Customer relationship management software, also known as CRM, is rapidly gaining popularity in warehouse distribution today.
But before adding CRM tools into your business, Mark Dancer, vice president of Global Channel Management at Henkel Corporation, says you first have to identify the steps necessary to make it successful.
CRM software only becomes a great money-maker for a distributor when they clearly know how to use it, Dancer noted during a presentation Monday at the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN) Aftermarket Distribution Summit in Nashville.
Speaking to a room of aftermarket distributors, Dancer highlighted six steps necessary to making CRM work in a distribution business.
- Strategy: Dancer says the first step to CRM success is creating a comprehensive plan for implementing the technology in a business. He says team members can be wary of new technology like CRM. Having a plan can make it easier for them to understand and accept.
- Information gunfight: Know how CRM will make your business better, he says. And this is important not just to relay to customers. Like the point above, a key component making CRM work is getting your team to commit.
- Win with capabilities: once the program is installed, use it. The more CRM can be integrated into your customer relationships, the more both sides with see the benefits, he says. Let the program promote itself for you.
- Stand on the shoulders of others: Allow your team to use CRM to improve other areas of your customer-business relationship. Dancer says CRM offers salespeople the opportunity to enhance their relationships with customers by providing additional assistance and information through the tool.
- Create value and drive productivity: Once your team and customers realize the value of CRM, make the software a key part of your relationship. Expand its capabilities so customers can get even more information, and allow your team to use CRM to distribute information to its clients.
- How we live; how we work: Dancer says most importantly, once you have CRM in your business, you have to make it part of everyone’s routine. CRM isn’t valuable if you have it but don’t use it. Dancer says using CRM should become second-nature to your team; like making phone calls and answering emails.