Understanding CRM for the Beverage Alcohol Industry

Without the proper planning and policies in place, a CRM will not only be ineffective, but add confusion and complexity to your business. These are some pitfalls to avoid when incorporating a CRM.

Do you dream of having a machine that maintains relationships with all of your customers and finds new ones for you, too? That’s what a lot of people think a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool will do for them, but the reality is that it CRMs fail businesses for a myriad of reasons. 

Without the proper planning and policies in place, a CRM will not only be ineffective, but add confusion and complexity to your business. There are a number of pitfalls to avoid when incorporating a CRM for your alcohol brand. It’s good to start by learning what a CRM for the beverage alcohol industry can do.

What do CRM systems do?  

A customer relationship management tool is any technology that manages your relationships with your customers and potential customers. It enables you to get a handle on all the individual people, such as distributors or beverage directors, that you interact throughout the sales process

CRM tools are meant for anyone in a business to have a central point of data about customers. They can be used by sales departments, business development, customer service, or any other component of your company. They allow you to ensure that no important customer data gets lost and that your organization stays on the same page.

Why is a CRM for the beverage alcohol industry important?

Perhaps the most important thing a business can do is get more customers. You want to retain your existing accounts and acquire new ones. The more information you can collect on those on- or off-premise accounts, the better. And the more you can have that information available and in a useful form for every department in your company, even better. That’s a lot of data points to manage and a lot of different needs to address. 

Why do CRMs fail and how can they succeed?

Like any complex system, there are lots of reasons a CRM can fail a beverage alcohol business. A few top contenders are:

  • Staff not committing to using it: It sounds obvious, but if every member of your team, including your market managers, your field team, and your brand ambassadors, doesn’t use it, your CRM is doomed. There are a number of reasons they may not use it, for example, maybe it’s not user-friendly and difficult to learn how to use or maybe it doesn’t align well with the existing sales process.

Related to this is the need for quantifiable metrics for success. How do you know when your CRM is succeeding or – perhaps more importantly – failing?

  • Outgrowing it: Your company is going to change over time. This means your goals, your audience, and maybe even your skus will change as well. A CRM set up a year ago might no longer make sense for who your beverage business is now. Make sure your CRM can adapt with your brand.

This may mean having a team devoted to monitoring the CRM’s success and providing modifications when it makes sense. 

  • Bad data: As the saying goes, garbage in results in garbage out. You want to make sure your data is accurate and clean enough to be analyzed and useful. Making sure this is solid will help with employee buy-in as well. This may mean having a team devoted to monitoring the CRM’s success and providing modifications when it makes sense. 

This can mean monitoring your data collection and providing clear direction as to how you want it done. 

Using Industry-Specific CRM Technology

Fortunately, there are some powerful industry-specific CRM tools out there that are built precisely for beverage alcohol brands. Overproof, a SaaS product built by beverage industry professionals for beverage industry professionals, is one technology option that has built-in CRM functionality. The AI-driven platform, however, goes well beyond the normal capabilities of a CRM, offering features that can help an alcohol brand determine their success probability at any venue in the United States.

With over 1.5 million on-and off-premise venues already in the Overproof database and a data team that is constantly updating it, this CRM tool is always up-to-date with clean data. As your team uses the Overproof app in the field, all of their sales activity will be tracked and visible to management through dashboards in the Overproof portal, so you can monitor and optimize your sales strategies. Your proprietary data, such as your portfolio, competitor brands, and depletion reports, can also be added to the Overproof platform, adding a third layer of data to make sure all of the different data points are stored in one place and working together to help you refine your go-to-market strategy.

Moving forward 

Using a CRM for your beverage alcohol business effectively means a full organizational commitment over a long term period. That shouldn’t scare you off though. After all, the same is true with the adoption of any technology. That commitment of time and energy will pay off in improved customer relations, better departmental interoperability, increased efficiency and more sales.

FAQs

What does a CRM do? 

A customer relationship management tool is any technology that manages your relationships with your customers and potential customers. 

What are the benefits of CRM? Why is CRM needed? Why is CRM important?

CRMs enable you to get a handle on all the individual people you interact with in the course of sales. They allow you to ensure that no important customer data gets lost and that your organization stays on the same page. A CRM is important because it helps you to retain your existing customers and acquire new ones by collecting important data about them and having that information available and in a useful form for every department in your company, even better. 

Why does CRM implementation fail? 

CRMs fail for many reasons. For example, your staff may not be committed to using it, it may not have been set up with clear goals or purpose, your company has outgrown it, or the data collected is either inaccurate or not useful. 

What makes for CRM system success? To successfully implement a CRM tool, you can involve your employees that will be using the system most in the initial design, invest in training them on how to properly use the tool, provide clear direction on how to collect data and input it accurately, and have quantifiable metrics to determine its success.

 

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