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In response to many calls with distributor Sales Managers who are asking for any ideas AFDR might have to improve the low rates of DSR compliance with their companies’ CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, we did what we always do…ask DSRs.
I have to say that this is not a new issue, it’s just that the new technology is not working much better than the old “by hand” systems and management wants to know why. For the 35 years that I’ve been in the foodservice distribution business, management has always wanted DSRs to fill out reports to show what and who they’re working with so that management can help manage activities in the selling process. Management and DSRs need to be able to identify customers, opportunities, prospects and dollars that are in the pipeline and know how they’re being managed by DSRs. This is business 101.
Most DSRs understand that CRM/Sales Activity systems are necessary and a good system could help them do their jobs much more effectively. Unfortunately, many DSRs see CRM systems as a sales performance monitoring tool for management, so they fill in what management is asking for, and not necessarily not what the DSR needs to increase sales. Funny thing is management hardly ever responds to requests by DSRs input through the CRM system, but they do know if there was activity and compliance.
We figure the low rates of DSR compliance with CRM systems are because there are two major dysfunctions that most of the current CRM systems have.
#1: A DSR has to STOP doing what they do naturally. They have to slow down and not be hyper, get organized, not be distracted and DON’T be impulsive so they can input into the CRM system everything they’ve done and what they plan to do.
#2: A DSR needs to have everything that’s in the CRM system when they need it…24/7 in real time, not just when they have time to STOP, sign in (if they have a signal), and retrieve info that’s in the system that’s needed for this or the next account call.
As most of you know, quite a few DSRs have 1 of the 7 types of ADD/ADHD classifications where hyperactivity, disorganization, distractibility and impulsivity are a big part of who they are and how they’re set up.
For those of you who have been out here on the street, you understand the foodservice distribution and the restaurant industry has the same condition of impulsivity, hyperactivity and disorganization. The daily norm is a little crazy, which is why DSRs who are like that are pretty good at this job.
Solution: Hire ISRs (inside sales reps) to help DSRs, or build/purchase a CRM tool that has a Siri (iPhone) or Cortana (Microsoft) system that’s like a Virtual Personal ISR so that DSRs can do what they naturally do…be impulsive, disorganized, hyper and distracted while finding the next account to build a relationship with. This way, management and DSRs will have the sales activity reports it needs to manage and grow business.
DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!