Customer Management, Wholesale

Customer relationship management: 8 reasons every wholesaler needs CRM

BY Crystal Gilliam 14 Jul, "15

Or, Why you can’t just throw all that data into a spreadsheet and hope for the best.

Customer Relationship Management or CRM is all about managing information about your customers. That information can be as simple as contact details, but also includes e-mails, phone call logs and personal background information. It is also a record of sales orders, returns, customer support tickets, social media messages and sales leads. So you have all this information but where’s the best place to store it, organize it and access it? That’s where a customer relationship management system comes in.

Here are 8 undeniable reasons why every wholesaler who doesn't have one needs an awesome CRM.

1. You’re wasting time with duplication of effort.

Feel like you just did that task? You probably did, if you’re using one system for relationship management and another for inventory management. Business operations should be located within one automated system or in compatible systems that easily communicate with and update one another. You’ll save major time when these are all linked.

2. Different teams are communicating with limited information.

Eliminate the “we didn’t get that update” issues. A CRM stores customer information all in one place for the sales, marketing, support and other departments and updates it in real-time. Especially if you choose a cloud-based CRM, all the information is in one place, accessed from anywhere, at anytime.

3. Cash flow, cash flow, cash flow.

For any business, cash flow can be a challenge. A CRM records sales as they happen, rather than when they are invoiced in accounting, allowing you to count on that cash flow for the future, even if the cash itself isn’t in the bank yet.

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4. You’re missing out on a chance for repeat orders.

CRM doesn’t only help with first-time sales: maximize sales opportunities with returning customers as well. VP of Sales at TradeGecko, Patrick Barnes suggests, “If you have a client who always orders on an 8 week cycle, but you haven’t heard from them in 9 weeks, the CRM can help identify that delay. This would then be an ideal opportunity to contact that customer and strengthen the long-term relationship.” Go further with those relationships you’ve worked so hard to establish. By anticipating your customers' needs, you’ll stand out as a wholesaler that thinks ahead and can anticipate what's coming next.

5. New sales reps are lacking information.

Just hired 3 new people on the sales team? Arm them with the same data as your most experienced rep. When big questions come up, they’ll have the information on hand to close the deal. With multiple sales teams or complex sales processes, a CRM will help standardize the process, and bring extra transparency - something every business should aim for.

6. You’re wasting time on spreadsheets.

Creating a newsletter mailing list, organizing an event guest list, compiling status reports…it can all become a spreadsheet nightmare. A CRM saves you from manually creating these lists and provides specific customer information as needed. Take that extra time and put it into business development, rather than perfecting your Excel skills.

7. Sales leads are slipping through the cracks.

Without a centralized system for customer information, it’s easy to let a sales lead fall through the cracks of miscommunication. Upload data directly into the CRM to make sure everyone throughout the business knows where the opportunities are.

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8. You want to try your hand at fortune-telling.

Or at least business forecasting. Think of a CRM as your personal crystal ball to not only predict future orders based on trends and analysis, but also to help manage them. Intelligent information can make you feel positively psychic when it comes to forecasting for sales leads, future orders and other customer behavior.

And one final reason? Once it’s all set up, you can finally throw out that overflowing pile of business cards.

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See Also:

Wholesale 2.0: disruption of the conventional supply chain
5 Ways online order management and fulfillment can improve your wholesale business
Moana Road - moving to the Cloud as a wholesaler

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