Computer programmers

A CRM for the Promotional Products Industry

Customer Relationships are every businesses most valuable asset.  The ability to manage, track and collaborate with customers is critical.

Antera Software recognized the need for the promotional products distributor to manage relationships effectively while adding the value of increased customer service to their products offerings. This would provide the differentiation the distributor needs in this competitive marketplace.

Advanced Promotional Products Distributor Software

Antera has been very successful in providing a totally integrated solution for the promotional products industry.  The Antera CRM is modular by design and built to integrate with the business processes of the promotional product distributor. Many alternative solutions require change to business processes. Antera’s Advance system is designed to integrate and connect with the existing business process framework.

The result is a customer relationship manager which enables a distributor to communicate with prospects and customers, track orders, close deals and keep customers happy.  Once in use, the Antera CRM will unlock information trapped in email and on desktops to ensure every employee is on the same page.

Development and Support

Most development companies today use a combination of US-based and foreign developers. Over the last several years Antera has been making a large push towards utilizing only US developers and the majority of the team is US-based today. Antera’s project managers and developers are available for collaboration during working hours and speak English.

The goal is to provide high-end software development with exceptional collaboration between the Antera staff and its clients. A project manager is assigned to all projects to ensure the objectives of our clients are being met daily.

Technical Implementation

The Antera CRM product can be 100% cloud based requiring no hardware commitment, or placed on a local server.

Web Store Option

Antera has the ability to provide corporate web stores for the clients of the Antera customer The Web Store from Antera is totally integrated with the Antera CRM processing. The Antera Web stores provide unlimited users access and can easily be customized. Antera utilizes flat pricing and does not charge transaction fees.

For more information, contact Antera Software at 214-556-8040

ordering promotional products

Tracking the Order from a Customer Web Store

In the competitive promotional products market, the distributor that can provide a Web store to their customer has an edge. A Web Store allows the customer’s employees to view promotional products and orders directly. The benefit to the customer is the ability to present an online method for their department heads and employees to order promotional products.

Tracking the order from the Web Store is critical for the distributor. Without order tracking, the distributor is not able to offer first-class customer service that is so important to maintaining a long time satisfied customer.

The Antera Software Web Store tracks the order from a Web Store with the same efficiency as if the order was placed from an internal employee, such as a sales representative. Antera’s Web Store automatically feeds the customer order into Antera’s LINK ECM Customer Portal. At the core of Antera’s Customer Portal is a robust customer portal that integrates document management, workflow and notices together, providing a truly automated fulfillment process.Antera tracks orders

The generation of an order has can be a very manual and paper intensive task in the promotional products industry.  Some companies fax them in, and some mail them in. Some even have an electronic order form, but very few have the technology that is provided by Antera’s customer portal. this technology is integrated with the Antera Web Store.

For instance, when a promotional products order is initiated, it could require as many as four vendors to be involved in a single product. Antera Advance will automatically identify orders requiring multiple vendors and generate an individual purchase order for each vendor. The user has the ability to see the master purchase order with all vendors together or view each vendors purchase order separately.

Antera’s Order Form provides the user the ability to manage every aspect of the order. A wearable matrix allows you to easily account for all wearable items and provide the exact size, color and quantities to the suppliers. Artwork can be uploaded to each line item. Shipping instructions per line item and account info provide the ability to manage multi-vendor orders quickly. The system automatically generates purchase orders for each vendor and manages the entire order process.

The Supplier PO is automatically generated. In the event of multiple suppliers on the same order, a new purchase order is generated for each supplier. The system allows you to show supplier only notes and relay information to the supplier that is not seen by the customer.  Supplier PO’s can be setup to automatically send. Artwork uploaded with the order is automatically remitted to the supplier when the purchase order is sent.

Antera Software provides the promotional products distributor the ability to offer corporate web stores to their clients. The Antera Web store provides unlimited users access. Antera offers flat pricing and does not charge transaction fees.

Antera Software Web Store

What Does a Web Store Provide a Promotional Products Customer

The promotional products customer expects ‘service on demand’. They are no different from anyone else these days. The only question for the promotional products distributor is how to provide on-demand service for their customer quickly, integrated with order fulfillment processes and with a professionally branded look for the customer. The answer is to provide a Web Store to the customer.

A Web Store allows the customer’s employees to view promotional products and order directly. The Web Store should be branded to look like the customer’s internal company service. It needs to be interactively integrated with the distributors order and fulfillment processes. Immediate response to the customer’s order is provided by the distributor, while having the process appear to be internal to the customer’s organization.

In our previous post One Way for Distributors to Stay Ahead of the Competition in the Crowded Promotional Products Market, we discussed the fact that high value promotional products distributors are implementing plans to ensure the best customer service to differentiate themselves from the low-cost competition. A professionally designed Web Store provides that differentiation.

A Web Store should be built to the customers specifications. To accomplish this, the store should be customizable and provide access to unlimited products with unlimited users. Antera Software offers the premier Web Store for the promotional products industry.

Antera’s Web Store automatically feeds the customer order into Antera’s LINK ECM Customer Portal. At the core of Antera’s Customer Portal is a robust customer portal that integrates document management, workflow and notices together, providing a truly automated fulfillment process.  Workflows can be a simple one person (please approve this artwork) or advanced 15 step flows that run major aspects of your business. Artwork, orders or any files can be dropped into a folder automatically kicking off predefined workflows to process. Order confirmations can email off to clients for approval.  Upon approval, they can automatically feed the system and kickoff artwork to vendors.  Artwork proofs can feed the system and trigger approvals back to your organization and the customer.

The Antera Web Store kicks-off virtually every action involved in the processing of orders, purchase orders, managing training, products production, general office functions; even human resource functions can be setup with automated workflows. This is made possible by a robust Web Store tightly coupled with the premier CRM designed specifically for the promotional products industry. To learn more, contact Antera Software at 214-556-8040

 

Crowded promotional products marketplace

One Way for Distributors to Stay Ahead of the Competition in the Crowded Promotional Products Market

It is no secret that the promotional products market is doing well in 2015 and that should continue. Along with a productive market comes a more competitive environment for the distributors. Competitors are entering the promotional products market offering no other value than slashed prices.

A competitive market creates the need to develop strategic plans to address what matters to the customer. What matters is customer service and differentiation. The high value promotional products distributor is implementing plans to ensure the best customer service and continue to differentiate themselves from the competition.

As Belinda Gist, owner of Red Truck Promos LLC , was quoted as saying in the post How Can Distributors Compete With This New Breed Of Competitor?

“Clients have a lot of options these days, and it puts pressure on us to build those relationships quickly and invest in maintaining them,” she says. “It drives us to be more creative, more service-oriented, and to be able to deliver quickly.”

While technology is allowing a low-cost-of-entry to enter the promotional products market, it also can offer the platform to provide customer service and demonstrated differentiation.

For instance, customers want to make promotional products available to their employees. A promotional product distributor should have the ability to immediately create a white-label Web Store for the customer. This Web Store can be made available to the employees and department heads of the customer so they can order directly. However, all orders are tracked by the distributor’s assigned representative ensuring the highest quality service not available from common low-priced online retailers.

The Branding Beat states in the post Promo Product Pros Weigh in: 2014 Trends, Year in Review, and Forecast for 2015! “Similar to the way customers want more of a retail feeling with their products, customers also want their ordering experience to feel more like a traditional shopping experience.”

The best of both worlds is offered to the client through the implementation of a Web Store. The ease of ordering online throughout his company by employees and departments; coupled with the high quality customer service through their trusted provider, which is you.

If you would like to learn more on how Web Stores add value to your promotional products company by offering customer service and differentiation, call us at 214-556-8040 or visit us at Anterasoftware.com

 

Construction data

How to Manage Data in a Growing Construction Industry

Streamlining internal business workflow is becoming more and more critical, as the post-recession construction industry continues to be on the rise. As more business activity is being pumped back into the construction industry, it is imperative that construction firms manage data effectively to maintain business efficiency.

However, as noted by Ray Chen in Sharing Data in the Construction Industry, “As a whole, the construction industry lags other sectors when it comes to the use of a fully integrated information system, not so much within, but between organizations. We work in an environment where there are no commonly used open standards for sharing data between general contractors, subcontractors, and customers.”

Gone are the days of box storage facilities to keep record of all of your files in the construction industry, not to mention spending countless hours searching through your files to find the information you are looking for. Instead construction firms are realizing how beneficial it is to use software that can help streamline workflows by storing data electronically that is easily shareable.

With all of the key players in making a construction project run smoothly from start to finish, it would make sense to have a system in place that would allow for more efficient data management. That is where Link ECM software comes into play. Some examples of the benefits from this type of software are as follows:

  • operate in a paperless environment, negating the need for faxing, file cabinets, and document storage
  • accept and convert data to and from other software which can eliminate manual entry altogether
  • securely and consistently manage documents, e-mails, scanned paper, and any form of client or project content in a unified client file
  • full text search on every document
  • document profile metadata
  • usergroup management with the ability to share documents with password protected links

The key is to improve business processes so you have more time dedicated to building quality relationships with clients, making them feel appreciated and more than just a number. This will, in turn, create long lasting working relationships, not only between you and your clients, but also with everyone you work with in order to get the project completed from start to finish.

Contact Antera Software to understand more about Electronic Workflow and Data Management for Construction and find out how it can simplify your data management.

CRM SOftware

Customer Relationship Management Software Goes Beyond Customer Driven Processes

The biggest benefit to a business from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is generally thought to be the improvement of customer processes. Every businesses most important asset is their customers and is always in the forefront. However, other important business processes beside customer relationships can also be greatly improved, managed and automated.

By incorporating document management, workflow and notices together, you can truly automate your business processes.  Workflows can be a simple one person or advanced 15 step flows that run major aspects of your business. Special order specifics can automatically kick off predefined workflows to process.

Then there are the notifications needed in the process. Order confirmations can email off to clients for approval.  Upon approval, they can automatically feed the system and kickoff special product orders to vendors. Product specifics can feed the system and trigger approvals back to your organization and the customer.

Virtually every action involved in the processing of orders, purchase orders, managing training, products production, general office functions, even human resource functions can be setup with automated workflows.

In the post Benefits of CRM Software and How to Choose a Platform is stated that “Forming and maintaining relationships with customers is one of the most important aspects of any business. Without positive relationships, it’s hard to thrive in any industry and long-term success can be jeopardized. That’s why it’s so advantageous to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) system into your operations.”

Don’t stop at just improving customer relationship processes. How would a portal enable you to do better or more business with everyone? Customers, Vendors, Employees, Attorney’s or your Accounting Firm, all are in need of consistent, secure online communication and workflow.

The ability to exchange, update and archive data regarding your accounts can make the difference of keeping the customer or losing them to a competitor.

Imagine a portal that is simple to use, simple to configure and can improve all business processes in a way that you only dreamed was possible in the past. Antera’s Customer portal gives you everything you need to connect and distribute information to everyone you do business with. Contact Antera Software to discuss the possibilities of a properly implemented Customer Relationship Management application.

 

Complexity of promotional products

The Promotional Product Choice Is Personal And That Makes Things Complicated

The term “its nothing personal, just business” is not often applicable when it comes to promotional products. The choice of which promotional product to use to enhance a company’s brand and increase awareness is personal. This creates a level of complexity for the promotional product distributor that no longer can be handled efficiently through traditional manual processes.

The customer has become quite diligent in their campaign development. Whenever a campaign is designed by a customer, the first step they take is to set an objective so that results can be measured. Other criteria can be that the product is useful. The product also must carry the quality level of the company it is representing. All of these criteria need to be met with a cost-effective solution to help ensure campaign success. This is where it gets personal.

The promotional product distributor needs to manage the many options that their clients are looking for to meet the criteria of their selection. Providing a quote and completing the order process has become more complex as the client has become more aware of the incredible benefits of the correctly designed promotional products campaign.

To maintain cost-effective efficiency in the fulfillment of an order, the quoting process needs to be user-friendly and very customizable.  Each salesperson within the distributor’s organization should have a unique template for the generation of quotes and have multiple templates designating the urgency of the quote, a special holiday or the time of the year. The distributor needs to be in control of what the quotes look like.

The order process in the past has traditionally been a very manual and paper intensive task in the promotional products industry.  This manual process has proven to be too slow for the complex order processes today. With the touch of a button, a distributor wants to turn a quote into an order and process it through their system. QuickBooks integration is an added benefit to make the whole process seamless.

Antera Software has an excellent implementation. The Order Form provides the distributor the ability to manage every aspect of the order. The system automatically generates purchase orders for each vendor and manages the entire order process. Contact Antera to learn more about how to seamlessly quote and deliver the personal choices that the customer makes to represent their company in just the way they want.