Welcome
to the TDF Blog

That is the question…

As a member of the workforce, you have most likely provided or approved some level of training in order to enhance the skillsets of your employees. But is training always a good thing? Here are some reasons why you should not train your employees.

1. They Will Expect a Raise

You take the time to provide valuable training to someone and they become even better at their job. At first, it can have a positive impact on the company – but then you realize (and they always realize too) that they are now more valuable and probably deserve a raise. While your company benefits from their enhanced skillsets, is it worth the extra cost to payroll, benefits, and taxes?  Perhaps you should cut the training budget again this year.

2. They Will Leave

Inevitably, training leads to enhanced skills which leads to higher value employees.  In fact, sometimes an employee can become so good at their job, that they become attractive to other companies who are willing to pay a bit more, provide a promotion, or just a nice change of scenery. You just spent time, effort, and money priming the perfect employee, and now they are gone. Your department’s valuable resources may be better spent on more employee luncheons than that technical seminar.

3. They Will Replace You

Pay raises and losing valuable employees can be bad, but getting replaced by the very employee you have worked hard to improve is the worst. If your employee becomes more skilled than you, your boss may take notice, and ultimately swap you out for a younger, better looking, and more skilled version of you. Under-skilled staff may equal more job security for you.

To sum up, if you want to make your life more difficult and stressful than it already is, go ahead and train your employees.


In reality, training employees can have many positive impacts on your business. Strategically improving technical and soft skills can increase efficiency and productivity, as well as boost morale.  Improving employee skillsets is an important investment in one of your greatest assets.  Short term financial gains from lack of or inadequate training can be short sighted and often has negative consequences further down the road by hindering your company’s ability to improve, grow, and/or adjust to a changing marketplace.

Properly executed training plans can often have a positive rather than a negative effect on employee retention.  It is true that valuable employees may choose to leave, but it’s not usually solely because of enhanced skillsets. Employees who can see their company taking an active interest in improving their skillsets may be more invested in their career and have higher commitment to their company.

This blog has been brought to you by Tour de Force, Inc., providing industry leading CRM and BI solutions since 2001. We offer easy-to-use software to help empower your sales force any time, any place, and on any device. Our solutions require minimal training, thus lowering your overall cost and increasing end-user adoption. Show your staff that you are truly invested in them by purchasing marketing and sales force automation solutions that help them accomplish their daily activities in a more efficient and effective manner. Want to learn more about our robust CRM and BI solutions? Check out our interactive demo, sign up for an upcoming webinar, or request a personalized live demo.

By: Cassandra Evans



You thought you did everything right. You spent weeks, maybe even months researching CRM systems and picked out what you thought was the best system for your company. You launched this new system with all the hope in the world that it would go smoothly and all of your users would absolutely love it and comprehend how to use it effectively. But try as you might, it failed. WHY? Why did it fail after you put in all that hard work?

Listed below are 5 common mistakes made when implementing a new CRM system:

  1. The CRM failed to provide immediate value to the sales force.
    A CRM system must provide value to your sales team. If they view the system as a data entry tool that provides no immediate value, they will not use the system, causing the implementation to fail.
  2. You failed to identify all of the business processes that impact customer relationships.
    Before implementing a CRM software solution, you need to define your CRM strategy. What are the business processes that impact your customer relationships and how can you use software to manage those touch points?
  3. Your users could not identify clear goals to accomplish or definable metrics for success.
    What are your goals for your CRM implementation? What do you define as success? What is your timeline for determining if the project is successful? Without a plan, your implementation is destined to fail.
  4. You unknowingly let your IT department take the lead on the CRM project.
    While IT plays an important role in a CRM implementation, they should not have the lead role. A successful CRM implementation is led by someone within your organization who is familiar with your customer relationship management strategy, such as a sales or marketing leader.
  5. Failing to build a customer data integration strategy.
    Implementing software applications that are unable to communicate with each other creates islands of data, which diminishes effective communication and reduces efficiencies with your organization. Your goal should be to centralize customer data, not to compartmentalize it.

A large percent of CRM projects fails each year, leading people to believe that success in a Customer Relationship Management software implementation is unattainable. At Tour de Force, we have a 98% customer retention rate, proving that success is attainable. A successful CRM implementation can generate substantial returns. Payback within months and Return on Investment (ROI) of more than 100% is by no means impossible.  This cannot be accomplished, however, in an implementation that focuses on a set of generic best practices, or with a system that cannot be configured to match your specific business processes.


At Tour de Force, our CRM/BI system is everything you need it to be. We have strict implementation programs in place and a success team to help you every step of the way. And once you’re up and running we won’t stop holding your hand. We will be there through it all. Join us for one of our webinars to learn how Tour de Force can be the CRM/BI system you’ve longed for, or click here to read more on how to build a successful CRM strategy.

By: Cassandra Evans



Learn how to locate and target your forgotten products to avoid letting them become your weak spot.

All companies have visibility and track what their clients have purchased, but that level of tracking is not always extended and applied to understanding what people are not buying.  If you are not tracking what your clients should be buying, then you are potentially missing a huge amount of revenue.

As a business, your main priority is to grow the bottom line and increase profits.  Several distributors and manufacturers are selling in mature markets and do not have the luxury of landing new clients everyday; so maximizing your penetration in current and newly added customers becomes critical. To out-distance your competition, you must do more than simply track repeat business; you must work to INCREASE that repeat business.  The key to account penetration is delivering data to the people who need it and in a manner where you don’t have resources tied up producing and updating spreadsheets day after day for every client.  So how do you set up your analyses to study the gaps in your business and see where you have potential for growth, or are already missing revenue opportunities?  The answer – Tour de Force Gap Analysis!

The Tour de Force Gap Analysis shows what your customers are currently buying, and what they are currently not buying. With this extensive insight, you now know where you have the most potential for growth. For example, Gap Analysis could show you that your customers are buying products A and B, but not C. You now know you have potential to grow with product C in this particular group of customers. As a company and, the executive team, to have insight like this is incredibly valuable.  Information like this for marketing teams and sales people is priceless.  Anyone tasked with increasing market share needs the tools that will provide them fast and accurate data they can use as a “playbook” to assist them in helping to achieve the goals they are accountable for (AKA – more sales).  With Tour de Force Gap Analysis, you are providing data that will help your sales and marketing teams identify next logical purchases based on current or historical purchasing patterns.  If you are looking to increase sales, start by understanding the data you already have access to – simply use our tool to put the data into a format that is automated and a value add to your teams.

 

 

When you can see your areas of potential growth, you can create and tailor marketing campaigns to target specific customers with a promotion for a forgotten product, or new product line or vendor. Contact us today to see how we can help your business understand the data you have and put it to use to uncover new opportunities. Gap Analysis is not a new concept but for those who understand and utilize it, the information can create spikes of revenue that can provide a very quick ROI for a simple, well-organized tool.

 

By: Cassandra Evans



Sträva Technology Group adds Tour de Force as their CRM & BI distribution and manufacturing vertical offering.

FINDLAY, OH – Sträva Technology Group has become a Preferred Partner under the Tour de Force Inc. Partner Program. The two organizations share a passion for the CRM market, in which both companies share 25 plus years of experience. Founders of both organizations are respected providers of technology and industry thought leaders who feel this Partnership will bring value to the distribution and manufacturing industries.

Tour de Force is a leading provider of customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) software. Sträva Technology Group is led by a team of CRM industry veterans and focuses on helping businesses achieve success with Customer Relationship Management.

“We consider it an honor that Sträva recognizes our company and our product as the solution they have chosen as their go-to for a vertical solution. We understand when you focus on a vertical you must have an intimate understanding of the industry and a product that will meet the unique challenges. The fact that Sträva was willing to make that commitment just further justifies our expertise in the distribution and manufacturing industries and we are looking forward to working with David and his team.” – Matt Hartman, founder and CEO of Tour de Force.

President and CEO of Sträva Technology Group, David Buggy, added, “I have been very impressed with the Tour de Force CRM solution for many years. We are excited to partner with Matt and his team to bring Tour de Force CRM to manufacturers & distributors helping them transform their marketing, sales and service strategies”

Combining the core strengths of the Tour de Force Platform with Sträva’s CRM knowledge will align a solution leading to success for organizations looking to partner with a Vendor and a Strategic Partner. Both organizations feel this union is a great opportunity to benefit the growth of both companies.

By: Cassandra Evans



Stanion Wholesale Electric wins for process of quantifying and tracking value added services

Tour de Force, Inc. congratulates the winner of the 2016 Award for Best Innovation. The Innovation Awards are intended to recognize the creative and exciting ways that Tour de Force clients are using the system. The winner was announced on Mon. Oct. 3rd at the Tour de Force Connections Annual Customer Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Stanion Wholesale Electric was selected as the Best Innovation by the Tour de Force Executive Team for their use of Tour de Force to quantify and track value added services that they provide to their customers.  Stanion has national contracts that require them to provide cost savings equal to a certain percentage of a customer’s total spending. These cost savings are achieved through the delivery of value added services and benefits. When it came time to prepare annual cost savings reports, the team at Stanion struggled to compile the necessary information. Sales representatives and branch managers would schedule internal meetings to identify and review the services that had been delivered, meetings that involved multiple resources and would stretch into days and even weeks.

According to Dennis Guey, Vice President of Sales at Stanion:

Using Tour de Force to manage this process has resulted in significant productivity savings. We have 17 branches and were tying up each branch for weeks at a time trying to create these reports. That has been eliminated now and our sales team doesn’t have to scramble to find this information: it’s all in Tour de Force. Since we’ve been doing this we’ve had no problems meeting our percentage of cost savings; in fact, we typically have a higher amount than what’s required. We knew we were doing it before, we just weren’t documenting it.”

Other finalists for Best Innovation included ABCO for centralizing their vendor co-op programs, Etna Supply for streamlining business processes, Penn-Air & Hydraulics Corp. for creating an automated assembly queue, and Powerstep for streamlining sample requests. Finalists for Best Use Case included Allegis Corporation for improving quoting processes, O’Dell Associates for automating project backlog reports, PHD for replacing a homegrown customized CRM, and Springfield Electric Supply Company for driving e-commerce.

To learn more about the 2016 Innovation Award Finalists and Winners, visit www.tourdeforceinc.com/2016InnovationAwards

###

Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. is a full-service wholesale electric distributor. Founded in Pratt, Kansas in 1961, Stanion has since grown to 17 branches that service the entire state of Kansas and parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and Nebraska. Learn more at www.stanion.com

 

By: Ashley Parinello



In recent Forrester research (*), Forrester identified the biggest challenges to addressing customer management capabilities based on survey data. The top three challenges identified by this survey were:

  1. Creating a single view of customer data and information, cited by 47% of survey respondents
  2. Creating customer insight to drive decision-making, 41%
  3. Gaining cooperation across the organization to support customer management improvement efforts, 38%

Wholesale distributors, manufacturers and other leading B2B businesses who are already Tour de Force clients have had the advantage of addressing these key challenges head on from day 1, while others without Tour de Force have struggled mightily. So, how does Tour de Force address these challenges?

First, Tour de Force creates a consolidated, 360° view of all customer information, whether that data originates in Tour de Force or is gathered from external systems, including the client’s ERP and email systems. The level of integration Tour de Force provides with its customers’ ERP systems, which is unmatched in the industry, allows Tour de Force to import accounts, contacts, orders, quotes, invoices, inventory, and purchase orders, along with over 1000 analytical data points about customers and vendors every day. This, coupled with Tour de Force’s ability to automatically log all email associated with customers and vendors, and to make that information viewable in concert with other key customer data, enables clients to view all customer-related information in one common place, which is in Tour de Force.

Second, because Tour de Force goes beyond traditional CRM solutions delivering full business intelligence, or sales analysis and reporting, customers can utilize the analytical data noted above to view this information in scorecards and dashboards, to slice and dice this data in grids, and to receive and consume information via automatic alerts and notifications, either on the user’s home page or via email notifications. This combination of capabilities enables users to consume information in their own preferred ways.

Finally, Tour de Force enables cross-functional business process optimization. Clients can utilize these capabilities to manage areas such as quote to order processing, job and project management, case management and support, and more, which yields substantial overall improvement vs. utilizing a series of stove-piped solutions that don’t communication with each other.

This combination of capabilities helps Tour de Force clients overcome the three biggest challenges to addressing customer management capabilities, as identified by Forrester Research. For more information about Tour de Force or to schedule a discussion about what Tour de Force might be able to do for your business, please Contact Us.

(*) Source: Forrester Research, “Benchmark Against Best Practices to Optimize CRM Performance”

By: Dave Litzenberg



At Tour de Force, we have discussions all the time with sales executives and owners of small and mid-market wholesale distributors and manufacturers, along with sales and executive leadership from major divisions of large enterprises. Two years ago, the response we received when asking whether clients wanted to run their CRM solution on-premise vs. in the Cloud was overwhelmingly on-premise (roughly 95%+ of the time); however, we’ve seen that trend shift significantly since then. Over the past 3-6 months, we’ve been hearing 70%+ of the respondents say they are open to either option which makes most sense for their business, with those who have preference for Cloud CRM vs. on-premise running at roughly a ratio of 75-80% to 20-25%.

What are the main benefits of cloud CRM for clients as opposed to running their CRM solution on premise?

1. Accelerated time to value
By replacing the process of specifying, acquiring, and deploying on-premise IT server and storage with provisioning a comparable Cloud instance, the time to go from project kickoff to go live has accelerated by numerous weeks, which is variable depending on how readily available the client’s IT infrastructure team, if one exists, is to focus on this subject matter. In fact, there have been a number of instances where clients have had to delay projects altogether due to the lack of IT resource availability to focus on the project for an extended period of time.

2. Reduced involvement for IT resources
Because the IT infrastructure and application deployment are owned and maintained by the Cloud solution provider, who provisions what is necessary to support the client and performs application upgrades, the client’s IT resources, if any exist, are unneeded for these tasks. As a result, there isn’t a delay to wait on client IT resource availability to initiate or upgrade Cloud-based solutions.

3. Accelerated access to improved application functionality
Because the solution team’s resources have IT ownership for performing solution upgrades in the Cloud-based model, upgrades are performed on a more frequent basis with more consistent results than when relying on the client’s IT team to perform these tasks. As a result, Cloud solutions can be deployed in smaller functional increments than those that require more enhancements to be rolled up as a release when deployed by the client’s IT team in an on-premise solution model.

4. Improved speed of access, data security and business continuity
Because Cloud CRM solution providers have resources specifically trained in the disciplines of establishing and securing hosted IT infrastructure and associated network access and business continuity with access to the best solutions available in the market, most small and mid-market clients achieve a significant improvement in application performance, data security and business continuity as compared with running the solution on their own IT infrastructure, which requires internal or third-party IT personnel to plan and implement these solutions.

5. Reduced capital expense
There is major competition for capital funding in wholesale distribution and manufacturing companies, especially in the areas of upgrading facilities and equipment. Cloud-based software deployment, where the common software licensing model is based on subscription charges over time, is generally funded as an expense; whereas one-time perpetual software license charges, which has traditionally been the most common approach used for on-premise software deployment, typically requires capital funding.

Tour de Force, whose combined CRM, SFA and BI solution was purpose built for wholesale distribution and manufacturing, offers our clients a choice of running our industry-leading solution on-premise or in a hosted model with Tour de Force Cloud. Please contact us for more information on the benefits if Cloud CRM or to discuss a potential project.

Tour de Force Cloud

By: Dave Litzenberg



Tour de Force Cloud

FINDLAY, OH – March 16, 2016 — Tour de Force, Inc., the leading combined customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) enterprise software solution provider for the distribution and manufacturing industries, today announced the release of Tour de Force Cloud.

Tour de Force Cloud is a web-based combined CRM and BI solution that provides analytics, reporting, and dashboards. The system integrates with a client’s existing ERP/business system to extract ERP data and pre-calculate over 1,000 key data points about each customer, every single day – to transform raw sales data into actionable reports and analytics, which can be put directly into the hands of a sales team. This actionable data can be used to identify trends, optimize business processes, and ultimately, increase sales and revenues. In addition to providing a full range of business intelligence functionality, Tour de Force Cloud also provides accelerated tools for managing relationships with customers, prospects, vendors and more, including Account and Contact management, and automatic Email Logging without the need for manual user interaction.

“Since 2001, we have been focused on providing a robust software solution that offers customer relationship management, sales force automation, and business intelligence, along with many other advanced enterprise features,” remarked Matt Hartman, President/CEO of Tour de Force, Inc. “While the Tour de Force on-premise Enterprise solution meets the needs of many organizations, we realized we weren’t meeting the needs of organizations who were looking for a software solution that doesn’t require servers within the four walls of their company. The great thing about Tour de Force Cloud is that we have been able to provide many of the same features that are part of the Tour de Force Enterprise application, such as extensive ERP integration, very powerful reporting and analytics features, and basic CRM features that an organization can use to maintain their contact database and manage customer interaction, at an accelerated pace all within a web browser. Their data is now maintained by Tour de Force, eliminating the maintenance of on-premise servers by their organization.”

Whether a small business with few, if any, internal IT resources or part of a large enterprise where corporate IT is stretched thinly, Tour de Force Cloud accelerates the clients’ time to value by eliminating the need to acquire, configure and maintain on-site application and database server infrastructure. While Tour de Force has traditionally been used extensively in the distribution and manufacturing industries, Tour de Force is also used by other leading B2B organizations including those in the construction and technology industries among others. Tour de Force customers can gain the benefits of saving time accessing actionable customer data, optimizing business processes, leveraging institutional knowledge, growing sales by streamlining and standardizing sales processes, and increasing sales revenue with sales planning tools.

For more information about Tour de Force, Inc. and Tour de Force Cloud, visit www.tourdeforceinc.com.

By: Rechelle Bischoff



Experiences lead to successes. I believe that wholeheartedly. Growing up, many of us didn’t realize how different experiences in life shape who we are and what we believe in.

I started my journey for my family’s wholesale electrical distributor, The FES Corporation, in the late 1980s. In 1994, I took over the daily operations of the distributor and pioneered its rapid growth through the utilization of various technology solutions. Through that experience, I learned some valuable lessons that have allowed me to build what Tour de Force is today.

“The mindset every organization needs to have is to give the customer the right answer, not the answer they want to hear, because what they want to hear only keeps them happy for that moment in time.” – Matt Hartman

1. The value of the customer relationship and maintaining integrity with customers
In the distribution and manufacturing industries, organizations are not dealing with a one-time sale to customers. There is an ongoing relationship with that customer that needs to be maintained in order to succeed and continue that relationship for a lifetime. Honesty and corporate integrity are key factors in maintaining lifelong customers.

When I think of corporate integrity, it’s instilling a value and vision with employees of always being honest and transparent with customers. At Tour de Force, we have maintained several customers that were original beta sites and the main reason we have maintained those relationships is we have been honest with them from day one, never misleading them in to thinking we could deliver on something that wasn’t possible.

The mindset every organization needs to have is to give the customer the right answer, not the answer they want to hear, because what they want to hear only keeps them happy for that moment in time. It is much better to tell a customer, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that, but let’s try to figure out a way to work around that,” rather than saying, “I can do that” or “I can deliver this product by the end of the week,” full well knowing that it is not possible and the product is not even in inventory. Every time a customer is lied to, mislead, or given false information, the integrity of the organization is at stake.

2. Concept of the Internal Customer
When I was running the operations at The FES Corporation, we talked to and coached our purchasing department with the concept that our sales team was their customer and they needed to treat the sales people as if they were the customer. The better quality of service the purchasing, accounting and shipping teams could provide our sales team, gave the sales team the ability to better take care of the external customers.

3. Core principles learned from software implementations
I had been involved in buying and implementing software within the distribution industry for a long time. Part of running a business involves keeping up with new technology trends and software to keep improving sales. I was involved in many implementations throughout my time in the distribution industry and there were some core principles that I have implemented at Tour de Force from my experiences at FES Corporation.

Buying software involves paying an annual maintenance fee to keep the software running smoothly, but every time I called to ask a support question I felt as if the clock was running and I would get charged every time. The success of any company is feedback provided by customers to improve business processes. We want customers to call and ask questions. It helps us improve our business, and keeps the customer happy and engaged with the product. The customer should not feel as if they are on the clock every time they call or email with a question. Create an environment that is inviting for customers to reach out and ask questions.

When a software company would come out with a new platform of their product, they expected the customer to purchase that new platform, even though they had bought the product already and had been paying maintenance fees for years. Maintenance plans should be developed with the concept that the customer’s investment in maintenance is an investment in the continued development of the product. It’s an investment that they are making into the next generation of the product.

If I hadn’t been on the buying side of software, I would have never been able to design programs and make sure those programs didn’t cause the same pains that I went through before Tour de Force. Our customers are our number one fans, and with the continued support and development of our products, customers are happy and help us succeed in the business of serving them, making their lives more efficient and effective.

By: Matt Hartman



CRM projects, just like all other company expenditures, compete for scarce resources of people’s time and money. As a result, a CRM project’s business sponsor, in conjunction with key stakeholders in the business, is responsible to build a strong business justification to get the project funded.

CRM project benefits can be broadly categorized into improving revenue, reducing cost and improving efficiency. Cost reductions and efficiency gains can come both from the business functional side, to produce and service customers which drive the revenue, and on the information technology side, by reducing costs, such as charges for licenses and maintenance, and through simplifying the overall IT solution architecture and footprint, such as eliminating custom integrations.

Revenue improvements can come in the form of capturing more of existing customers’ overall spend and through selling a more profitable product mix to existing customers. These can also come from improving customer retention through reducing or eliminating irritating things that erode customer satisfaction, and by adding new, profitable customers.

Cost reductions can come in the form of identifying which customers are truly profitable through gaining visibility to all of the previously hidden costs of servicing the customer. This includes analyzing customer return volumes and quote to order hit rates, especially in a highly technical or engineered quoting process where scarce resources are consumed in the creation of quotes. Strong CRM systems, which are integrated with client’s ERP systems, can also reduce or eliminate inefficiencies of personnel having to do double data entry of quotes, orders and contact information into multiple systems.

Finally, on the IT side, there may be software licensing and maintenance costs which can be reduced, such as eliminating the need to acquire additional ERP licenses for sales personnel, eliminating brittle custom integrations which cause IT personnel lots of work for care and feeding, and by enabling business personnel to be able to report and analyze data on their own rather than requiring IT personnel to create custom reports for this to occur.

For those looking to quantify a business case for a CRM project, we are offering free download access to a research note from Forrester titled, “Quantify the Business Value of CRM.”

By: Dave Litzenberg



A new year is upon us and many business professionals are looking for ways to save time in the workplace in order to get more done
during the day and calendar year. Saving time on mundane tasks leaves opportunity for more sales, and more sales means more revenue.

If saving time is a goal for your organization this year, consider these 5 ways that Tour de Force can help you manage time better and generate more sales.

1. Alerts & Notifications
Alerts & Notifications delivers automated email reports to Tour de Force users on a daily, weekly or monthly basis depending on the time requirements of the associated information. Rather than waiting for someone to create and send the report manually, Tour de Force compiles the information and automatically sends it out to specified users.

2. Build Your Own Reports (BYOR)
BYOR enables organizations to build reports based on relevant data with flexible reporting options. These reports can be designed for executives, various levels of management and sales representatives. For example, BYOR can calculate and report on goals versus actual sales, or even sales commissions per rep. These reports can be automated and set as the home page when users initially open the Tour de Force Info Center. This frees up time for employees to perform other duties rather than building manual reports day in and day out.

3. Grid Management with Short Cuts
Tour de Force is built with grids to allow for easy access to any information at any given time. Users can filter and sort any grid within the platform with the ability to save their views for rapid access to that same data at a later date. Specified data can be selected based on various criteria within the grid and the sales data can be viewed for one or more accounts. Furthermore, filtered lists of contacts can be exported for an email blast, or passed directly to Act-On utilizing Tour de Force’s integrated the Marketing Automation feature.

4. Web/Mobile Sales Call Reports with the ability to use Talk to Text
Users can convert appointments and tasks in Tour de Force Web with one button. Users can then select to add notes by selecting the talk to text icon on their smartphones and talking through notes which then appear on screen. Using this capability, sales reps will no longer have to type notes after a sales appointment.

5. Global Search with Recent Items and Favorites including Inbox Navigation
Users can save time looking for information needed on a daily basis by using the Global Search, Recent Items and Favorites from the Outlook toolbar, Tour de Force Info Center and Web/Mobile. The Tour de Force system automatically tracks user activity, which is then available to be recalled from Recent Items. Any item within Tour de Force can also be saved as a Favorite. This makes it easier to find information users would like to be easily accessible over time, such as top Accounts. Inbox Navigation allows users to open an account or contact record while viewing an email in Outlook using the Tour de Force Outlook Toolbar. Appointments can also be created from an Outlook email via the Tour de Force Outlook Toolbar.

We all want to save time and sell more. Tour de Force allows you to save time by automating every day processes, freeing you to generate more sales to meet or exceed your 2016 sales goals! Please Contact Us for more information.

By: Rechelle Bischoff



New Partners Include Blue Pelican Software, ecmarket Inc., Real Results Marketing, and ROC Commerce

FINDLAY, OH — Tour de Force has announced the addition of four strategic organizations to the Tour de Force Channel Partner Program.  Ken Ledyard, Director of Channel Sales at Tour de Force, said, “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with these organizations to extend the value of our combined products and services to the distribution and manufacturing industries. The four companies we have partnered with offer complementary solutions and extend the value of the Tour de Force product within our client base and our prospects.”

The new members of the Tour de Force Channel Program include four organizations that deliver a range of value-added services. Blue Pelican Software develops the Hatteras App designed for Electrical Distributors, Electrical Contractors, and Energy Efficiency Consultants.  ecmarket Inc. develops Conexiom, a sales order and invoice automation solution for wholesale distributors and manufacturers.  Real Results Marketing transforms marketing departments into profit centers for OEM distributors of all sizes in a variety of market segments.  ROC Commerce delivers an enterprise-grade e-commerce platform built for omni-channel and omni-device systems.

“The industry expertise and solutions these organizations provide are a perfect fit for the Tour de Force Partner Ecosystem, and align with our current target markets and goals.  Attracting organizations like these confirms the momentum we are seeing in our Partner Program.  Our team looks forward to working with all of these new partners,” said Ledyard.

“We’re very excited for what the partnership will offer for our customers. Since ROC Commerce has been configured for a prebuilt integration with Tour de Force, there is a seamless interaction between the two technologies,” explained Dan Bulauski, VP of ROC Commerce. “This means our joint customers will see the benefits of Tour de Force features, such as their excellent offering for CRM and more, in addition to ROC’s powerful web CMS, PIM, and site search tools.”

“Tour de Force has a great reputation and standing within the wholesale distribution market,” remarked Mark Toffoli, Director of Sales of ecmarket Inc. “After realizing how many mutual customers we shared, it became clear that it was in both companies’ interest to enter into a strategic partnership. The Tour de Force Channel Partner Program is very well laid out and delivers a great deal of value to us as a partner. We are looking forward to growing this relationship with Tour de Force.”

###

About Blue Pelican Software

Blue Pelican Software develops software solutions for the energy industry marketplace that streamlines the sales lifecycle and provides digital technologies to enable a better customer experience.

Blue Pelican Software’s flagship product, Hatteras, is an innovative mobile app that drives growth in energy efficiency lighting sales.  Now it’s easy to capture field audits, design solutions using integrated online product catalogs, quickly review changes and run “what-if” scenarios with powerful analysis tools, and fulfill customer orders – all from an iPad.   Learn more at: http://www.bluepelicansoftware.com

###

About ecmarket Inc.

ecmarket Inc. is a cloud-based solutions developer that created Conexiom – a sales order and invoice automation solution for wholesale distributors and manufacturers. The patent-pending Conexiom solution revolutionizes critical sales and accounting business practices by automating manual entry with 100% accuracy. Conexiom effortlessly converts emailed and printed customer purchase orders and supplier invoices into automated sales orders and invoices, enabling companies to focus on driving growth. Conexiom helps organizations across the globe maintain a competitive edge. For more information, visit http://conexiom.com

###

About Real Results Marketing

Founded in 2003, Real Results Marketing (RRM) provides unparalleled distributor marketing expertise from their time as successful executives, advisors, and implementers with MRO and OEM distributors of all sizes in a variety of market segments.

Based on real results that they have achieved in the distribution market, RRM strikes the right blend of strategy, execution, and measurement to transform marketing departments into a profit center. Schedule a free assessment to discuss your marketing challenges. Learn more at: http://realresultsmarketing.com/

###

About ROC Commerce

ROC Commerce is an enterprise-grade e-commerce software platform that delivers powerful and highly intuitive e-commerce solutions for omni-channel and omni-device needs. ROC combines the best e-commerce strategies into a modern platform that meets the demands of today and scales for the future. It has been selected by over 300 companies around the world, powering thousands of sites, and the ROC Commerce services team has worked with thousands of companies to implement high quality e-commerce solutions. Learn more at: http://www.roccommerce.com/

By: Ashley Parinello



Have you implemented a CRM system, only to struggle with user adoption? Is your sales team reluctant to use the system because it’s not convenient, takes too much time to update, or they simply don’t see any benefit in it? Or are you hesitant to invest in a CRM system, fearing it will fail?

Ask yourself the following 4 questions to determine whether your CRM system is a data entry tool that is destined to fail or if it’s actually delivering value to your sales team.

1. Does your CRM system provide one source for all customer and prospect data?

Unless your CRM is the core application that your sales team visits in order to find all key information about their customers and prospects, chances are they are viewing the system as a data entry tool. If the CRM is one of many applications that the team is required to use throughout the day, they are much less likely to use the system and will focus only on the mission critical applications that they can’t live without.

2. Does your CRM system provide immediate access to sales data?

Your ERP system is the backbone of your operations, tracking all sales, inventory, orders, quotes, etc. Many ERP systems, however, don’t deliver this information to your sales team in a usable format. While they may be able to access a past sales order, they don’t have access to analysis, trending, key performance indicators, or sales dashboards.

A strong CRM system that delivers value to your sales team will provide extensive integration with your ERP system in order to provide actionable business intelligence to your sales team: reports, analytics, dashboards, and other key sales data that will allow the salesperson to easily analyze where potential sales lie, and where they’re losing sales. This goes well beyond simple field mapping from the ERP system by making the data easy to review, analyze and pivot to find key elements and make decisions about which actions to take as a result.

3. Did your CRM implementation put a focus on your sales team throughout the implementation process?

Most CRM implementations place a heavy focus on training your users how to use the system. While this is an important part of implementing any new software application, successful CRM implementations will also focus on why your users should want to use the system. When implementing a CRM that will ultimately deliver value to your sales team and will become a mission critical application, make sure your implementation team focuses on the ways that the system will deliver immediate value to your sales team and addresses any reservations that they may feel regarding the new system.

4. Was your CRM system developed for your industry?

Many CRM systems are developed using a horizontal approach – they are designed to work in virtually any industry. While this is a great approach for a CRM vendor who wishes to penetrate many different markets, it often leaves the end user stuck with a feature set that doesn’t really match the way they do business. To truly deliver value to your sales team, it’s important to find a CRM vendor that knows your industry and is flexible enough to be able to address your organization’s unique CRM requirements. The way organizations approach their markets from a marketing, sales and customer service perspective should enable competitive advantages. A strong CRM system with industry focus should be a key enabler to delivering your business strategy and competitive advantages to the market.

If you have implemented a CRM system that isn’t delivering value to your sales team, it’s time to take a look at Tour de Force! Our CRM and business intelligence solutions were developed specifically for the salesperson in the wholesale distribution and manufacturing industries. Our focus on delivering value to the sales team has driven over 14 years of successful implementations delivered by an outstanding team with extensive wholesale distribution and manufacturing industry expertise and experience yielding a customer retention rate of over 95%. Contact us today to learn more!

By: Ashley Parinello



AIMS-Logo-200x200

FINDLAY, OH, Jan. 7, 2016 — Tour de Force has announced the addition of AIMS, Inc. as a strategic addition to the Tour de Force Channel Partner Program. Through this partnership, AIMS and Tour de Force deliver an end-to-end, integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence (BI) and business process optimization (BPO) solution targeted at petroleum and fuel distributors. Ken Ledyard, Director of Channel Sales at Tour de Force said, “The team at AIMS has a great product suite targeted for the wholesale petroleum industry, especially bulk oil and lubricant distributors, and we are excited to partner with them to expand the Tour de Force brand into this new market. We already have mutual clients who are benefiting from the power of our combined solutions, and together we have a great opportunity to expand upon that success and provide value to other companies in the industry.”

“AIMS is excited about our partnership with Tour de Force and their ability to pull data directly from our accounting software, COMPAS Commander. This partnership will provide AIMS’ clients with a whole new level of data mining and data management,” said David Dorries, Director of Sales and Marketing at AIMS.

The announcement of the Tour de Force and AIMS partnership is also being welcomed by mutual clients. Kathryn Reppond, CFO of Central Oil & Supply, said, “Commander and Tour de Force are both business critical applications for us. The interface between Commander and Tour de Force has allowed us to better manage our sales data, create sales and inventory alerts, and streamline our workflow processes. We anticipate this partnership will continue to extend the value we leverage today.”

“The partnership with AIMS and specifically their flagship product, COMPAS Commander, continues to reinforce to the market one of the key differentiators of the Tour de Force solution, which is our ability to integrate with and provide significant incremental value to a businesses’ ERP system. The petroleum industry expertise AIMS brings to our partnership is priceless. One of the driving factors of creating the Tour de Force Partner Channel in early 2015 was to expand the Tour de Force brand into new markets and partners such as AIMS are helping enable us to accomplish that goal,” said Ledyard.

###

About AIMS
AIMS develops and markets a top-tier accounting software solution, COMPAS Commander, for the petroleum market. Sixteen process automation modules also interface directly with Commander’s Core System, delivering increased office efficiency and productivity. In addition, AIMS has developed AutoTax, a stand-alone electronic tax filing solution; AutoSend, a specialized UST fuel inventory management and dispatching system and AutoSIR, an in-house Statistical Inventory Reconciliation solution. Visit the AIMS website at www.aims1.com.

Contact: David Dorries at 800-729-2467 or ddorries@aims1.com

###

About Central Oil & Supply
Central Oil & Supply is the parent company that operates the Central Station Stores, and is one of the largest, fully-integrated petroleum and fuel distributors in the United States. Central Oil supplies petroleum products and services to wholesale and retail outlets, service centers, quick lubes, car dealerships, and commercial and industrial customers. Our Fuel customers range from agricultural and retail outlets to municipalities and airports. Visit the Central Oil & Supply website at www.central-oil.com.
Contact: 800-883-8081 or info@central-oil.com

By: Ashley Parinello



Jake Thompson is a sales representative at the Phoenix Branch in the Southwestern Region for XYZ Supply. He sells a shipment of goods to a customer that has several warehouses in his territory, however, the company headquarters are in the Midwest. Billing for the sales go to the Midwest headquarters but the shipments are sent to the respective warehouses.

Samantha Jones is the Regional VP for the Southwestern Region at XYZ Supply. She wants to see how Jake and his colleagues are performing at their branches, but also wants to be able to run analyses on the Southwestern Region as well as the overall sales to the company as a whole (headquarters).

This situation is not uncommon for distributors and manufacturers but can become an issue for tracking and reporting sales commissions, separating sales out by territory, or seeing sales to a specific customer as a whole.

Chances are, you’ve never even thought about your “bill to/ship to” strategy, because your ERP system has managed it for you. While this is great, your ERP system typically leaves you out in the cold when it comes to easily analyzing and reporting on your sales data.

If you’re like many distributors and manufacturers, your next step is to implement a CRM or SFA solution to manage your sales funnel, or a BI solution to help with reporting. But what happens when that solution isn’t configurable to the way that you do business? Can you configure the fields to match what is seen in the ERP system? Can you adapt the reporting so that sales representatives see what is relevant to them while management can see the big picture?

As part of your Tour de Force implementation, our consultants work with you to define your “bill to” and “ship to” reporting strategy so that you can analyze your data in the ways you need to.  Most often we find that our clients want to be able to see the individual sales per warehouse or “ship to” address AND the overall sales to the customer as a whole, the “bill to” address. In Tour de Force, you can do both!

Tour de Force can be configured (and often is) to provide reports and analyses based on the “ship to” addresses thus giving your sales representatives the ability to see how they are performing within their region, territory, or branch. At the same time we can roll up all “ship to” sales to the top level of the company to show and provide analytics on the “bill to” sales for your sales executives. Tour de Force gives the Jake Thompsons and the Samantha Jones’ of your organization the ability to see the data that they need to see.

With Tour de Force, every level of your organization can easily view, analyze, and report on the sales that are relevant to them. All of this is done through our unique BSI Connector (Business System Integration Connector) and is a standard part of the implementation processes.

Take a look at all the systems we can integrate with…don’t you want to start using your data to evolve your sales process?

By: Ashley Parinello



Connect With Us!

Powered by Tour de Force API