The Distribution Blog

Sales Management Software for B2B Distributors

July 24, 2023

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Ever find yourself fretting over missed sales opportunities?

Are your sales reps caught in a never-ending scavenger hunt for customer information?

Wish their precious time be better invested in the art of selling rather than mundane tasks?

Most distributors would answer these questions with a resounding “Yes!”

Our team recently shadowed a lubricant distributor sales rep. We witnessed how he kept track of pamphlets, handwritten notes, and notes on his phone as he traveled to customer sites. Instead of walking in with a plan, he asked the customer what they needed when he arrived.  

After visiting five customers, I asked him how he kept track of follow-up tasks. The sales rep said he sends himself reminder emails and checks them once he gets back to the office.

Now imagine this sales rep with sales management software that doesn’t just organize tasks, but helps plan his day, serve his customers in a consultative manner, and collaborate with his team, including his sales manager and customer service reps on the go.

Every B2B distribution company wants to sell more. Here’s how sales management software can make that happen.

What is Sales Management Software?

Much like a skilled orchestra conductor, sales management software harmonizes information, empowering your sales reps with the right details to excel in consultative sales calls. It manages the sales process, workflow, and pipeline for sales reps and gives sales managers insights to improve sales performance.  

Sales management software is a digital helper for sales teams and it organizes data from customer interactions across every sales channel into a centralized database.  

These platforms summarize helpful information for the sales rep –it’s the difference between a giant grab bag of information stuffed in a file drawer and a highly detailed summary of information for each customer. . Instead of wasting time rummaging around, or worse, “winging it,” a distribution account manager has a data-fueled strategy for every customer interaction.

Sales management software  manages prospect pipelines, customer order history, communications, and tasks. That may be why the adoption of these tools is projected to grow by 12% in the next five years. Sales management software is rapidly becoming the go-to tool for improving the productivity of distribution sales teams.

Check out how one company empowered their CSR-generated revenues with Proton’s sales management software.

Advantages of Sales Management Software for B2B Distribution

Selling in the B2B distribution space is complicated. Distributors handle many different customers and product lines. Sales management software keeps track of all customer interactions and preferences, enabling distributors to offer personalized service and maintain strong relationships.

Sales reps don’t spend enough time selling in part because they don’t have the right tools. They’re hunting for information or mired in redundant or inefficient processes (like emailing tasks to their inbox).

Sales management software serves as the proactive digital hub for client information so that more calls can transform from:

“Hi, Customer; how can I help you?”


“Hi, Bill. I noticed you were browsing our website’s new line of Ammex Pro Nitrile Exam gloves. It’s been three months since you placed a PPE order with us. Can I answer any questions or start a new order for you?”

Sales management software facilitates more efficient customer conversations by putting real-time information at your fingertips.

With a dedicated space for storing all relevant information, sales team members save valuable time finding the data they need. Sales tools hold all the information in a single place. With less wasted time, your sales team can focus more on selling.

Sales management software supports distributors in the following ways::

  • Improves team communication and collaboration. The sales team functions more effectively when everyone can share and understand information.
  • Facilitates understanding of your customers’ needs and pain points. With sales tools, especially those enabled by AI, it’s easier for sales reps to know who is interested in your products. Sales reps get actionable product recommendations to suggest because an AI-enabled sales tool sorts through order, search history, and other customer data to suggest accounts, products, and conversation starters. This software boosts the productivity of even the most inexperienced sales rep.
  • Streamline sales coaching and monitoring of sales team’s performance. Sales managers work from an easy-to-navigate online hub to identify who is excelling and who may need additional support.
  • Automates sales-related tasks. Automation not only saves your team time but also reduces mundane administrative work.

Sales management software enables better customer relationship management for distributors. Your reps are more helpful and efficient because they aren’t fumbling around to find answers. They become trusted advisors to your customers.

From the perspective of a distribution sales manager, this type of software tremendously improves their window into reporting and forecasting. Distribution sales management software offers detailed insights into employee performance and future trends. This data allows distributors to make informed decisions about sales strategies and inventory management, guiding their business success. As a bonus, these tools help managers systemize and scale best practice activities with customers to actively unravel the mystery of how to sell more.

Sales management software also preserves institutional knowledge within the platform, so that when an employee resigns or retires vital customer data is retained. Without a modern sales management platform, sales reps will rely on their own methods to track customer details and data. When they choose to leave your employment, valuable customer insight walks out the door with them.

Best Sales Management Software for Wholesale Distributors

We’ve seen what it’s like when distributors try to use a sales management software that wasn’t built for the unique needs of their customers – reps get frustrated and managers don’t get the results they want.  

While we might be biased, we recommend tools we’ve purpose-built for distributors.

Today, they’re used by 4 of the top 10 industrial distributors, 3 of the top 10 electrical distributors, and 2 of the top 10 janitorial distributors. You can read their stories here:

Screenshot of Proton's AI-Powered CRM for Distributors

Proton CRM + Sales AI

Proton’s all-in-one CRM + Sales AI platform breaks down information silos holding you back. Our platform collates real-time sales intelligence data from disparate systems in e-commerce, in-person interactions, email, phone, and more to show sales reps what they need to know about a customer from a single screen. Automation reduces their administrative burden, so paperwork won’t distract them from making sales. For managers, data-driven sales coaching helps you train inexperienced sales reps quickly and provides insight into your lower-performing reps.  

Screenshot of Proton Sales AI for Distributors

Proton Sales AI

Although Proton’s CRM + Sales AI software is an all-in-one tool, Proton Sales AI can be used as a standalone sales management solution with API, mobile, or web integration. It prioritizes the right accounts, highlighting products and categories where customers are underspending so you can grow wallet share, and automatically finds substitutes in seconds when products are out of stock. By identifying accounts that are due to reorder, Proton Sales AI gives sales reps a reason to reach out to keep customers fully stocked.

Ready to Elevate Your Sales Performance?

If your sales team is still cobbling together follow-up tasks after customer visits, losing valuable selling time by searching for customer information, and there’s no visibility across accounts, it’s time to consider sales management software. Sales management software is a digital helper for everything your sales team needs to sell products. Proton was purpose-built for distributors.  

Proton AI changes how account managers organize tasks, communicate with clients, and close deals. See our demo or give us a call today to see Proton in action.

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