The Power of Surveys for Mobile Business

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You don’t know your customer nearly as well as you think you do. This fact that is costing you money.

A previous version of this article appears in
Bellwether, a magazine produced by Blytheco, in the Fall 2015 edition called “Who is Your CMO?”
http://issuu.com/bellwethermagazine/docs/bellwether-fall-2015

The great news is that if you empower your sales people with a bit of mobile technology, you’ll not only be able to create customer greater loyalty, but you’ll be able to generate more marketshare, too.

The answer to building these relationships can be found with the use of surveys combined with the unique capabilities of smart phones such as push notifications, alerts, photo enablement, and GPS.

We all know that the key to effective B2B marketing is creating relevant and informative content for your target customer. Think, though, do you really know what is pertinent to your customer? Sure, back when their business was a lead, you may have courted them with a lot of attention. Now that they have moved through the pipeline and became a customer, though, how much time and effort do you and your sales team dedicate to really learning about the company and understanding the customer’s ongoing behavior?

Winning new customers—especially in the B2B world—requires a significant investment. And losing hard won customer relationships is doubly expensive. It not only requires replacing lost customer revenue, but the loss means dealing with the potential fallout of your reputation, especially when a competitor takes your customers.

So where does that leave you? Many companies have data rich enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) systems brimming with information. By leveraging a modern survey application, tied into your back-end systems, your sales team can become the conduit to your company’s unbelievably high level of understanding of your customers and their behaviors. This allows you to stand out from the competitors in all new ways.

To maximize the impact of survey apps for mobile devices, here are some things to consider:

Create a profile of your ideal customer.

Your company’s sales reps should know how to identify the ideal customer. Does the customer participate in your promotions? Do they meet your branding standards? Are they cross selling and up selling your products? How does their behavior and performance compare to customers of a similar profile? (For instance, customers that are big box stores should only be compared to like businesses, and not to small distributors.)

Make sure sales reps understand desired behavior changes.

Once you’ve created a profile of the ideal customer, your sales reps should focus on specific target behaviors to try to modify to move each customer toward those goals. For example—Does the customer include your brand or offerings on their website and/or store window display?

Use a smart phone.

The smart phone is the ultimate business tool because it can do everything (including make phone calls) and at a low cost. Surveys as web apps can be effective too, but they lack the comprehensive capability of a mobile device. With a properly flexible survey app you can push customer-based surveys to your smart phones and unleash the power of characteristics like GPS, camera, alerts and so on.

A picture tells a thousand words.

A challenge in wholesale distribution is that even with a distributed or remote salesforce, executives have a limited ability to physically see or inspect customers, especially on a regular basis. A good survey app will allow for photo enablement—giving you eyes and ears on the street to ensure the environment your products are being sold into—and from—meet your quality standards. If the customer keeps your products stocked on the highest shelves, out of reach of the retail customer or the warehouse personnel responsible for picking orders, you could get overlooked.

You can remedy this neglect, though. Have your sales rep tour the store or warehouse, and attach a photo to a survey question about the physical accessibility of your goods.

Make surveys part of your culture.

To know your customer is to love your customer. We believe this wholeheartedly. Get buy-in from your sales reps about the kinds of questions you should ask. Then, make surveys a required part of the sales process. To be clear, this isn’t to say that all questions need to be asked of every customer on each encounter, but the right survey app will allow you to learn their requirements. If you make surveys part of your DNA. you can have the most informed sales team in your industry.

Provide your customer with the survey app, too.

It’s one thing to have your sales reps answer questions based on their own observations, but a great survey app with mobile and push notifications can provide a great means to gently coax information from your customers—and engender uncommon loyalty.

Surveys should be integrated with your ERP or CRM system.

Great surveys can be designed to capture any information you want—including non-financial or non-transactional data. With survey that’s integrated with back office systems, you’ll be able to generate meaningful reports that will show you the correlation between desired behaviors and sales results.

xkzero believes that the most successful sales people are confident, informed and equipped with the best technology.

Consider the power of surveys as you create your next marketing plan. What you learn might surprise you, and the increased profits and marketshare will have you making surveys new part of your business DNA.

xkzero Announces Direct Store Delivery System for Sage 100 ERP

[a version of this blog post was originally published as a press release via PR Web March 31, 2015]

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Chicago, Illinois (PRWEB) March 31, 2015

ERP and mobile software developer xkzero has announced the availability of xkzero Mobile Commerce software integrated natively into Sage 100 ERP. xkzero Mobile Commerce provides Route Selling and Direct Store Delivery (DSD) automation, primarily for companies who sell business to business (B2B) utilizing in-house sales teams and with their own fleet of delivery reps and vehicles.

Paul Ziliak, xkzero co-founder, says demand for xkzero Mobile Commerce (XMC) has exceeded expectations, “We announced the release of XMC for Sage ERP X3 at Sage Summit 2014. We had already generated great customer success and interest from the X3 channel, but we did not anticipate the demand we’ve also seen from Sage partners and end user customers with Sage 100 ERP.”

DSD is a method of distribution common among food and beverage manufacturers and distributors. By automating these processes, companies can achieve increased sales and improve inventory control, thus increasing gross profits. Ziliak reports that companies investing in DSD automation represent a wide range of industries, but notes that food and beverage companies such as beer, wine and spirits, carbonated beverages, bread and bakery products, milk and dairy, ice cream and frozen products, energy drinks, coffee, water, ice, pizza and salty snacks are sectors that could be well-served with xkzero Mobile Commerce.

XMC automates a comprehensive range of transaction types, including pre-sales (order taking), deliveries, returns, exchanges, payments and inter-vehicle transfers. Additionally, XMC aids with truck driver loading and scheduling, inventory check-in and check-out, daily inventory and payment reconciliations and more.

“We’re passionate about local and independent businesses and we love watching them grow. This is a true enterprise caliber system available for small and mid-sized distributors. From asset management, bottle and can deposit tracking, surveys for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and other compliance reporting, a performance monitoring dashboard, photo and geo-code enabled transactions–we’ve got it all covered,” Ziliak said. “Distributors with XMC and Sage 100 ERP will be better informed, more confident and capable of capturing more sales with less time and effort.”

XMC is built native iOS (Apple mobile devices) and includes a responsive design web management console along with web services to ensure a seamless ERP integration, Ziliak said. “The technologies we chose have proven to be the best for business. Usability, flexibility and dependability are paramount when you’re in customer facing situations. That is our guiding force.”

About xkzero 
xkzero provides Mobile ERP leadership and supply chain optimization for small and mid-sized distribution and manufacturing companies. Specializing in Sage ERP X3, Sage 100 ERP and Sage 500 ERP, xkzero’s published apps include iSales 100, GetX Universal Search for Sage 100 ERP and xkzero Mobile Commerce.
http://www.xkzero.com/MobileCommerce info(at)xkzero(dot)com @ERP_apps

About Sage North America 
Sage provides small and medium sized organizations, and mid-market companies with a range of easy-to-use, secure and efficient business management software and services – from accounting, HR and payroll, to payments, enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management.

Webinar: Mastering Direct Store Delivery for Food & Bev with Sage ERP X3

Deliver sales and profits

Deliver sales and profits

Mastering Direct Store Delivery for Food & Bev with Sage ERP X3

Join us for a free Webinar
Friday, March 20, 2015 at 11:00 am CDT.


Register now!
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7851484255973751298

The Direct Store Delivery (DSD) segment of the food and beverage market is full of great companies who are limited by unnecessarily inefficient processes. Potentially unseen bottlenecks like truck loading, driver scheduling, customer routing, and the inability to perform transactions on location–like deliveries, returns, returns, credits, exchanges and payments–can limit the growth of these otherwise innovative companies.

Learn how to win new food and beverage manufacturing and distribution deals with Sage ERP X3 and xkzero Mobile Commerce–a combination that turns these operational limitations into great competitive advantages.

Find out how to supercharge your food and beverage marketing campaign by integrating a market-defining solution to automate route sales, deliveries, inventory controls, mobile payment acceptance and more into your processes.

In this Webinar, you will learn about these key points:

  • How grocers value direct store delivery
  • How comprehensive in-store automation works
  • Benefits of DSD
  • Best-fit industries for DSD
  • Back-office ERP benefits

The event will also include a high-level overview of the ways xkzero Mobile Commerce would be used by both an administrator and a driver/sales rep, and include use-case examples of the unique intelligence gathering features of geo-coding, photo-enablement, and more.

Space is limited so we encourage you to register now.  ​https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7851484255973751298

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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About xkzero

xkzero is a Chicago-based software company dedicated to revolutionizing the way people work.   We believe that people perform best when they are confident, informed, and have a high level of trust in the tools they use. xkzero builds solutions designed for the best possible user experience, engineered in a flexible way to accommodate the needs of each individual and we adapt to the precise business rules that can vary industry by industry, company by company.

xkzero can help you discover a whole new dimension of selling, operations and business intelligence. We focus on the way your people interact with customers and suppliers, and interact with each other. We can help you change the way your business processes and reports business activity as it happens.

For more information about xkzero please contact us at info@xkzero.com or call 847-416-2009.

Re-imagine Your Selling Processes for Mobile ERP

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Your Sales Process Can Be Re-imagined

Your Sales Process Can Be Re-imagined

 

In a recent post we talked about how you can initiate a cultural shift in your organization by empowering the sales team with off-the-shelf apps that integrate with your ERP system.

By doing so, you improve your sales team’s ability to respond and react to situations that build customer confidence. However, it’s likely that this won’t help you create any substantial competitive differentiation since many of your competitors have easy access to the same or similar apps.

To truly disrupt the competition and win more marketshare, you need to make an honest evaluation of your current processes, systems and opportunities. This is a creative effort that can be accomplished through good old fashioned business process re-engineering.

Re-imagine a Common Sales Process

Let’s consider the challenge of a fictitious company called Seeson’s Greetings. Seeson’s Greetings sells Christmas and other holiday ornaments through wholesale distribution. Their industry is considered to be very competitive.

A major part of Seeson’s Greetings sales come from active participation at industry trade shows. From the trade show floor, Seeson’s team of sales reps need to provide quotes, orders and invoices, and in some cases, accept payment on the spot from their B2B clientele.

The current sales process for Seeson’s Greetings is manual, and looks something like this:

  • Confirm pricing for the customer in a printed catalog.
  • Prepare handwritten invoice/order form, and obtain a signature from the customer.
  • Call the office to provide credit card information.
  • Fax or physically deliver the handwritten invoice/order form to the office.
  • Enter sales activity into the ERP.
  • Send email order confirmation to the customer.
  • Document the transaction; either file the signed customer invoice in a cabinet, or manually scan and attach it to the invoice record in the ERP.

INEFFICIENCY MANIFESTED

This process is wrought with inefficiencies, and potential for mistakes, information delays, and effort duplication. In short, it is ripe for an overhaul. Here are some of the problem areas:

  • Trade show activity is not available to management in real-time.
  • Salespeople have no access to a customer’s prior sales history while interacting at a trade show.
  • Revenue and credit card receipt postings to accounting are delayed.
  • Warehouse inquiries are inaccurate because inventory quantities in the ERP don’t reflect trade show sales until later.
  • Excess labor costs are incurred by having additional staff enter the transactions.
  • Risk of error increases when entering after-the-fact data based on a hand-written form.

Seeson’s has some real opportunities to re-engineer the trade show selling process in a way that provides measurable benefits. These improvements include increased salesperson and customer confidence, reduced order processing labor costs, and greatly accelerated visibility of trade show activities at any moment in time.

BETTER PROCESSES ENABLE MORE SALES.

When engaging in process re-design, imagine all the benefits of making trade show sales with a smart phone or a tablet app designed for your ERP:

  • A salesperson can now review the customer’s history—on the spot.
  • Customer specific pricing is available, current and accurate.
  • Product bar code scanning speeds up customer checkout.
  • Swiping credit card data speeds up checkout, too.
  • Electronic signature capture improves accountability.
  • Photographic proof of delivery is captured.
  • Invoice receipt is automatically printed or emailed, saving time.
  • Geo-coded, time- and date-stamped transactions improve visibility.
  • Sales data, including the signature, the photo, the geo-code info, etc. is fed into the ERP immediately, increasing confidence.
  • Show activity is completely backed up. Re-keying of data is no longer necessary.

You’ve just re-imagined a process that, when acted upon, will likely increase the satisfaction of your customers, salespeople, customer service reps and most likely, management and ownership. Best of all, with this imagined process, you created documentation suitable to help evaluate software developers and determine who has the best technology and experience to satisfy your needs.

To learn more about how xkzero can help you develop a mobile ERP strategy to fit your business, please contact us at info@xkzero.com or 847-416-2009.

 

DSD: Partnership Between Supplier and Retailer

With Direct Store Delivery (DSD) Retailers and Suppliers work closely together right in the retailer's store

With Direct Store Delivery (DSD) Retailers and Suppliers work closely together right in the retailer’s store

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Direct Store Delivery (DSD) is the process of getting goods into retail stores by delivery reps that regularly fill shelves with their products, take payments, and manage merchandising. This method of distribution benefits both the supplier and the retailer, who are essentially partners whose efforts support each other’s growth. The store and distributor relationship is especially key as we businesses look to accommodate shopper preferences and adapt to retail models.

Suppliers using DSD make frequent visits to stores to keep shelves full. This allows both suppliers and retailers to cater to individual store needs, accommodate new requests and deliver the freshest items available—especially those with quick expiration dates such as bread or produce.

See the blog post by xkzero,
What is Direct Store Delivery (DSD)?
for a more in-depth explanation
of this method of goods distribution.

Retailers like this because when they keep the products customers demand stocked, shoppers know they can count on their store to have the item they regularly purchase. That means repeat customers. Translation—more cash for both the retailer and the supplier.

DSD has become so established that stores and suppliers now often hold meetings to discuss ways to create joint-value. There, they discuss sales goals, evaluate the success of promotions, and share any shifts in shopper behavior patterns. Consumer habits reviewed may include the days of the week on which people shop, which may influence the choice to shift the delivery schedule. These partners also collaborate on the collection of point-of-sale data and other information through GS1 Trade Partner Performance Measures (TPPM). In addition, periodically, delivery reps may present customer “scorecards” to show how they rank in terms of sales and promotion performance.

To learn more about how xkzero can help drive sales and profits for your distribution business, please contact us at info@xkzero.com or 847-416-2009.

You’ll also find more about DSD on our website at http://www.xkzero.com/mobilecommerce/ 

 

Four Reasons to Visit xkzero at Sage Summit 2014

We are particularly excited about Sage Summit this year. We have a few new things to show you, so come on by booth #414. A lot of hard work goes into developing amazing apps and integrations for Sage ERP systems, so it’s great when we are able to get them in front of ERP users and Sage Software VARs. So, with that in mind, I’d like point out four reasons you should visit xkzero at Sage Summit (booth #414) this year:

Max-Large

Still frame from our xkzero Mobile Commerce video

One:

You may have heard this, but we launched xkzero Mobile Commerce last month at Interbev 2014. It’s an incredible new iPhone app that makes DSD, distribution and information gathering (competitive, operational, or otherwise strategic) super easy. While it was designed for Sage ERP X3, its flexible framework allows it to work with other ERP systems just as seamlessly. It’ll be great for you to see it first hand at Summit, and I encourage you to watch the 90 second video beforehand.

Two:
Pick up a cool new bottle koozie and enter to win an iPad Air (booth #414)!

Love_Customer_Giveawayipad_air

Three:
So, there’s this popular mobile sales and service app called iSales 100. We’ll have an exciting “3″ announcement about it and have many things to show you. If you are interested in mobilizing your sales and service teams (and getting mobile business intelligence), stop on by!

Four:
Did I mention stopping by booth #414 to grab a bottle koozie and a chance to win an iPad Air!?

Also, Paul will be speaking at one of the Thought Leadership Theaters at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. The session is called “Why mobile, why now? A decision maker’s guide to business success.” Didn’t sign up yet? You’ll have to settle for standing room only.

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xkzero Mobile Commerce–Automated Sales and Direct Store Delivery

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) June 11, 2014

xkzero, a Chicago-based software developer, today released the general availability of its new mobile sales and delivery application, xkzero Mobile Commerce. Mobile Commerce is designed for companies with direct store delivery (DSD) type requirements, and automates vehicle loading and scheduling, route and driver/sales rep assignments, pre-sales, delivery, product exchanges, returns, truck transfers and payments.

Equip your drivers for success

Equip your drivers for success

Paul Ziliak, co-founder of xkzero made the announcement from the floor of the FMI Connect/Interbev 2014 tradeshow in Chicago, attended by approximately 15,000 food and beverage-related industry professionals, many of whom rely on the DSD that xkzero Mobile Commerce serves. DSD is especially relevant to manufacturers and distributors of bread and baked goods, fresh produce, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, milk, dairy and ice cream, salty snacks, beer, wine and spirits, and prepared foods.

“Other industries will need this technology, too. We expect to serve any company with a dispersed sales force—and especially those that deliver their own products. xkzero Mobile Commerce has the tools for best-in-class sales, delivery and customer service, and is instrumental to building brand loyalty. As a product that is already live with a large distribution and delivery company, we are already seeing the results–xkzero Mobile Commerce is a sales and profit generating machine,” said Ziliak.

xkzero Mobile Commerce is a native iOS (Apple iPhone and iPad) application which allows for offline processing. Technology highlights include signature capture, geo-coded transactions and the ability to print documents such as invoices and proof of delivery forms. Custom survey functionality is another standout feature built into xkzero Mobile Commerce. It enables companies to create their own forms to automate vehicle inspections, gather retail and competitive intelligence, and survey customers. Also, any survey question can include a photo with tags. Reports can then be run on survey data–including photo tags–to target any customer, competitor, or operational information desired.

xkzero Mobile Commerce was engineered to integrate with Sage ERP X3 and will support other Sage ERPs such as Sage 100 ERP and Sage 500 ERP. Ziliak said, “Everything about the design was built with the manufacturer and distributor in mind, including the ability to plug it in to any ERP or accounting system. Although xkzero is a certified Sage developer, our company can create solutions for other ERP markets, too.”

About xkzero
xkzero provides Mobile ERP leadership and supply chain optimization for small and mid-sized distribution and manufacturing companies. Specializing in Sage ERP X3, Sage 100 ERP and Sage 500 ERP, xkzero’s published apps include iSales 100, GetX Universal Search for Sage 100 ERP and now xkzero Mobile Commerce. http://www.xkzero.com/MobileCommerce

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xkzero to Exhibit at Interbev 2014

xkzero To Exhibit At Interbev 2014 – Booth 5415

xkzero is excited to announce its participation once again at the Interbev tradeshow at McCormick Place in Chicago (our home town!) June 10-13, 2014. InterBev 2014 will co-locate with FMI Connect, United Fresh, PMMI-Pack EXPO Possibilities in Packaging Innovations and U.S. Food Showcase. 15,000 innovators from every channel of food and beverage retail and wholesale distribution are expected, making this event the center of the this industry’s universe for that week.

xkzero will be previewing xkzero Mobile Commerce, the new solution geared to meet the mobile sales, delivery, route selling, load management, intelligence gathering and other key operational functions for growing distributors. The target industries for the new mobile platform, which is built to integrate with major ERP and accounting software packages include bakery, wine and spirits, dairy, ethnic foods, snack foods and more.

Here is a two-minute preview video showing some of the capabilities for xkzero Mobile Commerce:

xkzero Mobile Commerce

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For more information about xkzero and xkzero Mobile Commerce, please contact us at info@xkzero.com.

How can I help my business with a mobile ERP sales app?

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Let us count the ways.

xkzero Mobility for Sage ERP X3 – available late 2013.

What Can A Sage Mobile App Do For My Business?

If you would like to learn more about xkzero Mobility, Sage Mobile Sales, or would like to share your mobile ideas with us, please contact us at info@xkzero.com.