By Jessica Heald on Thu 12 September 2019 in CRM
There are many advantages of having a CRM system in place. But for Wholesalers, the true benefits can only be gained from having the right type of CRM...
There are plenty of universal benefits from CRM that all types of businesses will appreciate and want. Some common ones include being able to see all communications and interactions with your customers, automating your processes by getting rid of manual tasks and copious spreadsheets, and storing key contact information in one centralised place. But for Wholesale companies, a CRM needs to do more than just tick the boxes. Yes, all the above are still important to have, but they should be seen as the basic CRM requirements; not true benefits. Ask yourself this – are they really going to help me grow my Wholesale business?
So, as you can imagine, the more generic CRMs out there (and there are undoubtedly plenty to choose from!) will likely fail to provide real value to stock businesses, because they won’t facilitate the more unique processes Wholesalers face. Think of it this way – the operational challenges that businesses like yours (who sell products) frequently come across are just not going to be the same as the challenges that businesses who sell purely services face (they have a whole host of different processes that other CRMs designed for them can address much better).
What are the true benefits of CRM for Wholesalers?As a Wholesaler, you’re likely selling hundreds, if not thousands of different products, so it’s imperative to find a CRM that has full understanding of your stock. It goes without question that you need to track all the usual interactions (leads/opportunities etc.), but a real benefit to a Wholesaler is a CRM that can help your team give your customers an accurate price (taking into account any special pricing or discounts the customer may have with you), send a quote and take an order, then be able to review their buying patterns. It should allow you to track everything easily, like financial and service information for customers, and stock availability at the right price for quotes. Crucially, because you’re selling actual products rather than purely services, integration to your back-office system (like your accounting or inventory management system) will be key in ensuring vital customer and product info is made readily available for your customer-facing staff to use during the sales process. With this to hand, Sales teams will be able to know exactly what products they can sell right now – and if they’re not available now, know when they will become available in the future so they can allocate this to the customer. Gone will be the days of over-promising to customers and under-delivering (or equally, not selling stock when you could be!).
More often than not, Wholesalers will find that repeat or recurring business from their loyal customers helps them keep the lights on, so it’s vital that the CRM system you choose doesn’t just aid this aspect of the business, but in fact boosts it. It should be easy and convenient for clients to place an order with you time and time again, (maybe even the exact same as what they ordered previously) and ideally the CRM should use customer sales transaction history to encourage increased repeat business.
But it’s not just the Sales team who can reap the benefits of CRM. As long as the CRM you choose has ticket logging functionality, your customer service reps will be able to better manage customer after-sales calls and issues whilst allowing others in the business (management, warehousing, accounts etc.) to see the full picture. So, no matter how big or small the issue is, they can turn every single one into an amazing customer experience!
And it doesn’t stop there – others in the business will feel the benefits of CRM too. If the solution has full integration to your accounting or inventory management system, Sales teams should have access to critical customer info at their fingertips, meaning less interruptions to Finance teams – so they can run their accounts department in peace! Plus, Managing Directors and other senior managers will be able to manage KPIs by department, or for the business as a whole with the right kind of CRM. The system should also be able to instantly tell you which customers should be prioritised based on if they’re buying more or less than last year, for example.
So, for Wholesalers, the CRM you choose should combine the best of traditional CRM (Marketing, Sales Pipelines and Customer Service Management), with the reality of selling products B2B (quoting, ordering, inventory management, special pricing, back orders, product information and even things like contracts, serial numbers and asset tracking if needed) to ensure your sales and service teams really feel the benefits.