Extend the use of your current ERP to improve sales and increase productivity.
I have written before about the huge growth of mobile device usage in business. Sales teams are able to do more and more on their mobile devices and with it they are now more responsive.
We have just finished an implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, including mobile functionality, where we helped take an organisation from reporting weekly, two days after the week close, to a situation where information is available daily and exception reporting can be in real time. Information that is now available includes competitive pricing, competitive activity and issue resolution. This information allows the firm to respond more quickly and resolve issues before they affect customer satisfaction. By having access to CRM out in the field the sales team are able to report after a visit and not at the close of the day or close of the week.
We are now being asked for sales order processing and mobility of our ERP offering. Clients want to be able to confirm an order while onsite with a client. Good sales staff work hard to sell the benefits and failure to close immediately just makes it easier for the next salesperson. Management will say they can take the order and confirm it later. True but it cannot be confirmed until we call the office or file a report at the end of the day.
The lack of real-time information reduces the salesman to an order taker and missed are the opportunities to:
- Sell end of line stock
- Split a sale to prevent stock running out
- Sell alternatives
- Get historical information.
Lack of mobility may mean missed sales and inefficient use of salesman time.
One of the greatest threats is when the competition mobilises, and you do not. Even though you are standing still with technology your customers will perceive you are going backwards.
Ok we need to mobilise the ERP. But what if your ERP does not provide that functionality?
The solution is clear; integrate the ERP to a CRM that is mobilised. This provides a solution that we can easily understand and is often cheaper and faster to market.
How does it work? Well at present, with integration, the obvious things are mobilised:
- A view of the account status in order to check the clients outstanding balance – however, a salesperson is not a debt collector
- Last month’s sales figures – however, a salesperson is not the sales manager.
What a salesperson wants is:
- Is there stock available?
- If it isn’t, when does the next stock arrive?
- Is there stock at other branches?
- What are the alternatives that are in stock?
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM you can extend your ERP and create an interface that allows real time calls to the ERP database. The salesperson can type in the stock number (static info), the request is sent off and custom fields in the CRM are populated with the correct information to assist in making the sale. This enables your sales staff to make the most of sales opportunities increasing revenue.
If you would like to find out how Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be used to access your ERP system via mobile devices, then please contact me.
John Biggs is a CRM Consultant with Olympic Software. He enjoys helping our clients to improve their sales processes using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. He often shares relevant information and articles on his social media channels. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him via LinkedIn or contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.