Sales team member using headset to meet virtually with customer
For decades, automating time-consuming, manual processes has been critical for making businesses more scalable, adaptable and efficient. Study after study shows that companies, especially at the enterprise level, continue to invest heavily in automation technologies to drive growth and gain an edge over the competition.
Why is it, then, that so many companies still waste money and human work hours on manual sales and order management processes? McKinsey & Company research found that even though a third of sales and sales operations tasks can be easily automated with today’s technology, only one in four companies has automated at least one sales process.
What’s happening here? To keep sales and orders flowing, company leadership can be understandably hesitant to interfere with this part of the organization. Too often, they make piecemeal changes as long as they can, achieving little or no improvement because the sales and customer care teams continue to be handcuffed by busy work. This leaves sales teams unable to focus 100% on selling—and customer support teams unable to focus 100% on ensuring quick and accurate product delivery.
Bottom line: If you’re not using technology to automate your remaining manual, routine and recurring selling and order management processes, you’re leaving a massive opportunity on the table.
The Sales and Order Management Challenge
In any size company, sellers receive manual orders many ways: by phone, fax, email and during meetings with sales reps. For every manual order, a sales or customer support rep has to verify the order detail, calculate discounts and shipping fees, and re-enter information multiple times into tracking spreadsheets, accounting software and packing lists.
The overall process results in wasted employee time spent correcting errors, incorrect or delayed deliveries, lost profits, billing errors, strained customer relationships and even lost business.
A provider of digital B2B commerce and collaboration tools, SABX suggests that companies move towards “digitally integrated selling and buying.”
In order to do this, create a shared environment for your company’s sales and customer support team where they can place and track orders. There are several cloud-based solutions out there. Look for ones that allow payment exchanges and offer two-way communication throughout the entire sales order process.
A system with these abilities ensures order accuracy by giving sellers the ability to live-update product and pricing information. When buyers log in to place orders, they always have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips.
When companies transition to a cloud-based, self-serve selling and buying environment, they and their customers experience a win-win. Both can realize efficiency as they:
- Digitally integrate selling and buying activities
- Automate routine data entry tasks
- Eliminate costly order errors
- Automatically capture two-way communication throughout the sales order process
- Track order activity from start to finish
A Competitive Imperative
The Gartner Future of Sales 2025 report predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales and order interactions will occur in digital channels.
Companies and enterprises who hesitate to leave behind known processes and move away from their own legacy infrastructures risk being left behind. Automation is essential for giving organizations the ability to manage sales and orders with the speed and efficiency that today’s digital world demands.
With automation, delivered by modern digital technology, everybody wins. Customers benefit from faster turnaround. Companies benefit from higher sales-force productivity. Sales reps experience greater job satisfaction because automation lets them focus on what they want most: deliver value to customers.
The benefits go far beyond near-term efficiency gains and cost savings. Freed from the manual weight of doing business, companies can scale growth exponentially with limited to no increase in headcount, while providing first-class service to stakeholders.