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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


“CRM Analytics For Sales Benchmarking”  | Published on Industrial Distribution by Mike Schmidt, Associate Editor

Using this solution as a framework can helps industrial distributors better target and control sales opportunities.

Maximizing the effectiveness of the salesforce is a critical goal for industrial distributors of all types and sizes. In order to provide their sales representatives with the necessary information to sell effectively in an incredibly competitive marketplace, some industrial distributors have turned to customer relationship management software (CRM).

But it simply isn’t enough to invest in just any software offering. Every distributor is a unique outfit, and each faces unique challenges and opportunities. Those that choose to invest in CRM solutions must tailor them to meet the needs and goals of their respective companies, and they must also try to maximize the return on investment. This is no easy task.
“Distributors deal with lots of different vendors, lots of different product groups, and the knowledge and intelligence is golden,” says Matt Hartman, President and CEO of Tour De Force Solutions. “Everything a customer is buying from you is an indicator to identify what they are not buying and you should be selling.”

Building Relationships That Last

According to Robert Sinfield, Product Marketing Manager, Senior, at Epicor, a CRM solution offers many key benefits to a distribution operation. First and foremost, it allows salespeople to effectively control interactions with their customers…   Continue Article… 

Published on Industrial Distribution by Mike Schmidt, Associate Editor

By: Ashley Parinello

With so many CRM and Sales Force Automation (SFA) software packages available today, it can be a daunting task to figure out which one is right for your distribution business.

Whether you and your company are brand new to CRM or you’re an experienced user who is unsatisfied with your current product, this guide will help you during your selection and review process. It will cover six important areas to consider when looking at CRM providers and supplies questions to ask when interviewing or reviewing different CRM offerings, in order to ensure that you select the right CRM for distributors and the distribution industry.

Today we will review the 3rd area to consider when selecting a CRM solution.

Area 3: Mobile CRM

What’s the importance of mobile access to CRM data, and how can I ensure that my sales team will be able to access the key information they need while in the field? 

Time is money.  In today’s hectic world, your sales team needs to be able to take advantage of mobile technologies to arm themselves with the data they need to close more sales in a shorter time span.

Most CRM systems provide basic mobile CRM capabilities such Account and Contact information for your mobile devices. They may also provide Opportunity Pipeline information. The real question is whether the systems you are looking at will provide your sales and sales management teams with live customer sales data, allowing them to maximize their effectiveness and compress your sales cycles.

To gain maximum effectiveness from their mobile devices, sales should be able to quickly look up an Account, see the customer’s sales history, and determine the specific areas where they are not getting business. The mobile CRM should then allow them to look up the appropriate Contacts that handle that portion of their business, call or schedule Appointments, enter tasks and expenses, and review past communications with that Contact.

CRM Interview – Ask these questions to determine if the CRM system provides mobile access to the key data your sales team needs:

  • Does the CRM system provide complete sales data directly from the ERP system to our mobile devices?
  • Will sales be able to quickly see what has been ordered in the last few days, months, or years, saving them the need to tie up inside sales representatives with these questions?
  • Can sales easily see each unique customer Opportunity, the sales stage it is currently at, and launch a next action from their mobile device?
  • Can the sales call Activity be quickly logged into the mobile device of Field Salespeople when they come out of the call?
  • Can new Outlook Appointments or Tasks be scheduled directly from the customer Opportunity within the mobile device?
  • Can Sales perform a quick Stock Check of available inventory from their mobile device while standing in front of the customer?

Download the full Guide to Selecting a CRM for your Distribution Business.

By: Ashley Parinello

At Tour de Force CRM, we have spent the last 10 years building and expanding our feature set based upon the input of hundreds of distributors and manufacturers. Today, Tour de Force CRM offers the most extensive feature set available to the Distribution & Manufacturing industries.

A few of the key features offered through our extensive integration with your ERP system are:

  • Gap Analysis – Allows you to review your customers purchase history, and easily identify where there are gaps or opportunities for additional sales.Quickly and easily run reports such as “all customers who have purchased product A & B but not product C in the last 18 months” or “customers in territory X who have spent $10,000 on product A in last 2 years, but $0 on product A in last 6 months”.
  • Tour de Force Mobile CRM – Provides your users with anytime, anywhere access to key CRM data as well as customer sales history and sales data directly from your ERP system.
  • Advanced Reporting & Filtering Capabilities – Quickly and easily generate sales reports by sales person, branch, territory, region, or for the entire company, with the ability to filter on any field found in Tour de Force.Save frequently used filtering or reporting criteria with the option to provide convenient access to all Tour de Force users.

If you’ve already invested in a solution that is simply not delivering the value you expected, or you’ve just started to evaluate the CRM options available that will seamlessly integrate with your ERP software, we’d like to provide you with a brief introduction to the Tour de Force CRM solution. Find out today why Tour de Force has become the CRM solution of choice in the Distribution & Manufacturing industries.

“Tour de Force provides our company with an easily and highly customizable package with the added benefit of tying specifically with our Eclipse ERP system, allowing us to track what we deem important. The support team is top notch and provides a level of professionalism rarely seen in the software industry.”

Chris Bohn
Director of Information Technology

By: Ashley Parinello

Integrate your Business System with your CRM Solution

We recently exhibited at the Activant Summit and Prophet 21 World Wide User Group conferences at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, FL. The turnout was awesome, and we had a great time meeting so many prospective customers and having the chance to demonstrate the power of the Tour de Force CRM/SFA Solution.

Congratulations to David Robbins, IT Manager from IPS Packaging, who was the winner of our Apple iPad drawing! All David had to do was to stop by our booth and drop off his business card, and he’s walking away with a free iPad! (And what better way to access TDF Mobile, our mobile CRM solution, then on an iPad?)

If you were at the show and were too busy to check us out, don’t worry, we are always more than happy to schedule live product demos at your convenience. Contact us today to set it up!

By: Ashley Parinello

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