“My call out to people is, use this time to upgrade your CRM skills. It takes time to set it up, configure it, decide what it is you want to know about your customers, and segment them. If you haven’t been using a CRM, start right now,” said Ben, of this important, relationship-building asset.
A powerful tool within the GreatVines platform is our industry-specific CRM. With many folks having extra time for administrative work, there’s space to utilize basic CRM capabilities to get account records in tip-top shape and to educate teams with skill building. Having organized records will help facilitate your strategy by granting faster access to more accurate information.
How You Can Utilize CRM Today
What you do with account CRM information is now up to you, but we’ve come up with a few strategies to get you going. Start by gathering information via Account attributes to segment and target the right accounts.
See who’s open, out of stock, or in need of replenishing by looking at Account List Views, Sales History or Sold/Unsold reports.
Even if a location isn’t open for on-premise sales, they may be doing curbside pickup or delivery. Check social media linked to that account and note accordingly.
Tag accounts that are using online channels for sales, then review their online presence to ensure your portfolio is well represented.
Even though pantry loading has slowed, keep your eye on locations selling large format packs as they’re still seeing a surge.
Find and segment restaurants offering alcohol with takeout food, as they’re seeing a rise in to-go alcohol purchases like red wine, imported beer, and craft beer.
Once you’ve segmented your accounts, build Account Sets in GreatVines based on these common attributes and set strategic Goals and Objectives to increase points of distribution among them. Many outlets are burning through inventory to convert it to cash, and re-orders are more likely to happen for distributors and brands that provide outreach and support over the phone, especially to prevent out of stocks.
Ben currently works with several companies who benefit from the GreatVines platform. “Anybody who’s using GreatVines now, this is a chance to take their skills to a new level. Maybe they’ve just been using the business analytics part and they haven’t really used the CRM, I would spend the next few weeks working on that hard. Schedule a training to have someone at GreatVines show you how to improve your capabilities of the tool.”
Use CRM to Plan Ahead
As important as it is to keep up with what’s happening right now, it’s also critical to create a plan using CRM for the time when on-premise accounts open back up. A myriad of things have changed since temporary closures began, like production and staffing, and it’s important to consider how you can be successful amid a different landscape.
To avoid panic orders, communicate with suppliers/distributors about allocation expectations for sudden high demand and/or limited supplies.
Think about where people will be going once they can go out, e.g. locations with outdoor patios, brunch spots, or tried and true favorites that have been missed. Places with space for continued social distancing are also likely to be popular.
If you haven’t already, evaluate your product mix and compose scenarios. Look at products that are efficiently priced that might be a better financial fit.
Connect with accounts to see if they’re updating menus in their downtime, as there will likely be significant changes.
“If you’ve been diligently tracking the richest accounts in your market, making placements at restaurants that are highly successful, you’re going to come out much better than those that have been using old school metrics or ‘lagging indicators’. All of a sudden everyone’s going to want to do business with those people after the crisis is over. But you’ve been there all along, and you’re not a new supplier to them. That to me is going to create a great separation.”
Ben had this to conclude about who he thinks will be most successful post-Coronavirus closures, and we couldn’t agree more. “Who is responding really well? Who has a winning attitude and a can-do spirit? Who’s staying positive and reaching out to help their neighbors? These are the people who are going to be standing on the other side of the crisis.”