When many sales managers think about business management software, or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), software, they often believe it’s only for operations:
“Isn’t that the software that runs the manufacturing processes?”
“That’s the software the accounting department uses, isn’t it?”
While these observations are true, the fact is that a modern ERP system is also a very important tool for sales management. Here are some key ways that the right business management software can help you increase your sales:
1 – Know Thy Customer
Your sales team can know what products your customer has ordered, quantities, any problems with orders, credit status and more by looking inside your integrated ERP / CRM software system. Customers always appreciate it when you know their account. Having this type of information at your fingertips when speaking with them makes you look like the most informed account manager they know.
2 – Don’t Sell What You Don’t Have
With real-time inventory intelligence inside your business management software, your sales team can ensure that they’re selling products you can fulfill as promised, or at least communicate the appropriate fulfillment time to your customers. Few things frustrate customers like hearing that an item is on back order after they place an order; having real-time inventory data helps you avoid this situation.
3 – Avoid Disasters Before They Happen
When you have a customer that requires kid-glove handling, all it takes is one person to drop the ball and you could lose the account. A modern ERP system allows you to flag accounts and communicate key information on customers across your organization.
4 – Order at Light Speed
Having the ability to quickly configure and trigger an order is more than a convenience; it means that your sales team can get back to selling faster. The latest ERP systems streamline the order process in ways that older software systems just can’t handle. Drag and drop configuration and faster methods for checking availability of required components means that orders can be placed quickly and efficiently.
5 – Keep Your Eye – And Everyone Else’s – On the Ball With Key Performance Indicators
Providing a sales department with a clear understanding of their progress toward sales goals on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis helps motivate the team, obviously. But you can drive that motivation deeper with an ERP that provides visibility for the entire organization into customer satisfaction, customer preferences, and milestones, and other key factors. Customizable, graphic dashboards in modern systems allow you to provide everyone with “at-a-glance” information they will actually use to improve results.
6 – No More “He Said, She Said”
With one business management software system that provides one version of the truth to your organization, debates about inventory quantities, ship dates, pricing, etc., come to an end. When everyone has the same set of data, both internal communication and your customer satisfaction improves.
7 – Profit From Consistent Pricing and Discounting Policies
Pricing and discounting can be problem areas if not well managed; with one consistent system, you can ensure that your salespeople and customers are all following your preferred guidelines.
8 – Drive Sales Performance With an Effective Commission Program
The right ERP system will help you set up and manage clear commission policies based on well-defined factors such as dollar value, total sales volume, account growth and more. And you’ll have complete reporting on what commissions have been earned and paid.
9 – Improved Tracking of Sales and Commissions = Happier Salespeople
In a modern ERP system, the accuracy of sales tracking can improve significantly, resulting in higher commissions for your sales people and a happier sales team.
10 – Increased Customer Satisfaction
With improved delivery times, clear pricing and discounting policies, consistent messaging and other benefits of a modern ERP, your customer satisfaction ratings will improve, generating referrals and growing sales.
Make sure that your current business management software system is being fully optimized to support Sales, as well as Operations. If your ERP system isn’t helping you improve your sales with all of these methods and more, it may be time to consider upgrading to a more modern solution. If you don’t currently use an ERP system, 2017 may be the year to implement one—to improve sales and your bottom line.
Article reprinted from the Winter 2016 issue of Bellwether.
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