Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 27


CLARK AND ASSOCIATES

CRM is one thing, but getting everyone in the
company to comply with the same discipline
is unique," Clark maintains.
Clark and Associates' CRM software originally was off-the-shelf. "It has changed so
much that it wouldn't be recognizable to the
average user," Clark asserts. "We've added so
many fields because of the nature of our business. We keep track of end-users and distributors by manufacturer, which is tricky. We
actually call it a business information system
because everything that we do goes through
our system. Ultimately, all these things add
up to speed-to-market, which is critical today, along with improved responsiveness
and staying closer to the customers."
The latest version of the software has
been in use for the past five years. "We're
cloud-deployed on everything we do, which
is not as easy as it sounds," Clark declares.
"We did it piece-by-piece over the last two
years." All the company's sales data, pricing,

libraries and videos are accessible by smart
phones or tablet or laptop computers that
the salespeople use in the field. "So the salespeople don't have to save every piece of information on their own computer," Clark points
out. "Our marketing department makes sure
everything is up-to-date so the salespeople
have the most current videos and pricing."

A FORCE FOR SALES
As a manufacturer's representative, Clark
and Associates can extend the reach of a
manufacturer into the 17 western states it
covers, augment a salesforce or represent a
company's entire sales effort. Some manufacturers might have a parallel channel such
as do-it-yourself for which they need sales
assistance.
"We often work in collaboration with a
manufacturer's existing salesforce," Clark
says. "Generally we represent more mature
manufacturers who want deeper penetra-

tion of our customer base. Often we introduce new products to the market for these
manufacturers, which is very important to
our sustained growth. We rarely do this for
companies who have little or no existing
penetration in our markets. That is what we
call a pioneering effort and is very expensive.
It would have to be something really unique
that can go to market very quickly."
Clark and Associates uses a network of
17 sales specialists stationed throughout its
sales territory, which extends from Missouri
and Iowa west through Nebraska and Kansas
to the remaining western states - from Montana to Washington on the north and New
Mexico to California in the Southwest.
"We have varying degrees of specialty
among our salespeople, depending on their
tenure and background," Clark explains.
Those tenures range from 20 years to six
months. "We have a young, aggressive sales
force. Our 20-year people started in their 20s.

Spring 2016 www.wdimagazine.com

27


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016

Contents
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover1
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover2
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 1
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Contents
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Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover3
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover4
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