Automation Potential in: Quote To Order
automation Impact evaluation
When it comes to any sort of sales activity, a large component of time is spent on administrative tasks which could easily be streamlined through automation.
Enquiries often come in through a range of disparate systems. They are often then entered into a CRM like Salesforce, combined with other data from core systems and put in a queue for sales follow-up. This is a process that can easily be automated. A robot could go and find job titles, work experience and even cross-reference a company against VAT or companies house. In a matter of minutes, a substantive picture can be formed to better inform both sales and marketing as to how good the prospect is.
Identify, manage and qualify leads
Automation isn’t intelligent enough to spot buying signals but it could be used to provide some basic form of qualification. Once a prospective client’s details have been entered into the CRM and details have been verified, the bot could then score that lead. This could take into account the turnover of the company, the job title, perhaps the amount of connections to the company. This would provide a quick but rough indication of which leads may be better, and certainly it could flag up leads where payment may be an issue. Ultimately your team will need to prioritise which leads are the most important.
Create an initial sales quote
Automation can certainly remove the need to retype a client’s information from one system into another, can bring up the appropriate terms and conditions and pull in product information.
Approve pricing, discounts and promotions
In the creation of a quote, you could add in some rules as to the lowest price that can be negotiated or perhaps the fastest turnaround that should be offered, but generally speaking these considerations all require manual oversight. Generally speaking in industries where negotiation is required, you will need a person to do that. You could set up some basic rules on what is an acceptable reduction on cost and rather than every discount needing approval, this could be automated. When people are willing to buy they want fast answers and for any business with a wide range of products getting each and every discount approved may simply loose sales. A bot could work across a CRM/ERP to verify the current cost of a particular product, cross reference that with the requested discount, and discounting policy and approve or disapprove the discount.
Create and manage customer orders
A problem that many organisations have is that sales and operations sit in two different silos. This leads to problems where sales are the one who have the relationship with a customer, when operations take over the chain they don’t have that rapport causing a lot of back and forth as to who should update that client when/if something goes wrong. Tools like Robotic Process Automation work across systems and so can create sales orders, and instantly inform all stakeholders when updates occur.
Manage customer data
Customer data is something that has very much been on the agenda, especially since the introduction of GDPR. Bots can log into a CRM and automatically check details for customers, send catchup emails and cross-reference linkedin to see if that person is still in the same position.
As you’ll see above the main purpose of automation is to take away the data entry, the retyping and the low-level tasks and allow you to focus on prioritising your pipeline and converting more leads.
We worked with one of the largest sub-contract manufacturers in the UK who were looking to help free up time for their business development team by automating features of the RFQ process. For a sub-contract manufacturer, winning work normally involves establishing your company as a selected supplier, answering RFQs and then completing manufacture.
Proservartner created a bot using Robotic Process Automation which was configured to check several websites for relevant RFQs. RPA carries out actions as though it is a human user and using the secure credentials within its orchestration platform can access and input passwords. From here the bot used predetermined search criteria to search for relevant opportunities and export them in whichever format is desired for review. (In this case an excel file) This was then reviewed by a member of the business development team for follow up.
We were able to automate around 80% of the workflow and the company saw a return on investment within 12 months. There was a significant improvement in supplier order being delivered due to faster invoice payment.