The wholesale distribution industry is characterised by company sales teams who are responsible for sales revenue but are often left to their own skills to plan their calls to their clients. This blog will illustrate a more efficient and effective way of focusing your sales team performance by illustrating how staff can use Microsoft CRM to:
1. use and store valuable data about clients,
2. generate suggested client visits based on specified information
It will also show how Outlook can be utilised to schedule these visits.
A problem that companies often face is they struggle to align sales team and company objectives in a dynamic world. It is no longer good enough to set objectives annually or in employment contracts.
An issue that companies face is that wholesale/distribution sales teams can be segregated by region, product or size of opportunity. They can cross different categories and gather valuable information however this is often not shared with the company beyond broad reporting.
Introduction of Microsoft Dynamics CRM can alleviate some of these issues as it allows organisations to aggregate all their data in one place that is maintained and updated continually. Microsoft CRM also allows companies to introduce standard sale processes that records progress to new sales as well as registration of new accounts through to major sale aggregation.
Integration to Microsoft Outlook allows client and data tracking in Outlook the most common productivity tool, appointments mail tasks. Companies must get to a stage where if someone is on leave or leaves the company, the data is not lost and business continues. There should be no confusion who owns the data.
Companies must move from away from selling reactively by picking up orders to proactively driving sales and delivering the company message and Microsoft CRM and Outlook can support this.
The following user story captures the essence of the changed approach.
“My name is John and I manage the company’s relationship with 150 clients in Auckland and a further 50 in Taranaki.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is used to store the characteristics of my clients. With input from our company we have categorised these companies and this leads to the ability to schedule calls and/or visits, whether is be monthly, quarterly or yearly. As well as this, I receive ‘need for attention’ notices that are entered on their record which must be included in the next possible cycle.
We also receive current focus information that is generated by management with their bigger view of the company issues such as new products, seasonally stock build etc.
Microsoft CRM allows me to query the data for example.”
I can edit the list of visits generated with local knowledge of the clients and company objectives.
I can then export this list to Microsoft Outlook and use this familiar interface to drag and drop appointments and set the time of each visit to fill the week.
Once the appointments are in Outlook, I can work through the week’s appointments, moving and rescheduling appointments as the week unfolds. I am comfortable with the knowledge that if a client call cannot be completed that week, it will reappear on a future call list.
You can see from this story that the Microsoft CRM alonside Outlook had considerable benefits gained from a system around call scheduling. These benefits included:
- Improved customer satisfaction through regular contact with customers
- Managed sales activity to improve results
- Management visibility of sales activities
- Planning focus of sales team
- Proactive contact to address issues
- Ensuring follow up on outstanding items
John Biggs is a CRM Consultant with Olympic Software. He has 12 years experience working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. He enjoys helping our clients to improve their sales using Dynamics CRM. He often shares relevant information and articles on his social media channels. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him via LinkedIn or contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.