By Olivia Mascarenhas on Tue 23 August 2022 in CRM
CRM systems are typically aimed at strengthening processes within Sales and Marketing teams. But a great CRM system shouldn’t operate as a silo – it should be a tool that all key functions of the business can use to excel in their role.
From tracking potential opportunities through sales pipelines, to sending quotes – CRM vendors tend to shout about features and benefits like these to Sales teams first and foremost. Streamlining sales processes is particularly important for product-based businesses selling potentially hundreds of products to hundreds of customers – efficiency in managing these opportunities and sales orders will help them win more business and retain customers for longer.
For Sales teams in a product business though, a CRM system should go beyond just sending a quote or tracking a sale through a pipeline. With integration to other systems (like your back-office inventory and accounts) a CRM can provide deeper insights. A great CRM should:
- Tell them what products are available now, next week and next month to better advise customers
- Help them take orders quickly, easily and accurately to get from quote to order faster
To generate more sales with customers, “traditional CRMs” tend to fall short for product businesses.
MarketersBuilding highly targeted lists for marketing campaigns is centred around the CRM. From segmenting customers based on CRM-driven data like location, RFM segment, or Account Manager, Marketing teams can create meaningful messaging that resonates with the right customer at the right time. With integration to tools like Mailchimp that has two-way syncing, interactions and campaign results are captured back in the CRM for teams in an easily digestible format where they can then prioritise potential leads.
But for a B2B wholesaler, distributor or manufacturer, being able to target customers with upsell and cross-sell campaigns is pivotal to winning more business and making sure you don’t lose existing customers to the competition. CRMs that facilitate this mean you can do it at scale.
Finance/AccountsAlthough Finance teams won’t use a CRM as much as other teams, integrating a CRM to systems they use daily means they can still reap the rewards. CRMs that integrate to back-office accounting systems, like Xero, Access Dimensions or QuickBooks Online, will feed important customer and billing information, back and forth between the systems in real-time.
Account Managers in a product business need a CRM that focuses on improving customer retention. After all, these types of businesses rely on repeat orders, so a great CRM should prompt this team with information like:
- A list of customers who aren’t ordering as much (value) or as often (frequency) as they would normally, so they know where to focus on increasing AOV/AOF
- A list of your best customers so they know who to approach for case studies, 5* reviews and new product launch testing
- A list of who is slipping away so they know who to prioritise for a meeting or visit
Recording customer issues to manage the aftersales process is key for any B2B product business. Whether it’s a product return, delivery issue or complaint, you’ll need to log these types of queries somewhere. And what better place than the CRM – where all your product and customer information is centralised. Not only does it make sense to log this info here, but product businesses don’t tend to need convoluted or dedicated software for this purpose. A CRM should give you the flexibility to set up pipelines to manage your after-sales process efficiently so you can deal with customer issues quickly and professionally.
Crucially, recording these queries in the CRM rather than in a separate system makes for an improved feedback loop, as Sales and Account Management teams have full visibility of these issues before speaking to customers – enabling them to tailor their approach. Learn more about how CRM can benefit your After-sales team here.
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