01 March 2019

We all love a sample but how many is too many? Are you keeping track of all your sample request?

Pondered by Natasha

Samples may be small in size, but they play a big part in your business and more importantly should help drive sales. But the question is how are you accounting for the stock that has been sent out as samples? Or are you struggling to keep up? Do you remember who asked for that sample?

Fundamentally whilst samples might be free to customers, they are certainly not free for the businesses giving them out! Whether it’s part of your marketing spend allocation or otherwise you still need to manage and understand its role and utilise it for success in your business.

Better track your sample request from start to finish

Sample requests could be clients either asking for the first time, and looking to evaluate the product quality, or they are looking at new product lines for new projects they are tendering for. I have learnt over the years that historically many Building Materials manufacturers & distributors have not followed up with their sample requests - if this is the case, then what’s the point in offering the service in the first place? A perceived necessary evil must have a payback of some sort.

Where does your sample request come from? A phone call, email or website? And who does it come from? Whether it’s an end-user (that you will never sell directly to) a specifier, contractor or house builder, you need to understand how you can influence their mindset as part of the buying process.

The big question is Where do you track that? Let’s take a guess, in your head? colleagues heads? In outlook or on a spreadsheet? That doesn’t sound great does it?

Samples could always be used as a chance to upsell your clients for a more expensive option or use it as an opportunity to give them more detail and educate them on design & installation options. The key is as a business you would want to track the enquiry from the beginning, understand if this is a one-off sale enquiry that would be fulfilled through a wholesaler or whether it is part of a bigger contract tender e.g. housing development. That way you will know if those samples converted into revenue, and the year on year you will have a better view of your profit margin.

As a team we have worked with some well-known industry leaders in flooring & tiling such as: Karndean, Ted Todd and Victoria Carpets where we have deployed our Dynamics Building Materials solution which enables you to effortlessly track every aspect of your business interactions, from specification to quote, production, delivery and cash. We can track and manage the sample process, as well as the cost, to measure the return on investment. You could have the ability to automatically generate activities to follow up with your clients (or even automatically allocate to your wholesaler or retailer for follow up) and ensure everything is done to offer the best chance of closing that new sales opportunity you wish for.

Samples are a good way of having a USP as well as offering good customer service. Sometimes that sample may sit on someone’s desk for a while, but the moment it is needed, they know exactly who to call. It’s a marketing technique at the end of the day is it not?

Integrated Microsoft Dynamics software for the Flooring & Tiling Industry

Discover the many benefits, including sample management, of Dynamics Building Materials – attend our 30-minute webinar on the 10th April to discover how integrated Microsoft Dynamics software for the Flooring & Tiling industry can be the fresh start that you need to facilitate the future growth of your business. Book here

Enhanced on 27 Feb 2020

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