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Strategic Pricing Associates and Tour de Force to deliver a joint solution

Findlay, OH | February 22, 2017

Strategic Pricing Associates (SPA) Inc. and Tour de Force Inc., two market-leading, respected providers of technology and training solutions to the distribution and manufacturing industries, have announced a Partnership to deliver an integrated pricing/quoting solution based on their respective platforms.

Tour de Force, a leading provider of customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) software and SPA, a leading provider of pricing analytics, negotiation training and LMS to complex companies of all types have announced their intent to jointly develop and deliver a new solution offering called Tour de Force Quote to Order (QTO) Optimization powered by SPA Pricing Analytics.

“By integrating what we have developed with our Tour de Force QTO functionality and what SPA has built with their pricing analytics, the integrated solution will create tremendous shareholder value by improving our mutual clients’ work flow efficiencies and profitability by streamlining quoting, providing SPA optimized pricing recommendations and conversion to order process”, said Matt Hartman founder and CEO of Tour de Force.

Founder, President and CEO of Strategic Pricing Associates, Inc. David Bauders added, “We are extremely excited about this offering. The ability to bring pricing analytics directly into our clients’ workflow process will enable sales reps to deliver profit gains of 2-4 percent of affected sales, or $1-2 million per $50 million of affected revenue. These tools also integrate nicely with SPASIGMA’s negotiation training and other LMS offerings.”

Tour de Force and SPA Inc. will be combining the core strengths of their respected platforms to create this new offering. Through the integration to an ERP system, Tour de Force and SPA will be able to analyze and provide a SPA Pricing Cube™ pro forma that will offer customers the ability to see where they can improve profitability in their specific market. In addition to the SPA Pricing Cube™, Tour de Force and SPA will provide a QTO – SPA integration utilizing the Tour de Force Quote Manager. The SPA Pricing Bands™ from SPA will be accessible from the Tour de Force Quote Manager, allowing customers access to real-time pricing based on the SPA pricing capabilities.

The timeline for this offering is expected to hit the market in Q2 2017 and will be showcased in a joint product release by both companies.


About Tour de Force Inc.

Tour de Force, Inc. develops, sells, implements, and supports enterprise software solutions with a focus on customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI). Tour de Force was developed for the distribution and manufacturing industries and is currently being used in a variety of B2B industries, while distributors and manufacturers continue to make up 90% of the current user base. To learn more about Tour de Force, including our cloud and on-premise solutions, visit http://www.TourdeForceInc.com.


About Strategic Pricing Associates Inc. (SPA)

SPA is the leading provider of pricing analytics, negotiation training, and LMS systems to complex companies of all types in manufacturing, distribution, equipment, services, software and technology products. Since 1993, SPA Inc. has built a strong platform of proprietary analytics to quickly and efficiently help companies convert their own invoice data into pricing architectures that maximize their pricing performance and competitive position. To learn more about SPA Inc., visit http://www.strategicpricing.com. To learn more about SPASIGMA, SPA’s training business, visit http://www.spasigma.com.



Ken Ledyard
Director of Marketing
Tour de Force, Inc.
419-425-4800 ext. 2017

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

Dear Excel,

It’s not you, it’s me. I’m not the same person that I was when our relationship began.

Life used to be simpler. I was amazed with everything you could do. You were powerful and it seemed like the possibilities were endless. We grew together, and the more we grew, the more comfortable I felt with everything you had to offer.  I loved how we worked together, it’s like you knew exactly what I wanted. Before long, we were inseparable.

Yes, we had some rough patches. There was that time with the macros. The formula errors, #REF!, and the circular references. Let’s not talk about that time I tried to embed you into a Word document.

Somewhere along the way things changed. Maybe it was me that changed, or maybe it was the world that changed. Suddenly, data was everywhere. It was instantaneous and at my fingertips whenever I wanted or needed it. I’ll admit it, I got spoiled. I became obsessed with the instant gratification.

That’s when my feelings for you started to change. I began to resent the time that we spent together. The hours entering data, formatting, adding formulas, struggling with charts and graphs. Sometimes I didn’t even know who I was dealing with.  You would go off and spend time with other people, and when you came back, I didn’t know who you were. There were so many versions of you. I got confused trying to figure out which one was the real you. It was exhausting.

You started to interfere with the rest of my life and our relationship turned toxic. I was used to manipulating you, but I began to feel like you were the one manipulating me. You never come to me, I always have to go to you! The data is right there, but you refuse to go get it, always relying on me to give it to you.  And I’m sorry, but I just can’t do it anymore.

I’ve found someone new.  Someone who will give me what I need when I need it, who doesn’t consume so many hours of my day. Someone who streamlines and automates my life and manages more than you ever could. Someone who has changed with the world, who understands that I need real-time data and reporting at my fingertips.

I’m sorry to hurt you like this and I hope that we can still be friends. I don’t want this to be the end of our relationship. There are things that I still need you for, but we’ll never be what we once were.


Tour de Force User


If you’re like most organizations, you have countless business processes and reports that you’re managing in Microsoft Excel. It’s time to evolve! Tour de Force is a highly flexible CRM and business intelligence solution that lets you ditch the spreadsheets in order to streamline, automate, and centralize your processes and reporting. To learn more, contact us today!

By: Ashley Parinello


Ericson Logo

Ericson Manufacturing, engineering and manufacturing of temporary power and lighting products, has selected Tour de Force to replace the their current CRM solution.

Ericson will be implementing the Tour de Force Premier Edition to a team of 20 users, including inside sales, business development managers, customer support, and the executive management team. The deployment of Tour de Force is intended to shorten the business cycle and improve conversion rates through improved opportunity, project, and lead management, while providing improved access to business intelligence, analytics, and reporting through extensive integration with Ericson’s Epicor Vantage ERP system. Tour de Force will be working with Ericson through their conversion to Epicor ERP E10, scheduled to take place in late 2016.

The CRM selection committee at Ericson began reviewing Tour de Force after a reference from another Tour de Force client focused in industrial manufacturing. That reference, combined with Tour de Force’s experience in the manufacturing industry and extensive integration capabilities with Epicor Vantage, ultimately lead to Ericson’s decision to convert to Tour de Force.

John Ericson, Operations Manager said,

“Ericson was looking for a simple yet robust CRM system that would allow integration from our marketing automation software all the way to our ERP system. Ericson has revamped both its marketing and sales processes, which in term only makes sense to move to a customized sales platform allowing both lead development to business intelligence.”

About Ericson Manufacturing:

Ericson Manufacturing is the industry leader in electrical safety products, focused on engineering and manufacturing of temporary power and lighting solutions. Ericson’s commitment to delivering safe and innovative products, which is demonstrated by UL, ETL, CSA listings and NEC/CEC and OSHA Code compliance, is incorporated into every design. ISO 9001 certification, 24/7 emergency customer support, and professional application engineering support ensures that our customers receive the highest quality products and customer experience possible. Since 1918 the company, based in Willoughby, Ohio, has delivered unsurpassed service and solutions to industrial and commercial customers. Ericson’s solutions energize, protect, illuminate and connect. For additional information please visit www.ericson.com.

By: Ashley Parinello


Here at Tour de Force we are eagerly planning the Tour de Force Connections 2016 Customer Conference.  Our annual two-day event will be held Oct. 3rd and 4th at the Hyatt Regency Columbus in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Tour de Force Connections ‘16 will provide our clients with an experience that they won’t get anywhere else!  Attendees will be able to network with other clients, interact with our staff and partners, and will walk away with new ideas and best practices.

We are very excited to share the following updates!

Keynote Address to be Presented by Les Stroud

Our keynote address, held Mon. Oct 3rd at 8:30 am, will be presented by Les Stroud. Better known as Survivorman, Stroud is the award winning producer, creator and star of the hit TV series Survivorman (OLN Canada, The Science Channel US, Discovery Channel International). Survivorman is one of the highest rated shows in the history of OLN Canada, the Science Channel US and Discovery Channel US and remains the highest rated repeat show on the Discovery Channel.

Survivorman Les Stroud

A celebrated keynote speaker, musician and author, both his books Survive! – Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere–Alive! (Harper Collins) and Will to Live have made the New York Times bestseller list. Nominated for Best Travel Writer at the Canadian National Magazine awards, Stroud’s third book Beyond Survivorman launched into stores Jan 2014.

Now Accepting Nominations for Innovation Awards

The Innovation Awards are intended to recognize the creative and exciting ways in which Tour de Force clients are using the system.  Now through June 30th, we are accepting Innovation Award nominations. Clients can nominate themselves or they can nominate other Tour de Force users or clients. During the Connections conference, we will present the finalists and their innovations, and attendees will vote on a winner.

Tour de Force Innovation Awards

Early Bird Registration Open through June 30th

We are offering early bird registration rates of $650 per person to the first 150 attendees who register by June 30th! Standard pricing of $750 per person will apply once early bird rates expire, so register today and save.

[button style=”btn-primary btn-lg” icon=”glyphicon glyphicon-check” align=”left” iconcolor=”#ffffff” type=”link” target=”true” title=”Register Today!” link=”http://www.tourdeforceconnections.com” linkrel=””]


Stay tuned for upcoming conference announcements, including our full session schedule which is slated to be released in the next 1-2 weeks!

By: Kelli Smith

In a recent blog article on the Modern Distribution Management website, Brian Gardner, author and founder of SalesProcess360, shared 5 key takeaways from his book ROI from CRM. Today we will be reviewing the fifth takeaway from that article.

Takeaway 5: If your eyes are just on the initial cost of CRM, you’ll see the tip of the iceberg but you’ll miss what’s underneath.

We are commonly asked what the ROI from Tour de Force is, and it’s a very hard question to answer!  While the investment required of our customers is well defined, the return that each organization sees is based on an infinite number of factors.  What functionality is being implemented? What departments are using the system? Does the project have complete buy-in from the executive team? Is the project being spearheaded by sales management, or does IT own the project? Have the project objectives been well defined? These are just a few of the factors that affect ROI.

At the end of the day, the ROI of CRM is what you make of it. The best CRM in the world won’t produce a return if it’s implemented at an organization that isn’t committed to the project and committed to ongoing innovation with regards to how the CRM system is used within that company.

Tour de Force delivers the insights needed to drive sales efficiently and effectively and improve how you manage relationships with your prospects, customers, vendors, and suppliers.

Want to learn more about Tour de Force? Contact us today!

Related Articles:

ROI from CRM: Don’t Focus on Features

ROI from CRM: Missing Out on Value

ROI from CRM: Buy-In

ROI from CRM: Process vs. Technology

By: Ashley Parinello

In a recent blog article on the Modern Distribution Management website, Brian Gardner, author and founder of SalesProcess360, shared 5 key takeaways from his book ROI from CRM. Today we will be reviewing the fourth takeaway from that article.

Takeaway 4: When considering new CRM software, don’t start with a list of features you’re seeking.

It’s not uncommon for us to receive an RFP (request for proposal) that consists of an Excel spreadsheet filled with hundreds of lines of feature requirements. While the RFP process is integral to many organizations who are considering investing in CRM, it’s often clear to us that the organization in question doesn’t really know what they’re looking for!  CRM is more about process than technology.  A software vendor that is able to check the boxes on your feature requirements many not be able to provide what you need in terms of supporting your processes.

When beginning a search for a CRM provider, instead of focusing on features, focus on your objectives and priorities. What business results do you hope to accomplish? What processes do you need to streamline and support? These answers should provide the groundwork for your CRM approach.

Tour de Force delivers the insights needed to drive sales efficiently and effectively and improve how you manage relationships with your prospects, customers, vendors, and suppliers.

Want to learn more about Tour de Force? Contact us today!

Related Articles:

ROI from CRM: Missing Out on Value

ROI from CRM: Buy-In

ROI from CRM: Process vs. Technology

By: Ashley Parinello

In a recent blog article on the Modern Distribution Management website, Brian Gardner, author and founder of SalesProcess360, shared 5 key takeaways from his book ROI from CRM. Today we will be reviewing the third takeaway from that article.

Takeaway 3: If your entire team isn’t using CRM, you’re missing out on more than half the value.

CRM is not just for your sales team! Anyone in your organization who works with customers, prospects, vendors, or suppliers can benefit from using CRM to more efficiently and effectively manage those interactions.

Beyond looking at what teams are using CRM, you can also increase the ROI you’re receiving from your CRM system by looking at what additional features may be available to you. Tour de Force is a robust CRM and BI software application, and as such we recommend that our clients take a phased approach to feature implementation. A typical implementation will start with a basic set-up of Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, Activities, Tasks, Appointments, and Sales Reporting.  Depending on the customer’s specific requirements and priorities, the implementation of more advanced features such as Quoting, Marketing Automation, Lead Management, and Engineering and Service Management will typically be implemented down the road once a customer is up and running with the basic features.

Companies miss out on ROI when they let their CRM approach become stagnant. To make the most of your investment it’s important to keep innovating with regards to who is using the CRM and how you are using the features and functionality available to you.

Tour de Force delivers the insights needed to drive sales efficiently and effectively and improve how you manage relationships with your prospects, customers, vendors, and suppliers.

Want to learn more about Tour de Force? Contact us today!

Related Articles:

ROI from CRM: Buy-In

ROI from CRM: Process vs. Technology

By: Ashley Parinello

ROI from CRM: Buy-In

June 14, 2016

In a recent blog article on the Modern Distribution Management website, Brian Gardner, author and founder of SalesProcess360, shared 5 key takeaways from his book ROI from CRM. Today we will be reviewing the second takeaway from that article.

Takeaway 2: If you don’t have buy-in from your entire team, CRM will not succeed.

We agree on the importance of getting buy-in in order for CRM to succeed. However, after performing hundreds of implementations over the last 15 years, we can confidently say that getting buy-in from your entire team is a lofty goal! Every organization has employees that are resistant to change, especially organizations with a mature sales force.

We’ve all heard the staggering statistics about the rate of failure of CRM projects, rates that fall anywhere between 30 and 70% depending on the report. CRM failure is typically tied to buy-in: The system fails because the users don’t buy-in and don’t use the system. Once management realizes their investment has been wasted, they abandon the project.

CRM buy-in needs to start at the top with executives and owners. We’ve seen projects that have been spearheaded by enthusiastic middle managers who were going up against owners and stakeholders that weren’t fully supportive. We’ve worked on deals where executive buy-in was our major hurdle to overcome which typically is a sign that the executive team doesn’t see the value in CRM. If your entire leadership team isn’t on board, your project may suffer. Sales people who may already be resistant to change will pick-up on the lack of support from your executives and it will be one more reason for them to not use the system!

Our approach to gaining user buy-in is to make them want to use the system. Tour de Force integrates to your ERP system to provide a wealth of analytics, reporting, scorecards, and dashboards that your sales team didn’t previously have access to, allowing them to easily see where potential sales are and where they’re losing sales. We deliver key information directly into their inbox without requiring them to go look for it, info such as open orders, open quotes, new opportunities in their region, etc. We provide system access when and where they need it, from our Outlook toolbar to Tour de Force Web, which is available on any device that has a web browser.

At Tour de Force, we maintain a fairly consistent 95-98% customer retention rate. Our CRM projects typically do not fail! While buy-in is important, what is even more important is that your CRM system delivers value to your users.

Tour de Force delivers the insights needed to drive sales efficiently and effectively and improve how you manage relationships with your prospects, customers, vendors, and suppliers.

Want to learn more about Tour de Force? Contact us today!

Related Articles:

ROI from CRM: Process vs. Technology

4 Key Questions to Ask to Determine if your CRM System Delivers Value to your Sales Team or if it’s just a Data Entry Tool

By: Ashley Parinello

In a recent blog article on the Modern Distribution Management website, Brian Gardner, author and founder of SalesProcess360, shared 5 key takeaways from his book ROI from CRM. We will be reviewing this blog article over the course of the next 5 days and sharing our outlook on these takeaways.

Takeaway 1: It’s about process, not just technology.

The idea that CRM is much more than software or technology has been part of our approach since day one. We recognize that your process is just as important as the capabilities of our software solutions, and our software solutions are only as good as our ability to support your processes.

Excerpt from a 2005 Tour de Force Brochure:

“A powerful – yet useful – CRM application is more important today than ever before.

Of course, customer relationship management isn’t about software, databases, or statistics. Customer relationship management is about truly knowing your customers – not just knowing what they spend their money on, but knowing what makes them tick, what they’re passionate about, and what will increase their loyalty. Good customer relationship management is a result of the attitude and dedication of you and your sales team.

We designed Tour de Force to enhance and complement that dedication by giving you the ability to mold Tour de Force to fit the way that you do business.”

11 years later, and these statements still hold true! Purchasing and implementing a CRM solution can’t be an IT driven project. In most organizations, IT isn’t familiar with your sales processes, doesn’t intimately know your customers, and won’t be able to identify the steps that will need to be taken to fully ingrain the solution into your culture. Sales leadership needs to own the project to ensure that your processes are identified and that the software is configured to fully support those processes.

Tour de Force delivers the insights needed to drive sales efficiently and effectively and improve how you manage relationships with your prospects, customers, vendors, and suppliers.

Want to learn more about Tour de Force? Contact us today!

Related Article: The Top 5 Benefits of Business Process Optimization

By: Ashley Parinello

ERP and CRM systems both contribute to the success of your organization, however, they are not interchangeable. Just as a CRM system cannot perform the functions of an ERP system, an ERP system cannot replace an effective CRM solution!

Your ERP automation tool is designed to manage the operational and transactional sectors of your business.  In order to meet the needs of their clients, many ERP systems have added CRM and contact management features that are intended to help their clients maintain a customer database at a very basic level.  While this simplistic version of CRM may meet the needs of some organizations, these embedded solutions generally lack the functionality and usability required to have any significant impact.

Once an organization reaches the functional limits of the CRM that is embedded within their ERP system they typically choose to look to other solutions to fill those gaps. This can introduce new challenges, as many external CRM systems don’t communicate with the existing ERP system, resulting in duplication between the two systems and extra work for sales teams who may be required to access different systems for different needs.  In order to eliminate this challenge, it’s important to look for a system that has experience integrating with your ERP system.

What are some typical objectives of implementing a CRM system?

  • Centralize customer information and increase its visibility throughout the organization
  • Track and manage sales pipelines including implementing more effective opportunity management and quote follow-up processes
  • Improve sales activity tracking, logging and key performance indicators
  • Provide outside sales reps with mobile access to CRM and ERP data through a single easy-to-use mobile friendly portal

Tour de Force has provided seamless, out-of-the box ERP integration since 2001. We currently offer CRM ERP integration with over 45 leading ERP systems and are continually adding new systems to that list.  The Tour de Force solution is highly flexible and is able to be completely mapped to your existing business processes. Our user friendly, intuitive web interface is able to be accessed from any device with a web browser, such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and can be used in conjunction with or completely separate from our desktop application. Tour de Force provides your team with a single view of customer data and information and delivers the insights they need to drive sales efficiently and effectively, allowing your organization to improve how you manage relationships with your prospects, customers, vendors, and suppliers.

Want to learn more about Tour de Force? Contact us today!

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By: Ashley Parinello

CRM and sales management go hand in hand, and one without the other is typically not as successful as both pieces working together.  CRM systems make it much easier for a sales manager to effectively manage their sales team. While the sales manager needs a CRM system, the CRM system also needs the sales manager to fully buy-in to the use of the system in order to drive user adoption.

Tour de Force empowers salespeople to become better at managing their customers’ expectations.  With Tour de Force, your sales team spends their time selling and managing sales opportunities instead of tracking down information and putting out fires.

Here are the top 3 benefits of integrating CRM and sales management:

1. Easily set and track sales goals

Our Sales Planning Module allows you to set sales goals for your sales team and track progress on an individual, branch, region, territory, and/or company level.  The sales numbers are pulled directly from your company’s ERP system, saving managers and salespeople from time wasted filling out spreadsheets and reports.

Our Business Intelligence Summary shows run rates, goals, annualized % to goal, % to goal, and even next year goal! These metrics can be viewed at multiple reporting levels, from an individual sales person to a branch or region, even at an account level if your company sets goals specific to individual customers.

2. Optimize time management

Contrary to popular belief, CRM is not big brother!  Tour de Force provides a set of features that were developed to assist salespeople in becoming more efficient and more effective by reducing the amount of time spent on administrative tasks and streamlining their workflow.

Tour de Force is highly flexible and is mapped to your existing business processes during your implementation.  We work with sales management teams to identify your key objectives so that you are able to balance the features that are rolled out to your team.

3. Improve KPI (key performance indicator) tracking

Tour de Force makes it easy to create custom dashboards and scorecards that can be used to track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your sales team. Dashboards, reports, and scorecards can easily be accessed on the fly from within the Tour de Force Info Center, or they can be automatically sent out on a scheduled basis, ensuring that both managers and salespeople know if KPIs are being met.

To learn more about Tour de Force’s capabilities for sales management and sales teams, or to schedule a discussion about what Tour de Force might be able to do for your business, please Contact Us.

By: Ashley Parinello

I’ve heard it said, “There are two types of people in the world, those who divide everybody into two groups and those who don’t.” Well, when it comes to grouping people based on how they prefer to consume customer data, we tend to see three types of people.

The first group wants to see summary-level data presented in multiple formats, including via tables, charts, graphs and gauges. This enables people to consume a large amount of information all in one fell swoop. Should they see something that is out of line with expectations, either in a positive or negative direction, they can then go deeper into that information including via someone who owns that business area or is responsible for the delivery of that key performance indicator.

The second group wants to be told what they need to know when they need to know it. They prefer to have a system monitoring things and letting them know when things have met specified criteria in a proactive manner. These folks tend to work on a management by exception approach.

Finally, the third group is highly analytical and wants complete access to data. They may not know exactly what they’re looking for when they start to review information. These folks want to be able to slice and dice information by grouping data and turning it on its side as they look at things. Uncovering something previously unknown may immediately spawn three more questions, which they want to research. If this approach were attempted to be satisfied through reviewing reports, this situation would cause an endless loop of “now I want to see” discussions between the requester and report author.

So, which of these ways to access information is best? The answer is, all of them – usually in combination. Seeing the big picture to know where things are overall is very important. In Tour de Force, we support people’s ability to consume executive and summary-level data with a variety of dashboards and scorecards. Some scorecard levels our solution supports include the executive or overall level, including for the organization as a whole or by business, region, branch or territory, depending on who is receiving the information. Also, customer, vendor, and partner-specific dashboards and scorecards are supported.

Executive Dashboard

When something is seen that is out of alignment or requires additional investigation, having the ability to analyze data is very important. In Tour de Force, this capability is supported through our Info Center, where data is analyzed in grids. This capability can also be used for gap analysis. An example of where gap analysis can be beneficial is to analyze potential upsell opportunities for when customers are buying significant amounts of product group A while also buying little to no amount of a dependent product group B.

Grids in Tour de Force Web

Finally, there are conditions where people benefit from being automatically alerted to situations meeting defined criteria. A great example of this in Tour de Force is when inside sales generates a new quote for a customer or prospect and the associated outside sales representative automatically receives an alert, either on his or her home page on Tour de Force Web or via email, letting him or her know the quote has been generated. That way, the outside rep can follow up accordingly to move the quote to a sales order. Another example might be when a new prospect account has been established in a rep’s territory based on an inquiring via a supplier or internal marketing campaign. By being alerted automatically, the rep can rapidly follow up on the new prospect’s interests.

Quote Alert

Further benefit comes to those who use Tour de Force in that this information is immediately actionable because Tour de Force features combined business intelligence, customer relationship management and sales force automation functionality. Users can immediately create an appointment or task in the system based on the information they’ve been reviewing. This combination of capabilities not only helps teams to be more effective, by alerting them to something that requires action, it also enables them to be more efficient, by allowing them to immediately take action and follow up accordingly.

For more information about Tour de Force’s capabilities to deliver actionable customer data, or to schedule a discussion about what Tour de Force might be able to do for your business, please Contact Us.

By: Dave Litzenberg

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

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