When speaking at a recent SAP Cloud customer event I was surprised at the reaction I received when I demonstrated SAP Cloud CRM ‘Customer OnDemand’. The audience was made up of Directors, Managers and Sales People and the general consensus was that this is a tool that helps sales people be more effective! I’ve been involved in all aspects of the cloud for the past 5 years and have sold, installed and configured a number of CRM systems so this reaction really shouldn't have surprised me so much.
At some stage in your career I’m sure you've come across a piece of software that not only is difficult to use but totally defeats its purpose by over complicating a process that it is meant to make easier. This not only frustrates end users but it means that they lose faith in the software, stop entering data and it becomes another unused icon on a desktop gathering dust...
We are all aware that today’s business is constantly changing. Our customers today have more power and choice than ever before and it is them who determine the ever changing sales cycle. Research from the Sales Executive Council has told us that 57% of the buying process occurs before a customer engages with a sales rep. By searching the web, reaching out on social media or joining online communities they can find out as much information as they need about the product and services that our companies provide.
It is therefore vital that the tools sales people use not only help them automate the sales process but are flexible enough to allow them to be more sales effective. Although in the past this has not been the case, traditional CRM tools are built to provide management visibility and to control sales behaviors. A lot of the time they are not integrated into other critical applications like ERP or even email clients. Therefore the sales people spend a lot of their time, looking for information, creating documents like quotations or entering data.
Sales people are most effective when interacting directly with customers so we need to provide them with tools that will allow them to concentrate on this.
Here at SAP our Customer OnDemand portfolio is relatively new but I think this is a huge advantage for a number of reasons:
We were able to run co-innovation sessions with our customer, partners and our own sales people to find out what is most important to them in a Cloud based CRM application.
We were able to look at applications like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and not only learn from them but build Social into our software from the start rather than attaching it on as an afterthought.
Underpinning all of this is decades of experience working with our customers and understanding their real requirements.
So what was the outcome of these sessions and how did we incorporate Social into the software? Well we’ve built Customer OnDemand around four vital ideas that will allow the sales person be more sales effective:
Tap into the tribal knowledge of your organisation. Gone are the days where sales people are a one person band hogging their leads to try and reach their targets! A team of people will always close an opportunity quicker than an individual. Reach out to your colleagues, maybe they have more experience than you or may have some inside knowledge that will allow you to close business faster.
Our tool is designed from the ground up for salespeople. Not only is it easy to use but our customers enjoy using it. This means that user adoption is high and this is half the battle with any new software deployment.
The nature of Sales is you are out on the road, traveling or attending meetings. We have embraced the many different devices that sales people use today. We made sure that all the functionality that you receive on your desktop or laptop is available on any other device at no additional cost presented on a sleek, modern user interface.
Here at SAP we know how important integration is to our customers. We realize that companies cannot get the true benefit of a cloud deployment unless that application is correctly integrated into your on premise solutions. Whether we have deployed these on premise solutions or not we will make sure that the application provides a true 360 degree view of your business.
Sometimes the really great things are worth the wait...