You probably pride yourself on excellent customer service. However, it's tough to manage your customer service when you utilize multi-line sales reps. Often, the sales rep becomes the face of your company to the customer. For all the benefits that can be gained with multi-line reps, you run the risk that the rep may make mistakes that undermine your customer service standards.
Independent sales reps can be a big boost to SMB’s who are manufacturers, importers, and sell wholesale. They can expand your reach and get the word out to new customers. These reps can be your eyes and ears in the field, helping to keep you informed of customer opinions and competitor trends. They bring in the orders and act as a first line of defense for customer service issues. New reps can also bring in an instant customer base.
But do your outside sales reps drive you crazy? Managing independent multi-line reps has been compared to herding cats... it is very challenging to get them all moving in the same direction and they usually have a mind of their own. Offering your reps an online Rep Portal can make your sales team more productive, more independent, and can make your company stand out from the other lines they represent. A good online ordering system will also integrate with QuickBooks so the orders that your reps place will become sales orders without any data entry by your customer service staff.
An efficient order management process in QuickBooks will make your life easier. If you are a wholesaler, manufacturer, importer, or distributor you can save time and money by developing a process that flows with QuickBooks instead of working against it. This means using sales orders. QuickBooks wants you to use sales orders for your wholesale customers (just click Home in QB and you’ll see the QuickBooks sales process begins with a sales order).
Sales orders are a commitment to ship something in the future, even if the future is the same day the order comes in. An invoice is a request for money after the order has been shipped. You can convert a sales order into an invoice with just a few clicks. The best flow for most wholesale businesses is to create the sales order, print a pick list and a packing slip for your shipping department (and/or a work order if you are a manufacturer), and then create the invoice after the order is fulfilled. If there are backorders on the sales order these items will automatically stay open after you invoice the items that did ship.
Many companies who use Quickbooks and sell wholesale, also sell to individual consumers by using a shopping cart. However, the order fulfillment and billing processes for these two types of customers can be very different. eCommerce systems used for selling to wholesale customers need to accommodate the different requirements of selling B2C vs B2B. There are also differences in how these two types of customers should be set up in QuickBooks that will help in reporting and order management.
One of the great things about QuickBooks is that there are multiple versions to meet any need. Whether you're a startup or established, whether you sell products or services, there's a version of QuickBooks for you.
Growing a product-based wholesale business is hard work that often requires tough negotiating skills. Along the way, you've probably had customers ask for across-the-board discounts, custom prices on specific products, and other special incentives.
More business means more orders. More orders means more invoices. That means more forms, more data entry, and more transferring of information between different departments. It's easy for a form or piece of information to get lost in the shuffle.
When you run a product-based business, it's critical that you have a firm grasp on supply and demand: your inventory levels plus purchase orders to your supplier and/or work orders to your production floor are your supply, while sales orders plus sales forecast are your demand. It's easy to make errors when you don't have an accurate view into your inventory. You could sell products that you don't have in stock or fail to order or produce products in a timely manner. You can also make errors if you don’t have an accurate view into your current and future sales.
The effort can be further complicated if you run a wholesale product-based business. You may have different pricing structures for different clients. You may mix in direct to consumer sales with wholesale distribution. You may also vary your products depending on the client, or be in a seasonal industry.