2 min read

How Can Sales Tracking Help Distributors Manage Customer Relationships?

Effective sales tracking can help businesses to better manage relationships and secure additional orders in the future.

It’s just one way distributors can shorten the sales cycle and close more business faster. All prospects go through different stages of the sales cycle. Salespeople often have different definitions of what those stages are, but typically they fit into three categories.

The first is intention, when clients or prospects become aware that they want or need something. The next stage is research; they will start looking at what alternatives are available and analyze their options. Finally, they decide whether to buy, what to buy and whom to buy it from.

Here are three steps you can take to shorten that cycle and close more deals.

  1. Nurturing the lead: Regardless of how you break down the sales cycle, you have to stay top of mind. The way you do that is to nurture the lead by providing prospective customers with information that helps them move through the sales cycle. Doing so brings them closer to the point of purchase and when they get there they will think of you.
  2. Building a trusting relationship: People buy from people they trust; it’s as simple as that. You have to build trust by adding value. If you nurture leads with integrity by supplying them with information they need to make an informed decision, you will build a trusting relationship.
  3. Persistence: Many salespeople will give up just before the prospect is ready to buy, leaving the prospect to buy from somebody else. In those cases, the salespeople were just not persistent enough to stay with the prospect throughout the sales cycle. When you give up, you always lose the sale; the key is to continually follow up to make sure that you’re there when the buyer is ready to make the purchase.

Following these three steps will help you to attract new customers, but what about the ones you already have? This is where sales tracking is especially imperative. It’s important to know the history of their needs.

You should maintain information about their current environment so you know or at least have an idea of what they might need or what their next step might be. Say a customer has an accounting system but not an inventory system. You should know information like that so you are better able to offer services and products to meet their needs and even anticipate them.

With an existing customer, you should already have a trusting relationship. One of the ways to maintain that is to use the sales history in the CRM system. Salespeople often mine the service history in the CRM system to see whether there have been issues with clients and whether they’re being resolved, which gives you better knowledge of your relationship with them.

In the end, it all comes back to the trust factor: Do they believe they can trust you to rectify problems when they arise?

One area that’s key to managing your customer relationships is returns. According to a white paper by UPS, customers really value return policies. UPS found that 80 percent of people in a survey were likely to make a purchase if they could return the item for free online or in person.

A return merchandise authorization (RMA) system can help tremendously in this regard. With RMA, you’re able to better track what’s coming back as well as the reason it’s being returned. It can help you determine whether a certain product keeps returning with the same problem.

If it’s a quality-control issue, you can make changes to your product. It also automatically credits customers to their accounts and references the original order and invoice, so you have a consistent link between all of these data points.

Sales tracking is a key part of managing customer relationships. By following the steps outlined in this article, distributors can shorten the sales cycle and close deals quicker.

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