Use great business software to free up more sales time and become the competitor to beat.
As is the case in many industries, smaller companies across the Jan/San supply chain have to fight hard to compete with the larger, multi-national corporations. Whether it’s because of their increased marketing spend, larger staff-base who can afford to spend time cold-calling prospects day in day out, or the increased manpower required to process customer data, smaller companies can sometimes struggle to keep up with the big guys. But in an industry worth $2.3 Billion and growing, now is not the time to get left behind!

As anyone who has worked in a sales-based industry will know, a lot of customers means a whole lot of data. And the world of ‘Big Data’ (that is, the enormous quantity of data now available to businesses), companies with the ability to analyze it properly have a clear advantage over others. It provides businesses of all sizes with greater visibility into customer buying habits and trends, enabling them to make better, more informed decisions.

One of the best ways businesses can make the most of the data available to them is to manage it with Business Intelligence software. The ability to process and analyze this data is vital for suppliers and distributors across the entire Jan/San industry, but it’s especially true for the smaller companies where information such as this can help them stay ahead of the competition. Here’s how:

It’s a Time Saver
On top of the need to manage reams of data, a sales pro must be able to turn this information into something useful that will enable them to make a sale – but trawling through endless spreadsheets and masses of paperwork is a very inefficient approach to selling. Automating the process and the analysis of customer data means precious time and money can be saved and sales teams can focus their time and efforts on what they do best: selling.

It Creates More Opportunities 
It will identify customer buying patterns to provide salespeople with actionable insights. For example, it might flag when a particular customer is likely to run out of a certain product. It will also highlight cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. For instance, if a salesperson sees that a particular customer purchased a large order of mops but no buckets last month, they immediately know it’s time to pick up the phone – but more importantly, they know how to start the conversation. 

It Improves Marketing 
Business Intelligence can identify wider customer trends, including the best-selling product lines and whether there have been any seasonal changes. This can help Jan/San suppliers run highly targeted promotions and marketing campaigns that are based on data and fact, rather than on opinions and gut feeling. Why not run a 20% discount on buckets to those customers who only bought mops last month for example?

It Enhances Customer Service 
Even in a smaller business, sales teams are expected to manage hundreds of customers across multiple product lines meaning maintaining relationships with individual customers can be difficult at the best of times. Instead, Business Intelligence software will organize customer data into digestible segments, meaning sales teams can access key information about every customer in an instant. This includes information such as purchasing history, what’s changed on the account, who’s moved where and what the customer is happy, or not so happy about. This level of knowledge will impress any customer.

It Lets You Go Mobile
Sales professionals often spend a lot of time on the road, travelling to meet prospects and customers. Business intelligence software can be accessed via smart phones and tablets on the move, meaning customer information can be accessed from anywhere, and at any time. Gone are the days of having to carry around reams of paperwork detailing customer information and with Business Intelligence, travel time no longer means wasted time.

The advance of technology such as Business Intelligence software will benefit companies of all sizes, but this is especially true for smaller Jan/San businesses trying to compete with the industry big boys. Not only does it provide sales professionals with all the information they need to make a sale, it will save them time spent manually churning through spreadsheets and speculatively cold-calling prospects, with little or no return on their efforts. It frees up the time of sales professionals to do what they do best, meaning the competition doesn’t stand a chance!

Kevin McGirl is President of sales-i. Kevin is the driving force behind sales-i’s go-to-market and business development strategy and has been instrumental in helping companies maximize their sales and marketing ambitions.