Skynamo – the leading provider of field sales software for distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers in the building materials and hardware industry – carried out an extensive survey.
The point of the research was straightforward enough. It was to uncover the truth about what B2B sales companies struggle with, what works for them from a technology and sales point of view, and how they fare in this post-pandemic marketplace.
To do this, Skynamo’s research team referenced hundreds of manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors around the world, all with two things in common:
- They have B2B sales reps who slog it out in the field.
- The sales reps report to sales managers or business owners.
Several pertinent challenges, successes, and insights were revealed, and finally culminated in the highly anticipated Global Field Sales Benchmark Report.
The benchmark for global field sales
The survey results revealed some interesting insights about the building materials and hardware industry. Particularly around how sales teams compare in terms of industry-specific challenges, the technology used, and sales rep productivity.
The researchers at Skynamo compounded their findings with Skynamo’s trusted Industry Thermometer. This monthly cohesive report shows trends, peaks and troughs in monthly sales and order values per industry, compared with the previous years’ data. This valuable information was used to garner even more insights into the building and hardware industry.
Here’s what it found.
Building and hardware is rebuilding itself
In spite of supply chain disruptions, increased fuel and transport costs, and more challenges, the report shows significant growth in this sector. In fact, orders in hardware and building material supplies and distribution have grown by over 94% since May 2020. This is a further 36% growth on the coattails of a successful 2021.
Of the over 1,000 companies across 27 different industry segments monitored by the Skynamo Thermometer, June has shown even further growth as the graph has continued to climb steadily, year on year.
In the first half of 2022, the building and hardware industry has already surpassed half of the sum of the average value of total orders per customer converted in 2021. We look forward to what the following seven months have to offer.
Back Office Speaks Up: ERP vs CRM
As to the other part of the sales team – the back office staff – the survey revealed that, in the building and hardware industry, the most popular enterprise resource planning system (ERP) used is SAGE.
While it was found that the majority of businesses in this industry did not have a customer relationship management solution (CRM) in place, Skynamo’s survey revealed that of the building and hardware industry respondents that answered to having a CRM in place, most of them use a combination of paper, email, Excel and WhatsApp as their CRM software.
While ERP is fantastic at uniting back office and production tasks under one system, such as invoicing, stock management, and production planning, the opportunity exists to leverage the power of a sales CRM platform. This software specifically answers questions for managers around customer data, customer-value, customer relations, and sales. Automated, instant, and integrated with your ERP, it is easy to use and has proven its value again and again.
Suggested reading: Choose the best fit: CRM and sales force automation are not the same thing
Obstacles that slow sales down
When Skynamo asked business owners, sales managers and reps in the building and hardware industry in South Africa, the US, and the UK, what they found the most challenging about their jobs and daily activities, their responses were revealing.
- Admin takes too long. This was the most common answer, and the greatest challenge to getting stuff done. Admin takes too long, and there’s too much of it. Manual admin, like sales reports, manual orders, and manual drudge work keeps sales teams from doing what they need to do most: sell!
- No idea what field sales reps are up to. Sales managers and owners have no visibility into what their sales teams are up to in the field. With manual, patchwork systems in place, this second most-commonly cited challenge is barely a surprise. In response to this massive blind spot, they are looking for a field sales CRM that can give managers real-time visibility into whereabouts, activities, and more. It can also help increase order accuracy and processes.
Hit the nail on the head of your sales targets, and get clarity on the nuts and bolts of your business.
Do you want to know how you’re doing, and how you compare with peers in the building and hardware industry from around the world? Download the full report to find out how your field sales team and technology compare to other manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors from around the world. You can also find your industry in the Skynamo Thermometer to see how you’ve fared compared to Skynamo customers, and if you’re experiencing the same level of recovery as they are.
Get your own field sales dashboards
If you want your own, real-time report – anytime, anywhere – then we’re standing by to show you how easy it is to use Skynamo field sales software in your own business.
Reduce sales confusion, keep customers happy, and free up your sales teams to sell more, and do more, with less!