Wholesale companies are faced with a unique set of challenges.
Luckily, these challenges, such as tracking opportunities in a long and complex sales cycle and dealing with a constantly changing customer base, can be handled with specialist software. In this article, we’ll demonstrate that there are plenty of benefits of CRM for wholesale companies. Let’s take a look.
CRM software has the capacity to transform your business in many ways – by improving your business processes and your sales team, and by keeping your customers happy. Once you have developed your operations and grown your organisation with CRM, you won’t be able to imagine your business without it.
While sales teams in the B2B sector are concerned with finding and closing new business, wholesale companies tend to focus more on retaining and developing relationships with their existing customers. This means that wholesale companies don’t often rely on a lot of the classic functions of CRM that sales teams need, such as tracking new opportunities in the sales cycle, analysis of interactions between the opportunity and sales team, and tracking the effectiveness of online marketing campaign. Instead, the goal of CRM for wholesale companies is to manage customer contact information, record customer interactions, and compile sales reports.
What Features Should CRM for Wholesale Contain?
In order to satisfy these needs, a CRM should contain features like:
• Order history – allowing your customer orders to be transparent means that sales reps can quickly reference a customer’s most ordered items, upsell products especially tailored to them, and use this information to identify the most popular products to emphasise.
• Notes – CRM lets reps log their sales activities and document, review and share the information collected during meetings with customers. This information gives sales managers a better view of the sales process and its strengths and weaknesses, in order to give better and more immediate advice and make better informed decisions.
• Sales reporting – customer sales reporting can quickly flag up customer volume gaps and seasonality issues, reveal the most important meetings and calls to prioritise so that your team can respond to these accordingly.
- Flexibility – It’s imperative that you choose a flexible CRM system that can scale with the demands of your company. If you’re an SME, for example, we recommend solutions such as FunnelCRM, GreenRope, CapsuleCRM or HubSpot.
What are the Benefits of CRM for Wholesale Companies?
The information that the system provides leads to many benefits of CRM for Wholesale Companies. CRM provides a 360° view of customers of all the services and transactions relating to them, all in one place. This gives a more accurate, holistic picture of the customer and their relationship with your business, which should be borne in mind for all transactions and communication with them.
Wholesale companies sell to different types of customers, each of which have various requirements and expectations. Treating them all the same means that you may not be unlocking your full business potential. CRM can help you accommodate to their buying preferences; the expectations of a retailer will be different to another wholesaler, and so sales activities such as offering promotions and sending email campaigns ought to be tailored to these diverse requirements.
Wholesalers need to keep customers happy by satisfying orders and adhering to agreements. This gets more difficult the bigger a wholesale company gets due to poor internal communication. The running of a business depends on clear communication, but messages and information can get lost or misinterpreted. CRM can improve communication across an organisation by displaying each interaction with a customer, what stage of the sales process they are engaged in and what actions might need to be taken. This allows your team to be clear as to what’s going on and where everyone’s at, work together as a cohesive whole, and improve customer service.
Your customer support stands to benefit from CRM as well. With CRM, you can find out what the most common requests are, which customers require more support, and keep track of all these interactions. Storing contacts is essential, as there will be contacts for every company you do business with. Storing these in a card index is much more cumbersome and difficult to search through than if they can all be retrieved from a standalone contacts database.
CRM provides the option for customers to provide customer service for themselves. Through a self-service portal, they can see their account balances, track open orders and contact support. This allows customers to make queries and transactions at any time, and frees up the amount of time your organisation spends dealing with customers. For a small to mid-size organisation, offering customer self-service could really set you apart from your competition.
Wholesale companies still rely on manual processes, paperwork and files to assist their customers. The automation that CRM provides means that these tasks can be accomplished quicker and easier. This saves your organisation time and increases productivity, as your team can work on more important tasks. Saving them from performing mundane operations improves the attitude and motivation of your workers.
In conclusion, a CRM helps you manage your customers and provide a comprehensive view of them. It also helps you manage your contacts and the communication you have with them. You can more easily market products/services and promotions to your customer base, and adapt them specifically to whoever they are being sent to. You can manage customer support more simply, and give your customers the option for self-service.
Key factors when deciding on wholesale distribution software
As wholesale distribution businesses form a significant global presence, there’s plenty of demand for software targeted at this industry. This leads to a number of competing packages being available from major developers, making it necessary to compare the different options, features and benefits to determine the most appropriate solution for you. Here’s a few of the key factors to consider when deciding on your next wholesale distribution software.
The cost of procuring wholesale distribution software will vary depending on the features it offers, the type of deployment that it relies upon to operate, and the number of end users that requires access to the software.
Some solutions will be solely based on the ability to manage one particular aspect of a business, such as controlling and monitoring warehouse facilities and keeping track of the stock levels. Others will be aimed more generally at making the business easier to run in an impactful manner, tackling everything from human resources and supply chain management to regulatory compliance and planning.
In general, the more specialised wholesale distribution software options will be the most affordable. However, budgetary influences and other variables will need to be examined to work out which option is best for your organisation.
Software applications need an operating system to function, with some solutions offering limited compatibility while others are built to work in every ecosystem available.
The best software solutions will work with Windows, Linux and OS X, whether by offering distinct versions that can be easily installed locally on machines or by utilising cloud-based deployment to overcome compatibility issues and operate in a web browser.
Traditionally, any software that a business wanted to use would need to be installed on computers in-house or hosted locally on servers to which on-site workstations had access. This is still a popular option in many cases. However, the rise of cloud computing and SaaS has helped shift the burden of hosting software to third parties.
Locally installed software has the advantage of always being available, even if network access is eliminated. However, cloud-powered wholesale distribution software, such as Microsoft and Oracle, is more scalable, flexible and convenient. Payment can also be made on a subscription basis in a cloud environment, with the options to add extra users and allow a provider to control the rollout of updates adding to the advantage of the offer.
Bigger businesses require access to software that is scalable enough to accommodate the kinds of intensive use it will receive at their hands. This makes it necessary to check whether the wholesale distribution software you select is appropriate for the size of your organisation.
In almost every instance, a package will be a good fit for small businesses. However, not every solution will be able to meet the expectations of medium or large business. If you want to be able to support hundreds or even thousands of end users, track distribution across multiple locations, and run national or international deployment, then scalability will be a significant selling point.
The good news is that the comparison of wholesale distribution software has been simplified and as long as you can identify what you need to get out of a service, you’ll be able to walk away feeling perfectly happy with the choice you’ve made.