Volume 7, Winter 2016
VP Sales THE
How Transforming Sales Positively Affected a Companyâ€™s Culture Page 31 5 Steps to Picking the Best CRM for Your Company Page 28
Small Sales Team with a Giant Presence Page 38
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Best Practices for Managing a High Performance Sales Team
Crafting Your Buyer’s Journey for 2017 and Beyond
Letter from the Editor
Sales & Marketing
5 Steps to Picking the Best CRM for Your Company
A Ripple Effect: How Transforming Sales Positively Affected a Company’s Culture
What to Consider Before Taking Off Into the Cloud.
one who takes initiative or leadership
Small Sales Team with a Giant Presence
Winter 2016 | Bellwether
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BELLWETHER Volume 7 Winter 2016 www.blytheco.com www.bellwethermagazine.com
Hi Bellwether Readers,
ough a tumultuous of 2016. We’ve made it thr Welcome to our last issue sales that many of if you saw the hesitation in e sur t no I’m r. yea n ctio ele over, it seems that all of those debates are w no t bu – did ers tom cus our e to brush to normal. What a better tim ing urn ret are es elin pip ny that ma e for a strong 2017. up on your skills and prepar ting in San Frang related to sales and marke I recently attended a meetin lot of sales people d that a huge challenge a cisco. In mingling, I learne l?” t someone to return my cal face is simply, “How do I ge uals who have are reaching out to individ le op pe es sal se the of ny Ma k mean interest? That’s it. Does a simple clic d! cke Cli ail! em an on clicked know? t interested? How would you What if I clicked and wasn’ more informed ponsible because buyers are Marketing is now more res to someone. Simply when they are ready to talk and want to reach out only person. t warrant a call from a sales clicking on an email may no marketing team more sales people, while the ing add are ies pan com st Mo ing equally on rdinator. If you aren’t spend coo ting rke ma e on t jus still has injustice. be doing your business an these two things, you may k differently about magazine will help you thin We hope the articles in this sales and marketed. I am passionate about how your sales can be modifi l you would bennt my entire career. If you fee ing as it is where I have spe available to chat. und your sales team – I’m efit from a conversation aro 7!
sh to 2016 and a fantastic 201
Best wishes for a great fini
EDITOR Apryl Hanson COPY EDITOR Denise Renee Phinn ART DIRECTORS Gary Dahl Jennifer Vo ADVERTISING SALES Denise Renee Phinn SUBSCRIPTIONS www.bellwethermagazine.com Or contact Denise Renee Phinn (949) 583-9500, Extension 2209 firstname.lastname@example.org Bellwether Magazine is published by Blytheco with principal offices at: 23161 Mill Creek Dr., Suite 200 Laguna Hills, CA 92653 If you wish to be removed from the mailing list or to add names to the mailing list, send your request, including name, business name, and mailing address to the above address or to email@example.com This is a copyrighted publication and all articles herein are covered by this copyright. Any use of the content for commercial reasons or other form or reproduction of material herein is strictly prohibited without prior, written approval of Bellwether Magazine.
Winter 2016 | Bellwether
Best Practices for Managing a High-Performance Sales Team by Kelly Smith
t takes a lot of hard work to find highly-skilled sales people who are the right fit for your organization. Once they’ve been on-boarded, it’s up to the sales manager to keep them engaged, motivated and challenged, so they become and remain top-performers. The following is a collection of best practices for sales leaders to follow to help keep your team at the top of their game.
Set High (But Realistic) Expectations. Everyone should know what their sales goals are at the beginning of each month and quarter. Set sales goals with realistic expectations; the reps should feel confident in their ability to meet the goals, but will still need to challenge themselves to do so. If your team members always hit quota halfway into the month, it’s a good sign they need a bigger challenge. If the majority of reps consistently miss their goals, the quota may be too ambitious. Get feedback from your top performers to find out what they think about the quota setting process. They will provide invaluable insight that will help you set achievable objectives.
Be a Positive Leader. Leaders set the mood for groups. Sam Walton said it 8
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best: “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” Take a few minutes each day to greet members of your team, ask them about how they’re doing and get to know them outside of sales numbers. A little effort on your part can go a long way toward building a sense of camaraderie within the team. A great leader also acts as a mentor to their team. Invest in educating and mentoring your sales staff, so they become better sales people and employees. By helping find ways to develop their strengths and improve their weaknesses, their job performance will improve dramatically.
Optimize the Sales Team for Success. It all begins with a logical, well-thought out, easily duplicatable sales process that is easily monitored and automated. If your sales process is working correctly, you should have minimal disagreements over lead assignments, account ownership, and commission credit. The key is to ensure 100% adaptation by each team member for every lead and subsequent sale. A poorly enforced process leads to a lack of follow-up, missed opportunities and lost sales.
If your sales process seems overly complicated or just doesn’t feel like it’s right for your team, call a meeting with your top performers to get their feedback. Find out what they like and don’t like about the current process, what’s worked for them in other sales jobs and what their top priorities would be in a new system.
Build a Culture of Transparency. In sales, you are considered successful based on your ability to consistently achieve your quota every month, quarter, and year. Make sure that you build a culture of transparency and accountability with your sales team. Let them know exactly where they stand concerning their goals by creating a leaderboard, posted where the team can see it on a regular basis. The benefit of a leaderboard is that it reinforces the positive behavior of top performing sales reps while calling attention to the underperforming reps who need to increase their numbers. The best result is in demonstrating that excellent performance is achievable. Another way to build transparency is to ensure that the sales team understands how all parts of the sales cycle affect their ability to increase the number of sales. Assign goals that are sales related, such as lead generation,
demos scheduled/performed or proposals sent. To make sure that the team understands why you are assigning these goals, walk them through the sales pipeline process by-the-numbers:
• What is the average number of proposals needed to generate a sale? • What is the average number of demos/needs assessments required to move a prospect to the proposal stage? • What is the average number of qualified leads necessary to advance to the demo/needs assessment stage? • What is the average number of prospects required to move to the qualified lead stage? Now make them do the math to figure out the number of leads they need to generate a sale. They will now have some non-sales related targets that you can use to hold them accountable, with the added benefit that they will understand how those numbers will directly benefit them in the future.
Winter 2016 | Bellwether
Celebrate Success. Everyone loves receiving congratulations when they accomplish a goal. By nature, sales people like recognition. Take a few minutes out of your sales meeting to recognize deals that were closed that week and have the sales person to tell the group something that they learned from the experience. It might be a tip about researching the client, an approach they used during a demo or how they overcame an objection. It could be something that will help another team member with a sale that they are working on!
Managing a high-performance sales team is a hands-on task that requires a lot of dedication from the manager. By implementing some of these best practices, we think that you will find that the payoffs are more than worth the effort. Simply put, itâ€™s about building a sales culture that produces fantastic results by keeping team members happy and engaged.
About the Author Kelly Smith is a Senior Marketing Coordinator at ACOM Solutions, a Sage Gold Development Partner. ACOM has provided AP Automation, Enterprise Content Management and Paperless Payment Solutions to more than 4,000 organizations worldwide. Learn how ACOM can help your organization go paperless with Sage by visiting us at http://www.acom.com/sage.
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ow to Use DATA To Drive Sales Team Performance
ot so long ago, individual sales people’s style and “feel” for the prospect provided the intelligence on the progress of a sale. Then, the sale either closed or it didn’t.
With advances in technology, quantifiable sales data has become central to many organizations and now heavily influences sales processes. Today’s sales managers are data-savvy, and they realize that there is more to data analysis than watching revenue go up or down month after month. It is critical to their role that they influence the metrics before the metrics influence them. And that means using data to drive sales reps’ performance. Data Changed The Sales Manager’s Role According to James Jordan’s book Cracking the Sales Management Code, out of 306 sales metrics, managers can only control only about 50. Those metrics include activities such as calls placed and proposals made. “Gone are the days,” writes Jordan, “when sales management was simply about preparing and motivating your reps. Today’s sales managers are also expected to be, in part, a marketer, part CFO, part IT director, part trainer, and probably parts of a half dozen other roles.” This is particularly evident when managers must offer guidance based on data. One especially effective technique,
by Joni Girardi Jordan writes, is having weekly one-on-one meetings. There, the data-savvy manager must apply experience and data to examine the pipeline with their team member and spot promising opportunities. Such guidance appeals to sales reps’ primary motivators: competition, numbers, and curiosity. Data Visualization and Speedy Accessibility Visualizing data is a clear and natural way to communicate both high-level and drilled down views of metrics. An excellent data management tool can help maintain an open dialog between leaders and reps by providing graphical reports. In a one-on-one huddle, you may start out looking at a graphical report on company-wide sales, then move into how the individual rep compares. In a meeting, questions may arise that might not be answered by prepared reports. Having a speedy data management tool can facilitate on-the-spot deeper dives into relevant questions. Slow tools get in the way. Competitive sales reps want to ask questions and get answers in a snap. Data Driven Motivation Sales people like to win. They see themselves as though they are in a race with their peers. While speeding towards the period close, they glance sideways and ask themselves: Who’s ahead? Who’s behind? How do I beat that person just ahead?
Winter 2016 | Bellwether
When presenting relevant data to reps, key metrics should pop out and be instantly apparent to them. Use color coding such as green, red, and gray highlighting. Reps who see their numbers in red are typically determined to identify what actions they should take to improve. Sales people also like knowledge. Having the right data helps them be a hero to your clients. Instead of blindly calling customers and prospects, hoping for a good response on the other end, today’s sales reps prepare for calls armed with relevant buying history, industry trends, and options pertinent to the client’s goals, which could influence the next purchase. Data can also provide background and research that can help educate and support customers’ changing needs. Customers appreciate the attentiveness and reward it by giving repeat business. Flexible and Accessible Reporting Well-designed dashboards in a good data management tool will put answers up front exactly how users want to see them. As questions and preferences evolve, dashboards need to be able to evolve with them without delay. Last year’s “hot” program may not show data the way reps want to see it this year. Last year, reps may have wanted to see a count of all their contacts, website hits, emails, and calls on their dashboard. Now, they may want to see client tweets. Reps may also have realized that being able to see customers on a time zone map will help them know before they pick up the phone if their client is still at work, or if they are potentially on their second glass of wine. Your data tool should be easy to customize so that dashboards and reports show exactly what sales team members want to see. Another necessity is data on the go. Your team shouldn’t have to wait for a return to the office. Reps need to see relevant data while they are on the road, in a customer’s office, or while catching a flight to visit a client. There’s no way around it: nothing feels better in sales than winning. Having the right tools lets your data offer your team a competitive edge.
About the Author Joni Girardi is founder and CEO of DataSelf, provider of DataSelf Analytics which featurs a data warehouse, embedded Tableau, dashboards, KPIs and 5,000 ready-for-work reports. He launched the company 16 years ago helping small- and medium-sized businesses to get value from their data.
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Good news: your business is growing Is your sales tax compliance keeping up?
by Kathy McCoy, MBA
Ways the Right Business Management Software Helps Sales
When many sales managers think about business management, or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), software, they often believe it’s only for operations: “Isn’t that the software that runs the manufacturing processes?” “That’s the software the accounting department uses, isn’t it?” While these observations are true, the fact is that a modern ERP system is also a very important tool for sales management. Here are some key ways that the right business management software can help you increase your sales:
SALES&MARKETING 1. Know thy customer
6. No more “He said, she said”
Your sales team can know what products your customer has ordered, quantities, any problems with orders, credit status and more by looking in one system. Customers always appreciate it when you know their account. Having this type of information at your fingertips when speaking with them makes you look like the most informed account manager they know.
With one system that provides one version of the truth to your organization, debates about inventory quantities, ship dates, pricing, etc., come to an end. When everyone has the same set of data, both internal communication and your customer satisfaction improves.
2. Don’t sell what you don’t have
Pricing and discounting can be problem areas if not well managed; with one consistent system, you can insure that your salespeople and customers are all following your preferred guidelines.
With real time inventory intelligence, your sales team can insure that they’re selling products you can fulfill as promised, or at least communicate the appropriate fulfillment time to your customers. Few things frustrate customers like hearing that an item is on back order after they place an order; having real time inventory data helps you avoid this situation.
3. Avoid disasters before they happen When you have a customer that requires kid glove handling, all it takes is one person to drop the ball and you could lose the account. A modern ERP system allows you to flag accounts and communicate key information on customers across your organization.
4. Order at light speed Having the ability to quickly configure and trigger an order is more than a convenience; it means that your sales team can get back to selling faster. The latest ERP systems streamline the order process in ways that older software systems just can’t handle. Drag and drop configuration and faster methods for checking availability of required components, means that orders can be placed quickly and efficiently.
5. Keep your eye - and everyone else’s - on the ball with key performance indicators Providing a sales department with a clear understanding of their progress toward sales goals on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis helps motivate the team, obviously. But you can drive that motivation deeper with an ERP that provides visibility for the entire organization into customer satisfaction, customer preferences and milestones, and other key factors. Customizable, graphic dashboards in modern systems allow you to provide everyone with “at-a-glance” information they will actually use to improve results.
7. Profit from consistent pricing and discounting policies
8. Drive sales performance with an effective commission program The right ERP system will help you set up and manage clear commission policies based on well-defined factors such as dollar value, total sales volume, account growth and more. And you’ll have complete reporting on what commissions have been earned and paid.
9. Improved tracking of sales and commissions = happier salespeople In a modern ERP system, the accuracy of sales tracking can improve significantly, resulting in higher commissions for your sales people and a happier sales team.
10. Increase customer satisfaction With improved delivery times, clear pricing and discounting policies, consistent messaging and other benefits of a modern ERP, your customer satisfaction ratings will improve, generating referrals and growing sales. Make sure that your current system is being fully optimized to support Sales, as well as Operations. If your ERP system isn’t helping you improve your sales with all of these methods and more, it may be time to consider upgrading to a more modern solution. If you don’t currently use an ERP system, 2017 may be the year to implement one—to improve sales and your bottom line.
About the Author Kathy McCoy, MBA, is the Demand Generation Manager at Blytheco. She has written on software and business management for more than 8 years and has over 17 years experience in continuing education.
Winter 2016 | Bellwether
Where Innovation Meets Reality by Michelle Klein
Dreamforce brings thousands of individuals from the Salesforce community together for four full days of education, company updates, networking, and innovation. Dreamforce is one of the largest annual conferences in the world.
he theme of Dreamforce 2016 was centered around bringing companies closer to their customers through technology and artificial intelligence, announcing “Salesforce Einstein.” Or what they call “Everyone’s Data Scientist.” Salesforce Einstein is AI built into the Salesforce platform which will revolutionize sales intelligence making every interaction smarter. Alongside Einstein’s release, Salesforce has confirmed that their Lightning experience will move much faster to keep up with clients’ expectations. What does this mean to you? Salesforce is enabling their community with the tools to connect to their prospects with higher intelligence, work on-the-go capabilities, and quicker functionality.
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As a part of Blytheco’s commitment to being solution experts, we rallied our Salesforce troops and sent them to Dreamforce. They share highlights from being on the frontlines of what is coming to Salesforce.
Describe Dreamforce in a few words. Christa Krompolcas: Inspiring, exciting, overwhelming!, HUGE, and energizing Dan Martin: Dreamzilla takes over San Francisco!! Apryl Hanson: Empowering sales-people to become better sellers.
Einstein launched at Dreamforce, what does Einstein mean to your customers? Christa Krompolcas: Einstein to me means MORE information that is relevant to my (the clients) needs while being intuitive in how the information is used. Dan Martin: Salesforce states: “Einstein is removing the complexity of AI, enabling any company to deliver smarter, personalized and more predictive customer experiences.” I imagine lots of companies, our Salesforce Clients included, are going to be marketing in a way that has folks asking “how’d they know that?” Apryl Hanson: Salesforce is really thinking ahead of the curve in terms of any other CRM out there today. What this means to our customers, is that Einstein is a way for our customers to get insightful information at their fingertips without employing a data scientist.
What session did you feel the greatest impact from and how do you plan to apply it to your work at Blytheco? Christa Krompolcas: Actually it was a keynote speech by Tony Robbins. The speech he gave was so inspirational and made us realize we control the things in our life, and how we respond to it whether it is positive or negative. If you’re always responding positive, then positive things will in turn bless you in your life and you can continue that cycle more and more. Applying it is very simple since the ground work has already been laid down with the F!SH culture that we live by at Blytheco. Tony’s speech and our F!SH culture intertwines and adds to our “above the line thinking”. Dan Martin: I attended a “coding” session with Christa; it gave me a better sense of both the innate possibilities in Salesforce and the challenges for Consulting and Dev SF folks: Easy to conceptualize, but technical to execute. Apryl Hanson: The one session that was the most impactful was the Salesforce demo session where Einstein was showcased. Salesforce did a great job explaining in detail as to where Salesforce is headed in the future.
Salesforce Einstein is A.I. built into the Salesforce platform which will revolutionize sales intelligence making every interaction smarter.
Dreamforce: Where Innovation Meets Reality (Continued)
Dreamforce is often described to have a unique vibe that “changes the city”. Did you feel that shift? Can you describe the culture of Dreamforce? Christa Krompolcas: Not sure if “changes the city” refers to the large influx of people (170,000), LOL, but the culture of Dreamforce is one that I have not experienced before. It is not necessarily the activities, or the events, or even the sessions, but more so the people, the Salesforce community. This is a community that is very giving, very appreciative, very accepting of others no matter our differences. There is no judging of others. You can start a conversation with a total stranger about absolutely anything and feel no animosity what so ever. It is like you have known them for years. You just feel good and peaceful. You feel value to others and the world, that you can make a difference. Dan Martin: At times it felt like we were part of a pulsing, organic beast: Imagine your college classes getting out at the same time, but in this case, 170,000 hungry people are flocking to the Conference buildings, the Intercontinental, the Marriott and 5 other surrounding hotels for their box lunches!! Apryl Hanson: The culture at Dreamforce is very energetic. The entire city becomes alive with buzzwords related to Salesforce and you can’t even go to a restaurant without it being taken over by an after event related to Salesforce.
In your experience, what was your biggest takeaway from Dreamforce? Christa Krompolcas: My biggest takeaway…. That’s a tough one. The drive to learn more and achieve more. Dreamforce was a Professional conference in the beginning but in the end it changed me personally, to give me even more of a drive and a purpose. Knowing just how much I can affect and contribute to others using the Salesforce solution as well as in my own community.
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Salesforce truly lives by their 1-1-1 philosophy and it is contagious. Dan Martin: It’s an amazing solution, especially when the Salesforce App Exchange ecosystem is considered; conversely, there are robust alternatives at a lesser price. Apryl Hanson: The biggest takeaway was honestly seeing how much Salesforce supports the community and charities while encouraging other organizations to do so as well. Salesforce makes it a point to give back and their incubator program is one way they build up the community while supporting startups.
We hear the term ‘Lightning’ a lot these days. Can you give us some insight as to what we will be seeing in terms of Lightning? Christa Krompolcas: MORE features and functionality will be added in each release (Spring, Summer, Winter). Lightning is the future of Salesforce and it is a great platform to build on. Many partners are utilizing the platform to build their apps and solution. Lightning allows for a shorter development time. Some solutions have been created in approximately 6 weeks because the platform cuts out the barriers you would typically run into with building out a solution. With this release (Winter ’17), the Kanban screen was added to the leads object just like it was with the Opportunities object in Summer ’16. There are just so many great items with Lightning, it makes it hard NOT to love it. Dan Martin: Classic has become dated; if you’re showing Salesforce, it’s the Lightning UX you want to see (full Classic functionality is just a toggle away). Apryl Hanson: In terms of Salesforce Lightning, I think we’ll continue to see improvements in the user experience, having fewer clicks for the customer.
Mobility is the way of the future and how we seek to use CRM today. Were there any big releases centered around the Salesforce1 Mobility App? Christa Krompolcas: Salesforce1 is already a great app, there were some minor enhancements lately but nothing that is too significant. However, more customers should be utilizing Salesforce1 in their organization with their reps. This is truly a great tool to make sure to get the information into Salesforce, especially on the go. It is a timesaver! Dan Martin: Drag and drop CRM functionality on your Smart device is pretty powerful! Apryl Hanson: Salesforce1 Mobility enhances the way that reps are able to work on the go.
We’ve talked about the platform, now let’s talk about the fun! What was your favorite moment at Dreamforce? Christa Krompolcas: Favorite moment? really? Hands down had to be the concert (Dreamfest) with U2! Nothing can top that for fun. It was an amazing experience and U2 lives the philosophy that Salesforce promotes of giving back to the community and fighting for good causes. Dan Martin: 3 favorites: Tony Robbins for 3 hours, the U2 Concert AND the subsequent concert inside of CLOUD (formerly known as COW) Palace! Apryl Hanson: The highlights for me personally, include Tony Robins inspirational session, as well as the Shark Tank event. It was enriching being exposed to the mindshare that comes from being in the same room as these brilliant minds.
Is there anything else that you feel our Blytheco clients should know about Salesforce and/or Dreamforce? Christa Krompolcas: Register & book your trip early and definitely attend next year! There is a TON of information, not just technical information. There are also presentations on Sales processes, connecting with your clients, building your brand, etc. Dreamforce is for EVERYONE with over 2500+ sessions, I’m sure there is a session to fit your needs. Dan Martin: Salesforce, and its App Exchange Eco System has good reason to be considered “Best in Class”. Apryl Hanson: I think that it is important to remember that Salesforce is more than just a sales tool. The Salesforce platform encompasses so many add-ons and integration which transforms a simple sales tool into a business management tool. I’m not sure that everyone is aware of all the categories Salesforce contributes to.
Dreamforce Factoids • 150+ Dreamforce viewing parties in
28 countries around the world • Attendees from over 51 countries • Over 2,500 Dreamforce breakout
sessions for attendees
About the Author Michelle Klein is a Marketing Manager at Blytheco. She is passionate about digital media and technology, with experience in a variety of industries. Connect with Michelle at http://linkedin.com/in/mklein3
Winter 2016 | Bellwether
Crafting Your Buyer’s Journey
A N D B E YO N D
by Carole Murphy
IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT THE BUYER’S JOURNEY HAS CHANGED DRASTICALLY IN THE PAST FEW YEARS.
echnology continues to move at a rapid pace, and marketing and sales executives have had to work tirelessly to keep up with consumer behavior shifts as a reflection of that technology. In addition, B2B companies aren’t able to market as easily through a retail store front or a billboard, and have additional layers of complexity to consider when nurturing potential clients. At such a fast pace, how do SMBs keep up, let alone get ahead of the curve? Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when devising, or revising, your marketing strategy. People Want Answers - and They Want Them Fast People can turn to Google to find the answer to almost
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any question, instantaneously. In the initial stages of research, fewer and fewer are looking up a phone number to call and ask someone questions directly (especially when that might get them a sales pitch they’re not ready for). And people don’t have to wait until they are sitting at their desk - smartphones give them the access to a world of information, right at their fingertips, anywhere in the world. This is actually an exciting thought, since the first step to a sale is attracting a potential customer. You may be able attract them very quickly by providing great information that they have full access to, anytime they wish. One key to consider is the investment of quality and organization of the information you provide on your website.
The most successful companies both optimize their SEO (search engine optimization) and provide more valuable information than anyone else in the top few results of the search. This is actually where the development of the relationship with a company begins. The relationship of a consumer with a vendor is reliant on the delivery of value in both directions, and when a company chooses to provide value first, trust has begun to develop. When people are able to find all the information they need quickly, they can move through the marketing funnel more quickly and towards the sales funnel or direct purchase, depending on industry. The Information You Send Them Needs to be More Personal Than Ever Companies such as Amazon and Zappos have been hugely successful in capturing new customers due to a number of factors, and as far as the buyer’s journey, there are two that stand out: the complete embrace of technology, and customer relationships. Their online content is easy, even enjoyable, to navigate. This makes either browsing or finding a particular item, very easy. These companies also fully own the customer relationship. Their customers trust them and feel that they are being taken care of, above and beyond the purchase. But how do companies like these keep track of that relationship with their customers? How can a services company or a B2B utilize the same technology to develop an enjoyable research experience on their site? You don’t have to be an online retailer to take advantage of what technology can provide your customers, but you do need to understand that people researching on behalf of their company are still reacting to cultural, social, personal and psychological cues and messages. Customers are looking for information, and they’re looking for information that is catered to them. Using technology to get to know your customers allows you to give them exactly what they’re looking for. For example, at Blytheco we rely on marketing automation - we are able to cater messages to our consumers and direct them to the resources on our site that are the most helpful for them. We’re able to learn about them at the same time, so we can be more knowl-
edgeable when they do come forth looking for a more complex conversation. We can offer them information they didn’t even know that they were looking for, through invitations to live webinars and other events. Keep in mind that marketing automation is much more robust than an email platform that simply allows you to send a blanket email to all of your current and prospective customers. Marketing automation truly allows you to tailor your message to your audience, based on position, industry, interests, and more.
Marketing automation truly allows you to tailor your message to your audience, based on position, industry, interests, and more.
After a customer has made a purchase, it is extremely important to continue to nurture these customers and maintain the relationship. Part of the buyer’s journey includes the expansion of offerings to existing clients. Additionally, it is much less costly to retain clients than to acquire new ones. Your most delighted customers will also do some of the most valuable marketing that will never go out of style: word of mouth. They Don’t Want to Talk Unless it’s on Their Terms Because there is so much information bombarding any business person’s inbox, voicemail and television, try to keep in mind that while a customer wants the perfect information for them, sending them too much information could ruin your relationship, no matter how valuable the resource.
Winter 2016 | Bellwether
The most successful companies both optimize their SEO (search engine optimization) and provide more valuable information than anyone else in the top few results of the search.
Truly harnessing the buyer’s journey requires the right message to be sent to the right person, at the right time. This may need to happen multiple times throughout that journey until a person is in a position to purchase and converts from prospect to customer. There is a delicate balance between sending enough information to remind prospective clients to keep yourself top of mind, and having that ‘unsubscribe’ button clicked due to too much communication. Another recent successful strategy that many companies have taken advantage of is leveraging social media. Many times, if a search doesn’t originate on the web, it originates through social media sites. By fostering relationships through social media, you’re building trust in a way that is more difficult through a company site alone. It also adds the element of two-way public communication. This can be great for companies due to the fact that people trust their friends, peers and other community members before they trust the business themselves. Ensure that everything is being done to to delight your customers, through the good experiences and the bad, because having poor customer remarks on social media can backfire quickly. And remember, any company can truly establish themselves through social media, regardless of industry. In Closing: The most successful companies today have invested heavily in marketing and in analysis of their current and prospective customer bases, in order to understand buying behavior and what it takes to attain and keep a customer for life. They remember to consider economic conditions and the general competitive environment when altering and tailoring their messaging strategies. Remember to educate the entire sales team (and other customer facing positions as well) on marketing efforts in order to keep a clear, consistent message throughout the organization, both during and after the sales process takes place. Your company’s internal value chain will provide a new dimension of value to customers throughout the sales process and their life as your client.
About the Author Carole Murphy, MBA and Certified Sommelier, is a Solution Coordinator at Blytheco with experience in the Hospitality Management, Food & Beverage and Telecommunications industries. She currently works with both the Marketing and Sales teams at Blytheco to assist potential clients. Connect with her at www.linkedin.com/in/caroleamurphy.
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Know Thy Customer: Sales Intelligence Tools that Help You Close the Deal
by Kathy McCoy, MBA
onventional wisdom among successful sales equates to, the more you know about your customer, the more likely you are to close the deal. A recent Forbes article entitled “Five Higher Quality Prospect Steps To Get More Sales” identified “spending more time and effort on prospect research before you ask for a qualifying meeting” as one of the five steps to increased sales success. B2B companies have an advantage over B2C’s in that it is easier to research their prospect on line. The first source of information for most, of course, is your prospect company’s website. But now, there are new resources that can provide even better information—including free tools that analyze the website to provide hidden insights. These are sales intelligence tools, which provide information on prospect companies including:
• Contact titles • Company revenue • Types of software the prospect is currently using • Access to LinkedIn profiles • And much more
Sales intelligence is the next step in targeted sales. It moves you toward the goal of personalization that allows you to speak to the prospect only about what actually interests them. It upgrades your prospecting efforts from the “smile and dial” cold calling that can be so unproductive to identifying your prospects’ real needs that lead to insightful conversations, moving them toward the buying decisions they want to make. In the overview on the next page, you can see some of the leading solutions available in this category and what kind of information they provide to help you understand your prospects’ needs and close sales faster. For more detail on these options, click on the link below or visit the URL and you’ll see additional information on functionality and what makes each unique.
About the Author Kathy McCoy, MBA, is the Demand Generation Manager at Blytheco. She has written on software and business management for more than 8 years and has over 17 years experience in continuing education.
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Sales Intelligence Tools Overview Company
Cost Per Name
Free/ Additional Tools
Charge at a 25% Ratio: For 250,000 email leads and 3 licenses, cost is $40K
ADP, AON, GE Capital, Kerridge Commercial Systems
Free "give 1, get 1" option; 350 contacts for $250/year; 3600 contacts for $1,500/ year
0.67 to 0.42 depending on plan selected
Clever Zebo, KnowBe4
Free exchange of contacts
Annual sub $12K; Unlimited monthly $1250; 3 users, access add'l users $800/year
Marketo, Hubspot, Oracle, Act-On
Chrome extension shows tech in use--CRM, email, etc.-plus revenue range and funding
$2000/ month with unlimited access
IBM, lenovo, RiskIQ, Lumeta
ROI Calculator, various tool kits; free data offer
Membership: $149/ mo for 700 contacts/ month billed monthly; $745/6 months for 4200 contacts billed 2X annually
DHL, VMware, Purolator, Rootstock Software
$4980/year for 500 exports per month; Enterprise pricing also available
Deloitte, Conde Nast, Chevron, Marketo
Per name--.25 or .50 per depending on source
AXA, RealMatch, Insperity, Jive Software
Chrome extension shows titles, LinkedIn, other social media profiles
$1.60 Per Lead/$0.30 Per Contact
100 free leads offered to those signing up for beta test
$6K/year for 40K exports, 5 users
Microsoft, Citrix, Check Point SoftwareTechnologies, YouEarnedIt
Yes Chrome extension for Customers only
$4900 annual; 1 user = 5K credits; get credit for bounced/bad emails
Depends on volume; for 5K names, cost is .98 ea
Eloqua, Creative Computing, Brainshark, Northwestern Mutual
LinkedIn extension provides contact info-for customers only
Winter 2016 | Bellwether
Is It Time to Update Your Sales Team’s Tools? by Paul Ziliak
your sales team still relying on yesterday’s tools to try and close deals at the speed of today’s business? Are they going to client meetings with catalogs that were printed 9 months ago? Do they have to call in to customer service to find out the status of an order or to check inventory levels? Printed product catalogs, price sheets, clipboards, flip phones and the like all have a permanent place in the museum of business tool relics. Mobile is the new standard for growing small and midsized businesses. In fact, mobile may be the greatest thing to happen for manufacturing and wholesale distribution sales reps since the invention of the assembly line. Few technologies for business have the far-reaching impact on the quality of your work and your company’s bottom line of a mobile sales app. With a smart phone in virtually every business person’s pocket these days, it’s wise for your organization to take advantage. If your sales team hasn’t gone mobile yet (or if you’re considering a new solution), here are some important considerations to keep in mind. How your sales reps will benefit from a mobile sales app:
• They’ll be better prepared with fingertip access to upto-the-moment customer and inventory data.
• They’ll have the right information to guide prospects’ and clients’ buying decisions and close deals faster.
• Customers and prospects will sense your sales team’s competency, increasing their trust. How sales executives will benefit from a mobile sales app:
• You can open new revenue streams by providing a version of your mobile app direct to end user customers. • A mobile sales app opens the door to time savers like bar code scanning, credit card swiping and other kinds of efficiencies. • You’ll be miles ahead in terms of sales administration by reducing errors and eliminating the time customer service would otherwise spend entering and correcting manual orders. • By taking advantage of geo-aware devices, you’ll see improved accountability within your team. Forward Motion Over 90 percent of the mobile sales automation projects xkzero has implemented over the past several years have been for companies that previously relied on the tools and processes of yesterday. They contracted us because they realized they could be increasing their revenue and opportunities at a faster rate. Representing the entire spectrum of manufacturing and wholesale distribution industries, they have one thing in common: Once they switch from paper and manual processes to an automated mobile solution, they never change back!
About the Author Paul Ziliak is co-founder of xkzero, which specializes in Sage ERP integrated mobile sales, route sales, and direct store delivery automation for small and midsized manufacturers and wholesale distribution companies. Contact Paul at 847-416-2009, by email email@example.com or on Twitter @PaulZiliak.
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“Always render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be.” -Og Mandino
( in field service, easier said than done )
Better field service requires better service management tools. Service Pro® software can help.
Calls, Assets, Parts, Contracts, RMA & more
Service Pro® is an end to end system for automated repair center and field service management, including mobile, scheduling, back office & integration with Sage 100 and many other ERP systems.
Learn how Service Pro® can help your field service business at www.msidata.com/blytheco
to Picking the Best CRM 5 Steps for Your Company
by Michelle Klein
ou’ve been researching a new tool for your business to use and decided to fill out the “contact us” tab on a company’s website. By the end of the day, you have three emails, two voicemails, and one calendar invite from that vendor. Multiply that by ten if you’re researching competitive vendors.
We’ve all been there. A simple inquiry becomes an information avalanche. Details from each company start spiraling into a tornado, and you suddenly find yourself becoming a Project Manager of vendors rather than a consumer analyzing which solution best fits your company. How can you avoid getting stuck in the vendor’s marketing vortex? Better still, how can you ensure YOU aren’t giving your prospects a similarly unpleasant experience? A CRM (Client Relationship Management) system will help your company organize lead processes to avoid overwhelming your leads. But deciding on the right CRM, needs to start with a strategy. A CRM should become an asset to the company and to effectively make it as such, time and energy must thoroughly be placed within the investigative stages. Reviews
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are great, but finding the right CRM is about finding the solution that fits your company, not solely based on what system works for another company. More often than people would like to admit, their decision stems from a recommendation from a colleague, another department manager, or the hype surrounding a specific solution. Before we dive into how to strategize and avoid creating your own vortex, let’s examine the factors that you shouldn’t base your choice of solution on:
• The interface is cool or “sexy.” • You heard it does all the work for you. • Your sales representative is tossing in one year subscription free! • You are promised a completed implementation in one month! • Your VP knows their VP personally. Keep in mind that your goal is to select the best solution that fits where your company is now and where you plan to go in the future. With all the advancements in technology, it’s easy to get hooked on the look and feel, but technology is ever-changing in and of itself. The requirements to determining your new CRM system must be functional and sustainable for your company.
Know Your Needs Determine the root issues that you are looking to solve by committing to a new CRM. Common reasons that businesses look towards purchasing a CRM is to track the sales funnel, track lead activity, create and maintain a customer base, determine opportunities, determine closing rates, manage customer relationships, organize operations, and increase productivity while increasing profitability. As with any goal, in order to effectively accomplish your CRM goals, it’s important to then break down your objectives. By prioritizing what you’re looking to solve with a CRM solution, you’ll be able to better analyze vendors. A lot of time and lost revenue comes with maintaining this information on spreadsheets. On the flipside, the ROI that comes with a new system is invaluable, especially if you choose the right one.
Analyze After narrowing down your solutions from the vendor list, it is time to bring the discussion to your IT team and create a list of what the CRM must be able to accomplish that aligns with the company’s infrastructure. To avoid having your CRM simply become another piece of software, it’s important to determine how it will fit, as well as communicates with your other business solutions. Often times the IT team will be able to help distinguish possible obstacles and provide a greater perspective on implementation. For successful adoption, it’s important to also seek input from Stakeholders as well as end-users from within your company. Involving the team will improve the user adoption rate.
Assemble Implementation is key to success. If you rush into a launch date without taking careful consideration of your end goals, you’re doing your company a disservice. Refer to the goals you’ve set and the analysis you’ve done. If your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and MA (Marketing Automation) solutions need to integrate, it’s time to piece together a timeline of what processes need to be involved. By working with a software partner or consultant, they can help you have a better understanding of the overall workflow. The goal with any CRM, is to make your business intelligence more sophisticated. So doesn’t it make sense to then base your decision on how to define that for your company?
Ask Questions Here are some questions you should ask throughout your selection process:
• Has the vendor worked with databases similar to yours? • Is the product Web-based? • What CRM functions are included? • How will data be migrated? • Who are the integration partners for that vendor?
Assess Now that you have your choices narrowed down, try the solution on for size. Vendors have trials for a reason. Make sure that you feel the functionality fits your company’s workflow. Although you’ll likely need customizations to ensure integration is optimized for your company and you don’t miss out on any features in the process, it’s nice to get a feel for the platform in advance. This will also help you ask the vendor deeper questions about the solution. Lastly, make sure that the software you’re choosing will not only fit “for now,” but that it also has the capabilities to grow with you. Since you’re investing in the future of your company, it’s key to focus on scalability and remove the need to have to switch CRM solutions in the future.
Winter 2016 | Bellwether
CRM Overview Does choosing a CRM sound like a full-time job? It certainly can become one. Seek out an unbiased party to filter through the promotions, reviews, and solutions that wonâ€™t be a fit for you. Not only can they be of help in the decision stage, but they will key to implementation. When
you invest in your research, you save the company and yourself from future headaches. To help you begin exploring your options, weâ€™ve broken down the top CRM solutions on the market with a high level overiew.
Ease of Implementation
About the Author Michelle Klein is a Marketing Manager at Blytheco. She is passionate about digital media and technology, with experience in a variety of industries. Connect with Michelle at http://linkedin. com/in/mklein3
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by Denise Renee Phinn
A Ripple Effect: How Transforming Sales Positively Affected a Company’s Culture When something isn’t working inside an organization, it takes a lot of courage to call it out and make the difficult decisions that drive change. A few years ago, Blytheco leadership acknowledged that the sales process wasn’t functioning optimally; the Executives knew there was plenty of room for growth.
ut how do you change the trajectory of the most critical team in the company? Hire an expensive trainer to give a motivational pep-talk and the latest closing techniques? Turns out, a more introspective approach was the key to creating a more engaged team, a tighter, duplicatable sales process, higher quality leads, and customers who are excited to work with us.
As a major bonus, the transformation that began in the sales teams spilled over to affect the entire organization. Today as a whole company, Blytheco is more culture conscious, customer-centric, and collaboratively minded. And it all started within the Sales organization. Here, two of the catalysts for the transformation share how the company was able to make such a critical shift. Alicia Anderson is Blytheco’s Manager of Business Solutions Experiences and leads the outside sales team. Jeff
Blomstrom is the Director of Business Accounts and heads up the inside sales team.
LISTENING TO THE TEAM Jeff Blomstrom: “Two and a half years ago, I arrived to a very successful 36 year old company. But it was an extremely siloed organization. Sales wasn’t collaborating with Marketing. Marketing wasn’t talking to Professional Services. Professional Services wasn’t strategizing with account managers and Project Management was just an idea. The Executive team wanted to create a sustainable growth model for the future but if we were going to be successful, we needed a way to communicate internally first and then through, within and across every division in our organization. I’m proud to say that many of the ideas that we initiated within the Sales team wound up permeating and changing the entire company culture. Winter 2016 | Bellwether
“The first thing we focused on was to get a clear understanding of what the Sales team needed in order to help our clients stay ahead of their competition. At our annual sales meeting in 2014, a major shift happened that helped foster a lot more transparency and honest dialog. We learned that our account managers wanted to be clearly understood and then radically supported to meet their needs to succeed. We were able to hone in on our WIG’s: Wildly Important Goals. Our two WIGs are to increase revenue and create real relationships with our customers.”
ADDRESSING A BROKEN PROCESS Alicia Anderson: “I think the most impactful thing we did which transformed not only our sales team but our organization was to standardize our sales process. Before, it was very haphazard and based on the individual sales person’s style. Our prospects and customers had very inconsistent experiences with us; situations frequently escalated to the executive level and we were constantly putting out fires. Once we reached our breaking point, we took several days out for strategic planning. We literally locked ourselves in the conference room and came out with a new, well documented and easily duplicatable sales process. It is a series of steps that we follow for every deal and engagement. It has been tested and proven to be highly effective. It even turned people who never sold into sales people! Now, we have a very consistent, high quality approach to what we do because we de-emphasized stylized selling. Our clients and prospects consistently have good, if not great experiences with us.” JB: “I would add to that our satisfaction comes from being recognized as our client’s Trusted Advisor. To be clear, for us the sales process is not just about solutioning. It is truly about discovering and understanding what our client’s issues and pains and obstacles are to achieving the wants and needs they have in their business. There are a lot of products available but which one is the right one for them? Upon understanding their needs, we work hard to provide them guidance on great software solutions for use now and that will be flexible and continue to grow with them into the future.”
INVESTING IN CULTURE JB: “As an organization, we were very intentional in investing in our company’s culture. Of the various methodologies that exist, we chose to adapt the FISH! Philosophy, modeled after the world famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle.
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“There are four basic principles: Have fun. Make their day. Be present. Choose your attitude. We did the initial training with the Sales team during our 2014 annual sales kickoff conference. The four principles were so easy to understand and apply that we started seeing performance results improve immediately. As we got more and more “fishy” with our principles, other departments in the organization took notice and started asking questions. Very organically, there was a desire to have it taught company wide. Virtually everyone wanted to be a part of this new way of looking at work. So we rolled the training out to our entire team across our six national offices and to our remote team members. “Word quickly spread around the company about the amazing experience the sales team had at their conference, other divisions were hungry for a similar experience. Our Executive team recognized what we were able to achieve with one division’s annual meeting and so re-imagined it as a company-wide annual meeting. QUEST was born and now every year the entire company gets together for our group culture meetings, team breakout session, leadership workshops and training sessions.”
Sales wasn’t collaborating with Marketing. Marketing wasn’t talking to Professional Services. Professional Services wasn’t strategizing with account managers. THE IMPACT ON PROSPECTS AND CLIENTS AA: “Mahan Khalsa wrote a book called Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play and it has really been the playbook for our new sales and client engagement approach. As a bonus, it works in tandem with our Fish! culture. Khalsa’s principles are about having real conversations with clients and prospects, not just a “sales” conversation. We really pull off the mask and set clear expectations around our work together. Throughout the process, we are constantly checking in and confirming, making sure we are aligned with our customer throughout the whole process.
A Ripple Effect: How Transforming Sales Positively Affected a Company’s Culture AA: I think the most important element of the process is calling out what Mahan calls “yellow lights.” Sometimes, we get these nagging concerns about our opportunities and projects. We may be unsure about what a client meant by a statement they made or they might not seem engaged in the process. A “yellow light” conversation is getting all those nagging feelings on the table and getting clarity in a very honest and open way. The reality is it could result in a break up and that is ok. If you are not aligned, you should be broken up and you should find out early. I find that it creates a real trust in the relationship because we are not afraid to have an honest conversation and they are not afraid to be honest with us. The quality of new clients we engage with now has changed for the better because we have more clarity around expectations on both sides of the table. Even the quality of engagements with our existing customer base has improved. From the very beginning of a new sale or service project, we are able to be more tightly alighted. They have the courage to tell us if they feel this project is not for them or if they have concerns about us, they have the courage to bring us early and we can either resolve the issue or part ways.”
THE IMPACT ON OUR ORGANIZATION
Of the various methodologies that exist, we chose to adapt the FISH! philosophy, modeled after the world famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle.
JB: “The impact of these changes we have implemented have been phenomenal on our organization. We have grown 114% YOY for the last two consecutive years. We were recognized as one of the ‘Best Places to Work.’ Our employee engagement scores are in the top 5% of all companies surveyed. “We are now a culture of enablement, empowerment, accountability, excellence, fun, and growth. Our team members have a high level of mutual respect for each other and the clients we serve. When you make the right investment into your team, the results speak for themselves.”
About the Author Denise Renee Phinn is Blytheco’s Content Marketing and Social Branding Specialist. She is a copywriting geek who likes to share morning motivations, personal branding and career tips on her personal blog and on social media. Connect with her at www.LinkedIn/in/ DeniseReneePhinn. Winter 2016 | Bellwether
Keeping Sales Team Spends on Budget Using Expense Management to Control Spending and Facilitate Communication by Ann Donovan and Peter Glenn
taying in control and on top of your teamâ€™s expenses - especially a team that is frequently on the road for client meetings, trade shows and training events - is a constant challenge for many organizations. Expense management can easily be overwhelming as logistics, planning, and approvals take away time from more meaningful activities. The spillover of work falls far beyond departmental obligations and can quickly impact the work ability of both your team members and those in the accounting department. A strong expense management system can reduce or eliminate many data entry activities, help clarify company policies, and transform an often redundant and laborious activity into a valuable collaboration in business management. Your expense management system can be one of the more valued tools in your organizationâ€™s tool belt. It can help you track conversations that justify the spend, approve trips quickly, and reimburse employees fast, keeping them focused and productive. Expense Management solutions fill the gap in financial accounting that occurs between team membersâ€™ engagement tools, such as the CRM and the Office Suite, and the ERP. Many solutions will also selectively grant the benefits of access to vital ERP data for team members to interact with in a meaningful way, without the risks inherent in granting them full access to the ERP or accounting system. An expense management solution provides a comprehensive and well thought out feature set that moves organizations away from cumbersome expense spreadsheets and high maintenance in-house developed solutions and towards powerful planning and insight tools that help you track many day-to-day dimensions of your business.
CORPORATEFINANCE If you don’t already have an Expense Management Solution implemented in your business, or if you are considering switching to a different one, here are some key features to be on the lookout for: • Mobile Data Entry - Having the ability for team members to enter their expenses into a mobile interface is crucial for an expense management solution. Users should be able to enter their expenses from anywhere as the expenses occur.
Expense Management solutions fill the gap in financial accounting that occurs between team members’ engagement tools, such as the CRM and the Office Suite, and the ERP.
• Flexible, Automated Approval Workflow – This provides automatic routing for different expense types based on rules set by the financial department leaders. It also helps keep expense reports from getting “stuck” by handling common delays. Approval workflow and budget tracking allow an administrator to create rules for approv-
als based on department, GL account, over-budget status and a host of other comparison options to manage spending. • Travel Pre-Authorization – This is a key feature that expense management solutions can offer that can greatly facilitate the budgeting for onsite business needs. Trips can be planned and approved before any spending commences, and once approved, later matched to expense reports for easy reimbursement, or reconciled to imported credit card statements. • Per Diem Expenses – Built-in calculations based on both IRS and company policies are easily accommodated with per diem entry via expense management solutions. Per diem rules can be built and applied differently based on the per diem type. • Customizable Expense Entry – This provides flexibility to handle a broad range of entry types and processes for organization-specific requirements and rules. If you are in the exploration stages, one Expense Management solution to consider is eRequester. Randy Pape, President and CEO of eRequester by Paperless Business Systems, Inc. shares, “When we started developing our expense management solution, we spent a lot of time analyzing the existing processes and needs of our clients. We looked at the manual forms and processes in use in the marketplace, then set out to automate and optimize the travel and expense data entry and expense approval and tracking processes. Our team was able to develop a product based on real-world needs and experiences.“
About the Authors Ann Donovan is the Vice President of marketing of Paperless Business System, Inc. and has worked to develop the eRequester solution since its founding, as well as having a background in internet consulting and marketing. Her interest is in usable applications to meet business critical solutions. Peter Glenn is a Senior Level Manager for Paperless Business Systems, Inc. and Product Manager for eRequester Purchasing and Expense Management Software. Peter has a long and varied history in managing custom software development projects across multiple industries and over 15 years of experience in software. He has been a key player in the recent growth and direction for the eRequester platform and has been an integral part of the eRequester team since 2009. Winter 2016 | Bellwether
Guidelines for Drop Shipping by Scott Peterson, Avalara
Drop shipping can be an option for online sellers, especially small businesses that don’t have the funds or space to stock inventory.
ith drop shipping, sellers can take orders from customers and pass it on to their supplier, who handles fulfillment and shipment directly to the customer. In many ways, this is a win-win for all, but using drop shipping can create complexity when it comes to sales tax. Know Your Nexus As with any sales tax, the first step is knowing where you have nexus or a relationship with a certain jurisdiction that requires you to collect sales taxes. In general, if you have nexus in a state, you will be responsible for collecting the
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right rate of sales tax for that state on any sales to customers within that state, no matter how the item is delivered to the customer. Beware: Your Supplier Could Have Nexus Drop shipping can be tricky because it’s not only the seller’s nexus that comes into play but, potentially, the supplier’s or shipper’s nexus as well. As the seller, you are usually only obligated to collect sales taxes on a sale if you have nexus in the customer’s state.
CORPORATEFINANCE legally obligate the supplier to charge you sales tax on the transaction. Resale exemption certificate procedures are individual to each state. Many states will accept an out-of-state resale certificate, multijurisdictional form or other documentation in a drop shipping situation.
However, several states hold the supplier with nexus in that state responsible for collecting sales taxes on the sale when the seller lacks nexus, including California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, and others. In turn, the supplier’s obligation could require you as the seller to either pay sales tax to the vendor or provide an exemption certificate so that you don’t have to pay tax. Exemption Certificates In most states, sales taxes only get levied on retail sales, not wholesale transactions. In this case, even if your supplier has nexus, the supplier will not have to collect sales tax on the transaction with you as long as the vendor can present a valid resale exemption certificate from you, the seller. However, even if the sale between you and the supplier is exempt, if you don’t provide the supplier with a valid resale exemption certificate, that transaction can be considered a retail rather than a wholesale sale and could
In states that don’t recognize these, the seller may have to deal with some unexpected requirements. For example, in states like California which have stricter requirements for resale certificates, a seller may have to register with the state so they can provide a valid exemption certificate. By registering to get that certificate, the seller would now be obligated to collect sales taxes from customers in that state even though the seller previously did not have nexus. Creating Nexus with Drop Shipping In some states, the use of a drop shipper in the same state as the customer by an out-of-state retailer can create nexus for the seller. States where this may be an issue include California, New York, Texas and Florida. Getting It Right Drop shipping can be a satisfactory solution for sellers, but it can also add new layers of sales tax complexity. One way for businesses to make the most out of drop shipping and other innovative solutions is sales tax automation software such as Avalara AvaTax. AvaTax’s accuracy is 100% guaranteed, so you can be sure that you’re getting sales tax right no matter how your products are getting delivered. For more on the rules for online retailers around drop shipping, download our free whitepaper:: “Shipping and Not Handling Sales Tax.” http://bit.ly/2enpwL5
About the Author Scott Peterson is the Director of Government Affairs for Avalara, Inc. In his role, Scott leads Avalara’s effort to be the first name in sales tax automation. Winter 2016 | Bellwether
Small Sales Team with a
Giant Presence E-commerce has leveled the playing field for small businesses. by Ruth Richter
E-commerce has leveled the playing field for small businesses. The internet is still a ready source of new customers and increased revenue.
ccording to the U.S. Commerce Department, internet sales grew by 14.6% in 2015 and accounted for a third of total retail sales. E-commerce sales are expanding beyond traditional retail products to specialized businessto-business offerings.
Expand Revenue with E-Commerce Today, a company doesn’t need to be an “industry giant” to sell their products around the world. If a business wants to grow, it can, and it doesn’t need to increase its sales force to do it. With an optimized online presence, the right back-office software, and proper integration between systems, businesses can succeed in capturing their share of the e-commerce explosion. One small company that has seized the opportunity is Palmetto Parts Company. Their online shopping site integrated with Sage 100 has allowed the company’s sales and market reach to grow exponentially. They went from supplying plumbing and electrical equipment regionally to selling around the world. 38 Bellwether | Winter 2016
E-commerce Integration Provides Instant Credibility for the Sales Team E-commerce and online systems can boost a company’s sales force activities. By using web applications integrated with back-office systems, Palmetto Parts sales have flourished. Bill Meany, VP of Sales, explains, “Because our systems are integrated, the e-commerce platform is a natural extension of what we do. It has the same look and feel as our Sage 100 ERP system.” The integrated e-commerce system is a great tool for Palmetto Parts’ sales force. The outside sales team uses their iPads to reference the online catalog. With an internet connection, they can show prospects and customers the online catalog, check availability, and place orders on the spot. “When our sales reps walk into customer facilities, they have instant credibility,” Meany says. “Our website is impressive and it gives the customer confidence in us. If they want something, they can just log in and find it.”
CUSTOMERPROFILE launched a business to consumer website under the name FD Supply where anyone, anywhere in the world, can order parts. This new business is growing at about 60% every six months. As Meany describes it, “We can do everything within our system and we’ve become really good at it. It gives us the functionality of a billion-dollar corporation even though we only have 15 employees.” As a result of the new market place, FD Supply has grown internationally to locations all around the world. Their internet presence has earned them unique opportunities such as selling drainage parts for a new cruise port in Belize. “There’s no way on earth we could ever have thought of doing that! It’s been great for us,” Meany exclaimed.
Unlimited Growth Potential Managing an internet-based sales effort can be challenging on a good day, but with the right tools running behind the scenes, e-commerce becomes a whole lot easier. Supporting greater demand and meeting expectations of online customers requires well-functioning, integrated systems.
Integration Powers First-Class Customer Experience When the back-office software is tightly integrated with the e-commerce system, it gives existing customers selfservice access to their product order history and the ability to manage their account data. The customer convenience is priceless because they’re not limited to “normal business hours”. According to Meany, “Our website delivers what our customers need, when they need it. Customers can search for products and view their account history, invoice and quotes.” This functionality saves the Palmetto Parts internal team a lot of time and frees them up to focus on other tasks.
E-commerce Provides Unique Opportunities
Trying to grow an online sales effort with separate systems takes much more effort than one would think. Meany advises that keeping up with data entry, managing inventory, and communications with the customers is not where you want to invest your time. “We are certainly grateful that we chose the right integrated e-commerce technology and team to provide us our seamless back-office and e-commerce integration solution. It sure has allowed me the ability, as the VP of Sales, to focus on growth versus management,” stated Meany. “Our sales team works efficiently, our parts are easily found by anyone who has access to the internet, and we provide an outstanding customer experience because of the accuracy of customer data across systems and elimination of all the points where mistakes can occur. Growth is no problem, and our system works smoothly, regardless of volume,” Meany concluded.
To expand their sales, Palmetto Parts created and About the Author Ruth Richter is the Customer Experience Director for ROI Consulting, Inc, the market’s leading Sage 100 integration specialist. ROI Consulting has been maximizing Sage 100 customer’s technology investment through integration and customization since 1997. Learn more at www.roi-consulting.com or call 402-934-2223x1. Winter 2016 | Bellwether
Can TRANSFORM a Business by Denise Renee Phinn
Having a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that fits an organizationâ€™s sales needs is critical in todayâ€™s business world. The technology helps to standardize sales processes and provide insight to the entire life cycle of your prospects and clients. Best of all, it does it a fraction of the time of manual procedures. Here are two examples of Blythco clients who experienced greater results by either implementing a CRM for the first time or by initiating process improvements within their CRM which supported their business goals.
CUSTOMERPROFILE Industrial Door
CUSTOMER: Industrial door
BACKGROUND: For over 40 years, The Industrial Door Company has been manufacturing springs for and installing garage doors.
BACKGROUND: SymbolArts is a leader in providing custom police badges, custom challenge coins, custom patches, and other military and public safety jewelry-quality insignia.
SOFTWARE: Sage CRM SOFTWARE: Infor CRM (Formerly Saleslogix) CRM CONSULTANT: Kevin Freeman CRM CONSULTANT: Todd Daskal CHALLENGE: With several divisions and a growing company, it became evident to Industrial Doors that they couldn’t continue to manage sales processes with spreadsheets. Too often many deals fell through the cracks because there was inconsistent follow up, inaccurate insight into where a prospect was in the sales cycle. What on the surface seemed like little problems added up to big bucks in deals they could have closed. It was time for them to pick and implement a CRM system. SOLUTION: Kevin implemented Sage CRM to complement Industrial Doors’ Sage 100 ERP. Now they have better management and tracking of all their deals. Their CRM has taken the guesswork out of knowing how close a prospect or customer was in the sales cycle. Kevin also customized the system to manage two different workflows. Because of the company’s unique divisions, they have different sales processes for the two different sides of their business. But all the sales data, the ability to manage it, resides happily in one system. WHAT THE CLIENT HAD TO SAY: “We had invested in a few different CRM programs in the past and just could not find the right software platform until we discovered the CRM module to SAGE. We quickly realized having the sales team, customer service and quality all adopting the same system that integrates with our ERP system would help eliminate a lot of calls and emails back in forth between departments. We can truly say, “all of our departments are operating together now”. The idea of having a sales central location tied to the ERP system is quickly having us question how we could operate effectively before. Hands down the best decision of 2016!” —Jenny McGrath, Director of Sales & Marketing and CRM Administrator
CHALLENGE: SymbolArts had a fine business but experienced an explosive growth when the Olympics came to Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002 and beyond that time. Winning some of those contracts allowed them to expand into new product lines. When their sales force ballooned up to 43 people, they had clearly outgrown managing their sales cycles on spreadsheets. SOLUTION: Todd Daskal implemented SalesLogix (now Infor CRM) for SymbolArts and wrote custom scripts to tailor the solution to their business. They were able to automate much of their sales processes. A big bonus for them was the ability to automate their art logs which helps them with reorders of projects from years back as well as being able to present examples of their custom work to win new sales. WHAT THE CLIENT HAD TO SAY: “Our company was using out of date, archaic technology. With the help of Blytheco and our representative Todd Daskal, the implementation of Infor CRM has dramatically improved our sales process. We now have a better method of handling leads and fostering those into meaningful opportunities and customers. Post-sale, Todd has been great to work with, he is quick to answer questions and keeps the machine working.” —Chris Shupe, Regional Sales Manager About the Author Denise Renee Phinn is Blytheco’s Content Marketing and Social Branding Specialist. She is a copywriting geek who likes to share morning motivations, personal branding and career tips on her personal blog and on social media. Connect with her at www.LinkedIn/in/ DeniseReneePhinn.
Winter 2016 | Bellwether
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE TAKING OFF INTO
THE CLOUD by Salim Khalife
ou can’t talk technology today without talking about “the cloud.” An estimated 72% of organizations have at least one application or some portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud. Virtually every major software developer has a cloud-based offering in its’ mix, with plans of further cloud development.
ust about every genre of software has at least a few cloud-based options that offer users great benefits. For example, spend management solutions in the cloud offer finance and operations departments access to one system where everyone can see the same information in real time. Although similar functionality is possible with on-premise and mobile solutions, the cloud offers developers and users more flexibility to introduce innovations relatively quickly, while kissing the associated costs of upgrading and implementation good-bye. But with all its benefits, it is possible to transition into a cloud solution and not experience the euphoria you imagined. Here are some considerations your team should make before jumping on the cloud bandwagon
Focus on solving your problems, not the program’s bells and whistles Any technology should be a solution to a specific problem. Moving to the cloud should begin by identifying specific goals, mapping the potential benefits of the application to those goals, and mitigating the potential drawbacks. Your exploration team should consider these questions: Is this cloud solution going to expedite a specific process, or solve a problem our current technology is not solving? Will it provide better security, access, and collaboration than what we currently have? Will it offer us a better ROI? Are the reported benefits of the solution aligned with your company’s strategy?
The cloud doesn’t have to be all or nothing When aligning your business goals with the potential benefits of your new solution, be sure you are meeting the needs of the various departments, locations, users, and functional demands that exist across your company. It may be best to implement a cloud application in one area first, then roll out to other departments in phases. Rather than attempting to standardize on one offering or strategy, their priority is to obtain measureable benefits that help achieve specific goals.
It’s not all about the budget Cost savings is a commonly cited reason for moving to the cloud. But the reality is that cloud solutions may possibly
cost more than remaining with a traditional deployment model. Many software-as-a-service vendors (SaaS) actually raise their subscription prices annually, escalating the cost of ownership. Over time, cost savings may prove to be one of the benefits, but it should not be assumed. Utilize total cost of ownership models and check with a financial specialist about the implications that a switch from capital expenditure to operating expenditure may have for your organization.
But with all its benefits, it is possible to transition into a cloud solution and not experience the euphoria you imagined. Should you take flight into the cloud? The cloud deployment model is here to stay and moving at least some components of your software solutions, such as your spend management, to the cloud makes smart business sense for most organizations. The key is not to rush your decision making process. As our CTO Chris Baird, who is a pilot, puts it, don’t take off before you follow flight procedures. Do your pre-flight check; know your critical airspeed, weather forecast, frequencies, airspace, destination airport, and alternate contingency plans. Do your performance, and weight and fuel calculations. The key is to have a solid business case supporting the move. Take the time to make data-backed decisions. Develop a strategy and plan before you take off, and you’ll be able to take full advantage of the benefits cloud technology has to offer.
About the Author Salim Khalife is Founder and CEO of Paramount WorkPlace, makers of eRequester. He leads company vision and strategic direction. He holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Detroit and has over 25 years of hands-on experience in the technology and software development industry. Winter 2016 | Bellwether
TECHNOLOGY Advanced eCommerce Strategies:
Sell More with Less by Jason Madison
Proven Approaches to Help You Sell More with Less
y now, it is common practice for companies to have a web presence. eCommerce is such a well-established part of our daily lives in 2016 that even the smallest of businesses have a simple storefront integrated into their website.
The online market is getting larger and more competitive each year. Today’s companies and their sales teams are being asked to drive more revenue and higher profitability while having fewer resources, labor, or funding.
Don’t Just Open New Sales Channels; Intelligently Target Them The eCommerce market is huge, totaling over $1.95 trillion worldwide in 2016. Having a functioning eCommerce website is only the first step in claiming your share of the profits. Thorough research into your online customer base and how they perceive your products and services will help you to eliminate ineffective sales approaches and uncover new sales opportunities. But if you just think locally, you may be leaving money on the table. eCommerce has the potential to open up new, global opportunities for you, even for service based businesses. Imagine that you are accustomed to selling in some parts of the United States during certain seasons. Data intelligence might reveal that your products could sell well in other states or countries during different seasons. By putting extra energy into learning where, when, and how customers are interacting with your eCommerce website, you can develop inroads into new markets.
If you want to remain competitive, a simple web store isn’t enough. Companies must move beyond eCommerce basics and develop integrated strategies which have impact if they want to gain ground in a way that will drive overall revenue growth.
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Streamline Your Efforts by Integrating Your ERP and eCommerce Solution Lower overhead costs and operational efficiency are always at the top of business leaders’ minds. The need trickles down to sales organizations, forcing them to be nimble in their processes as well.
Advanced eCommerce Strategies: Sell More with Less Sometimes, sales people need access to sophisticated data fast so that clients can make buying decisions. This can only happen when your various enterprise technologies communicate well with each other. Further streamlining your eCommerce presence by integrating it with your ERP is crucial. ERP integration helps to cut down on many of the time-killers such as duplicate data entry, incorrect inventory levels, or incomplete customer information. Typically, the efficiency savings pays for the cost of integration within months and allows you to provide a better customer service experience from start to finish. This valuable merger is often overlooked because of perceived cost and complexity. The reality is that today’s options are more cost effective than ever. ERP systems like Sage 100, Epicor, and Microsoft Dynamics are already part of standard business practices. If you already have an ERP system, we cannot recommend integrating it with your eCommerce solutions enough. It is the single biggest efficiency booster available.
Demand More from Your eCommerce Technology Business owners used to complain that eCommerce solutions were rigid, expensive and that they failed to adapt to a changing and demanding marketplace. But we promise you those are a thing of the past. Today’s options are robust, expansive and versatile. Having a sophisticated storefront environment and an eCommerce website loaded with customer-friendly self-service features have become the new standard. Even though the plethora of solution providers can be overwhelming, it is a good problem for business owners and sales teams to have. In general, we recommend a flexible, non-proprietary eCommerce solution. Avoid getting locked into one vendor’s ecosystem. Markets will
change, and your eCommerce solution needs to be versatile enough to change with them. Think about these questions: how are your customers going to buy in the future? Who will your customers be in the future? If your current solution or the one you’re shopping for doesn’t have the flexibility to change with your business as it grows and responds to market demands, look somewhere else.
Complement Your Product Listings with Product Education Modern consumers are more sophisticated in how they shop online and they are empowered with more product knowledge than ever. Customers are moving away from only looking at product lists on a site and mindlessly clicking “buy now.” They scour the internet hunting for additional information, competitive products and user reviews before they pull out their credit card. Today’s successful organizations take a customer-centric approach and add additional content to their website to boost product and service sales. They often have an educational blog that demonstrates their company’s knowledge of the industry and dedication to their customers. They incorporate reviews and encourage customers to post honest reactions by incentivizing them. Successful sites also display related accessories and complementary products. If you’re not incorporating some or all of these techniques, you missing an opportunity to create a loyal client base. At Kissinger, we recognize that every business has unique needs, and every sales team should research what eCommerce solution is right for them. We work tirelessly to help organizations and their sales professionals succeed. Hopefully, these tested and successful tactics we’ve shared will help you to move past eCommerce basics into new growth.
About the Author Jason Madison is the Web-Stor® Solutions Manager for Kissinger Associates, where he helps businesses grow their sales and increase efficiency with leading e-commerce solutions for Sage 100. Kissinger has been providing cutting-edge eCommerce solutions for 30+ years. www.web-stor.com Winter 2016 | Bellwether
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We Make EDI Painless PO | Invoice | ASN | 3PL 888.205.1531 | www.truecommerce.com
Winter 2016 | Bellwether
SAGE MAS 90 ONLINE TRAINING (Best of all, it’s FREE) Visit: www.blytheco.com/training Still using Sage MAS 90? There are a lot of Sage MAS 90 systems still in use so we’re releasing our extensive library of over 100 MAS 90 training videos−ABSOLUTELY FREE! These training videos cover everything you need to know, in detail, to stay proficient in Sage MAS 90 (currently known as Sage 100).
Visit: www.blytheco.com/training firstname.lastname@example.org • 949-583-9500 48 Bellwether | Winter 2016
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