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Appreciating Asset, CRM Executive Decision, Business Growth Enabler, Strategic Business development,

24 Min Read

Business Imperative - How CRM Enables Strategic Achievement

CEO leads organization to achieve Strategic objective for More Effective Dealer Network


OK, you are the CEO of a privately held, Premier Cabinet Manufacturing company that distributes your products through a Dealer Network spread across the United States. Over the recent years you have bought two smaller cabinet manufacturers and have attempted to merge them into your business.  But growth has leveled off and sales from your Dealer network is almost impossible to forecast and that's running up your production costs to keep cabinets in inventory.  

Your business has three primary product lines that covers the mid to upper level of the buying contractors and consumers. Your business holds 15.2 percent of the market.  But that is not good enough.



A new VP of Sales and Marketing, Susan, has been brought on board to revitalize the sales team and direct dealer network improvements to boost market share by 20 points. Susan comes from a former Boating Manufacturing company that sold though US based dealers. Her former company has been using a successful CRM system for 3 years that integrated marketing, sales and dealer support.  

Now she is requesting a similar CRM system be implemented to achieve this strategic growth goal.  Susan knows from successful experiences that CRM is the key to enabling this cabinet manufacturer to grow their market share and provide the consistency the business needs.  But what must be considered to enable this strategy with a well-used, people-first CRM?

Strategy First, then Action

The strategic objectives for the next two years are focused on not only increasing the number of dealers selling your product lines by 25% but to also increase the revenue from existing dealers by 15%.  Several of the larger dealers in the US like how your product lines match up with other competitors that they also sell, so increasing the percentage of your product by 20 points is an attainable strategic business goal.  You have also found from research of your current dealer network that they would appreciate some guidance and resources to grow and improve their own businesses. Most of the dealers are of an entrepreneurial mind-set. Strategically, you know that dealer loyalty will be greatly improved by having a dealer "business development program".  Helping them grow their business will help to grow your business.

You have come to understand that an effective "2015/2016 Dealer Development" strategy will be greatly enabled by having a well-used, enterprise CRM. You now understand that the core capabilities of CRM (Customer relationship management) is to attract, retain and develop strong relationships with customers and dealers.


How CRM will Enable Your Business Strategy:

Be prepared, as there is a lot to key components to consider that will effectively enable the business strategy.


Accounts and Contacts:

You have chosen an adaptable CRM system so

  • you can mold it around the ways your staff work and
  • for the management team to discover trends and measure performance

After all it is a relational database based on Microsoft SQL. CRM software typically will have a hierarchy of company accounts, with one or more contacts.  Each company account will have characteristics that will identify the type of business, the industry name, SIC or NAICS codes, geography and other characteristics.  Each company account may have one or more sales opportunities identified as well as one or more open customer service/support cases.

Each dealer account is assigned a primary sales rep and a primary customer care/support Customer_Service_Reprepresentative as points of contact. Under the dealer will be all the people in various roles that will be connecting with your staff.  Each contact record holds all the common title, role, phone, mailing address, and email addresses but more importantly the preferred method of contact should be indicated.  Identify if each person likes to first be contacted by phone, email or face-to-face meeting.  Other relationship building interests and comments will be recorded for your contacts.  Over time a rating such as A - C is a good characteristic, useful in segmentation.


Targeted Marketing:  Lead Generation and Nurturing of Contacts:

As the manufacturer the business may have three key target areas; the attraction of new dealers, the contractors and architects which buy from dealers and the final end consumer who may also buy from the dealer but who are more, do-it-yourself people. Three different buyer personas are created and it has been decided what key characteristics of each will be captured in the CRM system.  Now you have the foundation of more effective marketing campaigns and are able to develop marketing content that extends your reach and nurtures the contact relationships.

Ideally the results of email marketing campaigns such as those who showed interest by clicking on key messages and links, are saved in CRM. By looking at any contact a sales rep can determine their interest level.  Also each sales person receives a hot, warm, cold call list immedately after each mailing.  Speed of contact occurs. Now they can be much more proactive by having conversations with interested contacts at a time when the contact shows the most interest.


Also your business will have various web site landing pages for the various personas.  As leads are captured from the web site they will create a new lead in CRM that is assigned to the appropriate lead qualifier in your business. This person is notified by email of the new lead immediately so follow up failure does not occur.

Lead tracking and qualification:

Speed is of the essence on the first response so the new lead will be sent a confirmation mail with helpful resource web links. Also the lead qualifier will receive an email of the new lead record.

Additionally leads from trade shows and other events can be imported digitally and assigned appropriately. To measure the marketing campaign, leads will be linked to the source marketing campaign.  As leads go through a lead qualification process they may become a valid prospective contact and company account.  Sales then receives the prospective contact hand off so sales time is not wasted.


Sales Enablement and full engagement:

Strategic success with CRM will hinge on a fully engaged sales force for a well-used CRM system to occur. These are the men and woman that develop relationships with influencers and decision makers who make the business happen.  Enabling the sales professional starts with the right tools. Today, an easy to use mobile CRM is a business imperative.  Entering notes by the simple process of talking in your mobile device and having the phone translate to text is possible.  Also allow the easy updating of  sales opportunities using a simple tap of a sales process step.

Time is money so select an effective and productive CRM system to save time,  Use a sales process that is tied to the prospects buying process. Measure progress as each opportunity moves through the sales process and don't just measure completed activities by a sales rep. Have a sales playbook available and integrated with your CRM system because this goes a long way to reducing the sales cycle.

The sales rep will need the ability to send out emails so provide pre configured templates that already contain the key messaging.  Allow the easy attachment of quotes and other product literature.  Additionally show any new or closed service issues- very handy before calling on an existing dealer or customer.


Quoting and Sales Opportunity Management:

At some point in the selling process a quote or proposal is involved. The CRM system must provide the capability to create a quote, select products and services from a product catalog, and generate an easy to understand proposal for the prospect.  Typically there are revisions that are created and as such, may need to be tracked for the prospective customer. Ideally our CPQ- configure, price and quote system has guided selling so less errors occur and faster quotes are created.

Sales management will need to use the CRM system to easily identify deals that are stuck or slow moving- perhaps some sales rep coaching and guidance is needed. Visual metrics for days in the sales pipeline, closed versus open deals, competitive wins/losses are all business drivers that well-used CRM provides.

Customer Service and Support:

As dealers and other contacts call in to the business, the CRM system will need to have an integrated service and support module.  This module needs to allow the customer service representative to easily find the contact information, check for open issues and tap into the CRM knowledge database to find answers. They will be able to clarify an area and category of each issue so future analysis can effectively occur.  The last thought they want to leave with the caller is a positive, remarkable experience!

From the management standpoint there needs to be capability to group and filter these support issues in order to discover trends that can be quickly addressed. Maybe there are product quality issues, shipment issues or warranty concerns to be addressed.

There may be benefit of having a dealer / customer self-service web portal that allows the management of these less pressing issues 24 x 7 x 365.  A web portal may also provide service bulletins, product MSDS sheets, and even answers to an issue solved earlier.

Warranty on products sold:

In many cases there is a need for warranty tracking and that means knowing who the end customer really is. Not knowing who the end customer is can have legal consequences especially if there are defective quality issues or components used have an environmental liability concern.  Having your CRM system integrate warranty information can help in the notification of the end customers and dealer network for communicating items such as product bulletins and updates.

 Back office Integration:

Information about customer sales history such as buying patterns, payment history, products purchased, YTD sales, and sales orders in production will greatly enhance the customer-centric views CRM provides to your CRM users. Sales people can gain helpful insights that will accelerate future sales. Make sure to include this needed capability in your CRM discovery and planning process.


Business Analytics - measuring the performance of people and the business

If you currently have a business analytics system in place, make sure that its information can be accessed by the CRM system so users don't have to exit CRM to view other metrics.  Today a quality CRM system will have the capabilities to display KPI, key performance indicators, from marketing, sales and customer service.  Additionally there may be advanced business analytics that combines information from CRM, Accounting and Production system.  This holistic view of prospects, customers, dealers and your entire business will lead to smarter decisions.

The point of the CRM knowledge database, is the value it provides.




Get Professional Guidance from a well-experienced CRM business expert:

Select a professional CRM consultant and implementer to help make sure the CRM initiative is guided correctly to get your desired outcomes achieved. They can help by collaborating in the co-design, tailoring, piloting, implementation, knowledge transfer of best practices and go live support so everything runs smooth and the risks of CRM failure are greatly reduced.  

A professional CRM implementer is not just knowledgeable about their product but is also a business person who understands business from the executive level to the get it done, field sales professional.  Also make sure you have a quarterly review system, because users will have improvement ideas and technology does change that you may want to leverage.

Heroes appear

Leadership is a critical success with CRM requirement.  Implementing a well-used, people first CRM takes leadership, planning, focused actions and refinement in this CRM journey. The fully engaged CEO and VP of Sales have the CRM vision, and provide the leadership and strategic direction. The managers and the CRM champions within the organization are also heroes in getting the CRM system successfully implemented so the strategic goal is achieved.  

Even small successes should be celebrated as people transition from ending the old ways to embracing the new beginning. 



Contact Dick at 269-445-3001 or click on Start a Conversion- to get the benefits of strategy, enabled by CRM.


Helpful related materials:

People First CRM - 7 Key to Success with CRM ebook OR articles...

Three Pillars of Business Success with CRM

Executive Decision Question survey for making the right CRM Decisions 

18 Requirements for Long-Lasting Business Success with CRM


What other challenges and improvement opportunities have you come across that are not mentioned?   Please add your comments below.

Topics:   Appreciating Asset CRM Executive Decision Business Growth Enabler Strategic Business development

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