Sales data has become a critical tool for aftermarket parts distributors trying to create a competitive edge in an industry where customers are looking for ways to better anticipate sales trends. Many companies have begun deploying analysis tools to help sales staff and clients make better sense of the data they are collecting.
If you can put that information into the hands of the sales team while they are talking to their customers, you can potentially increase sales of existing products and identify new sales opportunities.
That’s the type of result Moog Louisville Warehouse owner Doug Washbish was looking for when he asked Bill Grover, the company’s vice president of sales, marketing and training, to find a mobile business intelligence tool for their sales team. Grover had one directive: the solution had to help the company sell more automotive parts.
“Doug told me, ‘If it doesn’t help us increase sales, I don’t want any part of it,’” Grover said. “That was the direction I was given.”
Moog Louisville Warehouse, a family-owned and operated parts distributor and a member of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, is based in Louisville, Ky., and sells automotive and truck components, tools, paint and other supplies. Doug Washbish’s father, Dean, founded the company as Louisville Auto Springs more than 60 years ago.
After surveying the available software tools, Grover chose EpicorMarket Place Insights, a cloud-based mobile business intelligence tool designed for outside sales professionals.
The Epicor tool is part of a growing market for mobile customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. In the aftermarket, a number of distributors have also deployed (or developed) forecasting and inventory analytics tools to help gain better insight into customer sales trends.
According to Grover, Moog faces increased competition from both brick-and-mortar stores as well as online retailers. In addition, customers are putting pressure on aftermarket companies to ship parts faster.
If an item isn’t in stock, Grover says there’s “a good chance we’re going to lose that sale all together.” That’s partly what pushed Moog to implement a mobile CRM and sales solution.
Previously, the company provided its sales team with printed data warehouse reports that only presented aggregate numbers and no category breakdowns. This wasn’t particularly helpful to customers, and was also inefficient.
“Before Market Place Insights, we could run additional reports and drill down if needed, but as you can imagine it was time consuming. It wasn’t quick, and we couldn’t do it on demand,” Grover says. “Now, before our salesmen walk into a customer’s shop, they’re expected to pull that customer up on their tablet, where they have immediate access to as many metrics about that customer as they’d ever want to see. They can see if the customer is up or down in a category, they can drill down to part numbers, see how much money they owe us and do other things that were very labor intensive doing it the old fashioned way.”
Rapid Revenue Growth
Since implementing EpicorMarket Place Insights, Grover says the company has completed multiple years with revenue increases of 5 percent or more.
“I think the app absolutely has resulted in increased sales, and I would have to say some of it is retain sales,” Grover said. “Instances where a guy who, in the past if he was upset we would’ve learned about it 30 days later. Now we learn about it in a day or two.”
The app helps the sales team communicate data to customers in a way that is helps them grow and increases loyalty, he says.
“Customers today – repair shop owners, dealerships, national chains – they want a parts partner who really is managing their business with them, paying attention to their needs and knows what’s going on,” Grover said. “Market Place Insights makes it easy for us to see if customers are trending up or down and to analyze their performance in different categories and subcategories. To be able to view all that data in a minute or two in the parking lot before you walk into the shop is a real game changer.”
Grover says the solution has also improved interactions between the company’s outside sales team and customers by providing reliable data on sales trends, which helps them identify new growth opportunities.
“I’m confident our customers see value in our sales team being able to access and share that data with them,” Grover said. “Market Place Insights helps to keep our customers more loyal to us because they know we’re paying attention, and they know that we know that we’re on top of things. We know when they’re buying and when they’re not, and they know that we’re going to see that and talk to them about it.”