Are you still using WhatsApp for SALES?

This article gives us an insight on impact on organization using tools like WhatsApp for sales process.

Jugaad –  It is an Indian word for an approach where one knowingly chooses an option that tends to solve a problem without it being the appropriate or actual solution.

Sales is the most fundamental process in a business. Simply put: if you have sales, you have a business. In spite of the importance of sales in the success of a business, it is often seen that businesses do “jugaad” and cut corners when implementing their sales process. One outcome of this is that businesses fail to scale and grow due to ad-hocism and cost cutting in the planning and design of the sales process.

In order for any business to scale and grow it is necessary to identify and document the steps that are required to achieve predefined goals. These steps become the roadmap that team members must follow to reach their goal in the most effective way. When a roadmap is further refined over time, it becomes an established process. This is true for all business processes and is particularly true for sales.

Even when the advantages of adopting a process oriented approach are obvious, why do businesses fall into the trap of ad-hocism? Why do businesses take legal risks, financial risks and scalability risks by using streaming media tools like WhatsApp to close a sales opportunity?

There are two reasons for this:

  1. The “jugaad” mindset – when a business is willing to apply jugaad to its sales it implies that the business is ready to compromise its long term goals for short term profits; that the business is casual about its governance and diligence.

Businesses usually incorporate Jugaad mindset while selecting tools to implement business processes with the dent in mind caused due to common myths

Myth 1 – Business processes are meant for larger organizations only.

Myth 2 – Implementing business processes in a small team is an over kill of time and money

Myth 3 – Automating sales processes (or any business process in that matter) with technology is a costly affair.

This is the kind of thinking that restrict businesses to grow.

When we are driven by Jugaad the businesses succumb to free tools like WhatsApp to run business processes like sales

You may like to read – Why small team needs sales processes

You may like to read – How to benefit from sales automation

 

  1. Fear of Change – Often the effort businesses put in resisting a change is much larger than the effort for embracing it for profit. It is so strange that as businessmen, at times, we resist change so much. When businesses focus more on the disruption a change causes rather than the benefits it fetches, they resist change.

New will always disrupt old.

Good will always disrupt bad.

When we take the first step to abandon the random practices of sales with streamline processes – it is a mark of progress. A progress that is the outcome of a change.

 

WhatsApp being a common tool for messaging, has been a convenient choice for sales team to communicate. We keep telling ourselves how our customers are hooked to WhatsApp and hence is a logical choice to use it. This is perfect when it is just meant for communication. But that is no way the substitute to a step laid in the sale process.

How does sales process driven by tools like WhatsApp look like?

  • Attendance of your field force team on WhatsApp is in form of a message.
  • MoM reaches you and your clients on WhatsApp
  • New customer details are an image of the client’s visiting card. Which ends up being a contact in your and your sales team’s mobile
  • Order are booked on WhatsApp.
  • Approval of processing an order happens on WhatsApp
  • Your client’s communication is restricted to WhatsApp messages.
  • PjP and day’s reporting is in again a message in WhatsApp

There are many other steps like accounting, invoicing request, stock auditing etc. We have just taken the common few to address what it is like having WhatsApp for sales process.

Let’s understand it this way –

Wouldn’t it be good to have your office in your living room? You will save money and will be truly convenient for you. All your family and business matters will be at one place. And best of all, you can choose to manage them both at the same time. You even neutralize a lot of common expenses.

If this is so why don’t you find most of the organizations, even with small sales team, following this approach? You would have many logical replies to this.

Look at it closely and you could find the above situation similar to choosing a free tool over a business application.

 

What happens when tool like WhatsApp runs your sales process?

data loss - whatsapp for sales

  1. Your information is open – Your messages are not under your control in WhatsApp. It lacks the basic level of security that a business information demands. Imagine if your sales employee has to leave your organization, he goes with all the information in his mobile phone! All the information is in his  WhatsApp chat history!

WhatsApp does have end to end encryption of data but it is useless if someone else has the device. He can peep into any chat in WhatsApp.

  1. No insights from data – Data forms a very integral part of business intelligence. We have a client who was very happy with the sales; till he realised that the distributed sales across the geography is low. He had few locations that were performing for him but the spread of the sales was dismal. This insight was good enough to create journey plans for his sales team and increase the sales by 120%. He achieved this with his existing sales team. The only change was addition of salesMpower, an application to manage sales processes.

Businesses loses the ability to work at full potential when they fail to collect business data.  As rightly said – You can only improve things that you can measure. The kind of data mobility technology can provide is amazing. Using free tools like WhatsApp is like choosing to underperform.

  1. Adding redundancies – Businesses that understands the importance of historic data may employ someone to keep a tap of all the conversations on WhatsApp and organize it. They may even chose to get these data entries done by the sales team.

When this happens we not only add redundant work but also unconsciously say yes to a lot of non-productive activities

  • Today’s technology helps to collect seamless data on the go. Free tools don’t let us do that for business processes. When businesses get the data entry done not only it adds a recurring cost but also misses to opportunity to use the data in real time.
  • Technology eliminates lot of human errors. Data entered manually will have errors. Hence the insights delivered by that data will have flaws.
  • Business process implemented through technology is an automated process. On the other hand manual data entry will consume your time. Doing a data entry job with utmost perfection is a serious task and consumes a lot of time. It is for the business to decide where they want to focus.
  • When sales team has to enter the data we cut their selling time. This is a blunder businesses choose to do.

Does it help you visualize how cutting corners in not having a proper sales process actually costs the business!

  1. No provisions to scale up – Sales process automation will churn data and help you take informed decisions. This will in-turn help you focus on growth of your business. Sales processes needs a dry run to weed out any teething-problem. It is easier to polish the process with smaller team and then apply it to a larger one.

Free tools like WhatsApp does not let us customise anything. They do not have API for integrating with your business software. This is an important ingredient that a non-business tool would miss.

So what does it look like for a company who follows a proper business tool for implementing their sales –

  • Their attendance are time and geo stamped which cannot be rigged. There is no chance of bluffing one’s attendance.
  • The report of client meetings is organized and notifications are directed to appropriate person. Subsequent follow ups are also recorded to understand the TAT.
  • New customer details are entered and categorised. It is secure and can be accessed by authorised person only.
  • Your orders are time and geo stamped. The data against every order recorded to understand the customer’s buying pattern and to get other insights.
  • The orders are processed by the application. The processing and the delivery team are intimated.
  • Your clients get the order details like number and estimated time of delivery etc. Your client’s feedback can be captured as well.
  • PjP and other sales operations are managed and there is a clear idea on the accountability of each and every sales person with things like daily reports.

Does that sound like a progressive organization? Surely it does.

Businesses invest time and money to ingrain these processes and develop systems that employees can follow. They use technology to develop them. These systems not only smoothen up the operation but also reduces redundancies.

It is truly not difficult to understand the importance of having a proper tool for business sales. Else there is no harm in having your office, inventory and family all in the living room.

 

 

Why sales need mobility – the mobility sales solution

Every time we enable an organization with mobility sales solution it is an enriching experience. Every industry has its challenges. Some need to manage their distributors while some wish to optimise their production. While some organization looks for a sales process to manage inventory while for others mobility solution helps in forecasting.

All these challenges are served under the backdrop of sales.

Strikingly some of the common factors of sales are quite similar across industries. Let us know what drives sale in your industry through the comment area

The innate nature of Sales

The thing with sale is one cannot define a time for sale. You meet discuss benefits, negotiate, meet again, talk about successful projects to build credibility, re-negotiate, quote, send proposal, then wait for reply, follow up, fix up a meeting, close a sale and give support till the client servicing team takes it up completely. Now imagine this happening for multiple leads simultaneously.

“Sale is not a time-structured process. It can happen just any time. Rather it is all-the-time process.”

There is lot of information that is vital during each stage in sale and is best serves when they are reported on real time basis. What else can serve better than a mobility solution ?

Responsibility of the organization

Sales team is the one that generates revenue for the organization. It becomes the sole responsibility of the organization to introduce automation, training or operational processes etc that will bring efficiency.

Stating so the organization has to answer this important question – How can they best help the sales team do its job best of its capability? 

Mobility is one of the best choice when comes to mind. (for the above reasons and more)

Sales is a human activity

Any organization, irrespective of industry, whom we have worked with have impressed how face to face interaction is necessary for sales. Nothing works better for a top-of-mind recall than a sales person of the company visiting you frequently. This can happen best when we enable the sales person to be mobile at his work.

The change is not scary

Simply said, laptops are not that portable. If we have to provide portability to sales team, the machine has to be portable too.  Mobile and tables fills the void that laptops have created by laptops in the profession of sales.  And the feature and price makes portability very attractive even for the organization. This shift is as well not scary because mobile devices are commonplace. Even than that the usage of the device does not have a steep learning curve.

Expedites the process –

No matter how simple placing an order may seem but it is a confusing process. The key word here is “process”. Placing an order is the last step in the process. One needs to know finalise the price, negotiate if there is an order in bulk, have to conform on the delivery timing, one would like to clarify on the credit period and payment mode etc. before an order be placed. If sales person can put the information on the go and close the deal, it expedites the complete process of sales itself. Again, mobility solution strikes the chord here too.

 

But sales is not only about going mobile. Here is the mindset that organizations need to develop to benefit from mobility in their sales process.

 

Sales-ProcessMobility is about increasing selling time. If a solution can drives quality and effective time for sales, it not only motivates the salesman but also makes the customer feel valued. This is the exact reason why CRM solutions do not work out well for sales. CRMs add lot of data entry job and kills effective sale-time.

 

 

Mobility is to enhance a sales process. Without sales process mobility is going to backfire. Think it this way, if

  • the culture of visiting the clients regularly
  • initiative to turn leads into customer
  • conviction towards the product or services one is selling

is missing from the sales culture of an organization then mobility will just end up as buzz word.

Mobility is an enable for an organization who wants to drive sales through insights. Adding the power to capture sales action/activities on the move opens up valuable data. The true value of the data remains in the fact how one uses it. The data generated through mobility solution would not be able to contribute to the sales process only when organization can extract insights out of that data.

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