I speak with companies daily who have gone as far as they can with manual, paper-driven processes, decentralized tools, and disjointed departments. Resources are stressed and often blaming each other, costly mistakes pile up, paperwork is lost, staff and customers are upset, and the company simply cannot continue to operate like this, if they want to grow. In this struggle they realize, they must work smarter not harder.
Sales management software can help security integrators get a lot more done. It can streamline quoting, create site surveys, auto-generate proposals and contracts, share live sales data, calculate commissions, report pipelines, forecasts, and much more. In short, sales management software – like business software in general – is all about automating workflow.
Studies show that salespeople spend only about 1/3 of their time in direct sales activities weekly – in other words, actually selling. In a 40 hour week, that amounts to only 13.2 hours selling. Imagine, nearly 53 hours of sales time is lost monthly per salesperson! Instead, “sales time” is spent stuck in meetings, dealing with paperwork, manual reporting, and other administrative tasks. Management, too, spends more time than preferred handling responsibilities that don’t directly drive profitability. Automated workflows can easily return those lost resource hours by replacing manual, redundant tasks, moving multi-step, complex processes speedily along, providing history and audit trails, even helping to hold people accountable for required actions along the way. Even better, successful activities are visible and validated. In today’s environment many of us are selling and working remotely. Automated workflows seamlessly connect salespeople, customers, and the dots between what happens remotely and back at the office. Here’s what that looks like in a security sales organization:
Fewer and More Productive Meetings: There will always be a need for internal meetings. However, when sales management software is used in your process, meeting time decreases dramatically because sales data is centralized – lead, customer and product data is available in real-time across your organizational footprint. Approvals are automated and paper processes are eliminated. The sales to booking process is automated, reducing multi-resource time, meetings and diminishing opportunity for mis-communications, and inaccurate data.
Connected and mobile quoting tools enable sales to close on the spot or even on webinars. A salesperson out on a sales call can complete the sale remotely. Details of the sale are automatically available for internal resources – wherever they are working from. The inside team is “in-the-know,” handling next steps, getting the workorder going – often before the salesperson even leaves the site, or has wrapped up their customer-facing webinar call. The salesperson may move on to her next sales call knowing her team is in motion, proactively handling steps to deliver well for her customer.
Automated workflows help sales managers reduce the frequency and length of sales meetings. Software accurately reflects, real-time each salesperson’s pipeline, progress within sales stages, snags and successes, enabling better coaching to quota goals. Requests from executive management, for reporting and sales analysis, is quickly generated and shared via a link or as exported Excels, graphs and charts. Meetings shift to productive planning and strategizing, versus tedious information gathering. (For more on automated sales reporting, click here.)
Increases Earnings Faster: Sales management software can automate commission calculations. Salespeople amp up success as they automatically see estimated earnings as they sell! Automating commission calculations during the sales process energizes salespeople, increases profitable sales, reduces manual commission management costs, questions, complaints, and yes – meetings! Couple this with automating approvals, eliminating the need for manual review of every quote. This approach enables review only of estimates that surpass specific individual thresholds. Automatic notification to the right people of the need for approval means salespeople are no longer lined up at the door, calling repeatedly, or emailing requests lost in the inbox queue.
Eliminate Paperwork: Who doesn’t hate paperwork? Automated workflows can eliminate it, or at least dramatically reduce it and the related costs. No more walking paper files around for approvals, manual sales forms are no longer needed. Proposal and contract generation is another great example of automation. Sales management software enables pre-designed company proposal templates that ensure consistent branding, handle pricing presentation for various sales, pre-populate sales estimate fields throughout documents, allow custom scopes of work, and even facilitate e-signing by customers. In many cases, automated workflows turn lengthy, manual, paper-driven tasks into efficient processes that return resource time and cut paper.
More Selling Time, Less Busywork: How many times do salespeople and other resources fill the same data into multiple forms over and over? What a waste of time! Automated workflows end that. Once data is in the system, sales management software centralizes it making it accessible, wherever it’s relevant. This pertains not only to customer data, but to parts, labor and service pricing data too. If parts are discontinued, added, or prices change, automation immediately provides updated information, so that salespeople have current and accurate data. As for customers with agreed pricing contracts, automated workflows can help them too. Sales management software associates the right product catalogs and pricing with each pricing contract, so that when it’s time to quote, the process is seamless for salespeople. These are just a few examples of how automation eliminates busywork, opportunity for human error and returns selling time to salespeople.
It’s true, there’s no magic wand that allows security sales professionals to cram more hours in the day, but we can make better use of the hours we’ve got and that not only feels great, it increases sales. Automating your sales workflow, with the help of sales management software, restores time to engage in the customer-centric, revenue driving activities – the reason you chose a career in sales in the first place!