The following is a guest blog post by Paul Danek from Statera.
In the early years of business applications, it was common for businesses to have multiple incongruent systems to perform critical business functions. One system for email marketing; one system for sales force automation, another for contract management, customer support, so on and so forth. Of course these functions didn’t exist in silos, and needed to be connected in some way, necessitating complex and expensive integration and data migrations. Worse yet, business users were forced to learn multiple systems; and IT departments struggled with the cost and complexity of managing these various tools.
Today, the emergence of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) providers and open Application Program Interfaces (APIs) has simplified the IT landscape, allowing vendors to easily integrate with, or develop and market applications, on a common platform. The benefits to end customers are tremendous.
Take the Salesforce platform for example. The service itself now supports a staggering scope of business processes, spanning Marketing, Sales and Customer Service. This means that businesses can now gain 100% visibility to their customers, throughout the customer lifecycle and across functions. This means the majority of corporate functions are all using the same single, source of customer truth.
The emphasis on speed shouldn’t be any different in the B2B world. Business can’t wait for quarters or weeks for results; things need to happen in terms of now.
Speed is essential, and anytime you can pass on efficiency to customers can be an advantageous differentiator.
For instance, if a customer’s contract is coming to a close and they have their mind set to renew the agreement, the renewal process should be as simple and seamless as possible. If someone wants to buy your product or service again, then that should be done pretty easily, right?
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To help automate this process, teams can use contract management software that is integrated into their CRM platform to bridge the gap between Sales and Legal teams. If a customer wants to renew a contract, your Sales team can reference the previous agreement and provide a quote and new contract as quickly as possible. Now your customer is waiting for an hour, perhaps even minutes, rather than a few days to receive confirmation. Your Sales team can act on a dime and your Legal team doesn’t have to sweat bullets worrying about promises outside the scope of a contract. With Legal professionals stating that 65% of their time is lost due to administrative tasks, automating processes can certainly help them increase their productivity.
For the Enterprise, the benefits are even larger. Rolling out new functionality isn’t implementing a new system, it’s often simply extending the capabilities of their core Salesforce implementation. Costly integrations and data migrations are becoming more rare. Thinking more long-term, system maintenance is relatively simple, predictable, and often within the wheelhouse of businesses existing Salesforce Administrators.
Today’s age of business applications is one of simplicity, as businesses consolidate corporate functions onto platforms and applications that can easily scale to support them.