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Key CRM Functions for B2B Wholesalers, Manufacturers & Distributors

By Eleanor Akester on Thu 25 May 2023 in CRM

In a competitive market, you need to have the right strategies in place to engage customers and set yourself apart from the competition. A modern CRM system with an effective integration scheme and AI-driven technology might be the missing link that takes you from stagnant growth to success.

Traditional CRMs are great for B2C companies, but businesses selling products B2B need to know where they’re winning and losing business due to their reliance on order repeatability. So, although the typical features and functionality you’d find in “traditional CRMs” are great, B2B product businesses need more than just the tools that attract new business. 

Wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers have very specific requirements of a CRM; they need a CRM to provide a 360° view of the business. They sell to a variety of different customers who all have different expectations that need to be met. That’s a lot of data to be managed, so how does a stock-aware CRM system help wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers do this? 

There’s a plethora of CRM functions that enable a B2B product business to become stock-aware, such as access to information relating to stock levels, price lists, RFM Analysis, Magic Matrix, Sales Transactions, Sales Analysis, and so on. Functioning as a stock-aware business can benefit you by having all sales data accessible from one, intuitive platform.

With so many choices on the market, you want to ensure you're picking a CRM that offers you the very best and very latest technology. Here are our top 5 features to look out for.

Integrated CRM:

By having a CRM that integrates with best-of-breed systems, there’s no need to repeat tasks as the systems will work seamlessly together. A CRM that offers integration to back-office solutions like inventory management and accounting can not only help with daily tasks – like order rekeying – but can open up a world of automation, efficiency, and sales success. 

Particularly for Sales and Marketing teams, essential data on customers, stock and products is generally out of reach when it’s stored in a back-office system they can’t access. By making this data accessible to these teams in a system that is designed for them, they’re equipped with the right tools and information to excel in their role. This can only happen through proper integration between these back-office systems and a sales and marketing tool (the CRM). 

Without integration to these systems, customer-facing teams won’t get their hands on powerful information like purchase history, prices, stock levels and orders – all of which are fed directly from the back-office inventory/accounting solution. For B2B wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers, integration between your current stock/accounts software and the CRM should be non-negotiable. 

Use of AI:

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is something that is extremely important for CRM users. Gartner’s report on A.I., highlights that using A.I. in its varying forms will benefit your organisation by revealing better ways of getting tasks done. Also, removing the manual calculations allows A.I. to interact directly with systems that take action. 

A.I. based tools, such as predicted churn alerts, allow you to see which customers you're missing orders from to increase order frequency and customer retention. The benefit of this CRM function for wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers is that customers who are at risk of being lost are pro-actively identified by A.I. before it's too late – allowing Sales teams to take action sooner and increase the efficiency of their sales activity.

Strong reporting tools: 

It’s essential for B2B product businesses to be able to create comprehensive reports quickly and efficiently, and be able to track their performance in various departments. On-demand reporting allows for decisions to be made quickly and provide the most up-to-date datasets to Sales teams. Interactive dashboards, end-to-end reporting, click tracking, and customised CRM functions are all key to pipeline effectiveness.

Lead management:

Lead management is an integral component of CRM as it produces a clear plan of action. It allows for the capturing, categorising, tracking and nurturing of customers along the buyer’s journey. This aspect of a CRM will allow you to target leads that offer attainable value as they’re highlighted through the process. Sales and Marketing teams can collaborate to implement strategies that attract high-quality leads to be nurtured through the sales pipeline.

Recency, Frequency & Monetary (RFM) Analysis:

RFM is a technique used by many businesses to analyse customer buying behaviour and spend patterns. When automated, it can assess which customers are spending the most and most often, which are spending the least and least often, and which customers are potentially being lost to competition. These kinds of insights can help Sales teams better prioritise and intercept any potential customer churn before they’re lost for good. 

Using the invaluable data that seamless integration allows for, B2B product businesses can focus on building customer loyalty instead of quick, one-time sales. By utilising an integrated CRM system, business processes will be improved and so will the productivity of your Sales team due to the amount of rich data available to them throughout the sales process.

Looking for a great CRM for your product business, but not sure what would suit your company best? Prospect CRM is consistently rated the #1 Stock-Aware CRM for B2B Wholesalers, Distributors & Manufacturers. Try Prospect CRM for free, or request a demo now.