distribution business address its sales challenges and opportunities.

Adapted from Getting the Most Out of CRM: Best Practices for Wholesaler-Distributors

The full study delivers sage advice from CRM-experienced distributors, and it will help you avoid common mistakes, minimize frustration, and achieve the full potential of CRM for your business.

Looking for more insights into the benefits of CRM?
Click on the image below to receive the top 10 list on Benefits of Adopting Customer Relationship Management System (CRM).

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Mark Dancer, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow

Mark Dancer, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow

Mark Dancer founded the Network for Business Innovation to drive awareness, advocacy and excellence for B2B innovation, and to enable an exchange of ideas between leaders on business transformation, technology adoption, social impact and community engagement. For more than 30 years, Mark has worked with leading companies to achieve go-to-market excellence across a wide range of industries in developed and emerging markets.

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