three signs its time for a distribution crm

3 Signs it’s Time for a Distributor CRM

It’s not uncommon for businesses to stick with tried-and-true business technology systems until they have outgrown them. Or worse, the businesses have overgrown them so extensively that it’s created a strain on the team and dropped productivity. Putting off decisions to upgrade the software or implement new systems often costs more than the upgrades themselves. To compound the problem, history shows that the distribution industry is slow to adopt new technology. Does this sound familiar? If so, it could be time to consider distributor customer relationship (CRM) software.

Why do distributors need a CRM?

As the name indicates, CRM is all about customer relationships. In short, a distribution CRM helps drive revenue by improving the sales process with customer data and metrics. Additionally, the insights from the CRM’s built-in contact management system can help reps have more meaningful and customized conversations, including cross- and upsell opportunities.

Top 10 Benefits of CRM for wholesaler-Distributors

Haphazard Hustle vs. Controlled Chaos

Distributors who work without a distribution CRM have often done so by the sheer hustle and have learned habits based on a “we’ve always done it that way” mentality. The sales team may have several different business processes cultivated by individuals to suit their work styles. Customer information and communication stored in multiple locations that don’t sync creates a confusing sales process, and not all team members can see the same data. In this environment, accurate forecasting, tracking sales funnel activity, and reporting can be difficult, frustrating, and time-consuming. All of which is time spent NOT selling products and growing the business. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

A distributor CRM solution offers structure and accountability to the hustle of sales. The result is controlled chaos built for success. Sure, there’s still a mountain of information coming from the ERP about sales and opportunities and plenty of room to hustle. But with a CRM, the data is organized in a format that allows a systematic approach to proactive customer outreach, sales proposals, and, most importantly, a follow-up that leads to closed deals. Additionally, in this era of challenging staff retention, CRM allows you to maintain consistency with the customer even when team members change.

3 Signs You're Ready for a Distribution CRM

Change is a universal challenge. Knowing when to change is key. Here are three reasons it’s time to consider moving your sales process to a CRM system.

1. No Centralized Location for Customer Data

As companies grow, different systems are implemented to achieve specific tasks. That approach is acceptable initially, but as companies continue to succeed and grow, those specialized systems don’t communicate with each other. This creates a communication gap, whether it’s from accounting to sales or sales to inventory. Any breaks in communication equal a loss of potential profit. A CRM that integrates with your central business system, the ERP, will work seamlessly with your ERP to share data across systems, keeping all teams on the same page with up-to-date information. Additionally, once your data is centralized, the opportunity to understand better by seeing the big picture opens the door for additional sales opportunities. For distributors, this means opportunities to influence purchasing and selling decisions.

2. Limited Visibility to the Sales Process

Similar to the challenges of unintegrated business systems running parallel to each other, the lack of a customer relationship management system also impairs visibility to the entire sales process. A CRM provides structure to the sales process, with clearly defined customer journey phases and automated prompts for creating and tracking the next steps. This eliminates the chances of missed opportunities due to a lack of follow-through because someone forgot to make a follow-up call on an open quote on time. Equally valuable is that a CRM allows for a complete picture of pipeline activity and improves forecasting accuracy.

3. Lack of Scalability

Every distributor is in the business of growing revenue. To do this, successful distributors have adopted technology to scale operations. Sales and business processes that include dualling spreadsheets, tedious reporting, and scattered data slow daily sales and leave room for missed opportunities and hamstrings long-term, sustainable growth. Implementing a distributor CRM is a significant first step in streamlining the sales process to save time, minimize human error and position the company for a more profitable future.

Mid Page CTA Sales Analytics

Free Ebook: Simple CRM Marketing Strategy Tweaks That Drive Sales


Okay, I see the signs, but where do I start?

If the idea of implementing distributor CRM solutions sounds akin to herding rabid bobcats, it’s okay. Change is hard, especially in the distribution industry which has plenty of other challenges. But rapid change and the digital transformation of our industry are moving forward at a record pace. Investing in the right CRM, one that’s designed to meet your challenges and simplify business processes can make change possible. And it may be easier than you think.

White Cup enables distributors to easily access information to manage relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. White Cup’s CRM solutions help marketing and sales teams drive growth, increase profitability, differentiate your business, and improve employee engagement. Let us show you how you can change and grow your business.

Featured Resources

Read, watch, and learn ways your business can grow with revenue intelligence tools.

Take the Easy Path

With our industry-specific revenue intelligence tools, making smart decisions from your data has never been easier.
Talk to Us