Customization vs. Configuration. What’s the Difference?

Expectations

The expectation is simple: When you invest in an enterprise software product, you want it to work. We are not talking about the website simply resolving when you open the page, or the program launching successfully on your computer, we mean you expect it to really work.

You expect your employee base to adopt the use of it easily and you expect that it will function well for everyone. You expect that the workflow is going to work within the bounds of the way you do business. And most of all, you expect to get your money’s worth by making some processes more efficient or by filling an essential need.

To meet this expectation, enterprise software companies must rise to the task of configuring the software product to your specifications. At SalesChain, this is something we do every day – and with a CRM and Proposal Pricing system like ours, this configuration can take a few weeks.

For the average business, importing a database, setting up pricing levels, and ticking on and off several options is enough to make the system work well within their expectations. But this is not all it takes for some organizations that have multiple locations, complicated processes, or additional software products they would like to integrate into the new system. This is where customization of our software comes in.

Whether it is the fact that these two words are similar in structure or that they have similar meanings, we find that our customers often mistake Customization for Configuration and vice versa, leading to some confusion.

Because of this confusion, we wanted to outline the differences here. In this article, we will compare the configuration of software in the modern implementation of a CRM system with customization of CRM software, which usually entails custom software development. We will use the preview of CRM software since it serves as a good example, but also because it is our area of expertise. This concept can apply to most any type of enterprise-grade software.

Defining Configuration

Configuration refers to entering information into an existing system in ways that allow the stock software to work best for you. Typically, a CRM software vendor is responsible for importing client-specific data for usernames, user permissions, and hierarchy, pricing levels, account records, notes, and tasks. However: configuration does not include anything that is not standard with the purchase of the product, only the configuration of tools that are native to the system.

When you configure a CRM system, you are setting up the “options.” This might sound easy, but for a tool that is as integral to your business’ daily processes as a CRM, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Defining Customization

Customization refers to changing the code of the software to meet the business needs of your company. When you customize a CRM system, you are building functionality that does not currently exist in the software by creating additions to or making fundamental changes in the baseline system. If your partner does not work to develop customization with you, you will have a difficult time achieving the desired outcome.

Customization usually requires software development and coding skills. The software vendor is responsible for changing the source code to alter how the software product runs and creating functionality that is unique to your application.

Some examples of customization include:

  • Custom dashboard widgets
  • Custom menus
  • Opportunity & product lines
  • Custom form layouts
  • Custom tables
  • Modification of existing reports

Customization helps CRM & business automation software users add new features to meet business requirements, expand and enhance functionality, and tailor the user experience. If you are an advanced user of a system that you know many of your competitors also use to their advantage, customization can help you gain a competitive edge.

SalesChain Case Study

Pricing Proposals and Paying Commissions Faster with John Kerling of United Business Systems

Why The Confusion?

During the configuration process, it feels a whole lot like the system is being customized for your business exclusively. The software vendor implements changes to user fields that are specific to your company, such as email templates, company-branded documents, security settings, page layouts, and workflow notifications.

Although these fields look customized, they are all part of the proverbial “options” that get configured as part of the standard system setup.

For a CRM solution specifically, configuration could include things like building dashboards, setting team roles from a hierarchical employee roster, uploading client information from other database sources, and setting deal pricing and commission reconciliation parameters.

Should You Consider Customization?

As a company that provides custom development services, SalesChain will be the first to admit that customization is not right for everyone.

Software systems that are built to scale usually address the way most people do business. Your company, especially if you are not at an enterprise scale yet, might very well fall into this majority. Custom solutions or additions can be very costly, can take significant amounts of time, and can create complications with upgrades and integrations.

However, for the right situation, custom solutions can make manageable an otherwise insurmountable process. Management teams should carefully weigh the pros and cons to determine whether configuration or customization is right for their business. Customization is certainly optional but may be best practice for companies looking to expand beyond the out-of-the-box features offered.

SaaS companies are uniquely positioned to gear up and customize for individual clients because they have in-house coding/development expertise. Additionally, these software changes can be offered to other subscriber companies. This is a win-win scenario for both the vendor and the subscribers.

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.

How to Make a Commission-Based Model Work in 2021

Commission-based sales models have been standard business practice for many decades, but do they still make sense in a post-pandemic world?  Are they still functional and practical when the company has adapted to changing sales patterns, problems with supply chains, and more and more employees working part or even full time from home?

Historically, there are many advantages to commission-based sales models.  They can be a motivator for salespeople since they are based on the value of sales achieved and can form all or part of a pay package.

When used judiciously, this tool can benefit not only high-achieving salespeople but the company as well.  Payroll cost is related to the value of business achieved rather than just the amount of product made. It helps a business to control costs during peaks and troughs since payroll will be reduced or increased according to patterns in market trends.  An attractive commission package also helps companies retain top sales talent.

1) Automate Your Commissions

When a business uses an automated commissions module, commissions are easy to calculate quickly and accurately.  Quotas and compensation percentages can be programmed into an algorithm that runs automatically and can be adjusted for different salespeople, different territories, different products, etc.

If the same system that pays commissions is being used to process deal pricing, it can be used as a great motivator for salespeople. When sales reps price deals, this sort of integrated system lets them know actively what they can expect to get paid.  This is why we consider SalesChain’s commissions module to be the “glue” that holds our whole business automation solution together – it motivates reps to know the system, price deals accurately, and maximize their own commission as a result.

2) Create a Focus on Revenue

Commissions programs can help managers focus sales teams to be revenue-driven rather than activity-driven. While it is certainly important for salespeople to track their activities to create a record they can reference, the company doesn’t prosper based upon the number of client interactions.

The underlying goal of the company will always be to make money – and the same is true for salespeople.  Being revenue-driven means being focused on the tools that will ultimately result in a number of deals closed, not a number of activity points logged.  Viable commissions packages that are deemed fair, accessible, and functional by employees are an important tool.

SalesChain Case Study

Pricing Proposals and Paying Commissions Faster with John Kerling of United Business Systems

3) Address Supply Chain Issues

It’s no secret: the office technology industry is among those hit hard by the present supply chain issues. Dealers who have primarily relied on hardware-based commissions are simply going to need to rethink their strategy if they want to keep their top reps.

One way to approach this crisis is to focus on renewing business, like servicing existing machinery rather than selling additional hardware.

We saw similar challenges during the pandemic where the work from home movement caused a shift to sales of A3 or otherwise smaller format printers and copiers. Always keep in mind during a crisis that businesses are meant to adapt and grow with the times. Don’t get stuck in a rut and lose your profits in the mix.

4) Be Forward-Thinking

Forward-thinking companies will realize that even though commissions-based sales models have inherent value in motivating employees and generating revenue for their businesses, they must re-evaluate the structure to keep them viable in current market conditions.

Since the current drawbacks are outside of your salespeople’s control, it is important to create a sales compensation plan that prevents a feeling of unfairness, fosters a sense of accomplishment, and maintains motivation through ease of use.

5) Enlist SalesChain’s Help!

SalesChain’s business automation system is the only provider with a built-in commissions module.  This integration into one complete system has many benefits.  Harvard Business Review (https://hbr.org/2015/04/how-to-really-motivate-salespeople) recommends designing a sales compensation plan by carefully collecting and collating sales metrics.

With SalesChain, commissions are integrated into the software, making it easy to view trends and know which products are selling and create incentive programs to reward salespeople for selling specific products.  The integrated accounting approach gives increased visibility to the sales force in the form of an accessible electronic dashboard.

This accessibility allows them to see where the company is making money so that they can capitalize on best-selling products and suggest new, compatible ones to clients.  SalesChain software allows you to use commissions to Guide your strategy, Leverage and Understand your data, and Extract meaningful results, in other words, it is the GLUE holding the entire unified business automation solution together!

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.

Should You Be Data Driven or Revenue Driven?

The Data Driven Paradigm

There has been a sweeping shift in business towards being data driven, an idea that has been met with surprising opposition from salespeople across the board.

Because of advances in software technologies, tracking a salesperson’s activities and generating data sets related to the sales process has been a popular method of employing this mindset. In concept, salespeople should be amongst the demographics that benefit most from this data set. Used properly, they can reference their interactions to build better client relationships, reference trends to detect what approaches they should take, and more.

However, we recently viewed this video from Brian G Burns on LinkedIn that confirms salespeople’s frustrations. From their perspective, entering activities and logging every myopic detail of an interaction with a client takes more time than it is worth.

Why do it then?  Managers and analysts who want to look at the company performance from a “big picture” point of view, more readily see the value of being data driven than their sales force. From their perspective, an incomplete data set means that the reporting is inherently incomplete, making it useless for forecasting and decision-making purposes.  They rely on the “boots on the ground,” their salespeople, to generate quality data sets.

The opinion we observed in the LinkedIn video encouraged stepping back from the data driven mindset and instead focusing on being revenue driven, allocating time to the activities that bring more money into the company rather than those that generate the most data.

As a software provider, we at SalesChain were provoked to ask: Just because technology has made data-generating tools available, should they be mandated, or are they wasting valuable employee time? In thinking about this, we determined that the shift towards being data driven is only problematic when attention is taken away from the tools and actions that put money on the table.  Time SHOULD be spent on building data that is relevant to generating revenue. 

Should You Focus on Revenue or Data?

Both. We find that a lot of people see these as contrary mindsets where instead we see revenue as being a focal point for data. In other words: we need to be revenue driven in the way we manage our data. Businesses have been using data to understand their finances as far back as the Egyptians, who gave us the first written number system. With modern technology, we’ve been blessed with the ability to track data at an enterprise scale with the click of a button. Business Intelligence tools and reporting put the big picture in the big data that helps most modern companies grow. Using tools that gather data on every deal in a central location is essential for forecasting and financial reporting.

But technology alone should not drive decision-making.  People make decisions by making wise use of all the resources and tools available to them.  New digital sales tools are powerful and effective if a company can focus on data that is important to its growth.

The challenge for businesses: How will you know what data to focus on?  How do they justify a type of activity tracking as being directly correlated with revenue?  A salesperson may not need to write down every phone call, but they should write down pieces of information that are relevant to the deal that they are working on. These are the valuable pieces of information that should make it from the mouth of the customer on a call, to the notes section of your CRM.

The critical challenge for managers is clear communication and consistency in their leadership. Managers must make sure they define what information is important and enforce the use of the software solution in a manner that helps them collect this data. If they spread their focus too thin across too many goals or too many data points, salespeople will get overwhelmed or feel like they’re wasting their time and will never adapt to using the system.

When implemented with purpose, seasoned salespeople will realize that a business automation solution, when used effectively, will save them valuable time, and help them to get more proposals out to potential customers. Spoiler alert: Getting more proposals to customers and driving more revenue in with measurable results will be the key to this whole puzzle.

What Data Actually Helps Drive Revenue?

According to SalesChain president Tim Szczygiel, “Management is often focusing on the wrong data. I don’t think that data is wrong, just that the focus is wrong. The most important data is that which is derived from proposal and order pricing processes. This data needs to be complete and accurate so that the business can leverage this data to maximize their revenue and the value that they get out of their data set.”

If we picture a Venn diagram to compare components of an automation system that are important for both management and salespeople, proposal pricing tools will undoubtedly fall in the middle.

Amongst the most important management reports is the financial comparison of how much revenue is being forecast, how much revenue is being closed, and how much revenue was in each salesperson’s quota. Effectiveness of promotions, profitability vs revenue, and the use of certain service pricing methods are other examples of good Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to track.

 

SalesChain Case Study

Pricing Proposals and Paying Commissions Faster with John Kerling of United Business Systems

How Do You Generate MORE Relevant Data?

No trick answers here. If the best revenue-driven data is coming from the proposal and order process, the way to generate more useful data is to price more proposals. Getting more proposals in front of customers gives management a larger dataset to reference and has the added benefit of winning more deals.

With this in mind, the salespeople make a valid point that tracking CRM minutia is not the most important way they can spend their time. The activity tracking component of your CRM software is secondary and can easily be used on a case-by-case basis to supplement the revenue-driver – the proposal pricing tool.

Once you begin to look at the data related to proposals priced to understand the trends and use that information to adapt your sales towards the trends that work, you are successfully doing data driven work with a revenue driven purview.

Keep Your Focus on The Dollars

While tracking activities is valuable, especially when you are first growing a business, it is easy to fake success in a CRM. Simply making a certain number of deals or sending a certain number of emails will only get a sales organization so far. If you are crushing your numbers every month as a salesperson, no one is going to care about the method that you employ. That includes, to a reasonable extent, your participation in the company’s CRM.

From a revenue driven mindset, SalesChain recognizes that a keystone of our software suite is our proposal pricing tool. Pricing more proposals and getting more offers in front of your customers is what is going to drive more revenue through your doors.

When you become a platinum customer with SalesChain, it is all about the revenue. When you start pricing, managing, and updating the proposals that you present to prospects, your company’s forecast takes care of itself. Your superiors are not really going to care that much about how many activities you have logged if you propose 100 deals and close 10 of them every month.

We agree with everything Brian (from the video) has to say. Focusing your attention on revenue is a fundamentally good business practice. If you have the right mindset and understanding, you can employ powerful tools to help you do so with data in mind.

This article was a team effort led by Matthew Szczygiel. Special thanks to Contributing authors Jennifer Boucher, Mary Ellen Hogan and Tim Szczygiel.

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 Case Study: United Business Systems

Commission and Order Pricing Experts

United Business Systems is a staple of the Buffalo, NY community. Their sales and support teams have accrued no shortage of accolades as they continue to be the most trusted partner for office technology in Buffalo. With the help of SalesChain, this stellar team has helped bring better office automation and technology to Central and Western New York for over 35 years.

In this Case Study, we talk with John Kerling of United Business Systems, who represents the sales branch of a family business. We focus on the deal pricing, document generation, and commissions components of the SalesChain system and their benefits. You can watch this case study in video form, or read the transcription we’ve provided below.

You can learn more about United Business Systems on their website: https://www.ubswny.com/

View the Video

Pricing Proposals and Paying Commissions Faster with John Kerling of United Business Systems

Video Transcription:

Hi, my name is John Kerling. I am the vice president of United Business Systems in Buffalo, New York.  As the vice president of United Business Systems it’s hard to really explain what I may do in a day, but I am doing whatever it takes to keep the customers happy.

I’ve been with UBS 30 years. My father and my uncle and another partner started UBS in 1983. I got involved with the business as my father had brought a new product and wanted me to come aboard to help him sell.

SalesChain is the hub of our sales organization. We’ve been with SalesChain for twelve years now. We use SalesChain to price our deals and put together our proposals. Getting a deal priced quickly and getting a proposal in front of the customer quickly helps us stay on top.

So, before SalesChain, it was mostly Excel spreadsheets and it was very time-consuming to price a deal. Our sales rep would have to pull pricing from a price sheet, put together an Excel spreadsheet with the equipment on there.

Then we would have to massage those numbers to try and make it work.  By using SalesChain, everything’s right there at our fingertips. We have catalogs within SalesChain that help us price deals. Now we can really look at a deal and depending on the size of the deal, it really helps us massage that deal and be able to figure out how to make it work. With SalesChain, I do not have to manipulate spreadsheets or provide pricing to my sales reps. I don’t have to get as involved with deals because my reps have the information they need and they can price deals within the parameters that I provide.

Because everybody is pricing in the same system, we have fewer errors going on and I have the information I need to view reports. It’s not enough just to have an opportunity. You know, the process of pricing a deal is so fast you have to be ready to hand that customer a document right away or else someone is going to come in and show them an alternative. If that happens, you’re going to lose that deal. SalesChain has helped us present and close orders a lot faster. We can have proposals out in five minutes. Because of that, we are able to make more money.

For us, adding the commission piece with SalesChain has been a real game changer for us.  When we price up the deal in SalesChain and we get an order, now when it comes to commission time I can simply click a few buttons and the guys are paid. Before we were doing commissions in SalesChain it was all spreadsheet and spreadsheet-based. It was time-consuming. Accuracy, I don’t feel it was ever there and there were times where I just threw my hands up and said pay them. Having the commissions system in SalesChain has saved me time and it has saved me money.

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 is the Number One Proposal and Order Pricing Tool for the Industry. Why?

Today’s digital world demands a multi-pronged approach to handle all your business needs.  Many single-function software products exist on the market that will do an adequate job, but they address only one area of concern.  The most economical and efficient solution is to combine applications to cover all areas of business.  “Our sales automation solution is a comprehensive suite of tools to automate your business and synchronize your entire workforce.”

If you are an office technology dealer looking to partner with a software provider for business automation, SalesChain represents your number one choice for proposal and order pricing solutions.  No matter the size of your company, SalesChain can provide a full-service platform that is cloud-based, with an automated workflow that integrates all the features you need and is inherently scalable, to grow with your company. Here are just some of the things we do best!

Catalogs Made Easy

Sales proposals begin with detailed product information.  Your customers want to know specifications on both mainframes as well as machine accessories and consumables, in order to make an informed purchasing choice.  Sifting through catalog databases is time-consuming and tedious for the sales staff.  SalesChain software offers access to a master catalog tailored to the manufacturers that your company represents.  This database is continuously updated and maintained and includes the latest models, as well as machines that are still available for sale as refurbished units or off-lease options.  SalesChain’s catalog marketing and maintenance team can enter complete and accurate data into your company catalog any time your sales team adds new business machines to their sales portfolio.  This precludes the need for your sales team to waste time on manual data entry, giving them more time to focus on closing deals!

The Industry’s Best Customizable Proposal Wizard

Your customers are busy!  They will respond best when presented with a well-organized, concise, and yet detailed analysis of their needs and your company’s proposed sales solution.  SalesChain software incorporates a completely customizable proposal wizard.  This portion of the tool suite allows sales reps to quickly document and price multiple combinations of products and services.  Mathematical algorithms calculate pricing options for these combinations at the click of a button, no matter where the rep is working from.  Proposals can be printed immediately, showing pricing options for the customer to choose from.

Instead of overwhelming your client with multiple estimates, IT Reps can import partial or even whole proposals from Quoteworks to offer a single, bundled solution.

Integrated E-Signature Functionality To Close Deals Faster

SalesChain is the only vendor in the business technology field that incorporates secure, approved, E-sign capability right into the software suite.  E-signatures can expedite closing deals, because customers don’t have to wait to arrange face-to-face meetings, and documents can be processed electronically much more quickly.  Many of your customers will finance their purchases through leasing companies.  E-signatures are legally accepted by all the major leasing companies in the business.  SalesChain’s Lease Portfolio Management utility is integrated into the deal pricing process, and we have direct integrations with many major leasing companies, like Great America and DLL.

Integrated Service Pricing

Your sales team is keen to promote more than just machine sales.  Digital transformation has made it vital that the office machine industry provide not only hardware, but contract services as well.  Customers are looking for CPC and volume pricing over the life of their equipment, whether it is leased or purchased outright. The SalesChain deal pricing suite generates multiple contract options integrating service pricing, so that sales reps may cross-sell with ease using a single proposal.

IT Services pricing

Your commitment to your customers doesn’t end when the sale is complete.  Ongoing IT service agreements exist for the life of the machine lease or purchase.  With the SalesChain system, it is easy to create comprehensive documents that incorporate IT service pricing into the same proposal with the machine hardware.  The proposal wizard has the capability of producing multiple scenarios to present to customers, with different combinations of leasing terms, buy-outs, accessories, and IT service packages all included.  Add I.T. services from your catalog and add user count to price accordingly. Present all the products and services required by your customer as one customized bill, within the context of an attractive and easy-to-read proposal document.

Document Management and Scanning Utility

SalesChain software produces multi-page, customized sales proposal packets in just a few minutes.  These include a cover sheet, an “about us” page to educate your client regarding additional product offerings, data sheets comparing marketing data for multiple machine options, and finally, solutions sheets, detailing different pricing and financing options for different product combinations, leasing options, cash buyout values, and service costs. Once a sale is secured, sales representatives can also easily generate lease documents, which pass proper serial and model numbers on to the finance companies, fulfillment documents that reflect accurate product configurations, and delivery (pick-up and move) documents.  The entire sales process is done quickly with automated, electronic documentation that circumvents the errors inherent in manual data entry.

Conclusion

“SalesChain is dedicated to creating an integrated, automated workflow solution for the digital workforce which helps teams across different departments work together seamlessly.”

Our mission statement reflects our full-service commitment to your business and its clients.  The features we have highlighted here represent detailed areas where you could be making more money by implementing our fully automated and customizable workflow system.  These features represent time saved that you would otherwise be wasting looking up information that we collate for you.  Take advantage of our easy, comprehensive proposal and order pricing tools, as well as all our other software features!

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.

6 SalesChain Features for the Hybrid office

Cloud-based SAAS companies are in a unique position to align themselves successfully in a post-pandemic world.  The infrastructure and operations are already in place to function fluidly in the office, remotely, or using a hybrid model.   Back in March, SalesChain published this article, hypothesizing that remote work was here to stay. With the variants of Covid-19 and more offices allowing employees to decide where and how they want to work; we’re seeing this come to fruition.  Companies that either have or can implement this hybrid way of doing business will certainly be at the forefront of the digital transformation that we see today.  “Finding solutions to help remote staff work as efficiently as possible is critical.”

Here we highlight 6 features that our SalesChain product offers that support hybrid office operations.

1) Deal Pricing with Integrated Catalogs

Comprehensive product catalog access is incorporated right into your SalesChain package. Remote workers can run deal pricing, integrating different combinations of base engine machines and accessory packages, whether they are in or out of the office.  They can communicate with other reps and seek manager approval for deals without time-consuming in-person meetings.

2) NEW: Inventory Lookup

SalesChain recently announced a new inventory lookup tool. This is a direct response to the issues the industry is experiencing as a result of pandemic supply chain disruptions. Customers can use SalesChain’s forecasting screen to double-check their inventory and cross-reference it with the proposals and orders priced by sales reps.

3) Integrated e-Signatures

The pandemic has brought a new awareness to the appeal of working as much as possible in a contactless environment. Customers may be more hesitant to participate in multiple, unnecessary face-to-face interactions.  SalesChain software offers E-signatures – the perfect way to close contactless deals with your customers.

How can E-Signatures Improve remote Sales?

View our October 2020 BTA Webinar to learn more!

4) Built-In Commissions

A system to manage any type of commissions structure is built right into the SalesChain software. Sales reps are motivated to keep up with the easy data entry in the field or at home, knowing that they will be paid, no matter where they are.  They will readily see what they might be paid for each deal, and managers will have a more complete and accurate data set to drive analytics.

5) Outlook 365 Integration

SalesChain offers integrations to key industry software, to help manage business workflow, regardless of worker location. “Two-way integration with Microsoft Outlook 365 means when you schedule, edit, and cancel appointments in Outlook they will automatically appear on your SalesChain calendar.”  Sales reps are enabled to be more professional, reducing the risk of missing appointments and losing important details.  Creating an electronic paper trail means easy access to communication history, not only over the course of a particular deal but for the lifetime of a relationship with a client.

6) Cloud-Based CRM

SalesChain software is a unified solution that incorporates sales CRM functionality. Sales reps may access their data from anywhere at any time, facilitating ease of use and collaboration with clients and colleagues.  This cloud-based CRM package also precludes the errors inherent in manual data collection and saves users time on the road.

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.

You Need a Provider That Scales with You

When you are looking to partner with a company providing business enterprise software you need to know if this system be able to grow with you?  It is inefficient to invest in something that you will outgrow in a short period of time.  You don’t want to find yourselves using a different software product in a matter of just a few years.

SalesChain provides a system that is designed to support the needs of a complex organization, comprised of multiple business enterprises, managed by different teams and personalities with different perspectives.  Whether you are a small company with five dealers or a large company with 35 dealers, we can provide tailor-made solutions.  For example, you can adjust settings in the system for individual dealers and branches while retaining standard settings at the management or corporate level.  SalesChain has built-in adaptability to do just that.

SalesChain clients are always growing, whether it is the addition of a few new sales representatives, an internal promotion, or the addition of a whole new branch.  As an effective provider, our system needs to be able to provide viable, easily implemented solutions for all these situations.

Here Are 3 Ways the SalesChain System Scales with your Business:

  1. Cloud-Based CRM allows companies to easily add users or even new branches. You can import data from InfoUSA or other sources, assign existing accounts and territories to new reps, and managers can easily view reports and charting information from all the different branches and users from a single admin login.
  2. Delivery Workflow Automation and Status Tracking helps your infrastructure grow alongside your sales organization. Avoid growing pains in fulfillment as your sales team expands or sells more by automating processes like delivery notifications, scheduling, reminders, and more. Save time by pushing sales orders and other information directly into e-Automate rather than needing a staff member to keep up with this process manually.
  3. Dedicated Service Pricing, IT Service Pricing, and IT Products Pricing tools can help your dealership expand into new offerings that help your customers with the digital transformation (DX). If you already have these offerings, leverage cross-selling to include more offerings on a single proposal and help sell your customers more services.

We are a smaller company, focused on the office technology industry, but we take pride in the fact that our system is based on a scalable platform.  Because so many office technology dealers have complex hierarchies, they need to structure permissions and have careful and precise access to data and processes.  Our focus on the industry means that these features are purpose-built for companies with multiple dealerships.  One hundred percent of the tools built into our software product are designed for office technology, so we are not distracted by ideas or features that you will not use.

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.

Details Matter: 6 Critical Detail-Oriented Features

I admit the Big Box CRM solutions have some pretty slick features. But the question is, will they help you to sell more equipment and services?

SalesChain has some pretty slick features too, and all of them are focused on helping your business sell more Office Technology, particularly in the area of helping your business collaborate and cooperate more efficiently.

6 Key Features that are used everyday include:

1) Catalogs Made Easy

Our Catalogs Made Easy service provides a comprehensive product catalog that will include your pricing (one or many levels), promotions, lease rates, and service rates. Since reps will not be manually entering pricing, other departments such as operations, contracts, and services will trust the data that’s in the system. They will use the data within their processes, making the entire company more efficient.

2) Document Generation

Our Document Generation system creates is capable of generating every document your business needs. Because we provide cleaner data, our documents do not require your sales reps to manually enter information, saving time and potential errors.

3) Service Pricing Module

Our Service Pricing Module gives you flexibility and control in pricing and documenting service. This ensures that your recurring revenue is sustained and the equipment and service side of sales is more balanced.

“Details matter. It’s worth waiting to get it right.”

– Steve Jobs

4) Bi-Directional Integration with E-Automate

Our Bi-Directional Integration with E-Automate is unmatched, period. Our automatic creation of sales orders, service tickets, and more eliminates the need for your operations department to manually enter data.

5) Integrated Commissions

Integrated Commissions acts as the glue which keeps sales reps using the system completely and accurately. If reps are getting paid out of the same system they’re pricing deals in, the deals will become more and more accurate. What’s more, you don’t need another system or spreadsheets to price commissions, our system does it automatically.

6) Electronic Signatures

Having Integrated (and unlimited) Electronic Signatures means you don’t have to buy DocuSign or Adobe. Our signatures are easy to use, legally binding, and accepted by all of the major leasing companies.

Bonus: Support

On top of these features, we’re proud to offer the best support in the industry to train your team and answer any questions you have along the way. Start your journey with SalesChain today to see how our detail-oriented approach can improve the way you do 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.

SalesChain Case Study: Keystone Digital Imaging

Experts in Workflow Automation

It’s no secret that Keystone Digital Imaging loves automation. In fact, their attention to detail when it comes to their use of the software is practically obsessive. With the help of SalesChain, this careful determination has helped them cut their DSO in half, and allowed them to provide their customers with a much higher grade of service.

In this Case Study, we talk with Crystal Manning of Keystone Digital Imaging. We focus on the implementation of the Delivery Workflow Automation module of the SalesChain system and its benefits. You can watch this case study in video form, or read the transcription we’ve provided below.

You can learn more about Keystone Digital Imaging on their website: https://www.kdi-inc.com/

View The Video

View our video interview with Crystal Manning here or on YouTube.

Transcription of Crystal’s Interview:

I’m Crystal Manning.  I’m with Keystone Digital Imaging and I’m the project manager.  I oversee all the different software that we use.  I take time to see how we can enhance them, how we can move the company forward and into more automation, basically. 

Then I help all our teams throughout the entire company with all our software.  So, if they’re having an issue or if they feel like something’s taking too long, I put out those types of fires.   

I talk to the developers of the software probably more than I talk to half my family, they’re like my second family I would say. We’ve been using SalesChain for a good ten years now.  We were one of the very first.  What I’ve seen in SalesChain is that they are just as forward-thinking as we are. So, they are always redeveloping their software.  They don’t let it go stale.  They are constantly investing in what the industry needs, what people need, what the marketing is, and they move and redesign their own software to keep up with what their dealers and customers need. 

I find SalesChain is very responsive, from their Help Desk, just needing simple things changed or questions answered, all the way through to their development team.  If it’s something that we need or something we want to see, I’ve never come across something that SalesChain wasn’t willing to do. 

I’ve been with KDI for thirteen and a half years.  The company has changed by having a lot more software that we have to deal with.  We were using between five and seven programs at one given time.  Now we have a ton more automation and we’ve taken the number of software programs we’ve had to use and minimized them.   

By sticking with SalesChain, we said, ok, these are the things that are most important to us. How do we utilize your software, and customize it to our needs so that we can get rid of everything else?  SalesChain was able to do that for us.  By doing that, it has allowed our team to be a lot more productive.   

Before SalesChain, we were using SalesForce.  When we started looking at other CRMs, SalesChain just seemed to fit a little bit better.  We’re so lucky that we did, because, again, I can’t speak more about the customization.  There’s no other software out there that will customize the way that SalesChain will.  That is what you need to run a business.  You can’t fit into a program’s molding.  You need a software to fit into yours.  That’s what will give and deliver good customer service. 

One piece of customer development that SalesChain has helped us with has been enhancing our delivery desk workflow.  We utilize SalesChain to follow through our entire workflow.  It’s brought our teams together so that they’re able to function better as a team versus individually.  We have multiple types of delivery desks that we do here, what we call jobs.  We took it from a basic copier delivery.  We now have over ten different types of job deliveries.  It’s good for us because we really want to look at the statistics of what each step is.  A copier may be different than a showroom delivery or a copier may be different than our RT department’s work items.  Being able to see what everybody’s work items are and how quickly they’re getting done allows us from management to see where the holes are and how we can make them better. 

The difference between some of the different types of jobs that we have with the delivery desk would be copiers.  That’s our main thing.  We utilize everything, from when the deal is submitted to our order processing team, to our welcome center.  The equipment is ordered, received, set up, then delivered.  Then we have connectivity and ED, which is the software we use, and then we have funding.  Whereas, when we do an IT order, they are much simpler.  We have the order, submit it, the equipment is ordered, it is installed, and it all comes together.  Then we just follow up with a survey to make sure the customer is satisfied. 

Having the ability to have a much smaller scale of those work items, we don’t have to just check a work item off just because it doesn’t fit in that bubble that we have.  So, customizing to us makes things so much easier.  What I mean by that is order processing just used to be our order processors.  Our warehouse used to be just our warehouse.  Now, they’re a team. They all utilize the same workflow.  They all utilize SalesChain and they can all see where the other department is in that process.  So, if the warehouse is wondering was equipment ordered, they can go in and run a report to see all the orders that equipment has been ordered for, so they know what they are expecting in in the next few days.  Same thing with order processing.  If they see equipment has been received, they now have a report of all the bills that they now must run and generate out of our system, whereas before, everything was when equipment gets billed, they then get a notice through a scanned email.   

Now things are tied together.  Are teams working together?  The communications are better and that helps us as upper management deliver better products to our customers.  The delivery workflow works with the ability to give the sales reps the knowledge of where their order is in the workflow process.  Without bothering different members of our team, they can log into SalesChain, log onto the order, and they see exactly where that order is.  What’s the last step that was completed?  What’s the next step that needs to be completed?  By doing that, the sales rep is more comfortable and can give updates to the customer.  

Before we implemented the workflow into SalesChain, we were pretty much around 15 days from the time we received an order to the time that we delivered and funded a deal.  Now we’re around seven days and we don’t have so much equipment.  Most of our equipment gets ordered and then it gets shipped to us.  Then we must set it up.  We must test it. We must deliver it.  Then we connect it.  Then we have training and we’re funded.  All those processes are happening at one time, but it is happening in days and quickly.  It affords us the ability to do that because SalesChain is showing us exactly where we are.  

To do that, you must have a system that can keep up, and you must be able to see, here I am at this step, here I am at this step.  But cutting us down to seven days, just think about that.  You don’t even have a piece of equipment here and you’re processing an order and getting the equipment physically here from another warehouse, another manufacturer, and you’re delivering it to a customer who needs that equipment quickly, who need to swap it out and be tested and ready to go for them so that they can then train their team.   That’s important, that’s good customer service, not waiting weeks.  So that’s what’s important to us, value.

I don’t know where our business would be without SalesChain. 

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.

Getting Started With SalesChain

Getting Started With SalesChain

As the leading provider of sales and business automation solutions to the office technology industry, we have taken the time to learn and develop best practices for the implementation of our software. Because of our experience, going live with the SalesChain system has never been easier. We’ve outlined the typical steps of the go-live process below!

Take Our Quiz

SalesChain provides a variety of tools and integrations within its software product.  This tool can help you get a feel for all of the different products and services we offer and can allow us to tailor a package to best suit the needs of your team.  Take the quiz and configure your SalesChain system below!

Schedule a Demo

You and your team will then participate in a one-hour session in which one of our SalesChain experts will walk you through our system and its capabilities.  We will explain featurdetails and how they can help optimize your business.  This session also gives us a chance to ask questions about the pain points in your process and how we might help improve them. 

Complete a Subscription Agreement

SalesChain offers a variety of subscription levels which will give users access to different combinations of tools within our product.   After you have been introduced to SalesChain and have chosen a package, your management team will be invited to negotiate and complete a subscription agreement with SalesChain. 

Implementation Begins

Now our Implementation team gets to work, interfacing with your company’s operations and sales management staff.  This is where the most exhaustive data gathering occurs, as our team collects lists of contacts, client companies, catalogs, and more from your disparate systems and spreadsheets to consolidate them into your new SalesChain system.

ECI integration for e-Automate data is turned and checked for quality in this phase. You will also be offered an optional service that allows us to clean, verify, and de-duplicate your company’s information using data from infoUSA.  second optional service allows us to map all your client & prospect companies using Google mapping information. 

Management Verification

At this point in the set-up process, your management team meets with our SalesChain project managers to verify that the system is configured correctly.  We conduct integrity testing of your database, including your contact imports, commissions schedule, documents, workflow process, and catalog library to ensure accuracy.

Communication planning is also fundamental to this step of the process. We will take the time to outline best practices for communication between your team and ours for both normal, week-to-week projects and imports as well as protocol for crisis situations. Along with this comes some time to conduct risk analysis, how to prevent or mitigate opportunities for compromised data, and how to respond to potential compromises swiftly. The security of your data is our top priority. 

Phase One Go-Live

This is the first step in the roll-out of your new SalesChain tools.  SalesChain is now ready to go live with the first phase.  This means that CRM, basic deal pricing, commissions , and documentation are available for use by your sales force.  But this is certainly not the end of our interaction with your employees.  Our expert SalesChain help desk professionals provide training sessions for your company’s staff.  This service is included in our phase one roll-out process. 

Our team can easily get your business live in as quickly as 30-45 days from the day you sign a subscription agreement. But, then again, would you buy a house based on the builder who promised it fastest? Take this as an estimate, since the size of your business, the organization of your data, and your team’s willingness to adopt a new solution will all impact the speed of the implementation process. Our focus is on the completeness, accuracy, and timeliness of our initial and continued response.  Contact SalesChain today to ask about a potential project timeline!

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.