Our client, a manufacturer in Michigan with multiple plants and multiple sales reps across the county, was living a spreadsheet nightmare.  To manage their sales pipeline, they relied on a single sales administrator’s spreadsheet.  This spreadsheet contained columns with all the key information management requested, but unfortunately not all sales reps consistently collected or reported that information back to the corporate head office.  The result was that management never possessed a clear picture of what the sales team was doing or the status of future sales in their pipeline.

Another pain point for the company was that pricing for most opportunities had a number of required management approvals.  The process of moving an opportunity through these approvals was also managed by a single administrator through emails and a spreadsheet.  When a sales rep submitted a pricing request to corporate, they had no visibility to its status.  Additionally, management could not see how many pricing requests they had in the pipeline, or where potential bottlenecks existed.

By employing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, the sales reps were better able to manage their communications with customers by getting a central place for all customer contacts.  Because CRM can be deployed natively within Outlook, emails and appointments could easily be attached to an account record and new sales opportunities could easily be created from those communications.  Deploying CRM eased the sales reps’ administrative tasks, thus gave them more time to communicate with customers.  It also provided management with a central place to see and report on the status of sales opportunities.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online also helped transform their teamwork by providing the perfect platform to manage their pricing approval process.  We helped them document their pricing approval process, including the optimal process for creating individual notices and tasks. From this, a custom Microsoft Dynamics CRM workflow was easily created that notifies personnel if they have a pricing request to review, and after it was reviewed, it moves the request either to its next level approver or back for revision.  The new automated sales process in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online has dramatically improved the sales team’s visibility and created a flexible reporting platform for them to easily see – and more important proactively manage, the total number of requests in the system.

Originally published on www.crmsoftwareblog.com