Mobile Sales connected through the "cloud" to your ERP - get more sales, faster and with less mistakes…Part III
I read a stat recently that there are more people in the world owning a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) than owning a toothbrush. I am not sure whether it's actually true, and if so, how happy I am about it given that my Dad was a Dentist! But assuming that it's close to being true, then businesses might as well capitalize on the opportunities resulting from this fact (at least until they come out with a phone that can also brush teeth and freshen breath!)
This being the case, if your business does regular, repeatable sales to clients, then these devices and apps, designed to take advantage of their mobility, can give your business a significant competitive advantage if you are working with a back office solution that can leverage this technology. If you want to spend more time visiting more prospects/customers and making sales rather than calling the office or writing up quotes and orders, hoping that you have stock on the chosen items, then think about trying to take advantage of a "mobile" app and stop emailing, using spreadsheets, and writing out your orders. Your clients, as well as your staff, will be impressed and appreciative as everyone will be benefitting from the greater efficiency and accuracy resulting from the removal of rekeying from the process. Delivery times will be reduced as well since, as soon as the client approves the order, it will be available for processing by the Office from the ERP system. Stock shipments can be credit approved and released the same day since you could see stock availability when you took the order. You might even get upfront payment by credit card.
Sage Mobility solutions are examples of these types of apps. Sage recently released three mobile apps. The Mobile Sales iPad app for Sage 300 ERP, the Sage Mobile Service app that can run on your iPhone or iPad since it needs less screen real-estate, and Sage Billing & Payment that allows you to take a credit card payment right on your iPhone or iPad rather than putting the order on the customer's AR Account in the ERP and billing it later. Each rep goes out with a compact iPad to visit clients.(check out the new iPad Air which is even lighter and easier to handle for a mobile rep). If you go into a customer's storage room or basement and lose your WiFi data connection, no problem, the app will show the latest data from when you were online and automatically refresh and send the order out when you get back on the network. It is fast and easy and you can create an order from scratch, from a previous order or from the top items that this client has ordered before. You can either send a quote to them via email or print a paper copy using a WiFi printer and promote it to an order and even capture the customer's signature along with payment. Think of the savings you will get from faster, more efficient teams as well as faster more efficient payment and delivery. It all translates into more "sticky" loyal customers who likely will order more!
Now your specific business may have more than one way to get orders into your ERP depending on who is doing it and when, but I hope these examples give you an idea of what may be possible. If you have a customer base that is fairly technology-advanced, they may be open to placing their own orders through a B2B (Business to Business) and/or B2C (Business to Customer) e-Commerce site integrated to your ERP, which is what I will focus on in my next post.
If you want to see it in action, click here to watch the overview video