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Behind the plate: How CRM can optimize distributor-operator relationships

05/23/2024

Behind the plate: How CRM can optimize distributor-operator relationships

Behind the plate: How CRM can optimize distributor-operator relationships

What is a CRM? 

Simply put, a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a technology for managing all your company's relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. Customer relationship management is critically important; customers who trust a company are more likely to be loyal, recommend your business to others, buy more products and services from you, buy more frequently and spend more money on your business. 

Some of the interactions that a CRM can manage include communications, sales and marketing, customer support, feedback collection and social media engagement. The goal of a CRM is to help businesses stay connected to their customers, streamline customer-facing processes and contribute to the company's overall efficiency. 

A CRM software usually allows businesses to manage customer interactions across multiple channels, track customer interactions, automate sales, manage marketing campaigns, and provide analytics and reporting to understand customer behavior and preferences better.

Four reasons why CRM matters to distributors

1. Without CRM, you’re wasting money

Yeah, you heard us right. If your Sales team is operating without a CRM, that means all the valuable information they gather when they are interacting with customers is lost in translation - or more specifically, somewhere in their handwritten notes or a document in their laptop. This can lead to delays in following up or a misprioritization of customers which can cause a loss in sales. If a Sales team member was to leave the business without proper handover, that's another contingency that can be covered by having a proper CRM in place and in use.

2. Happier, more loyal customers

CRM helps you take a step back and truly understand your customers needs, preferences and behavior by looking at a variety of touch points that you can’t do manually. With this information you can provide better customer service which leads to lower churn rates, higher customer loyalty and improved customer satisfaction.

3. Improve your bottom line

CRM leads to measurable results - higher lead conversion, larger deal sizes, higher customer retention, faster dispute resolution. All of this means longer lasting, more profitable relationships with your customers which eventually translate into more sales.

4. Automate and centralize everything

CRM automates many routine tasks, such as data entry, lead nurturing, and follow-up communications. This streamlines internal processes to increase productivity by allowing team members to focus on high-value activities such as customer relationships. CRM centralize all customer data to one database which provides a holistic view of each of your customers which leads to better coordination and better decision making.

What are some typical customer interactions that a CRM can handle?

Businesses spend a lot of time communicating with their customers through emails, phone calls, live chats and social media interactions. With so many platforms in play, keeping up with it all can be daunting. A CRM system can help businesses stay on top of it by tracking communications, scheduling follow-ups, and ensuring timely responses to inquiries or issues.

For the sales and marketing side, a CRM system can assist in managing the sales process by tracking leads, managing opportunities, and monitoring the progress of deals through the sales pipeline. This includes identifying potential customers, nurturing leads, and closing sales. CRM systems can also facilitate marketing activities by managing campaigns, tracking customer responses, and analyzing campaign effectiveness. 

Customer support is another extremely important interaction between the business and the customer. CRM systems can help manage customer support interactions by tracking support tickets, monitoring customer issues, and ensuring timely problem resolution through centralized platforms for customer inquiries, complaints, and feedback.

CRM for the Foodservice industry

While CRM solutions have existed for decades, CRM for the Foodservice industry is still an upcoming area. Industry-specific CRM features are critical for optimizing customer engagement and growing business. 

For example, menu and cuisine type customization is a Foodservice industry-specific CRM feature to look out for. The CRM system can include menu and cuisine type management and customization features, allowing foodservice distributors to track operator menu offerings and ordering history. This enables personalized product recommendations and promotions based on individual operator segments. 

CRM can offer premium prospecting tools which integrate seamlessly with restaurant POS systems to provide distributors with a universe of prospective clients. Sales teams can sift through these and then use appropriate strategies to target these prospects. Sales teams can build lead lists and manage their customer acquisition process through the CRM system. Additionally, the team can use CRM to manage the onboarding phase as well.

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