Customer relationship management systems aren't just for your sales teams. CRM can be a highly effective tool for sharing and leveraging data throughout your business – an essential characteristic of the most successful distribution companies in today's market.
My new book, ROI from CRM, is a practical guide for distribution or manufacturing companies considering CRM or that already have CRM in place and want to get more out of it. In this book, I provide simple yet effective strategies to get the most from customer relationship management.
My approach is based on lessons learned from decades working in and with industrial sales organizations – including my family’s distribution/rep business – on sales process and CRM.
Here are five key takeaways from this book:
- It’s about process, not just technology. If there’s one thing I want you to get from this book, it’s that success with CRM has very little to do with the technology and a lot to do with the underlying processes within your organization. The key to CRM success is viewing it as a system for sharing and leveraging data and knowledge throughout your business, helping you to gain a competitive edge through a revamped sales process and an engaged team.
- If you don’t have buy-in from your entire team, CRM will not succeed. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but culture is one of the steepest hurdles that distributors and manufacturers will face with CRM. The good news: It is actually possible to get the buy-in you need, but it will require hard work and commitment from management from before you implement the actual technology to long after it is in place.
- If your entire team isn’t using CRM, you’re missing out on more than half the value. Think beyond just your outside sales team to get the ROI you’re seeking from CRM. Bring your inside sales, customer service, service and other teams into the loop to fully benefit.
- When considering new CRM software, don’t start with a list of features you’re seeking. Instead, analyze and prioritize what your company needs. This book provides a systematic approach to identifying gaps in your sales process and building a road map to use CRM to fill them.
- If your eyes are just on the initial cost of CRM, you’ll see the tip of the iceberg but you’ll miss what’s underneath. CRM vendors are frequently viewed as the bad guys when the ROI goal is not hit. But frequently, the company didn’t step up to the plate with the time, money and commitment to make the changes needed. This includes ongoing training, modifications to meet your company’s needs and data cleanup, among others. CRM should be viewed as a long-term strategy – not a one-time project.
My goal for this book was to make it an easy read with real-world examples and exercises you can immediately apply in your company. To get your copy, order now from the MDM Store. Or learn more and view a chapter list.
Brian Gardner is author of ROI from CRM and founder of SalesProcess360, which is focused on helping industrial sales organizations think differently about sales process and get ROI from CRM. Before co-founding Selltis in 1999, Gardner spent more than 20 years in technical and industrial sales in the process control and instrumentation industry. As the vice president of sales and marketing, he led efforts to double sales at a distribution/representative firm on the Gulf Coast in just a couple of years through an internal focus on sales process. Learn more about SalesProcess360 at salesprocess360.com, and contact Gardner at brian.gardner@SalesProcess360.com.