By Henning Lund - September 21, 2016
Let it be said. I’m a sales process addict. I don’t believe that sales is random. In my mind, the logic behind the sales success formula is quite simple, if you know what your client really wants and what your competitors offer, then you just need to align with that and the closing is not random any more. I normally say to the sales clerks: “you can’t change your luck, but you can limit your misfortune!” How? This is what you need to do:
This leads to the next question, “where do I find such information in salesforce, and what sales history information am I likely to benefit from in my sales process?” Let’s have a look at the system.
At an aggregated level you can see how the customer is trending by looking at your annual or periodic sales. With a Salesforce-ERP integration you are able to load ledger entries from the ERP-system and make this information available in Salesforce, for example at the account level.
The above information is easily provided when you have the underlying data available (for example the ledger entries). When Salesforce is integrated with your ERP system, you can make reports based on historical ERP data such as previous purchase, payment patters, orphan customers and of course if you’re successfully growing your engagement and loyalty with the account. Having information such as the balance information is convenient when discussing a new quote, negotiating payment terms. Of course you can add other information such as credit limit to give even better control. This way, you will never miss an opportunity to settle an old unresolved balance with an existing client, when they are about to make a new purchase.
The sales history can also include posted invoices, which typically is presented the same way in Salesforce as in the ERP system with a list of invoices, where you can drill down and see the Invoice header and invoice lines. If you have also included items in your data transfer which is a very simple thing to do, then you have the possibility to drill further down into the product on an invoice and make really powerful reporting to feed e.g. marketing campaign target groups.
In most ERP systems, Invoices, Payment and Credit Memos are stored in separate tables. However when we load this information to a CRM system like Salesforce it is very convenient to place all of the ledger entries in the same table. It makes it much easier for salespeople to navigate and to utilize in reporting. It looks like this:
You can also work more progressively with Salesforce Sales Cloud to support general flows such as Prospect to Customer. If a company is actively using Salesforce as their main sales tool then any new client starts as a lead in Salesforce. When they are converted into an account and opportunity in Salesforce and eventually a customer, the event triggers the creation of the customer account and of a new order with order lines etc. in the ERP system. This means that with an integration between Salesforce and ERP, the manual time-consuming processes can be eliminated and the general quality and responsiveness increase. When an order is fully delivered it is removed from open orders in CRM and instead appears under the posted invoices. When payment is received it can balance out open invoices so that you can track exactly what has been paid and what you have not paid in the CRM system.
This type of admin processes optimization around sales thanks to integration enables the sales organization to spend more time on customer-facing activities, do follow-up and account management, target group identification for new campaigns or hunt new leads.
If you have a larger organization with multiple ERP instances either because you belong to a group of companies or because you are based in different locations, then you can use Salesforce to consolidate the information so that you have one system containing all customer data. This opens up a whole new palette of opportunities for increasing revenue and optimizing sales processes to the benefit of your sales organization, your customer and your company as a whole.
What I have described above is common practice for thousands of companies and it is fairly simple to integrate systems with highly efficient data integration platforms like RapidiOnline . Typically it only takes 5-10 days to implement in full for an average company thus within a comfortable reach for most companies.