Janitorial and sanitation chemical manufacturers and distributors have unique needs when it comes to managing customer relationships. On top of keeping clients happy, there are strict standards and specifications to follow, and orders and pricing are highly complex. Tracking sales and communications requires the right software, but how do you know which system to choose?
Customer relationship management (CRM) software tracks and manages relationships, interactions and opportunities with customers and prospects all the way through the sales funnel — and beyond. CRM software for janitorial and sanitation suppliers comes with specialized features that meet the industry’s unique needs.
This guide will help you choose the right janitorial and sanitation supplier CRM software for your company. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is janitorial and sanitizing chemical supplier CRM software?
- Benefits of specialized janitorial and sanitizing chemical CRM software
- How to choose a janitorial and sanitation supplier CRM system: Top 5 features
- Other helpful CRM software features
- How to choose the right janitorial and sanitation supplier CRM vendor
What is janitorial and sanitation chemical supplier CRM software?
Janitorial and sanitation supplier CRM software helps companies organize and access customer data and communications to better serve customers and increase sales.
The best CRM systems for janitorial and sanitation manufacturers and distributors offer industry-specific functionality that allows orders, invoices, quotes and more to be customized for the unique needs of companies and customers in this industry.
We recommend choosing a CRM system that is integrated with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. These robust systems allow you to manage and automate key business processes across your entire organization — unifying sales and marketing functions with inventory management, production and distribution capabilities, all within a single platform.
Benefits of specialized janitorial and sanitizing chemical CRM software
Why choose an integrated CRM and ERP system specialized for your industry, rather than generic CRM software? What you may gain in cost, you lose in functionality and productivity and, ultimately, in revenue. Here are the top benefits of choosing an industry-specific system:
Better customer service. Sales staff at janitorial and sanitizing chemical suppliers need full visibility into their customer accounts to maintain existing business and manage relationships with current customers. That includes access to:
- Past and open orders.
- Inventory levels.
- Year-over-year sales and order comparisons.
Having all of this information easily accessible within a specialized CRM system streamlines operations and interactions for sales staff. When they don’t have to call the warehouse to check inventory or the billing department to follow up on invoices, they can focus on their most important task: closing deals and keeping customers happy.
Functionality for the chemical industry. Janitorial and sanitizing chemical suppliers are unique, with special requirements other companies don’t have. From compliance reporting to lab management and recipe formulation, integrated janitorial and sanitation CRM and ERP systems offer functionality tailored to your industry’s needs, so you can better track and manage everything from customer communications to inventory and ordering.
Single source of data. Integrated systems offer CRM capabilities in the same database as other key business processes, such as demand planning, inventory management, supply chain management and accounting and financial management. This saves time, eliminates duplicate data entry and reduces errors by removing manual processes.
Real-time information. Integrated CRM and ERP systems for janitorial and sanitation suppliers update quantities, sales and financial information in real time, so everyone in the company can access key information when they need it. This helps sales staff close deals by providing instant access to accurate inventory, pricing and order information.
We covered all of the benefits and features of integrated CRM and ERP systems for the chemical and process manufacturing industry in a previous guide. In the rest of this post, we’ll focus on CRM features for janitorial and sanitation manufacturers and distributors.
How to choose a janitorial and sanitation supplier CRM system: Top 5 features
To choose the right janitorial and sanitizing chemical supplier CRM software for your company, look for a vendor that offers these top five features:
- Unit of measure conversion. Cleaning and sanitation supplies are sold in a range of packaging sizes: Some are sold by the gallon, others in drums and still others in 16-ounce spray bottles, to name just a few. Oftentimes, a salesperson will want to see year-over-year comparisons of what their customers are purchasing to track trends — for example, how many gallons of a certain cleaning product a customer bought last year compared to this year.
However, accurate comparisons are only possible if the CRM system is “smart” enough to know that products are available in different units of measure. It must also be able to convert these units of measure when necessary, such as changing ounces to gallons.
Products and ingredients are often purchased and stored in different packaging units than those in which they are sold, so conversions may be needed to make “apples to apples” comparisons. This feature also comes in handy when working with international customers, who may buy in different units than U.S. customers (e.g., kilos instead of pounds).
- Volume comparison. Prices for janitorial and sanitizing chemical supplier products fluctuate over time. This is especially true in the current climate, with prices for hand sanitizer, household and industrial cleaners and other sanitizing chemicals still skyrocketing. As a result, looking at year-over-year sales may show a large increase for this year as compared to last year. But that might be because the price of the product went up, not necessarily because the overall volume of sales increased.
For accurate analysis and forecasting, don’t just compare dollar amounts — look at the volume of a customer’s sales from one year to the next. Few janitorial and sanitation supply CRM vendors offer this capability. One vendor that does is Datacor, which provides integrated CRM and ERP software designed specifically for the chemical manufacturing and distribution industry.
“The volume measurement is a critical component in understanding your repeat business, and it’s one that a lot of solutions really struggle with,” says Dan McCusker, vice president of sales at Datacor. A system that offers this functionality will help you make informed decisions and enable meaningful sales conversations with customers and prospects.
- Inventory management integration. The ability to view inventory levels from within the CRM system is another crucial capability for your janitorial and sanitation supplier sales team, especially in today’s market. For example, McCusker says, if a customer calls to order their branded hand sanitizer for delivery next week, you need to be able to verify that product is in stock — and can be private-labeled quickly enough to meet customer demands.
This is even more important when dealing with prospects. If a first-time buyer tries to place an order, only to find out that key ingredients are out of stock or the product can’t be delivered on time, you may lose their business. Specialized CRM software with integrated inventory management capabilities allows your sales team to quickly and easily verify that they have everything they need to fulfill the order, from raw materials to the finished product, including packaging color and size.
Read our guide to learn more about chemical inventory management software, including the top features and benefits.
- New product formulation. Janitorial and sanitation manufacturers need specialized project management features as part of their CRM system. Why? Developing a new sanitation product for a customer involves a research and development (R&D) component. Sales staff need to gather the data points that lab workers will need when formulating, developing and designing the product, such as the color, smell and packaging.
They also need to track aspects of the R&D process that may include:
- Creating a sample product.
- Approvals at various stages of product development.
- Documentation for informational, compliance and safety purposes.
The right CRM system offers specialized functionality to track and manage which projects are being worked on, their completion status and any associated documents. Tracking these projects effectively drives the new sales opportunity pipeline.
Not only does this feature help sales staff keep customers informed of progress, it also allows them to search past projects in case a customer or prospect requests something similar in the future. They can quickly and easily view the cost, components and success of the project to inform sales conversations.
5. Opportunity management. Salespeople for janitorial and sanitation manufacturers and distributors are typically graded on two metrics: maintaining business with current customers and driving new sales opportunities, whether that’s with existing or prospective customers. Building business with prospects involves creating new opportunities, then nurturing them through the sales funnel — from the initial conversation to their buying decision and all of the touchpoints along the way, including project proposals and sample product formulations.
Keeping track of all of these interactions can be challenging. Opportunity management is another key feature to look for when choosing an integrated CRM and ERP system. It goes hand-in-hand with new product formulation, and is usually part of the project management module, allowing salespeople to gauge the revenue opportunities when developing new products or selling existing ones. For example, the ability to see how past projects have performed can help build business with similar customers.
If the salesperson has done their job, the customer may decide to place an order on the spot. An integrated system allows sales to enter customer orders from within the CRM that are automatically updated in the ERP system. This saves time for sales staff and streamlines ordering for the customer.
Other helpful CRM software features
A number of other features that are not specific to janitorial and sanitation manufacturers and distributors are also helpful to look for in your new CRM system. These include:
Email integration. Customer interactions typically include a lot of emails. Look for a CRM system that integrates with your email client so you can track messages with clients. Make sure the system you choose also offers tags: this enables you to flag email items to organize customers in the system based on preferences and other attributes.
Analytics and dashboards. Easily analyze how both customers and your sales team are performing against one another and over time. Analytics and dashboards allow you to see which team members are closing the most business and making the most customer visits; rank customers based on their profitability and purchase frequency; and ensure all customers are getting fair pricing, among other performance metrics.
Note and task management. Look for a system that automatically logs all customer interactions as notes and allows you to create and manage tasks. Keeping track of your conversations and open to-dos can be overwhelming, but these tools ensure all customer touchpoints, including calls, emails and meetings, are tracked and organized. This keeps you on task and up-to-date with where customers are in the sales funnel.
How to choose the right janitorial and sanitation supplier CRM vendor
In addition to choosing a system that offers all of the features above, ensure you’re making a smart investment by doing your homework about janitorial and sanitizing chemical supplier CRM vendors. To do this, you can:
Reach out to similar companies. Talk to other companies in your industry and vertical to see which vendors they’ve had success with. If they do what you do, and the software works well for them, odds are it will work for your business, too. Most vendors will provide a list of references you can check that includes like companies, or you can reach out to your own network.
Do a personalized demo. Make sure the vendor you’re considering allows you to do a personalized demo before you commit to the software. This typically involves providing sample data that the vendor inputs into the system, so they can show you how the functionality would work for your specific use case. This allows you to give the product a “test drive” and see how it would perform day to day.
Participate in trade shows. Industry-specific trade shows, such as the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) Show, are a great place to find potential janitorial and sanitation CRM software vendors. This provides a low-pressure environment to meet the vendor, learn about the product and see a general demo of the software in action. You can also talk to other companies at the show to see what systems they’re using.
Datacor is an integrated CRM and ERP system designed to meet the unique needs of chemical manufacturers and distributors, including janitorial and sanitation companies. It offers all of the features we’ve covered here, plus a range of specialized functionality to help chemical companies streamline and centralize business processes. Learn more about our janitorial and sanitation CRM software, or sign up for a personalized demo today.