Select appropriate software platforms for sales management and customer relationship management (CRM).
You are the regional sales manager for International Herb Express (IHE) which is a large, US-based spice & herbs supplier. IHE sells to other businesses that purchase bulk spices and spice blends for use in their end products. The primary customers are baking and soup mix corporations that sell to other businesses, for example, bakeries, restaurants, other food-service, and regional grocery chains. IHE is launching a new spice blend that reflects a more diverse cultural & ethnic flavor profile than IHE’s traditional offerings.
The abridged marketing strategy for this new spice blend is to target both current customers, but also to reach new customers that are target regions with higher ethnic diversity and/or the more adventurous “foodies” market. The marketing efforts will focus on taste testing, sampling, and on-site promotion. IHE is launching this marketing plan to help create a product offering that is not as commodity-driven (as most spices and herbs are the same quality no matter where they are purchased) and can potentially offer higher profit margins.
It is important to note that spices and other ingredients are raw goods and traded as commodities. The raw price for these goods changes on a day-to-day basis. Pricing is based on classic supply and demand, though nature is a key contributor to the supply–extreme weather as well as health of crops have a direct impact on the supply chain and access to the raw goods.
The Board of Directors has decided that the sales and marketing organization at IHE desperately needs an upgrade in managing customer relationship information. This information includes basic data on customers, but also important facts that can be useful to marketing, manufacturing, and logistics.
You have been selected to represent the sales force’s needs as part of a team of stakeholders that will meet to create a recommendation to the Board of Directors on a CRM approach. The recommendation will include the top-3 CRM companies to be considered to work with IHE.
To prepare for your role on the team, you are going to research and explore existing CRM companies to evaluate information to share at the first meeting. You will want to be prepared to discuss details, so you have decided to create:
- The steps to select and implement the right CRM system
- Including the expected timing of the various steps
- A list of CRM system needs and wants for the sales force to be effective
- A table that compares the 3 companies on the list of needs and wants you identified
- A supporting document to explain the previous steps to further clarify and rationalize the choices made
These tasks can be prepared as either PowerPoint slides, Word, or Excel documents that would be useful to the assembled stakeholder team to discuss CRM.