Is Promotional Products Technology Helping or Hurting Your Business?
As a promotional products distributor or salesperson, having the right technology is critical to your success. The industry is aligned around this as well, with technology being a commonly cited driver of the success of our industry over the next decade. But with so many different products available and from so many different suppliers, managing the many details of your business — let alone the many platforms you may be using to support them — can quickly become overwhelming and incredibly inefficient.
This, combined with the industry-wide challenge of standardization for promotional product types and ordering, has left many distributors and salespeople frustrated and swamped with burdensome administrative work. While every new customer order brings in more revenue to your business, each seemingly brings with it an equivalent amount of time wasted on digging for details, trying to match up product codes, following up with suppliers, and more.
These tasks are far and away from what you should be focused on as a distributor or salesperson: selling more products and building relationships. You only have so many hours in the day, and it’s by allocating as many of them as possible to revenue generation that you can achieve your sales and business growth goals. Spending them on other tasks tips the balance between revenue generation and administrative responsibility unfavorably toward the later.
But where can improvements be made? Do you simply add another technology solution into your already platform-heavy stack? This is a common reaction to workflow and productivity challenges: simply add a SaaS platform to solve it. But the real issue is that you’d just be adding more to your plate than solving the underlying problem. You’d have to learn a new solution, potentially train staff members on how to use it, and allow some time for them to get up to speed — all while handling your existing work.
Focus on the Technology You Need Now
While you could easily find a technology platform for just about every productivity challenge imaginable, it’s important to focus on the promotional products technology that your business requires to meet customer expectations and operate efficiently. This includes your order management system, item standardization solution, and marketing and sales tools. Let’s explore why these solutions are so critical — and what the iPROMOTEu approach to technology for promotional products distributors and salespeople looks like in 2020.
Order Management System
Your order management system is the nexus of your business. Whether you’re a promotional products distributor or a salesperson working for a distributor, the order management platform you use will either make your day a pleasant and productive one or turn it into an administrative nightmare. Your order management system should make placing an order and centralizing all of the details about the items purchased as easy as possible. It should also be effective when your customer reaches out for a status update on their order. Virtually every detail about your orders and customers should be accessible within your order management system.
At iPROMOTEu, we provide Affiliates with the Xebra Order Management System (XOMS). This platform simplifies the management of all aspects of the order lifecycle. Affiliates can easily create quotes, prepare purchase orders, track in-production orders, generate financial reports, and more. Our technology team has extensively customized XOMS and continues to do so to best meet industry needs and trends. The system features built-in access to ASI and SAGE product search tools as well as advanced features designed to make growth more efficient, such as integration with eCommerce and store platforms and an inventory management module.
Item Standardization Integration
One of the biggest challenges facing the industry today is the sheer number of products available through so many different suppliers. Not all the products your customers want may be available through your primary suppliers, so you have to expand your options. This, multiplied by the number of times it’s needed, may result in administrative hassle trying to match up product codes in your order management system. It takes time, and the more time you and your team spend not selling means greater business costs.
At iPROMOTEu, we recognized this challenge early and adopted the Promo Standards integration between industry vendors and our distributors. This integration allows XOMS to receive automated order status and inventory update information from leading vendors while also enabling electronic data interchange (EDI) ordering with them. We also recognized that a one-time integration was not enough, which is why we continue to release new features for XOMS and standardization frequently, with even bigger releases coming soon. This ensures that our Affiliates are able to efficiently and easily manage all aspects of their customers’ orders.
Sales and Marketing
While order management software and product standardization integrations are critical technology tools for promotional products distributors, just as important are the tools you need to be able to grow your business. After all, that should be your focus, so having the best solutions available will only help you to refine and further that focus. From email marketing platforms to database management through a CRM, your marketing tech stack should be polished and ready to help you make an impact quickly and easily.
Because iPROMOTEu exists to help distributors and salespeople more effectively grow their businesses and relationships, it makes sense that we would invest heavily in sales and marketing technology support. And that’s exactly what we’ve done. From marketing automation tools that keep our Affiliates intelligently connected to their prospects to email solutions and other campaign tools that consistently lead to more appointments and closed deals, we have made sales and marketing technology for promotional products a key focus of our overall offering.
Make These Promotional Products Technology Solutions Yours
If you’re tired of not getting anywhere with the promotional products technology available to you at your current distributor organization, or if you’re a salesperson looking to branch out and put technology to greater use, we want to meet you. Everything we offer — technology and beyond — exists to make your life easier so you can focus on selling.
Most of our technology solutions are available to our Affiliates at no additional cost, meaning you can take advantage of these platforms right away and begin realizing their benefits. Our affiliate services team is also available to you at any time to provide training or support to ensure you’re able to make the most effective use of these tech assets as possible.
If growth is your goal in 2020, technology must be the foundation. Start your journey toward promotional products success at iPROMOTEu. Contact our team today to learn more about who we are, what we offer, and how our technology can help you achieve your goals.