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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

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 1st area to consider when selecting a CRM solution.

Area 1: Outlook Integration

“What’s the importance of a CRM with Microsoft Outlook integration, and how can I asses the level of integration provided?”

The vast majority of distributors utilize Microsoft Outlook for their business needs. Salespeople, marketing staff, business managers, even the President of the company all open their laptops or PCs every day and the first thing they look at is Outlook. In Outlook, they review their emails, tasks, calendar appointments, etc. For most people, Outlook then remains open for the rest of the day, so that they can continue to stay up to date on their emails, tasks, and appointments.

The success of a CRM implementation depends strongly on whether or not your sales team finds that the application is convenient and easy to use. If a sales team finds that the application is cumbersome to use, they will not adopt the CRM and the implementation will fail.

A CRM with Outlook Integration solves many issues in getting salespeople to use the CRM. It gives them one portal for quick access to everything – not several different logins to navigate. While most CRM providers say they integrate with Outlook, it is important that you know what level of integration the CRM provides.

CRM Interview – Ask these questions to determine the depth of Outlook Integration that a CRM solution provides:

  • When I open Outlook, is there a toolbar for the CRM that allows me to access the CRM database and perform all key activities directly from Outlook?  Or do I have to open a separate application to access the CRM?
  • When I am in my email inbox, can I view information about the Contact or Account that sent the email, or perform actions for the Contact or Account, without leaving Outlook?
  • Can I initiate a Task directly from Outlook?
  • Can I set a new Appointment directly from Outlook?
  • Can I open an Account or Contact record directly from Outlook?
  • Can I log an Activity – like a call report or call summary – directly from Outlook?
  • Are my customer emails automatically logged to the proper Account so I always have a history of the email communications to and from any contact within an Account?  Do I have to use the CC: or BCC: fields to log the emails?
  • If I initiate a new Appointment or Task from the CRM, will that Task or Appointment automatically show on my Outlook Calendar or in my Outlook Tasks?

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

By: Ashley Parinello

Real World CRM Scenario

October 26, 2011

David the Brand New Salesperson

One of your key sales people has just left your company on very short notice. There were several critical projects in the works but you can’t find all the customer folders, the Word documents or any specific emails the departing salesperson was working on at the time of departure.

You have a new salesperson, David, all ready to go…but where does he start?

You know the drill…everybody pulls away from what they are supposed to be doing and digs around like crazy trying to find the pertinent data for David and his Sales Manager. David begins at ground zero, killing immeasurable time digging through the file drawers and reading outdated pushed paper reports that don’t have the key contacts or email correspondence, or even a good record of the call appointments and when these customers were last called on. It is a major time drain for your company and it gives your competitors a window of opportunity to attack your base of business!

There is a better way! Forward thinking companies are implementing CRM solutions that integrate directly with their company’s ERP system and Microsoft Outlook, including integrated Calendar Appointments, Tasks and complete email logging.

How does this help young David get a fast grip on his new territory?    Quickly and easily!

Within seconds he is looking at all his territory accounts in descending order of sales or gross margin – however he wants to look at them. He can immediately see what they have purchased this YTD versus last year and the year before. Sales trends jump right out at him.

A Fast Grip to Manage your Sales Team

Territory Account View in Tour de Force CRM


He quickly looks at his Open Opportunities, first by size of Opportunity, then by sales stage, and notices two accounts that look like they need immediate attention.


Open Opportunities Quickly

Opportunities Review in Tour de Force CRM


Within seconds David has opened “All Linked Records” for both these key opportunities. He now has complete visibility to all the activity and communication that’s taken place with each of these companies, including all of the emails sent to and from the contacts at these companies. He can see these contacts right in the CRM system.

Complete Visibility to all the activity and Communication

All Linked Items & Records


In addition he can see all the Quotations/Proposals, when they were sent, and to whom they were sent. David is quickly coming up to speed on these important Accounts!

Now he does a quick check of Activity – the place where all phone call and in-person call activities are logged.

This gives him the details he needs regarding conversations with customers, promises his company made, and what needs to happen next.

David can also see all the Calendar Appointments for each Account and who was on the invite list.

Within an hour or two, David the new Salesperson has researched his new territory, found the Key Accounts and researched the specifics unique to their particular Opportunities.

He can now meet intelligently with his Sales Manager to work out any last strategies for these Key Accounts and then initiate the calls to meet with these people in person. Nobody had to pull off their jobs to help him; nobody had to run reports; nobody had to search the old PC from the previous salesperson.   Everything David needed was right at his fingertips! And the best part is that he can do this from his PC, online or offline, his smart phone or his mobile tablet! He is on the go making money for his company the very first day!

Quick access to critical business data is just one of the many ways progressive companies benefit from CRM to maximize their effectiveness and increase their profitability.

Whether you and your company are brand new to CRM or you are an experienced user, Tour de Force CRM is glad to assist with consultative business and technical support designed to help you maximize your company sales and effectiveness.

As the US leader in CRM for the distribution industry, Tour de Force CRM can provide your company with the competitive advantages you need to dominate your market.

Tour de Force has been providing CRM for the distribution industry since 2001. Their direct integration to distributor ERP systems allows distributor management and marketing teams to develop and execute on data driven sales and marketing campaigns. Tour de Force Mobile allows your sales team to be on the go and still have all the customer sales, contact and opportunity data they need to effectively drive your revenues and margins.

If you are looking for that competitive advantage through CRM and sales force automation solutions, please contact Tour de Force at (877) 285-4800 or visit us at www.tdfnewsite.dev 

By: Ashley Parinello

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