The world is changing and distributors need to keep up with these changes to stay competitive. According to a recent Nielson report “Global trust in advertising”, online consumer reviews are already the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers and businesses indicating they trust online reviews, an increase of 15 percent in four years.
It’s no secret the way businesses and consumers make decisions has dramatically changed over the last decade. We stand in stores checking the internet via our tablets or smartphones to compare prices and product reviews. Business associates weigh in with their opinion. Businesses and consumers know what they are going to buy, at what price and from who, long before walking into or call a distributor. The advent of social media with its constant updates, image sharing and online peer recommendations, it’s not surprising that 61 percent of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision, according to recent surveys.
Some industry observers predict that the distribution industry will change more in the next five years than it has over the last 50 years. For example, over the next few years, we can expect to see the anonymity of reviews fade away and instead become linked to shoppers’ real identities on Facebook, Twitter or other social integration. This will be extremely beneficial to the distribution industry and consumers of their products adding greater credibility to the reviews. No more hiding behind anonymous usernames or having businesses write their own positive company and product reviews.
So what does this mean to me as a distributor? One bad or multiple bad online reviews or negative sentiment on social media can dramatically reduce your sales and profitability and can seriously damage your reputation with new or existing customers.
So what can a Distributor do about this? Distributors need to implement systems that allow them to monitor social networks so they can see what customers are saying about them and respond in real time. This is where a solution like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and CRM for Distribution can significantly benefit you. With built in functionality like social listening, you now have a way to monitor what your customers are saying and thinking about your company across a spectrum of platforms such a Facebook and twitter. Social listening also enables you to monitor your competition and quickly react to purchasing signal to generate quality leads.
In this day and age the customer is really in charge and this marks a real paradigm shift in the distribution business. It has never been more important to listen to your customers and create a two way conversation with them as it is right now. As consumers use social media to amplify their voices, distributors need a proven tool to respond effectively. Additionally, With the Microsoft Dynamics CRM and CRM for Distribution all your customer information is consolidated in one place providing a common companywide view of the customer. No more having to say I’ll get back to you or I need to speak to the sales repto get you that information. All communications between your sales reps and customers (phone call conversations, emails and appointments) are also associated with the customer record, ensuring smooth communications when speaking with customers.
This solution includes the history on what your customer purchased in the past allowing you to build loyalty and competitive advantage by specifically tailoring product offerings and services exactly to your customer’s needs. It also provides the ability to market and sell complementary products based on that information. Finally, since Microsoft Dynamics CRM is available on smartphones and tablets your salespeople will be always have the most up to date customer information while on the road or meeting at the clients office
Successful companies have always understood that focusing on relationships is the most important aspect of their business and with the implementation of the Microsoft CRM and CRM for distribution solution you now have a tool to build and maintain those relationships.