Like it or not, cloud is here to stay. It has brought in a wave of digital disruption in this information age. Innovation and constant change for betterment have become not just necessary for survival but also key to growth. As rightly expressed by British philosopher, writer, and speaker Alan Watts, "The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. "The story that follows is a case in point where visionary leaders and partners with a customer-centric focus took the big leap in cloud technology to help their customer’s sales team focus only on what they are best at — ‘selling’.
The objective was actualized with modern technology hardware and applications to facilitate real-time customer information at the reach of the sales team.
Embracing Simplicity in Design
Building something complex is easy but building something simple? Challenging. You might think the answer to the problem of sales teams is obvious — Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. To some extent, yes. But CRM solutions don’t solve problems by themselves, people do, and data is the key tool to achieve CRM objectives.
One of our customers – a leading heavy equipment manufacturer – approached us with a similar need. The aim was crystal clear: help their sales team with not just Mobility but access to real-time customer-centric information — anywhere, anytime.
While performing detailed business case blueprinting our team uncovered that the necessity of the hour was not just to implement a mobile sales force automation (SFA) tool at their site but also to enable insights into real-time inventory. This inventory could be procured from plants across North America to meet customer demands and price various configurations of heavy machineries in real-time. This would enable the Sales team of the customer to capture opportunities against competitive products before providing quotations.
Enabling Sales Force Automation to Boost Sales Performance
Every sales force automation project is aimed at the one-and-only goal of equipping Sales with better and faster technology to sell more. But is that enough? Not everyone is well-versed with technology. And even if they are, shouldn’t the focus be more on leveraging the technology to boost performance or sales figures?
User adoption is crucial for any program rollout, but it’s the ‘What’s in it for me?’ that drives the success rate. The mantra is simple: help Sales help customers. Keeping customers at the heart of the entire selling process enables sales, service, and technical experts to get insights into the products sold, the complaints logged in by customer service, and the production statuses for custom-configured products.
Most of us tend to use the clichéd term ‘customer 360°-view’ for the abovementioned genre of insights. But what this enablement essentially means is providing just the right amount of information to professionals according to their roles and responsibilities. And the best part? This eliminates the noise that might divert the focus or dilute the actual picture and need for that kind of information.
The customer we are talking about in this story realized precisely this and chose us as the implementation partner and SAP C/4HANA as the global solution that will grow with their business needs. They wanted to work with a service provider with a proven track record of providing such secure and agile solutions. And that’s how our team led the customer on a journey of SAP C/4HANA.
Understandably, the end goal was to roll out the solution as quickly as possible on mobile tablets and reduce the time spent on numerous calls to the back office for inventory, tracking customer orders, and answering queries related to those orders. Having already tried to leverage and extend their legacy CRM system as much as they could, the idea behind the technology leap was, simply, sales growth and sustainability. And this is just what the customer witnessed after the implementation.
Tip: Start by zeroing in on the key aspects
One zero-error method I recommend for charting out your project plan? Figure out the Who, What, Why, and When and then keep those insights in focus while executing the project.
- The Who: For whom was this project started in the first place?
- The What: What technology is to be implemented to solve the customer’s challenges? (Both the software and hardware aspects)
- The Why: Why is there a need for the change?
- The When: When will the promise be delivered?
From the perspective of this customer:
- The Who: Sales people
- The What: SAP C/4HANA on Windows Surface Pro tablets
- The Why: Mobility is no longer an option but a must-have. Insight into sales-critical enterprise data is needed for Sales while they are on the road to serve customers better and faster
- The When: The timeline for delivering the project
I’d like to emphasize here that CRM is a journey, not a destination. And technology should never drive the implementations but should rather focus on the business use cases. The success of any implementation project should be measured not based on how many people use the solution but based on how many love the solution.
Please feel free to comment or share your success story with me in the Comments section below. CRM is an area that is growing exponentially and I am sure everyone reading this has data, reporting, prospects, marketing, and the like revolving around their heads when they read the term ‘CRM’. But what you should do is consider CRM to be akin to food - when taken with discipline, it can provide good health. Without discipline? It can lead to ill health. With this food for thought, I’ll sign off….Bon appetit!