Wholesale Manager spoke to Sales Intelligence expert Jayne Hill, who has answered your questions on the real benefits of combined Sales Analytics & CRM (SI) within a wholesale Sales operation.
Wholesale Manager – We’ve used CRM solutions before, so what makes Sales Analytics with integrated CRM functionality so different and what value will it add to our Sales setup?
A – Quite simply, it helps spot where there are opportunities to sell more or retain more business. To explain, for businesses, particularly those in the competitive and fast moving wholesale or merchant sales environment, it’s vital to have a central point for customer data collection, sales management and the necessary key customer and product analysis and reporting, especially when working with a sizeable customer base. Just imagine the positive impact on results if everyone within your teams had instant access to accurate hard sales facts, clear visibility of all the information you know about the customer and exactly what was discussed on the last call. Instantly seeing precisely what the customer did or didn’t buy plus what they could be buying not only helps increase business and retention but reassures the customer that your business really understands their needs. Standard CRM solutions simply don’t provide the valuable insight and detail of sales trends and changes that really make a difference to every sales conversation.
WM – If we already have access to individual Business Intelligence reports that can tell us anything we want to know, what else can Sales Analytics give me?
A – Business Intelligence does provide valuable data, however we all know that there is still often a considerable amount of work to do to get to the sales actions required to convert that data into actual sales and in this day and age speed is crucial. Using clever Sales Analytics removes the need for the involvement of your IT, Business Analysis or Finance Department or trawling through and comparing spreadsheets and reports as the answers are at your fingertips within seconds whether that’s via a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Delivering bespoke sales ‘actions’ and ‘Alerts’ to every member of the team instantly, is far more efficient and ensures a better informed and better prepared team.
WM – I have a great relationship with my customers, we talk every week – can this type of solution really enhance that?
A – Even with the best relationships there can be a reluctance to talk about and deal with concerns that might arise. Most of us will have experienced one of our ‘best’ customers being offered a great deal and buying from a competitor without telling us. If only we had known or spotted the spend change immediately it’s likely that we would have taken a decision to retain or win back the business, but the signs need to be spotted quickly before it’s too late. By pinpointing any changes in a customers’ buying pattern instantly (based on factual sales data) and automatically highlighting spend gaps and link sell opportunities; a Sales Analytics solution allows users to optimise business retention by combatting those situations in advance, winning a greater share of their customers spend, resulting in significant improvements to sales results. Retrospectively searching through reports or invoices to find out why and where sales are reducing could be a thing of the past, when that same information can be available with just one click.
Combined Sales Analytics & CRM ensures a remarkable level of detail and a clear visualisation of each customer when reviewing successes or possible areas requiring attention as everything is instantly at hand. Preparation for a call or visit becomes fast, easy and effective. By dramatically reducing admin and prep time the sales person is freed up to spend more time selling and less on unproductive administration. With access to relevant and accurate information the team become completely confident and able to take advantage of every opportunity. The customer also benefits from exceptional customer service as their account manager makes their life easier by pre-empting their product needs.
WM – It’s vital we provide a first class service and keep our customers happy, how can SI help us to do that?
A – Acquiring an in-depth appreciation of your customers and the needs of their business is now a crucial part of every successful sales function. Using a combined CRM and Sales Analytics (SI) approach enables accessibility to the minute details of every sales transaction at the touch of a button, guaranteeing the team are ready to anticipate your customers’ needs. It’s a win-win situation, you protect your sales and the customer feels valued by a really knowledgeable and proactive supplier who is also helping them to add value to their own business. The typical gain that an integrated Sales Analytics & CRM user can expect is estimated around 20-25% increase in their share of customer spend – an increase that shouldn’t be easily dismissed.