Industrial Distribution : Commence Corp. CRM Profile

by : Thomas Cutler

"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., ( 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."

According to manufacturing journalist, Thomas R. Cutler, author of the Industrial Distribution article titled, "Why Some Distributors 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.

According to 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.

In his book, Practices that Pay, Caretsky details many elements of industrial CRM including:

Marketing Strategy
&bull Focus on defined market segments
&bull Communicate value consistently
&bull Organize sales by accounts

Sales Management
&bull Implement a consistent sales process
&bull Hire salespeople to stay in the office
&bull Assure salespeople are tightly accountable
&bull Coordinate planning efforts with channel partners

Today's industrial sales environment is characterized by intense competition, strategic sourcing contracts, online auctions, customer pressure for self-service, and the ongoing debate over fee-based services.

To thrive in this environment, industrial distributors and manufacturers need more than leading technology or efficient warehouses to achieve long-term growth.

Leading industrial organizations are looking to their customers for growth ideas. By leveraging the voice of the customer, these organizations achieve a competitive advantage in redefining sales and marketing, the all-important customer-facing portion of their operations. Caretsky touches on many smart practices in industrial selling, culled from interviews with leading executives within high-growth companies, and building on a comprehensive review of published perspectives on industrial selling.

The complete feature article can be read at

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.