6 Powerful B2B CRM Strategies for Wholesalers & Manufacturers [+ Examples]

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Wholesalers and manufacturers need effective B2B strategies to sustain business growth and beat the competition. That’s where a quality CRM system comes in.

From targeted email campaigns to inventory management integrations, we’ll outline how you can develop strong B2B CRM strategies to improve business performance and achieve predictable growth.

What is a B2B CRM?

A B2B CRM (business-to-business customer relationship management) system is software that helps businesses manage all their B2B sales and customer data in one centralised location.

B2B CRM software acts like a virtual stockroom for business data.

With data and integration at their core, B2B CRMs extract information hidden within your back-office systems and structure that data in a digestible format.

B2B CRM strategy meeting

Bring your team together when creating a B2B CRM strategy to ensure every departments’ goals are aligned.

Unlike regular CRM tools, B2B CRM systems are specifically designed to aid the internal processes of businesses selling to other businesses. They achieve this by building a streamlined communication channel that allows different departments to interact throughout the sales cycle and post-sale process.

Why do B2B businesses need a CRM?

CRM minimises the manual aspects of B2B business processes, enabling you to spend less time on tedious admin tasks and more time on role-specific duties.

Wholesalers and manufacturers face unique operational challenges that require more than a spreadsheet to manage. Not only are you making hundreds if not thousands of large-scale sales, but you might also be selling to customers across a variety of industries.

Dealing with so much data manually is impractical. B2B CRM software allows you to be more productive with your time and more efficient with your cash flow.

What is a B2B CRM strategy?

A B2B CRM strategy is a way of leveraging the customer, sales, and stock information that your CRM organises. The aim is to nurture leads and increase CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value).

A profitable B2B CRM strategy needs to be:

  • Automated: A B2B CRM is intended to relieve manual stress. Utilising features that employ AI (Artificial Intelligence) is key.
  • Customer-centric: Successful B2B CRM strategies focus on the customer journey as well as internal communications.
  • Defined by goals: Goals allow you to focus your efforts more efficiently, so you and your employees know exactly how to use your CRM system.
  • Integrated: Native integrations within your CRM system streamline your workload and prevent data inconsistencies across apps.
Women in B2B business high-five each other over great CRM strategy

Leverage customer data and sales information to create a powerful B2B CRM strategy.

6 Effective B2B CRM Strategies

CRM systems are designed to strengthen your customer relationships by collating contact details and extracting valuable stock information from your inventory management system.

It’s essential to have B2B CRM strategies in place to leverage the foundational insights that your CRM provides.

1. Segment your customers

Categorise customers based on their spending patterns to identify where to target marketing campaigns and when a customer is beginning to churn. This allows you to engage with the right customers at the right time to combat high churn rates and sustain a loyal customer base.

A CRM system that offers RFM (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary value) Analysis allows you to segment customers by their purchase habits. It will also flag any customers that begin to deviate from their spending patterns.

Manual customer segmentation and RFM calculations are laborious tasks to assign to an employee. A CRM can automate these tasks, saving you time by streamlining the customer reactivation process for those about to churn.

Segmenting your customers also helps you build an ideal customer profile based on ‘Champion’ customers, so you can attract more of the same.

Some ground rules to follow when segmenting your customers:

  • Use mutually exclusive categories: Determine unique criteria for each customer segment to prevent crossover or confusion between categories.
  • Assign strategies to each segment: If a customer falls into a certain category, you need to have a plan in place to improve their engagement.
  • Make it measurable: It’s important to make the criteria for each category quantifiable so the data is as accurate as possible.

2. Personalise client communications

A 2022 Statista study found that 62% of consumers worldwide said a brand would lose their loyalty if it delivered an impersonal experience.

Personalised communications help to build rapport and customer loyalty and set you apart from your competitors.

When a lead or customer receives communication that’s personalised to their business, they’re more likely to be more engaged with the content; it’s no secret that personalised content improves click-through rates.

A CRM system with high data integrity allows you to customise the content of your campaign. You can use the data stored in your CRM to send out campaigns that are industry-specific and nurture prospects based on their progress in your sales pipeline.

B2B customer enjoys the benefits of a CRM system

B2B CRM strategies should focus on improving customer satisfaction as well as internal communications.

3. Analyse customer data

“Without B2B CRM tools, sales teams waste time running multiple Excel reports to gather and build customer insights.”

Most CRM systems offer configurable reporting and analytical tools for evaluating raw customer data and converting it into useful insights.

Implementing a B2B CRM strategy to closely monitor customer data can give you invaluable insights into the processes you use and help facilitate better business decisions.

Some essential reports to monitor with a CRM system:

  • Customers who bought X but not Y: This report identifies the customers that have not yet bought two complementary/similar products, so you can send out an awareness campaign.
  • Sales pipeline report: This shows where your leads are positioned in the sales pipeline so you can send out targeted campaigns at the right time and identify which stages in your pipeline need improvement.
  • Customer churn report: This calculates churn rates and can predict which customers are on the verge of churning so you can engage with them before they ditch.
  • Sales conversion report: This report shows the percentage of leads that have been converted into customers. It can also highlight correlations between lead conversions and campaign sources.

4. Integrate with other systems

“Integrations give you the best of both systems and allow your teams to work together with greater efficiency while reducing the need for duplication of data and effort.”

A B2B CRM system extracts valuable data from your back-office systems to give you full visibility of all stock, sales, and customer information.

This standard of stock awareness prevents the risk of over- or under-stocking and improves your quoting accuracy.

Integrating with other systems like inventory management and accounting software means all your data is stored in one place, minimising duplication efforts.

An effective integration stack will streamline business processes by pooling all the crucial information into one location for all users to see. This means customer queries can be picked up where they were left off by anyone in the team, ultimately reducing customer service response times.


5. Develop customer loyalty programs

A customer loyalty program is where you can present special offers or rewards to customers who make repeat and frequent purchases. It’s a great way to maintain contact with customers and encourage repeat sales.

Data stored in your CRM system helps you strategically target the right customers with loyalty campaigns. A good CRM will associate these special offers with your customer records to ensure accuracy when sending out quotes.

The benefits you offer to loyal customers don’t have to be monetary. You can also offer exclusive webinar content or one-to-one expert advice sessions, for example.

6. Cross-sell and upsell products

“Through utilising analysis of sales history, users can determine the level of product penetration throughout their customer base and know what products to sell next.”

Wholesaling and manufacturing businesses usually depend on repeat purchases. Squeezing the most monetary value out of your existing customer base is therefore key to profitable growth.

Your CRM system should flag cross-selling and upselling opportunities based on which products your customers are already buying repeatedly, compared to what’s stocked in the rest of your inventory.

Features like the Magic Matrix can pinpoint opportunities for targeted campaigns to build product awareness. This is done by identifying which customers are aware of specified products, and showing where an opportunity is already open so you can try to progress it.

CRM offers the ability to send out bulk emails, making it easier to distribute cross-sell or upsell campaigns to a selection of relevant customers.

B2B CRM strategy group

B2B CRM software integrates with your inventory system for a fully connected business data solution.

B2B CRM Examples: 4 Real-Life Benefits

A good B2B CRM should generate immediate and observable results that help your business achieve profitable growth from the moment integration is set up.

Here are a few of the real-life benefits attainable with effective B2B CRM strategies in place.

1. Everything in one place

B2B CRM gathers crucial data from your back-office systems and organises this data with the records already stored in your CRM system. Organised and centralised data improves business productivity by minimising duplication and eliminating the back-and-forth between apps.

Storing everything on the cloud means you can forgo the paperwork piling up on your desk and switch to a more automated way of working.

Suppose that an existing customer walks into your office. They want you to issue them a line of credit, but you can’t remember if you’ve offered them credit before. The information is buried inside a filing cabinet or tucked away in some messy spreadsheet.

Digging around for it now would be embarrassing to both you and the client. But if you had a cloud-based CRM in place, you’d have immediate access to that customer’s history and avoid offering credit to a late payer or denying them for no good reason.

2. Work remotely in the cloud

“Users can quickly check key information about customers when on the road, just before meeting with a customer, rather than having to wait until they have access to the CRM.”

According to a 2022 Mckinsey study, over two-thirds of buyers opted for remote human interactions or digital self-service at the ordering and re-ordering stage. Moving to a hybrid or fully remote sales team can bring in just as much new business as a sales team that works exclusively in-office.

A cloud-based CRM provides your team with seamless access from anywhere in the world. Some CRMs also offer a mobile-friendly version of their software, so you can view the same information on the road.

Imagine a customer calls support about an issue with the product they bought. They need to get through to the account manager that’s been dealing with this problem previously, but they’re out-of-office until next week.

Instead of disappointing your unhappy customer by telling them you’ll get back to them, you can note down all the details of the issue within your CRM and assign a task to the relevant employee. The employee that answers the phone can access the existing problem record, review all the details logged by account managers, and provide an immediate solution.

As a result, the out-of-office staff member can access these details from anywhere via the cloud. And the customer is happy because they were still able to relay their problems and feel heard.

Barista using B2B CRM strategy

B2B CRM strategies benefit the entire supply chain, from the manufacturer to the end customer.

3. Improve customer service

The data integrity that your CRM system provides is pivotal to decreasing response times and improving customer satisfaction rates. Organised data streamlines the customer service process and gives you full traceability of products so your support team can easily identify the issue.

Picture this: An employee has previously offered one of your ‘Champion’ customers a unique discount that you’re unaware of. This customer gets in touch to ask for a quote, but the employee that offered the discount is not available.

Without a B2B CRM to automatically apply this discount, you’d likely send through a quote that conflicts with their expectations. An incorrect quote not only slows down the buying process but also runs the risk of losing a customer’s trust in your services.

B2B CRM ensures that all discounts are processed and applied to the order so any employee can process a quote.

4. Collect valuable data

B2B CRMs can be linked to ecommerce sites that use tracking links to convert form fills into CRM records.

Account managers and sales teams gain full visibility of orders from a centralised place so orders can be sent out quickly, and they can transact immediately with leads.

For example, say you run an online store that allows prospects or customers to order product samples before committing to a large purchase. When a prospect orders a sample, you need to collect their data to engage with them and guide them through your sales funnel.

Rather than intimidating them with a lengthy form or bothering them with an extra sales call, that data is collected by cookies on your site and pushed through to your CRM automatically.

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Imogen Lloyd - Unleashed Software
Imogen Lloyd

This article is a guest post written by Imogen Lloyd, Marketing Executive at ProspectSoft. Imogen is an English Literature student on her placement year, with a background in copywriting. When she’s not writing content, she enjoys going to the theatre, reading, and travelling with her friends.

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