Study: Inconsistent Experiences ‘Frustrate’ Customers

IBM released the results of its 2017 Customer Experience Index (CEI) survey this week. According to the study, the average company has “significant room for improvement in terms of satisfying customer expectations.” For the 500+ brands that were involved in the study, the average CEI score was only 33 out of a possible 100. One of the “imperatives” that the…

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5 Signs You May Not Be Ready for a New CRM System

While distributors and manufacturers are increasingly embracing CRM, many are still failing to realize returns on their investments. CRM systems require a well-informed, systematic approach and, in many cases, a cultural shift. Here are five signs your company may not be ready to reap the potential rewards of CRM and what you can do about it: You’re approaching CRM as…

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Reduce Sales-Marketing Conflict with the Right CRM

Increasingly, CRM systems are being tied into overall business systems. Some can also be integrated with a company’s marketing automation software to link marketing efforts more closely with sales efforts. In a world where sales and marketing often disagree, or worse, don’t even communicate, there are several benefits to giving these teams a window into each other’s worlds. For example,…

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How to Leverage CRM to Improve Product Mix

Which of your products are purchased again and again? Which are usually purchased only once? Does that vary by customer segment? Which products have resulted in the most returns, complaints and service calls? The answers to questions like these can guide the focus of your sales, purchasing and training efforts, but the only way to get these answers is by…

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3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Base Forecasts on Your Sales Pipeline

Many companies base sales forecasts on their sales pipeline numbers (usually measured by open quote dollars). But this metric isn’t ideal for forecasting sales, for at least three reasons. Why the pipeline metric is impractical for sales forecasting The pipeline numbers themselves are often incorrect. Many companies lack a functional CRM system to track the quotes that have been sent from…

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The Value of CRM Part 2: Bridging Islands of Data

One of the greatest values provided by CRM is that they help to bring together islands of data that exist within each department, branch and employee within a company. This is particularly the case with modern CRM systems, many of which have been expanded to include more departments and to link more easily with other systems. There’s a reason software…

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The Value of CRM, Part 1: Automation

When I work with a company that is trying to get the most value from its CRM system, I start with questions about which metrics they’re tracking and how, and I’d like to pose the same questions to you: Do you measure activity by key manufacturers and products? How, and how often? How are you handling manufacturer-requested reports? Have you…

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3 Resolutions to Get the Most Out of CRM in 2017

It’s the start of a new year, and typically a new set of goals and opportunities for industrial distributors and manufacturers. We’ve put together three resolutions you should make to get more out of your CRM system in 2017: 1. Put focus on the front end of the sales cycle. Most companies in the industrial sales world are managing their…

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Year-End Reflections – Common Themes on Using CRM to Achieve Growth Goals

As another year comes to an end, it’s a good time to reflect on a number of themes I’ve been hearing when talking to industrial manufacturers and distributors. Some of these conversations happened during webinars, others during in-person meetings, and many came from informal polling at a recent trade show. Usage of CRM Systems The majority (over 75%) of companies…

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