What is the usual scenario with sales management in a small firm? Quotation formats are set, raised to bid for projects, sales done and if the product needs a post-sales service contracts, then an Annual Maintenance Contract is designed. This is what we understand as a typical process pursed, which is mostly subjected to management at the mercy of excel sheets or sheer faith on words and some scribbled documents.
On careful observation, a company would realize that each of the aforesaid stage is a value-adding stage in the sales management process and that mis-management at any phase shall jeopardize the desirable output, which is, continuous business.
How about these stages are systematically pursued and managed? The result would be high chances at conversion.
WHAT SHOULD BE MANAGED?
You may be a small enterprise, a Startup, a medium level enterprise, but you definitely need an all-inclusive Sales Management or ERP solution.
What would be the Perfect fit for your company? What should you be looking in the ERP? What kind of a package should be right? This and much more would be the questions.
Well! A Sales &/or Services Management Application must be accommodative of all the major aspects related to the process. Typically, most of the Solutions come with multiple modules, each managing a function.
Fig.1: Modules in a Sales & Service Management Application
1. INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
This would include tracking of inventory levels for orders management. Adding multiple product categories, multiple Brands under each Category, multiple categories of pricing, raising Purchase Orders (PO), managing Suppliers and Information, making stock adjustments and so on so forth.
2. ENQUIRIES MANAGEMENT
This would include effective and efficient management of Enquires to maximize lead conversions. This needs recording of all enquiries, planning follow-up schedules for each enquiry, assigning lead accountability to team members, and constant updating of the enquiry status.
This application should make easy the otherwise meticulous planning of Follow-ups and should track the source of enquiry for strategic analysis and decision making. One should be able to check the availability of employees at certain times to be allocated for follow-up with a lead. It doesn’t stop here, besides regular follow-ups, there is always a backlog staring at you. So such pending follow-ups must be constantly identified and tracked.
Access control and rights allocation are a very important part in such applications. Setting up of Controls such as to who can access Scheduled Follow-Ups, safeguarding against tampering of plans, schedules or any other information, can guard against potential alterations.
3. SALES MANAGEMENT
This module should assist you in raising quotations, scheduling follow-ups on quotations, raising invoice, generating invoices, reporting & recording sales. Usually applications come with quotation template builder, lending a customized experience.
There are chances that these Quotations undergo multiple editing with the rounds of negotiations. Thereby this application should foster continuous accommodation of such negotiations based edits. There would be instances, especially routinized ones where the deal may not halt at a quotation phase. Thereby an ideal application should give you the provision of skipping approvals at customer’s end. For products based businesses, generate Store Requests directly from Approved Quotations for Sales.
Sales Management is indeed a continuous process and that an application that manages all these stages can only do justice to the process. From lead generation to post-sales stages, the process is all encompassing. Sales must be managed to garner Continuous Sales. Read here our article on Sales Management Process.
4. SERVICE CONTRACTS MANAGEMENT
Service contracts are an integral part of the post-sales process. If the products are in serviceable categories, then it is a usual routine to generate service contracts alongside the sales.
Generating service contracts is one thing, but managing them and delivering on them is yet another aspect. Timely reminders, push notifications and scheduled follow-ups are a must to ensure smooth execution.
Also such applications must accommodate a company’s maintenance services strategy. Some companies emphasize a lot more on the post-sales stages. Thereby employees must be assigned higher accountabilities when it comes to managing service contracts.
5. COMPLAINT MANAGEMENT
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Like they say, customer complaints are disguised business opportunities. And it begins with due noting of the complaint and ends with a delightful resolution.
Make sure that your application lets you record and report complaints from customers. You should be able to schedule follow-up for each and every complaint. Allocate Executives based on expertise on the complaint areas, schedule follow-up, report and update complaint status and take all actions necessary, as and when required to make sure that the complaint is resolved in the best manner that was.
6. EXTENSIVE REPORTING
One of the most important reasons why we need a software or an application is to streamline functions and the same must be reflected in the Reports.
The application must be able to generate multiple reports for analysis and decision making. Reports could be generated on daily, monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Some software are empowered with analytics to get even the most micro reports.
Important parameters that usually need detailed reporting would be Executive Performance. Daily Activity, Quotations raised, Invoices raised, Sales made, Branch-based performances, Complaints received, Complaints redressed and so on.
Having spoken about what an ideal sales and services management application must cover, it is also equally important that the application chosen has to be very user-friendly. The last thing a busy team needs is to beat their head around decoding a software. Descriptive Manuals, Help links, Helpdesk provisions, 24x7 Customer Support are key driving factors in this industry.