As we are all adapting to new ways of working and looking to reduce costs, I thought it would be a great time to talk about your sales and client reporting system. While it is often overlooked or thought of as a nice to have instead of a need to have, it should be your best friend when it comes to doing more with less.
Is your platform pulling its weight?
Here are five questions to ask when considering a sales enablement and client communications platform or when evaluating the system you currently have. Oh, and spoiler alert, if your answer isn’t yes to each of these questions you are missing an opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
#1 Can you, from one place, access all the information needed to produce sales and client reports?
This question is particularly important when it comes to inputs – quantitative and qualitative data. They should be accessible in one place and easy to pull insights from. In addition, setting them up to be integrated into one platform shouldn’t take a lot of expensive and time-consuming coding. Cloud and automation technology have advanced, and times have changed. Whether you are working from your kitchen table or the office, your data should be integrated into the systems you use to create sales materials and client reports and easily accessible anytime, anywhere to your entire team.
#2 Can you digitally review and approve all documents while automatically tracking edits for compliance purposes?
The less you manipulate data, the more accurate it is. Random edits, email comments, and sticky note updates are difficult to track and dramatically increase the likelihood of errors. Not to mention that when your workforce is remote, sharing paper documents and “red penning” is nearly impossible. Your system should automate the review process for you – alerting the right people when documents are ready for input, tracking every change, and flagging any missing or unusual data.
#3 Is your system secure?
There are many advantages to cloud-based platforms including firm-wide access, ease of use, disaster recovery and reduction of on-premise data storage. But none of that matters if your data isn’t secure. Data security cannot be an afterthought for your sales and client reporting system. The gold standard for service providers around the storing of customer data in the cloud is SOC 2. It mandates that companies establish and follow strict security policies on the processing, availability, integrity, and confidentiality of data. If your system isn’t SOC 2 certified, it is vulnerable. Oh, and be very careful – the underlying cloud platform or hosting provider your vendor uses having SOC 2 certification is completely different than the vendor itself having the certification (more on this and why it’s so important in a future post, so stay tuned).
#4 Does your system share well with others… or more specifically with your clients?
You’ve managed to create hundreds of monthly reports, congratulations! But now what? Manually attaching reports to 100s of emails is not efficient and is prone to error. The last thing you want is a client getting the wrong report. Your system should have automated batch generation, emailing and archiving capabilities built-in. You should also be able to easily send batch emails outside of the typical reporting cycle. In other words, your system should be able to provide varying content to recipients when they want and how they want it.
#5 Does your system make you look good?
Does your team have the time for high touch client service or sales activities? Are you able to quickly reach out and reassure clients in challenging market conditions? If your team is spending double or triple the time needed just to gather data and get the basics out the door, how will they ever have time for high touch/human touch client service? Your sales enablement and client reporting system should make you look good in front of your clients. It should help you to quickly produce high quality, beautifully designed, error-free and timely information.