Benefits of an Industry-Focused CPQ Tool

Manual data entry and maintenance are too cumbersome and error-prone to be practical for modern B2B companies. This is especially true when providing sales quotes to potential clients. Deals will ultimately be won by those competitors that can generate accurate and compelling quoting documents in the least amount of time. This is made possible with the implementation of CPQ software platforms that eliminate the typical bottlenecks and errors inherent in manual quoting. “Being able to deliver the first quote will give you huge leverage in negotiations.” – Plexus

This blog outlines some key CPQ tool advantages that can lead to greater process efficiency and ultimately a better revenue stream.

Industry-Focused Features and Fields

Industry-specific software has the advantage of directed functionality without the added costs of a custom-built platform.  It fits the sales niche of the business better than an out-of-the-box product. It may even include features that the business was unaware of that could optimize operations.  You can mold the software to fit your business, rather than the other way around.

When it comes to implementing an industry-focused CPQ tool, attention should be paid to advanced features which streamline the quoting process.  SalesChain’s specific industry-focused features include a comprehensive, built-in product catalog, a customizable proposal wizard, fully integrated e-signature functionality, integrated service pricing and IT service pricing tools, and a document management and scanning utility.

Shorter Learning Curve

“Humans are creatures of habit, and most employees grumble at the thought of having to learn something new.” – Visco CPQ systems are built with rules that guide and automate proposal generation. Your sales team can utilize them to become adept at designing and building even the most complex solutions. This shortens the learning curve for users, enhancing confidence in the use of the software. It is learned quickly and becomes an intuitive part of the sales representatives’ job. This is particularly helpful if you want to encourage cross-selling and up-selling of items that your sales team may not be familiar with.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

Consistency of Approach Across Different Offerings

With an integrated CPQ workflow that connects the steps in the proposal generation process, all users are prompted by the same system and are using the same corporate document templates and brand logos. Managers can program their unique best business practices, to ensure consistency. New employees with less technical competence will be prompted by the system to produce the same high-quality and timely proposals as everyone else, with the greatest likelihood of closing the deal. Even if your organization has particularly complex configurations and unique solutions, CPQ tools can streamline the generation of accurate prices and quotes for everyone.

Enhanced Brand Image

It is a proven fact that recognizable brand imaging leads to greater revenue.  Potential clients will gravitate toward products they recognize and have heard positive things about.  The more consistently a business can brand every step of a sale, the more well know their market image will become. CPQ platforms automate presentation consistency in the quoting process, allowing all team members to generate compelling, easily understood documents in a timely manner.  An enhanced perception of brand image can even lead to a justification of higher prices with buyers. – Xait

Work With a Vendor That Understands Your Business

Ideally, you should work with a software provider that has an intuitive understanding of your employees’ needs and can communicate in a way they are comfortable with. SalesChain is proud to offer a comprehensive software platform that is custom-built for the needs of the office technology industry. We understand the unique needs and challenges of the industry, so our industry-specific tools provide maximum functionality without the need for expensive customization. Intentional workflows that anticipate next steps and generate reminders for the whole team increase efficiency over the entire life cycle of a sale. There is no need to buy additional tools, as SalesChain includes relevant integrations and industry specific modules.  Our manned support desk personnel are experts in the industry as well as our software.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

What is CPQ?

Savvy sales representatives always strive to maximize their interaction time with clients by streamlining the other parts of their job. They rely on electronic tools for optimal efficiency in handling what traditionally was a paperwork-centric workflow. Using a CPQ tool for administrative tasks allows them to be customer-centric rather than being bogged down in back-office follow-up. CPQ software is designed to automate product configuration and pricing, and quote generation for the customer.

What is CPQ?

CPQ software applications are powerful tools that automate and streamline the process of generating product pricing configurations and customer quotes. They are especially useful in situations where sales representatives need complicated product configurations, including potential discounts, customizations, optional features, and multiple product combinations. They are often run in tandem with CRM and ERP platforms and use a pre-programmed rule set, which greatly increases accuracy as well as the speed of proposal generation. CPQ software is seen as the newest wave in sales optimization tools.

How does CPQ Software Work?

The three components of CPQ platforms include the features that are part of the configuration (C), pricing (P), and quote generation (Q) workflow. Users may create, modify, send, and track documents accessing data from integrated CRM and/or ERP software

Configure

The first step in brokering a sale is designing the customized solutions that clients have come to expect. The configure function of a CPQ system provides the flexibility to create unique combinations of products and services, using stored business rules such as pricing and product compatibility. Some systems even allow project-centric solutions to be built.

Price

Multi-product, complex solutions require complicated pricing structures. Sales reps want to offer the customer options, but without CPQ software they must go digging through spreadsheets for the right pricing rules to create the quote. Customizable products must be configured with a unique price for each quote. Using the programmed business rules, CPQ software facilitates electronic pricing from simple catalog price book quantities through more sophisticated models such as value-based, outcome-based, or tiered pricing. These systems can also streamline the approval process where business rules are exceeded.

Quote

The quote function of CPQ systems is the most important one for generating customer documents in a timely manner. Once configuration and pricing are set, a final, accurate quote must be sent to customers immediately to minimize lost sales opportunities. Often these customers are requesting quotes from multiple vendors. Automating the quote generation and review process will also create consistent and compelling documents that make it easy for customers to compare options.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

Benefits of CPQ Software

Implementing CPQ software can optimize quote generation time, approval time, deal closing time, and employee efficiency. When a sales representative builds a quote, the software collates all possible scenarios and provides a customized template. This can be electronically routed to all involved stakeholders, shortening processing time. Pricing is consistent and controlled. Workflow tasks associated with repeat business, contract/subscription renewals, and add-ons can be automated. Collaboration between normally siloed departments can be facilitated – sales, management, finance, legal and marketing are all communicating more easily. Finally, CPQ software can provide business analytics useful for tracking sales trends.

The Importance of Integrations

The most powerful iterations of CPQ software include integrations to CRM and ERP platforms. This expands CPQ functionality beyond the sales department, and provides consistent pricing, marketing, and client communication across operations. Every step in the sales process, from quoting, purchase, manufacture and delivery to new deal trends and product design can be monitored quickly and accurately. The result is a company working as a team to make better, data-driven decisions.

Does My Business Need a CPQ System?

When evaluating whether your business would benefit from a CPQ system, consider the following factors. Are you/your employees:

  • relying on outmoded systems for configuring sales quotes?
  • noticing a repeating pattern of inaccurate quotes sent to prospects?
  • spending valuable time correcting and resubmitting paperwork?
  • losing revenue due to inconsistencies in pricing structures?
  • experiencing slow turn-around time on quotes, resulting in a higher churn rate?
  • processing portions of your sales workflow tasks manually?
  • able to share sales process data across departments?
  • experiencing growth beyond the capacity to manage sales operations manually?
  • looking to expand your analytics capabilities?

To explore this further, check out this post here. 

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

SalesChain’s New Bundled Lead Screen: What You Need to Know

SalesChain is proud to announce a major overhaul of our lead entry screen. We’ve replaced our existing form with an all-new bundled solutions selling lead screen. This updated version includes significant enhancements aimed at helping dealers with diverse offerings sell all the different products and services they offer right from SalesChain’s order breakdown CPQ tool.

In this article, we’ll cover the reason for these updates and give you a summary of the features that have been updated.

Why Build a New Lead Screen?

Quite simply, the purpose is to create a tailor-made experience for the different sales teams that work in today’s complex dealers. As dealerships continue to expand into more and more diverse offerings, it’s likely that specialists in each different segment of the business are looking for more product or service-specific details.

It’s clear from industry feedback that users selling IT products and services don’t want to use a software product that is designed exclusively for those selling copiers. In response to this feedback, SalesChain has created a single platform with lead and opportunity management processes for imaging hardware and services, IT products and services, document management and scanning services, VoIP systems, and more. This allows salespeople to work in their way with their vernacular, and it allows businesses to better sell and track blended solutions.

Why Focus on Blended Solutions?

As we elaborate on in this recent article,  product diversification in the office technology field is becoming increasingly necessary, as dealers focus on offerings that are compelling for WFH and hybrid offices.

The problem is that there are currently separate software ecosystems to accommodate sales in imaging, IT products, and services, as well as management functions like forecasting, analytics, and commissioning.

What we have created instead is a single, unified system that seamlessly connects all the separate processes required to keep your business running. The merging of these separate worlds can help dealers with diverse offerings get more of their product offerings to their customer base to future-proof their services and grow intelligently.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

What’s Different?

New Look and Feel – SalesChain’s new lead screen has received a facelift and now matches our updated user interface look and feel. Large font and buttons indicate the most important pieces of information to convey while details are clearly organized for the user’s review.

Tabs for Specialists – Each offering that your business has can be configured as a tab for your respective specialists, giving them familiar fields to enter information. Users can switch between tabs or view the “all” tab to review the details of the entire blended solution.

Simplified, Tailored Selling – We have segmented the lead screen to allow specialists to show only the information which is relevant to their portion of the forecasted deal. A VoIP specialist can navigate to the VoIP tab, for example, and view only the information which is most important to them.

ConnectWise Manage Integration – We have added the ability for users to request help from IT specialists working in ConnectWise Manage by creating tickets right from the lead view. This integration can help leverage the efforts of teams working in different systems to improve the CPQ process overall.

Purpose Built IT Forecasting

Along with this updated lead screen, we’ve added a new blended IT solutions forecasting tool to complement our existing six options. This focused forecasting tool lets users compare revenue from IT services, IT products, IT setup fees, hardware, and service without getting bogged down by the segments of business outside of the IT realm.

SalesChain has featured our category-based forecasting tools for many years as the standard for tracking revenue across a dealership’s separate offerings. Segmented forecasting can help dealer owners understand which offerings are being leveraged to their maximum potential, and which might need a boost in the form of incentive programs or blitzing campaigns in order to see their full potential.

Want to Learn More?

This new lead screen will be available to all SalesChain Gold and Platinum subscription holders. SalesChain users interested in this feature can contact the SalesChain help desk for more information at (203) 262-1611. If you’re interested in the SalesChain System and are not currently a user, you can schedule a discovery call with our team here.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

Do I need a Quoting Tool?

The Importance of a Quoting Tool

Optimizing all steps of the sales cycle is essential to generating as much revenue as possible for your business. Sales proposals require accurate quotes; however, these often are a bottleneck in the process of presenting a package to a potential client. Inefficient business processes mean that salespeople are bogged down in the monotonous tasks related to creating a quote that meets potential customers’ expectations. Investing in automation can help prevent the loss of sales due to this inefficiency. Is your company ready for this software?

Here are five signs that you need a quoting tool:

01) You/your salespeople spend hours every week putting quotes together.

Wouldn’t it be great to generate quotes with the click of a button? (Bonus points for saving time by tying basic information into the quotes with integration into your CRM.) Collating and including information such as product/service descriptions and pricing, automated pricing updates and special deals from an updated database, and automatically formatting and emailing the proposal can all save substantial amounts of salespeople’s time. Because of this expediency, they can spend more time personally following up with clients, building valuable relationships, suffering fewer communication breakdowns caused by manual errors, and spending way less time on paperwork.

02) Your quotes look slightly different every time.

Consistency is the key to professional branding. Both the content of your quote and how you present it are important. A professional look reflects well on your company brand and overall image. Visually pleasing, and easy-to-read templates as well as personalized business logos are programmed into a quoting tool and can be used to help maintain consistency. Quoting tools also help to standardize content, giving the salespeople the ability to pre-program useful values like taxes, post-processing costs, delivery fees etc. while having the flexibility to manipulate the monetary terms of a sale as needed for individual cases.

03) Your pricing is inconsistent between different proposals.

Automation is one of the core functions of the best quoting software. Quoting tools link to pricing databases that can be standardized and vetted to prevent inconsistencies. Salespeople no longer must enter data into complex spreadsheets from catalogs each time they want to generate a new proposal. Quoting tool software can also be integrated with real-time inventory management databases, to prevent proposal rewrites due to product substitution. Automated software can keep track of other pricing factors, such as current taxes, and changes in shipping rates.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

04) You lose track of the quotes you send out.

Without having your quotes online in a central location, it can be hard to keep track of your different files or versions. Worse yet – you could end up sending your customer an incomplete, old or inaccurate version. Often, multiple colleagues contribute to and need to access a quoting document during the sales cycle. The use of a shared quoting tool with multiple permissions keeps everyone on task and editing an accurate working proposal document. In addition, many quoting tools feature workflow software components that send alerts and reminders, so that everyone completes their jobs promptly and the customers are kept in the loop via electronic communication.

05) You’re losing sales for one or more of the above reasons.

When considering a change to the way your company generates proposals, the key factors to optimize are speed, consistency, and accuracy. If you are missing out on business for any of these reasons, an electronic quoting tool can expedite the process and be the deciding factor in winning a sale with a time-conscious buyer. Automating workflow reduces time spent manually entering data and improves communication between departments and clients. Cloud-based software means documents can be accessed easily, are free from manual entry errors, make the presentation of multiple custom quotes simpler, and have the option of being electronically signed and mailed to all parties.

Quoting tools for Imaging Dealers and MSP’s

SalesChain’s deal pricing software integrates a robust quoting tool into a complete business automation system, streamlining all aspects of your company’s sales cycle – from lead discovery to fulfillment. We service dealers of both imaging systems and MSP’s. Schedule a discovery call today!

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

What is Sales Enablement?

What is Sales Enablement?

The ongoing search for best practices to optimize sales has companies turning to sales enablement strategies. Sales enablement is an umbrella term, encompassing many resources designed to work together to empower sales teams to improve productivity and increase revenue.

There are specific sales enablement applications available, and alternatively, sales management teams have combined multiple resources, such as database management products and ongoing stakeholder training to create a personalized company sales enablement program.

The key to an effective sales enablement strategy is the integration of multiple components, including stakeholder training, marketing content, sales coaching, support, database resources, and workflow optimization. Combining these tools into a cohesive and well-articulated company-wide process unifies all departments around the common goal of enhancing customer experience and increasing the bottom line.

Why is Sales Enablement important?

Sellers are continuously challenged to come up with novel ways to interact with a more sophisticated and independent clientele. Buyers are much more likely to check internet resources and conduct their own product research online before consulting with a sales representative.

Sales enablement can help businesses keep up with ever-evolving buyer expectations. In a digital economy, sales enablement can streamline the time spent by sales and marketing reps adapting new materials that are specific to buyer needs, ultimately helping them convert more leads into customers.

Quality sales enablement technology can also elucidate trends in customer content engagement and link them to sales performance. Sales representatives can better gauge the results of their efforts and become more valuable advisors to management. Sales enablement can give your whole business team a much better view of the big picture!

What are the Benefits of Sales Enablement?

The implementation of a well-functioning sales enablement strategy can have many positive benefits.

  • It generates a centralized resource for up-to-date product and marketing content, which can be accessed by all stakeholders.
  • It can significantly reduce time spent by sales representatives researching and processing a deal, therefore speeding up the sales cycle.
  • It is a repository for training and coaching resources in multiple, flexible formats.
  • It streamlines communication between sales representatives, leads, and active customers, thereby fostering more trusting relationships.
  • It supplies insights into the results of marketing efforts, so team members can create the content most likely to accelerate the closing of deals.
  • It is a resource for all departments in a company, where employees can both add new data and access trends in existing data.

Getting Started With SalesChain

This getting started video outlines some of the onboarding process and is used to help dealers switching to SalesChain understand the depth of automation we can offer.

What Tools Help with Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement technology platforms are made up of two branches of tools: those that are customer-centric and those that are for internal company use.

Customer-centric content is the material that salespeople will provide to the customer. It requires close cooperative management of content between the sales and marketing departments. Resources for internal company use include best practices, research data, and tools for sales training and coaching. Internal company goals may include the use of sales enablement strategies to increase communication between sales reps and the marketing team and have them share insights.

Here are some examples of specific tools that may be included in a sales enablement platform:

  • A lead qualification framework
  • Company-tailored reporting and analysis tools, such as BI dashboards
  • Sales content optimization programs
  • Task automation strategies
  • CRM software
  • Communication automation software for emails, prospecting, and messaging
  • Online and self-guided training and certification classes for continuing professional development

What Role Does Content Marketing Play in Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is not synonymous with content marketing, marketing enablement, or sales operations. Rather, an effective sales enablement strategy meshes the efforts of both sales and marketing professionals. “Content creation is a huge element of successful sales enablement. This is where marketing and sales can really put their heads together for the greater good of the company.” – Salesforce

For content creation efforts to be effective, professionals need to take into consideration content organization, type, and distribution. Content should be cataloged and cross-referenced, so it is easily accessible to all stakeholders. It should be directed to buyers’ specific needs and easily personalized. Content needs to be available in digital formats, such as recurring blog posts, white papers, and updated webinars. Finally, marketing content needs to be trackable, allowing for ongoing evaluation of its effectiveness in the sales cycle.

How Does Sales Enablement Work in Concert with Your CRM (Customer Relationship Management)?

Digital technology tools, such as a CRM solution, can be used to integrate sales enablement into both sales representatives’ and managers’ workflows. It can be linked to sales enablement or be a tool within the platform, thus providing business-wide access to all the sales enablement resources. Content libraries can be hosted on the company CRM and can house data vital to sales enablement scoring systems, such as sales reports, as well as metrics such as average sales cycle length, the number of sales representatives achieving quota, and average deal size. Linking a CRM to a sales enablement strategy fosters stronger customer relationships and empowers your team to sell more effectively and efficiently.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

What Are the Most Common CRM Implementation Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

It’s no secret: even a quick google search shows that CRM implementations have a surprisingly high failure rate. Failure rates between 31% and 70% are cited across the internet even though these digital tools have been touted as the answer to streamline many aspects of sales management.

Most companies would agree that in the modern digital age, some electronic form of customer management is vital. Unless your business is very small, there is simply too much to keep track of manually. Spending the resources to make a careful choice of CRM product is only the first step. Identifying software use issues and correcting them early is the key to successful implementation.

What are some of the reasons for these implementation issues and how can they be circumvented so that the advantages of a CRM can be exploited?

We’ve outlined some of the most common pitfalls for CRM implementations below.

Issue 1: Failure of Stakeholder Adoption and Use of the System

“A good CRM implementation is a disruptive one” – Salesforce

A successful CRM is not simply an electronic version of the old-fashioned spreadsheet format for recording data. Today’s CRM systems are sophisticated software packages designed to collate and integrate many, if not all, of the existing workflows and processes for a business.

Because of this, stakeholders in modern CRM projects often include management, admins, and operations teams and not just the sales representatives. For the implementation to be successful, all these employees must understand that “business as usual” will not look the same anymore. Users have to be well trained and shown the advantages of integrating their jobs with other departments, using the best practices within the new software.

Once the new CRM is fully implemented, change management will be required to encourage adoption and ongoing use. It’s up to management and in some cases a quality onboarding team from the CRM supplier to convince stakeholders of the ultimate advantages of the inevitable learning curve and frustrations of learning a new system.

Issue 2: No Executive Buy-In

“While your sales and marketing departments may be able to easily grasp the value of a CRM, the advantages might not be as obvious to other departments. This can even apply to executives” – FayeDigital.

Your company is in business to make money. That is, of course, a primary focus of the executive team. They may be focused on the financial implications of implementing a new CRM system, but the financial benefits are not always tangible. Factors like time saved on projects and the reduction of lost opportunities can be challenging to quantify. Business leaders need to grasp all the strategic aspects of a comprehensive CRM tool because they often have tremendous influence to inspire buy-in by the rest of the employees.

According to Harvard Business Review, Sales management executives must understand their role in using a CRM tool. Powerful data collection and analysis tools are attractive to managers for their ability to track sales representatives’ activity and generate comprehensive reports. However, a secondary, and equally important managerial role is to provide coaching. A quality CRM system provides them with the data they need to help sales representatives strategically use the system to maximize sales opportunities.

Issue 3: Lack of Goal-Oriented Planning

CRM software packages are expansive and multi-faceted. The right tool can be daunting, and there are several common mistakes that businesses make when they choose a system. Purchasing a CRM before defining company-specific goals and targets can lead to poor fit, with a package that does not work well and is therefore underused by frustrated employees.

The process of choosing a CRM system should begin by outlining your business’ sales workflow. With an understanding of this, you can define the must-have features of the system. Ask yourself:

  • What steps need to be accomplished to ensure sales?
  • What software systems are currently in place and is there a CRM with integrations to these systems?
  • How does your company curate and use data?
  • What ongoing employee training and support will be needed?
  • What products are available that mesh with your business size, sales goals, number, type of departments, and requirements for collaboration between those departments?

Once the company needs are defined, specific goals should be considered before CRM purchase. Some examples of goals for CRM implementation are:

  • How will the tool improve a specific KPI over time?
  • How will the tool improve a specific aspect of the customer experience?
  • How will the team save time and be more productive in a specific aspect of sales, such as sales cycle time or client communication tasks?

Getting Started With SalesChain

This getting started video outlines some of the onboarding process and is used to help dealers switching to SalesChain understand the depth of automation we can offer.

Issue 4: No Plan for Growth

If you are a smaller company, you may not need a CRM software system with all the advanced features but consider your corporate projections for growth. Will the package you choose grow with you?

There is an important balance between a standard configuration of your new software and investing in customization. The software may be a good fit now, but what if you expand into new product lines? Management should have an ongoing process in place to identify growth-related issues and needed improvements and ensure that they are included in the next iteration of the CRM or can be updated or customized by the supplier.

“A great CRM isn’t the result of a single, perfectly executed implementation. Instead, ongoing refinements, revisions, and expansions lead to success. The CRM is never ‘perfect”’ because your business is always changing”- FayeDigital.

Issue 5: Too Much Change at Once

A successful CRM system implementation will simply take time. In a profit-oriented business environment, where time is money, this is sometimes a hard message to hear.

However, a company cannot purchase a new system, go live with minimal training, and expect immediate success. Accept that change management requires an input of quality stakeholder buy-in to ongoing training, data entry, software integrations, and troubleshooting workflows.

Good CRM providers will help break up an implementation project into manageable stages and be sure to integrate user training, testing, and feedback into the process, all within a reasonable (not rushed!) timeline. They should be flexible enough to work with your company on workflow design revision and should be available after you have gone live for service and support.

Issue 6: Bad Data

We’ve all heard the old computer science adage “garbage in, garbage out.” When it comes to CRM data, this couldn’t be truer. If employees and/or clients do not trust the data produced for any reason (dated information, inaccuracies, duplicate records) it is meaningless.

Again, full stakeholder buy-in is essential since all are responsible for timely and accurate data input. Old systems can contribute corrupt, outdated, or incorrect data sets to your new software system during implementation. Look for a product that can provide database cleansing and de-duplication.

Issue 7: Choosing the Wrong Software or Provider

When considering options for a new CRM system two key factors should not be ignored: the provider’s willingness to work with you after purchase and the level of support you can expect to receive on an ongoing basis.

There are several pre-packaged, cookie-cutter software tools available for CRM needs, but these bare-bones systems may prove costly in the long run.  One-size-fits-all won’t grow with your business, and the vendor may be unwilling to create a customized solution to fit your changing workflow needs.

It is also important to evaluate the level of support you are contracted to receive from your CRM vendor.  User buy-in is enhanced when technical help is readily available in a variety of formats and stakeholders feel heard when they have questions, express concerns, and can offer suggestions for improvements and even customization strategies as your business grows.  Ideally, a provider project manager continues to be available to work with you long after the implementation procedures are complete, and service desk personnel are friendly, knowledgeable, and readily available.

When the CRM’s technology is combined with the right workflows, operated by well-trained staff, and managed thoughtfully, the system’s full potential can be tapped into to generate powerful results” –FayeDigital.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

Do I Need a CRM System?

As you look for ways to accommodate the growth of your company, it is natural to seek out tools to optimize the various aspects of work required to do business. One of the most often implemented of these tools is a CRM or Customer Relationship Management system.

CRM software organizes and collates cloud-based data sets including information on customers, prospects and leads, sales records, marketing, support, forecasting, and more. A good CRM implementation provides a centralized place for salespeople to input and keeps track of data. It helps managers make data-driven decisions, build forecasting dashboards, and support workflow automation.

CRM systems can clearly be beneficial, but does your company really need to make the investment in this product, as well as the time to train employees?

Here are some factors to think about when you are considering the purchase of a CRM system.

Are Prospects Being Overlooked or Dropped?

“A shocking 46% of qualified leads end up as missed opportunities.”

Not only can a CRM system perform as an electronic Rolodex, recording the contact information for new leads, but it can also keep track of prospect interactions, automatically schedule meetings, follow-ups, and reminders, and help sales representatives prioritize customer leads and gather more complete personalized information to drive workflow. This opportunity management eliminates the need for handwritten spreadsheets and notes and increases efficiency.

Do You Have Employees Communicating with Multiple Contacts at Your Customer/Prospect Locations?

Using a cloud-based CRM means that members of your team from all departments have access to the entire history of client/lead interactions, regardless of who inputs the data. Team members can update information in real-time, even if they are working remotely, eliminating miscommunications caused by overlooked messages and streamlining interdepartmental collaboration all the way through the sales process.

Are You Operating B2B or B2C?

If you are considering a CRM tool, chances are you are a B2B (business to business) company, and your contacts belong to accounts that represent the companies you do business with. This is the model that CRM products are designed to accommodate. If you are a B2C (business to consumer) company, a simple contact management system may be the more economically wise choice.

What is the Basis for Decision Making in Your Company?

Are your business decisions instinctual or data-driven? CRM systems provide quantitative data, such as key sales metrics. This can inform better decisions at all levels of your company. Team members can contribute valuable data on sales, marketing pitches, customer and lead interactions, and spending habits. “Data analytics tools can help you make sense of what you take in and spot trends and patterns that are invisible to human eyes (Reference #4)”

Getting Started With SalesChain

This getting started video outlines some of the onboarding process and is used to help dealers switching to SalesChain understand the depth of automation we can offer.

How Large is Your Sales Team?

If you operate with a sales team, a CRM system can optimize your business in two ways: helping your reps keep track of each other and helping you keep track of them. With a CRM, your reps can respect the territory assignments of their peers and more smoothly pass a lead from one rep to another. Managers can monitor their sales team’s performance, see which marketing strategies are working the best and make substantive suggestions for next steps.

How Complicated is Your Sales Cycle?

Depending on the products you sell, the length and complexity of your sales pipeline could make it difficult to keep manual track of the history of a particular deal. A CRM system documents each step in the process and makes it accessible to all involved employees, ensuring that no information is lost, overlooked, or repeated as the deal passes from sales to fulfillment to billing to delivery to support.

Are You Running Marketing Campaigns?

In today’s digital business world, companies are exploiting numerous marketing avenues. Sales representatives must be familiar with how marketing strategies have engaged with leads and customers before they interact with them. CRM tools can consolidate all this data, as well as helping the marketing department automate web marketing, personalize communications, generate content, optimize search engine results, and create online content. “Seventy two percent of customers will not engage with messaging that is not personalized. Showing customers what they want to see and where they want to see it will increase your chances of making a sale.”

You Probably Do Not Need a CRM If:

  • You already have a viable plan to manage the potential scale-up of your business successfully.
  • You are a very small company, without a large sales staff to manage.
  • You have only a small number of new leads or routinely handle just a few larger customers.
  • It is the nature of your business to have a short sales cycle with little or no repeat business, and you do not need to record customer histories.
  • You are selling B2C, especially via e-commerce. Here you might be better off with a dedicated B2C marketing system that captures sales history instead of adopting a CRM system.

Conclusion

Evaluating the need for a CRM system is an important step toward expanding your business.  Before making the financial and training investment in such a software platform it would be helpful to consider your answers to the above questions.  If you answered yes to any of them, you may want to begin the process of finding the product that is right for you.  CRM systems are expandable and customizable, giving you the ability to digitally store, organize, retrieve, and analyze multiple types of data, benefiting all departments in your business.  When you facilitate communication with a quality CRM system, workflows are automated, lead volumes are boosted, deals are closed faster, support teams are more helpful to customers, churn rates are lowered, and your entire team can communicate more effectively!

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

One System, One Solution. What Do We Mean and Why Does it Matter?

Explaining “One System”

SalesChain is proud to offer office technology dealers with IT and other offerings “One System, One Solution” for their business process automation software needs. What do we really mean by that slogan?

In today’s digital world, we have grown accustomed to electronic and online formats to efficiently run all aspects of our businesses. If you are in the office technology field, you know that sales, back-office functions, and analytics are all data-rich functions. Businesses employ the use of specialized software to manage and understand this abundance of information.

There are many perfectly adequate products to automate each individual part of your company. But investing in individual systems brings with it inherent problems. User training and buy-in, system compatibility, consistency of information, and troubleshooting are segmented between each software provider with mixed results and separate processes.

What we are suggesting instead is the implementation of a single, unified system that seamlessly connects all the separate processes required to keep your business running.

SalesChain platinum is the ultimate toolbox for office technology dealers and the individual but linked software components are your tools for all the different offerings that your business sells in one place. We offer a single system that can help track the presales and sales process, price proposals and generate documentation, and fulfill orders in every segment you serve.

One System for Dealers in Imaging and IT.

Watch this brief video to learn a bit about where our offering is headed in 2022!

Why is this important to Dealers?

The Problem: In the office technology field, there are currently separate software ecosystems to accommodate sales in imaging (printing hardware, solutions, accessories and machine leasing and sales), IT (products and services), and management functions (forecasting, analytics, and commissioning). While all of these are certainly useful tools, they require separate data entry, can slow down the sales process, and increase the chances of user error.

Why is this a problem? Separate systems mean separate data. Whether it is a note an imaging rep made in their CRM, or a quote priced in their IT pricing system, your business can only work as a unified force if everyone has access to all this information in one place. The ability to track sales of disparate products recorded by multiple sales representatives gives both employees and management a more complete picture of the status of the business and allows for more comprehensive analysis using data sets that expand analytics capabilities.

What are the benefits? Having all this data in one place saves your staff valuable time, makes reporting more accurate, and helps your business become more efficient. Everyone in your business can be on the same page, working with a much more complete understanding of the business. What is more, workflow automation streamlines your entire operation.

Why now? Product diversification is becoming increasingly necessary, as office technology dealers focus on offerings that are compelling for WFH and hybrid offices. This undoubtedly requires providing a comprehensive combination of print and IT products and services. Post-pandemic changes to the office equipment and technology channel are driving this need to be flexible to remain relevant. The most successful companies will be the ones that position themselves for a quick pivot in their offerings to their clients.

What does “One System” include in SalesChain?

SalesChain’s CRM platform is the heart of our sales solution, and we evolved from lease portfolio management. But our software has evolved to offer a suite of purpose-built tools for every member of your business.

SalesChain incorporates five or more of our competitors’ tools into a single software for a system that goes way beyond a typical CRM service to offer fully immersive business automation and industry-specific support. Our platinum suite includes legal and marketing document generation, integrated commissions, and more. We provide automation solutions for your entire organization, with 24-hour access to our cloud-based platform.
Here are just some of the advantages available to you:

Our mission is to help our clients maximize efficiency with actionable data generated through powerful automation. That is why SalesChain is the complete business automation solution for office technology dealers and how we can offer one system, one solution for all aspects of your business.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

A Dictionary of Office Technology Acronyms

No matter what the industry, they all seem to have their own unique, and often unspoken, set of semantics. These include phrases, shortcuts, abbreviations, and acronyms that become commonly used in spoken and written communications, but that can seem like a foreign language to the uninitiated.

When one is first hired into a new field, “learning the lingo” can seem like a nearly insurmountable first step to feeling comfortable with colleagues and producing professional work. A motivated new employee may look for a way to easily educate themselves regarding these terms that are new to them, only to be frustrated with a lack of formal reference tools to help them. An intuitive first step nowadays would be to “google it”, but it is frustrating and time-consuming to look these up on the internet one at a time.

Because of this, we decided to collect a list of the industry acronyms we’ve encountered over the years and post them here.

The following includes an alphabetical listing of acronyms, some of which are general business terms (DBA and PO for example) and some of which are specific to the office technology field (MIF for example).

Dictionary of Industry Acronyms

ACH – automated clearing house (auto withdraw)

AMS – Application management system

AOD – Admin on Demand

API –   Application Programming Interface

B2B – business to business

B2C – business to client/customer

BC – bill customer

BI – Business Intelligence

Blob- binary large object

BPA – business process automation

CB – charge back

CEO Juice – this is a company survey company, handles invoices

CFS – Canon financial services

CompEQ – competitive equipment

CPC – cost per copy

CPI – cost per image

CRD – central reprographics department

CRM – Customer Relationship Management (Accelerate is an example)

CSMP – Canon Strategic Marketing Program

CUP – customer upgrade

DBA – doing business as

DCA – data collection agent

DO- dealership owned; also, dollar out (for a lease)

DSO – Days Shipped Outstanding?

e-Automate – a backend accounting system

EBR – executive business review

EDA – electronic design automation

EOD – end of day

EQ – equipment request

ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning

FCO – finance company

FMV – Fair Market Value (for a lease)

GMA – general maintenance agreement (for service)

GP – gross profit

GUI – graphic user interface

HaaS – hardware as a service

HDC – hard drive cleanse

ICP – ideal customer profile

IPDS – intelligent printer data stream

KPI – key performance indicators

LSR – lease return

MIF – machines in field

MFD – multi-function devices

MFP – multi-function printers

MNS – Managed Network Services

MPS – Managed Print Services

MSP – Managed services provider

MSRP – manufacturer’s suggested retail price (list price)

MVP – maximal viable product

NLWC – no longer with the company

NNC – net new customer

NNP – net new placement

OBD – order breakdown

OC – order coordinator

OEM – original equipment manufacturer

OMD – a backend accounting system

PA – price and availability

PO – purchase order

POP – point of purchase

POS – point of sale

PIP – Practice Integration Profile

PSA – professional services automation

PSP – Print Service Providers

RMA – Return merchandise authorization, Term used to return stuff that is broken, usually under warranty!

ROI – return on investment

RFP – request for proposal

SaaS – software as a service

SAO- same address as the office

SD – strategy development

SEO – search engine optimization

SIC – standard industrial classification – in the SalesChain system it is used to classify client customers into different categories

SME – subject matter expert

SPM – service pricing module

SRA – Sales Representative Assignments

SWOT – strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat

TCO – total cost of ownership

TCV – total customer view

TFA – two factor authorization

UI – user interface

VAR – value added retailer

WF – workflow

 

We plan to continue adding to this list, and to add definitions as we go, so check back on this page periodically for updates!

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.

GreatAmerica Financial Services and SalesChain Team Up for Credit Application Submittal Tutorial Video

20 years ago, SalesChain was founded as a lease portfolio management platform. Though our offering has expanded to include best in class CRM, proposal and order pricing, commissions and document generation tools, leasing has always remained at the core of our platform.

For this reason, we have always maintained strong relationships with the office technology industry’s top leasing companies. We have bidirectional integrations with many of these platforms, allowing SalesChain to pull lease portfolios from the finance companies as well as push credit applications directly into their systems.

In celebration of our awesome integration, Robin Fonck of GreatAmerica Financial Services joined SalesChain University host Matt Szczygiel in the creation of a credit application submittal tutorial for SalesChain users. You can watch the video or read a transcription below!

About SalesChain: SalesChain is the complete business automation solution for office equipment dealers. A CIO Magazine top 10 Workflow Automation Company, their goal is to help businesses see greater profitability and increased efficiency through better automation and synchronized data. SalesChain helps dealers create smart data that can be used across the business to create more efficient operations.

About GreatAmerica: GreatAmerica is the largest independent, family-owned national commercial equipment finance company in the U.S. with over $2.4 billion in assets and life-to-date finance originations of $13.5 billion. GreatAmerica was established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1992 and today is organized into six divisions. It has a staff of over 600 employees with offices in Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, and Illinois.

Watch The Tutorial Here!

Or Find it Online at SalesChain University’s YouTube Channel.

Transcription

Matt Szczygiel, SalesChain: In this video, we’ll show you how to submit a credit application through SalesChain’s order breakdown utility. And one of our friends at GreatAmerica Financial Services will show you how submitting your credit application through SalesChain can help make the process smoother for you.

Before you submit a credit request for approval through SalesChain, there are a couple of things we can check to make sure that all our information is as accurate as possible before we hit submit.

First, we want to make sure that equipment configurations and our manifest use is accurate as possible. If you don’t have your equipment properly configured in SalesChain, this may impact the dollar amount that your client is approved or declined for. You can check the configuration of your equipment in the products tab of SalesChain’s order breakdown.

Next, let’s move to the Pricing Tab of our order and take a look at the Financing Summary.

We want to make sure that the credit level, leasing company, product, and term are correct. Notice that the level and factor will be calculated for you by the system automatically, but that you do have override capabilities for that factor if necessary.

We want to make sure that we’ve entered a correct lease buyout value for either a competitive lease, our own lease, or both in the pricing tab as well. It’s important that these numbers are placed in the correct location so that the credit application can be properly filled out and submitted.

If the customer is upgrading a lease where your company was the selling dealer, you need to enter the dollar amount into the lease upgrade field (which may or may not be marked with your company name).

If you’re buying a customer out of a competitive lease, use the competitive lease upgrade box. If your company charges the lease return fee, there may be a field where you can enter this value as well.

It is possible to associate this new deal with an existing lease if it is in your SalesChain system. We’ll do this in the Financing Tab of the order breakdown. You’ll see that the dollar value for the lease buyout value, if you entered one, has carried through to this screen as well.

I’ll click lookup to see if there are any leases with this account existing and use the checkboxes on the left-hand side to select whatever leases I want to associate this deal with.

You can select one or many existing leases. Once I’ve selected the lease or leases that I’m upgrading on this deal, I can designate this as an upgrade to return, an upgrade, to keep, etc. using the upgrade types dropdown.

I’ve invited Robin Fonck of Great America to come record with me today, and she’ll start by telling us what information they are looking for once this credit application hits their system.

Robin Fonck, GreatAmerica: So, most of the time we are looking for a variety of information in the credit application, really helping us understand the situation. So, items like the application type, are we looking at a dollar out or are we looking at maybe an FMV? We’re looking for the total financed amount. We’re looking for the terms so how long do we want the contract to last for?

We’re looking at possible purchase options at the end of the agreement. And lastly, we’re really looking for any additional customer information that you can share with us. So, once we have all of that information in our system, we begin processing the application and then we can reach out to you with any additional questions. Any information that provides clarity to the request can help speed the approval process and really improve the end user experience.

So, whether that’s the invoicing needs, the billing requirements or even possible future changes to the contract, the more we know, the easier the process can be.

Matt Szczygiel, SalesChain: Alright, now that we’ve done our due diligence and double-checked these figures, we’re ready to submit our credit application. In the Finance tab, I’ll click “submit applications”. I’ll be presented with a dialog box that lets me select which of my finance companies I want to submit this credit application to. In this case, I’m going to select GreatAmerica and click “Submit” at the bottom right-hand corner.

When a credit request has been submitted, your line item will be assigned a credit app ID, the date and time will be recorded, the financing company’s application ID will be returned, and a message will appear at the top in red, confirming that the request has been submitted. At this point, you can hit close and exit your proposal and order.

Any additional attempts to submit a credit request from this order will be met with a dialog box telling you that a request has already been submitted.

Robin, what sort of advantages can this process have for dealers?

Robin Fonck, GreatAmerica: So, solution providers really just like SalesChain and GreatAmerica using the integration for submitting credit applications will realize a significant runtime advantage over maybe emailing in or calling in any of the applications. So, our integration enables users to enter the credit application information directly into our booking system, which eliminates the entire idea of having a middleman that will enter system information in two or three different systems just to get the application to GreatAmerica.

It expedites the process and really, truly leads to a faster turn time once the application hits our system, you’ll be able to track it with regular updates from GreatAmerica directly in SalesChain.

Matt Szczygiel, SalesChain: After you’ve submitted your credit application, it’s easy to track its status using SalesChain’s Credit Desk. This is a dedicated screen designed with the leasing coordinator in mind. It helps to track and organize credit applications and their statuses across different leasing companies all in one place. This tool also helps users manage and process conditional approvals and declines.

Automated communication tools and workflow notifications are built in to notify the sales team of important actions like conditional approvals or declines.

Robin Fonck, GreatAmerica: So, keep in mind that this does not change the GreatAmerica’s approach to processing or notifying you of the status of a deal. The traditional process that you know and love about GreatAmerica’s approach to financing and communication will remain the same. This truly, just as an additional layer of visibility into the process.

Matt Szczygiel, SalesChain: So is that what makes submitting credit applications through SalesChain really spectacular or is it something else that makes it a little bit easier?

Robin Fonck, GreatAmerica: Well, SalesChain is spectacular anyway, but the added benefit of the integration, being able to take out that middleman truly helps everybody in the process, really achieve the transparency that we need in each of the deals and the communication that we need in each of the deals. So really, over the last several years, SalesChain has really advanced their integrations with GreatAmerica.

Personally, I’ve been incredibly impressed with your support team. SalesChain has always been very responsive with problem solving and customer service questions. Truly, this partnership makes it easier to do business together, and it helps bring as many possible integration solutions as possible to our end users.

Matt Szczygiel, SalesChain: Well, Robin, thank you very much for your time today. We really appreciate your contributions, your insight, your genius. Obviously, we love GreatAmerica, too, and it’s been very easy working with you as partners. So, thanks again for your time.

If you have any additional questions about the credit application submittal process, please feel free to contact our support desk at 203-262-1611. One of our Help Desk experts would be happy to assist you with your questions. You can also email us at support@saleschain.com. Be sure to subscribe to this channel so that you don’t miss any other helpful tutorials like this one.

And if this helped you with the credit app submittal process, give it a light down below. Please be sure to check out GreatAmerica Financial Services at their website. GreatAmerica.com and until next time, have a great rest of your day.

Ready to Streamline Your Business?

Use the link below to schedule a discovery call for a demonstration of the SalesChain system. One of our representatives would be happy to assist you, answer your questions and see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.