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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

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

Unfortunately in the software industry, CRM has become synonymous with failure.  A main problem that contributes to the failure of CRM implementations is user adoption, or more simply said, getting your sales team to actually use the system! Many times the employees that are tasked with using the CRM system, especially sales people, are reluctant to use the application because it’s not convenient, takes too much time, or they simply don’t see any benefit in the application.

At Tour de Force CRM, we fully understand the role that user adoption plays in a successful CRM implementation.  For over a decade we have developed the Tour de Force CRM application and geared our implementation processes around a central idea: a CRM that does not deliver immediate value to users WILL fail. This strategy has been successful and has led to a 98% customer retention rate over the last 5 years, a success rate which is relatively unheard of in the CRM industry.

Our June webinar series will focus on 3 areas of Tour de Force CRM that have the highest impact on user adoption; Business Intelligence, Outlook Integration, and Mobile CRM.

Webinar: Driving User Adoption with Business Intelligence
June 11, 2013
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT

With Tour de Force CRM, your sales management team and your sales force can use Business Intelligence (BI) to drive sales and uncover new opportunities with your existing customers.  Business Intelligence in Tour de Force CRM drives user adoption because it provides a salesperson with information that they can use to immediately impact their bottom line and increase their sales.  Your sales team gains immediate benefits from the system and therefore they are more likely to use it.

During this webinar, we’ll be reviewing and demonstrating the Business Intelligence capabilities of Tour de Force CRM and showing how sales professional can use this data to increase sales and opportunities.

Register for the webinar.

Webinar: Driving User Adoption with Outlook Integration
June 18, 2013
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT

Tour de Force CRM offers seamless integration with Microsoft Outlook. The Tour de Force CRM toolbar is loaded directly into Outlook, and the key activities that a sales person does on a daily basis are able to be done directly from this toolbar, reducing the time spent on administrative tasks and increasing the amount of time spent generating sales. This increases user adoption because it makes the system easy to access and easy to use.

During this webinar, we’ll be reviewing and demonstrating the features and functionality provided through Tour de Force CRM’s integration with Microsoft Outlook, and explaining how these features drive user adoption.

Register for the webinar.

Webinar: Driving User Adoption with Mobile CRM
June 25, 2013
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT

With Tour de Force CRM Mobile, a sales person has access to the data they need 24/7.  Tour de Force CRM Mobile is a web-based application that can be accessed from any device that has a web browser, such as an iPad or Surface Pro tablet.  Users can create, edit, and view information directly from Tour de Force CRM Mobile, and any data input or updates are immediately applied to the central database.

Tour de Force CRM Mobile drives user adoption because it allows a salesperson to quickly and efficiently access the key information they need as part of their daily activities. It also allows a salesperson to quickly and efficiently enter information, such as new Accounts, Contacts, Appointments, Activities, Expenses, Tasks, etc.

During this webinar, we’ll be reviewing and demonstrating the key features in Tour de Force CRM Mobile and explaining how these features drive user adoption.

Register for the webinar.

By: Ashley Parinello


“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

Industrial Supply Magazine

Cover Story by Johnston Supply Industrial





Johnston Industrial Supply makes wise technology investments to boost profitability!

Very few companies want to be on the “bleeding edge” when it comes to trying new technologies. Adopting a technology before it has been thoroughly tested – or before customers or employees are ready to use it – can be a costly mistake.

But smart business owners understand that applying the right technology can make a major impact on bottom-line profitability. Johnston Industrial Supply has discovered that wise investments in technology make good business sense.

“Technology touches every department in our company. We’ve been able to utilize it and reduce our workforce, yet continue to grow sales,” says company president Susie Johnston. “It has enabled us to be flexible enough to serve our customers and still give
them personalized service.”

Continue Reading…

via Industrial Supply Magazine by Rich Vurva

This article originally appeared in the Mar./Apr. 2012 issue of Industrial Supply magazine. Copyright 2012, Direct Business Media.

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

We are excited to be attending the TUG Connects Conference held on February 15-18, 2012, at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country in San Antonio Texas! Make sure to get signed up to watch Tour de Force CRM live with Matt Hartman!


(821) So many CRM choices…Why Tour de Force CRM? (One session only) 

Presented By: Matt Hartman | Thursday February 16, 2012 2:45pm – 3:45pm @ Periwinkle Wildflower rooms

There are so many choices in the CRM market…how do you know which one is right for your organization?  Join Matt Hartman, President/CEO of Tour de Force CRM, to find out why Tour de Force CRM is the most comprehensive CRM solution available for the Distribution and Manufacturing industries!

Tour de Force CRM seamlessly integrates to your Infor ERP system, providing your sales team with a single application that they can use to see all sales history and business intelligence for their customers. Combine that with Microsoft Outlook integration, a fully functional mobile CRM solution, and a proven implementation process that’s led to a 98% customer retention rate, and it’s easy to see why Tour de Force CRM has gradually become the CRM of choice for distributors and manufacturers over the past 10 years.

During this session we’ll provide a brief introduction to Tour de Force CRM and demonstrate the capabilities of the system.  We’ll then review our competitive advantages over any other CRM system, and explore how those advantages can benefit your organization.

“Tour de Force CRM offers a seamless interface to our Infor SX.enterprise ERP system and a strong integration with Microsoft Outlook. These two features alone have led to a high level of adoption, even by our sales people that were unfamiliar with, and suspicious of, CRM applications. Both features have been instrumental in elevating our sales organization to a whole new level.” – Matt Onofrio, President, GT Midwest


(821) Mobile CRM for the Distribution Sales Professional (One session only)

Presented By: Matt Hartman | Friday February 17, 2012 2:45pm – 3:45pm @ Periwinkle Wildflower rooms

In today’s evolving business environment, the ability to access key information on the go is a driving force behind a sales force’s productivity. Tour de Force CRM offers mobility features which allow a sales person to be as productive in the field as they are in the office.

Tour de Force CRM Mobile provides extensive integration with Infor ERP systems, providing your sales team with a fully functional mobile tool that allows them to be more efficient and more effective, which in turn drives sales and revenues. Tour de Force CRM Mobile is much more than a mobile application that allows you to access your customer database on the go. Tour de Force CRM Mobile is a full featured customer relationship management and sales force automation program that was specifically developed to provide all of the functionality that a distribution sales person needs on a daily basis.

During this presentation we will be addressing the strategy behind the use of mobile CRM for the Distribution Sales Professional, focusing on the use of mobile CRM on tablets and how they can be used in your business to drive sales and revenues. We will also review and demonstrate the features and functionality of Tour de Force CRM Mobile.

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, or they simply don’t see any benefit in it? Or are you hesitant to invest in a CRM system, fearing it will fail?

Tour de Force CRM was developed with the explicit understanding that a CRM that does not deliver immediate value to its users will ultimately fail.

Tour de Force delivers immediate CRM value to your sales team by giving them the tools they need to be more efficient and more effective, which in turn drives the biggest motivator for a sales person – their paycheck.

  • One source for all customer and prospect data
    Tour de Force is built upon the one application that sales people typically keep open throughout their entire workday – Microsoft Outlook. Everything a sales person does in a typical day can be done directly from the Tour de Force toolbar in Outlook, without having to open a separate application.
  • Immediate access to sales data
    Tour de Force integrates to your ERP system, delivering sales history directly to your sales team’s fingertips. This gives them the ability to easily analyze and identify where their potential lies and where they’re losing sales.
  •  Anytime, anywhere access
    Users can access Tour de Force Online, Offline, or through Tour de Force Mobile CRM, ensuring that they are always able to access the critical data that they need.
  • Focus on delivering value to your sales team throughout the implementation process
    Tour de Force is a highly configurable CRM system, and during the implementation process we work with you to configure the software to YOUR business processes. As part of every implementation, we conduct a “What’s in it for me?” presentation directly to your sales team, before their “Go Live” training session. During this presentation we review the ways in which Tour de Force will immediately deliver value, and also address the reservations that they may be feeling about using the new system.
  • Extensive feature set built around the needs of the sales person
    Tour de Force provides a robust set of features, many of which were developed to specifically address the needs of the sales person. In addition to our existing feature set, we also have some very exciting new features that will be part of our next release:

    • Coming soon…Alerts & Notifications Module
      The Alerts & Notifications module allows a Tour de Force user to receive Email Alerts at timed intervals, or when certain events occur. For example, an Outside Sales Representative can receive an Email Alert any time a new Contact is added to one of his Accounts, or a Regional Account Manager can receive a daily Email Notification that includes all the open orders in her region from the previous business day.
    • Coming soon…Inventory Check
      Inventory Check in Tour de Force will allow a user to perform inventory searches such as Qty. on Hand, Qty. on Order, Qty. Allocated, etc. The Inventory Check feature will be available on Tour de Force Mobile CRM, allowing your sales team to easily access inventory information anytime, anywhere.

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

What can management do to ensure user adoption?

Most sales and marketing executives clearly understand the benefits that a CRM/SFA solution can provide an organization, yet they often have one very common concern – “can we get our sales team to use it?”  This is a valid concern because without sufficient user adoption there will be minimal return on your CRM/SFA investment.

From a strategic perspective, what can be done to ensure that the sales force will embrace the solution?

Many times the best course of action to overcome this concern is to initially introduce only the features that will have the most direct benefit to the sales person.  As the sales team begins to see how the CRM/SFA solution will positively benefit them and they begin to embrace it, management can gradually add in the more administrative requirements.  Most often, key enhancements to business intelligence and other core enabling features can create quick ROI without immediately utilizing the full palette of CRM/SFA features.

As an example, a sales organization may offer the sales team business intelligence and advanced reporting capabilities so that sales can better understand customer opportunities, and then ask the team to start entering sales forecasts later in the process.  The key is to show the sales team “What’s in it for me?” early in the process so that there are less roadblocks coming from individuals as the implementation progresses.

The current state of where a sales team is in regards to reporting requirements and disciplines should also dictate the methods in which a CRM/SFA solution is deployed.  If a sales force is accustomed to the requirements of logging sales calls on an Excel spreadsheet and the CRM solution eases this entry process with a quick and easy activity form, it’s both a time saver and a big win for the sale team.

The fear of poor user adoption is a very valid concern; in fact it is the greatest culprit in most CRM/SFA deployment failures.  Before beginning any deployment, make sure you have a thorough implementation plan with a strategy to foster user adoption from the onset.

By: Ashley Parinello

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