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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

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

We are very excited to announce the release of Tour de Force CRM version 6.0!  Released on Nov. 6, 2013, v6.0 contains 120 new features, 115 feature modifications, 7 major new features, 4 major architectural changes, and 2 new modules. The most significant changes in v6.0 involve the following new features and modules: Build Your Own Reports (BYOR) Add-On Module, 2-Way Quote to Order Functionality (currently only offered for Epicor Eclipse, Epicor Prophet 21, and Infor SX.enterprise), Workflow Manager, Reminders, Knowledge Base, a new Support Add-On Module, and a comprehensive API that will allow for 3rd party integration . The Quote Manager has also been updated with many new features.

A major addition in Tour de Force CRM v6.0 is the new Build Your Own Reports (BYOR) Add-On Module. BYOR is a brand new report writer tool that allows Tour de Force CRM clients to build custom reports and dashboards containing information from their ERP system and from Tour de Force CRM.  With BYOR, an organization can easily create reports that contain a variety charts and graphs with full drilldown capabilities. According to Mark Klink, Director of Sales Productivity for Werner Electric Supply, a Tour de Force CRM client and BYOR beta site, “The additional ability to build and generate custom reports that the BYOR tool offers the user is a valuable step in providing all of our users the information they need to manage and grow their business in a fast paced business environment. We are excited to have this new tool be a part of our overall business strategy moving forward and expect the results to have a significant impact in our long term success.”

Other new features in Tour de Force CRM v6.0 are the 2-Way Quote to Order feature and the Workflow Manager. The 2-Way Quote to Order feature allows a user to get updated pricing in Tour de Force CRM directly from the ERP system, use that updated pricing to prepare a quote, and then convert that quote to an ERP order with the click of a button.  The 2-Way Quote to Order is currently only supported for Epicor Eclipse, Epicor Prophet 21, and Infor SX.enterprise ERP systems. The Workflow Manager is a project management feature that is used to create company workflows in order to track milestones in relation to a project or process.

“The new features contained within Tour de Force CRM v6.0 are going to further redefine the CRM market space,” remarked Matt Hartman, President/CEO of Tour de Force CRM. “The extensive integration with ERP systems through our Business System Integration module has always been a major differentiator of Tour de Force when compared to other horizontally focused CRM solutions like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com. With all of the new features in the BYOR module and the Workflow Manager we are further widening the gap with those competitors. Today, Tour de Force is much, much more than a CRM solution. Tour de Force is a comprehensive Business Process Improvement tool that fully integrates CRM, SFA, BI, Project Management, and very soon, Vendor Relationship Management. Needless to say, we are very excited about the value that Tour de Force CRM v6.0 will bring to our current and new clients.”

Download the Press Release: TOUR DE FORCE CRM RELEASES VERSION 6.0 (PDF, 341 kb)

By: Ashley Parinello

A Microsoft SQL Server (pronounced “sequel”) is a piece of software that is installed on a Windows server. The purpose of the SQL Server is to host a collection of information that is relevant to a company. In the case of Tour de Force, the SQL Server will house the majority of the data in addition to telling the Tour de Force program how to access (index) the information faster.

Tour de Force relies heavily on a Microsoft SQL Server to host the database that Tour de Force runs on. In order to achieve optimum speeds and performance, it’s important that the hardware and software are able to handle the work load. In this article we will look at the different editions of SQL that companies can choose from, and what factors should influence that selection.

There are many different versions of Microsoft SQL available for purchase, and if a SQL Server is not currently present in the environment that Tour de Force is going to be installed on then one will need to be selected. Microsoft SQL Server Workgroup editions 2008 and newer are supported versions for the Tour de Force database to run in. A best practice when selecting a Microsoft SQL Server edition is to evaluate upfront costs with a consideration of long term capabilities for expansion.

The Microsoft SQL Server Workgroup edition is the entry level SQL Server that is supported for the Tour de Force database. There are limitations with this edition in that there are only 2 CPUs and 4GB of memory. This edition is ideal for small companies who will have less than 10 Tour de Force users, but keep in mind that room for future expansion is extremely limited.

The next step up is the Microsoft SQL Server Standard edition. With this edition, the maximum CPU support is 4, memory is up to 64GB, and the database size is 524PB (petabytes). The Microsoft SQL Server Standard Edition is a very good fit for companies who may be starting out with fewer than 10 users, but would like room for future expansion. With this edition a company would be able to grow their Tour de Force user base up to 50 users.

The top level selection would be the Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise edition. This edition supports up to 8 CPUs, 2TB (terabytes) of Memory, and 524PB (petabytes) for the database. The Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition has multiple features and capabilities that aren’t offered in any other Microsoft SQL Server edition. By investing in the enterprise edition, there is a wide capability for future expansion, and a company can focus solely on the functionality they wish to gain from Tour de Force.

To see more information about the different Microsoft SQL Editions click the link below.


Jeremy Scheiderer
Environment Consultant

By: Ashley Parinello

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