If there’s one industry that has drastically reinvented itself in recent times, it’s wholesale and distribution businesses. And during the global pandemic, the industry had to reimagine its fundamentals to account for social distancing. They did this by automating as much as possible every stage of the process, from manufacturer to end-user. CRM played an ever greater pivotal role in the tech stack for wholesalers and distributors as they adjusted to the new norm.
What you will learn in this article
- How CRM can help wholesalers and distributors grow their business
- How CRM can integrate with your existing software
- Ways for CRM to help your sales and marketing
- Top tips for using CRM when you are in wholesale and distribution
- How to get started with CRM
Growing your wholesale or distribution business with CRM
If you were to count the number of apps and platforms you use in your business, how many fingers would you need? Will two hands’ worth be sufficient? It’s daunting how much software you and your use in your daily work. Straight off, this includes warehouse, distribution, logistics, and shipping software. But let’s look closer at what you may be taking for granted.
- Import and export management
- Inventory and orders
- Warehouse management
- 3PL management
- Real-time synchronization
- Receiving and putaway management
Inventory management software
- Inventory optimization
- Multichannel management
- Product ID
- Reporting and analytics
- Supplier management
- Fleet management
- Transportation management
Kudos to you if you can stay on top of that little lot every day. If not, the answer is CRM. But how does CRM work when you are already knee-deep in data?
Integrating your software with CRM
Wholesaler and distribution companies have a ton of industry-specific software. But how can CRM help?
You are more efficient if all your apps are connected and working together. By combining data from all your other platforms, CRM can generate real-time reports, attach the data to tasks, sales, and contacts.
CRM harvests all your primary metrics into one integrated data flow. You can then see all your benchmark measures in the CRM dashboard. Or you can dive deeper into the metrics for a more granular look at what’s going on.
Sales and marketing
Your sales department will likewise be delighted by CRM. They have access to detailed information and the ability to monitor social selling.
Today’s modern customer expects your business to be omnichannel. They also expect the customer service to be first class, no matter which channel they decide to use. This is another area where CRM for distributors and wholesalers comes into its own. All your email and social media platforms are integrated. You don’t need to chase around every feed; it’s all there for you in one place. You can easily monitor all your social media platforms, publish posts, and respond to comments, all from your CRM dashboard.
Every marketer knows it costs around five times more to win a new client than retain an existing one. Indeed, with wholesale and distribution, which are essentially B2B businesses, the costs are even greater. Being on point with your communications is therefore vital in retaining a loyal customer base. One of CRM’s undisputed strengths is in developing customer relationships. Hence the name. By unifying all your communications efforts in CRM, you can be sure your customers are getting the right level of attention.
Having different systems for different clients is inefficient. CRM enables you to have a single database for all your contacts, manufacturers, retailers, agents, and distributors. A single system for everyone you deal with streamlines business processes and makes life much less confusing for everyone.
The best CRM solutions do not place limits on the number of contacts in your database. This allows you and your users to assign specific staff and partners to a particular deal or task. You can then go back and check on progress.
Another way CRM keeps you and your team on the same page is through scheduling. At the end of each day, plan the next one. Then, when you return to work, you have a clear focus on what needs to be done that day. You can also share your schedule with your team so they can see the priorities.
Top CRM tips for wholesalers and distributors
- Assign tasks – Managing a team doesn’t mean micromanagement. Task management within CRM systems is sophisticated enough to manage people without breathing down their necks constantly.
- Forecasting – The better the data, the more accurate the forecasts. CRM can accurately forecast in real-time, drawing on data points in your pipelines. The forecasting capabilities of CRM are a great way to see the health of your sales and marketing. The forecasts are data-driven, allowing you to make business decisions with the best information available. Keeping a close eye on your pipelines helps you make the right moves at the right time.
- More than the sum of parts – Integration with resource, business process, and inventory management tools allows CRM to multiply the benefits of each coherently.
Getting started with CRM
In wholesale and distribution, you hardly need reminding; time is of the essence. To get the best possible assessment of CRM, ask for a free trial. That way, you won’t waste any time evaluating whether CRM is for you or not. Securing a free, no-risk trial is straightforward.
However, to cut down the field, you are probably best to concentrate on cloud CRM solutions. These can be accessed anywhere and are smartphone-friendly, precisely what you need in the wholesale and distribution industry.
Wholesale and distribution are top-heavy with software and systems. Why do you need more? The short-form answer is that CRM is the one ring that rules them all. For getting an overview and keeping on track with all your projects and customers, you can’t go wrong with CRM.