The Best Tools to Increase Efficiency of Sales Processes and Attract New Buyers
The flooring distribution business is stable for now, but with the industry expecting only a .5% year-over-year growth through 2023, and 70% of economists forecasting a recession before the end of 2021, it might not stay that way. Savvy business owners are looking for ways to keep their operations lean and profitable, before a slowdown occurs.
One of the simplest ways to secure your business for lean times is to improve your sales processes. Distributors, are your sales processes outdated? If you’re still doing things the same way you did a decade (or two) ago, you’re probably wasting a lot of time—and could be losing valuable leads.
The old model of doing business for flooring distributors often includes a lot of paper and entering data into a computer by hand. You may still be sending out paper catalogs, or maybe you’ve upgraded to a PDF version but still have to manually email it to customers. You might be generating purchase orders by hand and relying on manual data entry, either by you, your sales staff, or office support staff. Your salespeople could be spending more time on paperwork and less time talking to customers.
What’s Wrong With “The Way We’ve Always Done It”
The traditional way of doing business worked fine for many years. However, there are compelling reasons to think about upgrading your sales process to something more efficient.
1. You’re wasting time – manual data entry and hand-generated purchase orders take time to process.
2. You’re making mistakes – manual data entry is prone to errors. Fixing these errors takes more time, and can also lead to delays, unhappy customers, and lost revenue.
3. You’re not spending enough time with customers – customers today are used to shopping online and expect an easy, fast, B2C-style experience. If you can’t provide that, you might be missing out on sales opportunities.
Here’s another piece of compelling evidence: according to the Salesforce State of Sales report from 2018, salespeople spend only 34% of their time selling. That means for two thirds of their time, your sales people are doing other things, like manually entering data, generating quotes, and researching and prioritizing leads. With automation, many of these tasks can be completed faster, freeing up time that can be spent with customers.
By switching to a streamlined, automated sales process, you have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain such as:
1. Free up time from inputting data. Your salespeople will spend less time on inputting data and filling out paperwork, so they can spend more time working with customers and converting leads. This also results in fewer errors, because data is entered once and then is auto-populates purchase order forms.
2. Provide better customer service. Customers can research products online, and easily get in touch with you if they have questions. This means faster, more responsive customer service.
3. Offer the streamlined buying process that customers expect. Your customers are used to shopping online, and they expect to do the same here, even when they’re buying flooring materials, not t-shirts. They want to research from their office or home, get fast answers to their questions, and buy online.
When you provide the experience that your customers have come to expect, you’re improving your relationship with them, making your sales team more efficient, and remaining competitive in the market. This will all help translate to a better bottom line for your business.
Ready to automate your sales processes? Here’s how to get started.
1. Use a customer relationship management tool (CRM) integrated with eCommerce. Having one tool to manage your communication makes it easier and faster to email and track leads, keep in touch with customers through the sales processes, and follow up.
2. Use Sales Automation tools like online ordering and invoicing. Using an online system gives your both B2B and retail customers an easy option to order, and you get easy order tracking. Automating this process is easier on you, and the customer.
3. Use technology for easy-to-update product listings. Keep your product information in an online database always up to date that you can use to auto-populate data in online product listings and order forms. Online product listings are easier to update, allowing you to change prices and details or add and subtract products as needed. Your customers can access listings online at any time.
4. Have an up-to-date online catalog. No more creating and updating a PDF and individually emailing it to prospects. Or worse, printing out a catalog and sending it through the snail mail.
Getting Started with B2B Sales Automation for the Flooring Industry
There are many online websites where you can piece together a CRM, online product listings, and online ordering. Not sure how to get started? Consider using a platform where every part of the sales process you need is integrated and you have all your information in one place.
That’s what we offer to start with Vogueboard’s B2B sales automation. With a free membership to the Vogueboard online platform, you can generate and send electronic product catalogs, create and send purchase orders, advance shipping notices, and handle invoicing. For a limited time only there’s also a free CRM with a 360-degree view on each account. This integrated tool shows your entire customer history at once, including contacts, emails, calls, quotes, orders, invoices and deliveries.
With the Vogueboard platform, you’re spending time where your leads are and improving your networking with potential trade partners on the online marketplace. The platform offers not only a B2B environment, but the intuitiveness of B2C software and offers a similar level of experience, which is what customers are used to now.