C-Suite Automation: Is Your Team Ready?

How many salespeople are too many? How many accounts can a single account executive handle? Who in your organization remembers when renewals are approaching? The truth is, with increasing business complexity comes the need for greater scalability. Let’s face it unless you are willing to buy a sports stadium and fill it with employees or you have an unlimited hiring budget, you need to be prepared to scale your business through automation instead of headcount. As a business grows, those “hands-on” aspects of day-to-day business need to give way to automated processes – a transition that can cause major growing pains.

How Automated Is Your Selling Process?

Increasing headcount will only get you so far. However, automating everyday processes using technology can help the staff you do have be more efficient. Unfortunately, most enterprises have yet to embrace automation within their own organizations. In the recent Apttus Commercial Experience (ACE) Report, more than half of the respondents admitted that 25% (or less) of their overall sales process was automated despite the fact that nearly 70% said that their company’s systems should be more automated.

How Much Automation

All On-Board?

While it’s great that so many buyers and sellers feel a strong need for automation, it must be said that automation is only as effective as its least capable user. While growing enterprises are clamoring for more automation, what does the landscape look like for their current processes?

Among ACE Report respondents, only 16% of sellers found their pricing tool easy to work with while 14% felt the same about their contract management system. That’s over 80% of users, on each side, that aren’t fluent with their most critical revenue and legal processes. In fact, only 32% of respondents felt they were fully up-to-speed on their organization’s CRM or cloud-based offerings.

What’s the Hold-Up?

If the majority of professionals agree that revenue and legal processes should be automated, why aren’t they? It seems that hesitancy to adopt new technology is rooted in trust. The main reasons why people don’t embrace a new automated system are as follows:

Slow Speed: A slight majority of respondents (51%) are dubious that adding another step (or more) to the process will help the process go faster.

Interface: Ahh, we fear what we do not understand and that is all too true when faced with an entirely new look and feel for tools we are already comfortable using. It can be tough to get employees over the learning hump of “I don’t know how to use this, so I won’t bother.”

Compatibility: Concerns about separate solutions, handling vast amounts of data in their own systems, and communicating effectively are legitimate concerns. However, using a single data model can alleviate a lot of the overlap and conflict that arises from a patchwork system.

Lack of Mobility: Being able to close a deal in the field is crucial to some salespeople. In these cases, returning to the office to access the new system can delay a deal, possibly even leading to a cancelation.

Inaccurate Results: Some salespeople want to trust their gut instincts, regardless of what a software platform recommends. This can be especially true of veteran salespeople who are used to face to face communication and feel that an automated process removes some of the “human element” and provides data that works in theory, but not in the field.

These reasons are perfectly valid for many enterprises and are why finding a provider for Quote-to-Cash and contract management solutions that also offer onboarding and training is so important. Beyond the initial sale and setup, there needs to be a period of transference as the appropriate teams’ transition off the old system and onto the new one. After all, not every company is at the same level of readiness to install an automated process. Sure, you can just do like the explorers of old and burn your ships when you reach the new land, but most times it isn’t practical to do a hard cutover to a new system. Your provider should be able to give you guidance and a proper transition process and schedule. After all, once you’ve made the financial investment in automation, you need to make the time investment to get the full benefit of your systems.

Next up: What Are the Cost Benefits of Automation?

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