Sales cycles are dependent on approvals. Sales software with automated approval workflow can expedite and streamline the approvals.
Speed and time are of the essence in sales. From contacting customers to arranging demos and generating quotes to doing follow-ups, there are several steps involved in the sales cycle. Now, if the salesman gets stuck at any step during this cycle, he has good chances of losing a deal. Because, by then, one of his competitors would have snatched the customer away.
Among many such steps is the approval workflow or order workflow, for which the salesmen are dependent on other people in the organization. Simply put, even if they are ready with all ammunition in their sales kitty, they can’t fire unless they have the approvals.
For VARs, quote to order workflow, or sales quotation workflow as it is called, is quite crucial. Often, it is found that the approvals of quotes, sales orders or purchase orders remain pending because the approver was not available. As a result, transactions and processes get delayed. In case you own an eCommerce store, delayed approvals can irk end-customers as well.
Workflow automation can address such approval concerns to a significant extent.
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Here are the benefits of approval workflow mapping through automation.
1. Speedier Transactions
When workflow gets automated, it can help sales reps to free up their time, take prompt decisions and focus on doing more sales. Let’s say, your sales quoting software can automate an approval, such as ‘all quotes created for customer B with less than 5% margin must go through approval’ or ‘all purchase orders with distributor X and manufacturer as you should go through an approval’.
This means salespeople don’t have to wait for manual approvals of transactions of this nature as and when they happen. As soon as they feed the information in the system, it will automatically pick the parameters of order workflow and send them for approvals quickly.
2. No Need of Micromanagement
When every transaction and every salesperson has to be monitored closely at every step, it can get strenuous for the managers. On the other hand, if the salesperson has to wait for the boss’s approval of every quotation or order of any ticket size, his accountability is reduced to that extent. Also, there is a fact that they don’t like to micromanaged – it can lead to frustration. Workflow automation will ensure that all approvals in the sales cycle flow step by step, and every person involved in the chain of transactions have clearly defined accountability. This will eliminate the need for excessive or redundant controls.
3. Paperless Transactions
While most organizations these days have switched to electronic approvals, quite a lot also depend on physical paperwork. So, every time a salesman prints a quote or an order, it walks to the desk of the approver for signature. The papers can get lost, misplaced or tear off, whether approved or not. And, imagine what can happen if the transaction has to go through multiple approvers.
However, if you deploy sales quoting software with automated workflow mapping features, all approvals can go digital, eliminating the drawbacks associated with a paper trail. You can set multiple approval workflow rules which can be combined to create a stage and define various stages of approval that a quote, sales order or a purchase order may have to go through. This way, your order workflow will not only go digital, but also get streamlined.
4. Improvement in E-commerce Efficiency
B2B eCommerce model may be similar to B2C, but transactions work in a very different fashion. There are various processes such as supplier/vendor onboarding, item listings, purchase orders, and many others which trigger unique workflows. These processes vary from one vendor to another, and hence the workflow engine needs to be managed accordingly. Automated approval workflow can help you set up budgets, buying limits, cost centers & approval workflows. For examples, you can define a buying limit that says all shopping carts for $500 or more should go through a particular approval workflow. When all transactions go through the systematic approval chain, overall operational efficiency increases.
5. Better Customer Service
Would it be really a valid excuse to tell a customer that a certain transaction is pending for an approval? Customers are not bothered with such internal matters of the organization, and if not presented with expedited solutions, can change the mind about the deal. So, when approval mapping goes the automatic way, all such excuses, resultant delays and customer complaints can be evaded.
6. Business Insights
Who, how, what, where – workflow automation can give you a holistic picture of the way processes are happening in your organization. In cases of frauds, audits and compliances, reports on approvals can present useful insights.
Now that you know the reasons why automation is necessary in approval workflow, it is also equally crucial to choose software which makes the mapping effortless and efficient, and comes with an intuitive interface and a quick learning curve.