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Why CRM systems like Salesforce, Zoho, Insightly & Pipedrive don’t work for Wholesale, Distributor & Manufacturing Businesses

By Jessica Heald on Tue 24 March 2020 in Wholesale & Distribution


The CRM market is a minefield. But for Wholesalers, Distributors & Manufacturers, the choice is clear.

First off – here’s proof that it really is a minefield. Go to any website which provides research and user reviews on software apps for businesses, and its effectively information overload as soon as the page loads.

Take Capterra for example – as it stands today, there are 743 software vendors sitting in the CRM Software category (although, it’s worth noting that some of these aren’t purely CRM focused – they might do a bit of marketing automation or accounting too, which makes this list even lengthier to trawl through).

Regardless of which ones are inherently CRM and which ones aren’t – that’s a lot.


The fact is, you don’t have time to sift through all of these, comparing each one side by side. That would be insane.

So: Where do you start? Which reviews should you believe? What is the right choice? Is there a right or wrong?

Ultimately, choosing a CRM system is an important decision that’s going to have an impact company-wide…so it needs to be right.

If you sell products to other businesses, the choice is severely reduced

Phew – a sigh of relief (unless you don’t sell products, then…sorry – the rest of this blog isn’t going to fill you with hope in finding your perfect CRM!).

But for B2B Wholesalers, Distributors and Manufacturers selling products to other businesses, there actually is a right choice – and plenty of wrongs.

All software vendors develop their platform for their main audiences. Salesforce, Pipedrive and Insightly have a target audience for their CRM. And for those CRMs, the top categories are all non-physical products – their biggest customer bases are all selling services, not products.

A quick look in G2 Crowd’s website shows that for all these systems, the biggest sectors they target are:

  • Other Computer Software or Internet businesses
  • Marketing & Advertising Agencies
  • Financial Services

CRM Comparison Grid

For people selling products, this is a massive red flag.

Compare that with Prospect CRM…all our customers are focused on the reality of selling physical products:

  • Wholesale
  • Industrial or Mechanical products
  • Health, Fitness and Wellness products
  • Packaging
  • Retail (often nowadays mixed with Wholesale & B2B Distribution)
  • Food & beverage distribution

CRM Comparison Grid with Prospect CRM

What does Prospect CRM focus on, that Salesforce, Pipedrive etc. don’t?

Unlike the other CRM vendors, we know all about dealing with stock and inventory, large product lists, large customer bases, and most importantly – generating and managing repeat sales with (comparatively) large order volumes and lower margins, rather than one-off projects for ethereal goods (like software or financial services).
Traditional (old-school) CRMs like Salesforce, Pipedrive, Zoho CRM and many others are primarily focused on winning new customers or doing big, one-off software and consultancy projects.
Prospect CRM can of course help you get new customers as well, but, being specifically built for Wholesale and Distribution, we know that keeping customers and great Account Management (retention, repeat sales and upselling) are just as important as bringing in new customers.

In fact, successful Wholesalers and Distributors can grow up to 5x faster by focusing on retention, respend, upselling, cross-selling and reactivation of dormant and lost customers, rather than just focusing their CRM activities and sales management efforts on signing up new customers.

So – a CRM that facilitates your unique challenges is clearly essential in making the right choice.
Want to see how Prospect, the #1 Stock-Aware CRM, can help you grow your Wholesale, Distributor or Manufacturing business? You can try it for free today.

Or, watch a no-pressure Webinar here.

If you're just here to learn more about how to grow a successful business, then click here to learn about the 6 key strategies for growing your Wholesale, Distributor or Manufacturing business!