Do Distributors See More ROI from CRM or Mobile Order Management?

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What is Mobile CRM?

Mobile CRM is a CRM software platform that allows for sales reps to have all of the pertinent client information in the palm of their hand in real-time. For sales professionals to be successful, they need to understand the entire lifecycle of their company’s relationship with their client. This can include many different data points:

  • A comprehensive understanding who the key players in the company are, including their contact information
  • Their order history, including details on each transaction
  • A financial snapshot of their account, including if it is in good standing or not
  • A strategic summary of where the company is heading next and where your company is hoping to help them on that transition
  • Any open customer complaint claims and an update on how the company is handling that complaint

Far too many times, a sales meeting can go awry because a sales person does not have a comprehensive digital snapshot of the relationship. A salesman or saleswoman looks foolish if they do not realize that they are sitting in front of a client that is disputing some of their charges. Mobile CRM makes it easy for sales people to understand the key factors that summarize the relationship.

mobile CRM

Mobile CRM Challenges:

Like so many apps, a CRM app faces some of the same basic challenges of usability and reliability for distributors. For a CRM system (whether it is mobile or not), the system must be fully-integrated within the business and the business must follow a typical prospect to customer path. This means that it has to publish real-time information from an ERP solution, be it Oracle, SAP, or any other. The data being fed must support the growth path of a distributor.  This includes new customer acquisition and increase order size. Last, it must be adaptable and seamless to use on any handheld platform, which can include iOS, Android, or any other tool. Unfortunately, the nature of CRM data is that it is also sensitive, which means it also needs a thoughtful approach to data security as well. Yes, your sales reps should have the complete unfiltered view of the relationship, including any disputes that may not paint the company in a positive light. In order for the data to be actionable it must include order history, company product initiatives and supplier data.  No mobile CRM on the market does this well so you must depend on your order entry applications to help you drive competent CRM based conversations.  Ai2 has a number of Products that can function as a mobile CRM:

However, it is also proper to make sure that not every sales professional has that data for every client. Allowing the data to flow where it needs to flow to enable the team, while making sure it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands is critical.

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Mobile CRM Software:

There are countless Mobile CRM software providers out there. However, many of them are just that—a piece of mobile software without any integration. Thus, this data must be hand-fed into the system or the company must undertake an expensive integration into the back end. Even though the software itself is not expensive, the total cost of the project (and any ongoing maintenance—oh boy!) could be astronomical.

Mobile CRM Platform:

On the other side of the coin, is to use an out-of-the-box solution from an ERP’s favored vendor. The challenge with this approach is that many times it requires putting a new piece of technology in your sales professionals hands. When they are asked to learn a new software solution, they may not adapt it and the cost of implementation is a sunk cost.

Mobile CRM: A Hybrid Approach:

If a mobile CRM tied to the ordering process is properly implemented the benefits can be immeasurable.  The challenge, however, is that investment in a customer relationship management system often pricey and a CRM doesn’t solve the mobile sale rep order entry needs.  On top of that it likely doesn’t even communicate in a meaningful way with the order data being collected at the points of order.

In order to get the most out of relationship management at a distributor or manufacturer the order management must come first and the mobile CRM tools should be directly connected or embedded into the system creating an Hybrid CRM order entry tool.

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Mobile CRM Supporting Articles

Why ERP Integration for Mobile Sales Tools Is Important for Efficient Supply Chains

For wholesale distributors and manufactures of wholesale products the mobile sales tools and mobile CRMs that take orders is critical for efficient supply chains, accurate and timely processing of customer orders. These tools must be built for proper integration into current and future backend ERP systems.  If they are properly integrated for efficient supply chains you can access bill to and ship to addresses, item availability or substitute items if they are not available, unit pricing the customer is entitled to, and their shipping terms. Because of Ai2’s unique data integration process all of these data points and any other data points that are needed can be populated to the field on a minute by minute basis.  Ai2’s unique ERP integration process can move the net changes of these fields Once the order is entered you need to ship and invoice the merchandise in a timely manner without the use of APIs.

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Mobile Order Management – a Tipping Point

Currently, more than sixty C-store distributors utilize Ai2’s mobile order management solutions.  In 2014 something interesting happened: the number of C-Store end users running Ai2’s software on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, equaled the total number of end users running Ai2’s solutions running on handheld or laptop PCs.  It took only three years to achieve the same total number of end users running our mobile order management software, retail sales execution and hybrid mobile CRM on smartphones and tablets that took an entire decade us to achieve for our legacy offerings.   It is not the software features that have so much changed over the last 13 years; it is the mobile devices that are used to run the software.   That is what is driving the rapid adoption of truly mobile order management apps and flexible mobile CRM in the C-store distribution industry.

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9 Powerful Numbers that Prove Distributors and Manufactures Need Mobile CRM

Most of us know what a CRM is and why it’s important.  What’s not an easy question to answer: what is a CRM in the manufacturing and distribution business?  A typical CRM process will drive a sales relationship from lead to prospect then support the presentation of goods/services with mobile CRM.  Most distributors and manufactures are not driving the typical customer relationship, they are driving the engagement of existing customers to purchase more and different products from the same sources.  If a mobile CRM tied to the ordering process is properly implemented the benefits can be immeasurable.  The challenge, however, is that investment in a customer relationship management system often pricey and a CRM doesn’t solve the mobile sale rep order entry needs.  On top of that it likely doesn’t even communicate in a meaningful way with the order data being collected at the points of order.

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Three Must Have Tools for A Mobile Sales App

Sales teams have a wide range of mobile sales app options to help them work from the field. These apps perform many useful functions, such as order and invoice management, sales content support and collaboration through mobile CRM.

The mobile sales app suite from Ai2 help with all of these functions and we think are especially cool because of their cross-functionality. What’s more, when used in combination, they support the full range of field sales activities.

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