CRM Report Guide for Manufacturers and Distributors

By: Thomas Cutler

Commence ( offers lean industrial companies complete "Freedom Of Choice" to select the solutions and platform that best meets the business requirements of manufacturers and distributors. The comprehensive CRM Industrial application suite is available for use on premise or on-demand as a hosted service. Industrial leaders often build departmental lean CRM solutions with the award winning Commence Lean Industrial CRM Framework. These choices are why so many industrial companies choose Commence as the solution for managing customer relationships. All Commence Industrial solutions support mobile or wireless connectivity and integration to back-office accounting and ERP systems.

According to Larry Caretsky, President of Commence, "One of the consistent themes that arose from our interviews involved a focus on defined industry segments. Rather than trying to be a generalist that can out-service or under-sell any competitor, the pattern among these smart companies was to choose a few specialty areas in which to become true experts. The key to success, over and over again, was to build upon existing successes that best matched the company's products, employees, and interests. With this narrow focus, companies can acquire or build internal competencies that are most highly valued and sought after by customers. These smart practices stress segmented focus and differentiation. No longer is it reasonable for management to simply expect higher sales each year without a strategic focus. The specialization in a few defined segments gives the sales force some added expertise that is welcomed by tough-to-reach prospects, leading to improved sales over time. A market segment discipline leads to goals for sales activities and sales results that can be reviewed segment by segment. Training for each segment can address the language, buying processes, common objections, and competing alternatives of those with buying influence. The focus on market segments yielded higher profit margins for many of our interviewees. We also consistently heard that customers were much more interested in seeing a salesperson who had the knowledge and reputation of being a specialist. As the segmentation strategy gains momentum in a sales organization, the company accumulates more and more knowledge and insight from the shared experiences and successes. This growing body of expertise becomes a true differentiator that isn't easily matched by competition. This leads to quicker sales cycles, since customers aren't simply comparison shopping for price."

For more than a year, Commence Corporation has interviewed dozens of leading executives in high-growth industrial manufacturing and distribution firms in segments that include power transmission, fluid power, welding, electrical, safety products, industrial supplies, instrumentation, and building products. Commence has also hosted several Executive Roundtables to obtain additional input and feedback from key executives building on their dialog on the topic of industrial selling with one another.

The Smart Practices reports are a summary from the variety of these sources, combined with Commence's more than 20 years of experience and complemented with contemporary commentaries from more than 50 magazines, presentations, web sites and books. Each of the major sections - Marketing Strategy, Sales Management, and Sales Optimization through Technology - includes an Executive Summary, a set of Smart Practices derived from the research, and techniques to Leverage Information for results. Finally, the bibliography contains numerous reference materials that you may use for additional learning.

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