Commerces Caretsky : CRM For Distributors

By: Thomas Cutler

Distributors and manufacturers rarely know the status of potential customers who visit their Web sites or provide contact information at a conference or tradeshow. These names (often stacks of business cards) are lost and wasted because a consistent method of tracking sales leads is missing.
According to manufacturing journalist Thomas R. Cutler, author of the current Industrial Distribution article, Why Some Distributors Still Resist CRM, "Most North American distributors have eliminated waste on the plant and production floor, warehouses and back office administration. Years of lean mantras have resulted in behavior to maximize productivity and performance except in one primary and critical business function: sales and customer relationship management.

"The main point is that traditional, one-stop shopping CRM solutions are not designed to meet the needs of manufacturers and distributors," says Larry Caretsky, president of Commence Corp. (www.commence.com), which specializes in CRM. "Distribution management who run out and buy a CRM solution without proper planning almost always fail. These guys plan for a year to purchase and implement their ERP system, but CRM is treated as a commodity desktop application that you simply install and use."

Caretsky asserts in the feature article that, "Companies must find out what customers like and dislike about products and services by asking for feedback. It's imperative to maintain constant customer connections to build a meaningful profile of customers' attitudes and behaviors over time. This data is invaluable in pinpointing what can be done to add real value to the relationship."

Since 90 percent of revenue can be generated by only ten percent of existing customers, focusing on these customers guarantees a continued revenue stream, as well as creating advocates that will help attract a new customer base in a cost-effective manner.
According to Caretsky, "Smart industrial organizations gather several key data points during customer research, which all helps to define a CRM profile.
&bullHow clearly can customers articulate your value proposition?
&bullHow well do customers know products or services?
&bullWhat is the customers preferred method of purchasing products and services supplied?
&bullWho do customers consider to be the preferred supplier products and services?
&bullWhen do customers typically purchase products and services?
&bullWhy do customers typically purchase products and services?
&bullHow do customers use products and services?
&bullWho is the decision maker? Who else influences the purchase?
&bullHow do customers evaluate suppliers?

Commence offers 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 CRM solutions with the award winning Commence 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.

Enterprise Information Systems
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