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“We used a CRM app to increase sales force efficiency and boost revenue”

Vineet Bansal, CIO, Greenply Industries Ltd, and CIO Power List 2017 winner, talks about implementing mobile CRM to automate sales operations and increase productivity. By Satyaki Sarkar

An important part of Vineet Bansal’s role as a CIO is to create robust IT architectures and use IT to solve business issues. At Greenply Industries Ltd lack of real time data and digitised record maintenance in the sales force was leading to loss of revenue, as leads were being lost and not converted into opportunities. The solution Vineet introduced was a native CRM app, designed especially for the sales force. Recently awarded as a Manufacturing Icon at CIO Power List 2017, Vineet tells us about the push towards sales force automation.

Digitisation to drive sales
“Earlier, sales operations were manual,” said Vineet. “Right from record maintenance to data management, everything was noted down manually. So our first priority was to bring all the data and records into our system, so that there wouldn’t be any loss of data, confusion, and errors affecting the entire business, and causing considerable damages. Thus, the need for the implementation of a CRM system. We needed something that would not only help us record the day to day call reports but also figure out how many leads had been converted into opportunities, the kind of impact they’d had on the business, etc. This, in turn, would help us plan in advance, increase transparency, visibility, and improve coordination between our actual operational processes.”

Improved operational efficiency
“In the manufacturing sector quality is yet another important factor that governs the success rate of an organisation. So the CRM was also designed to capture complaints regarding quality issues with the product. The field force can directly take photos of the products with quality issues and upload it on to the CRM. This helps us take action immediately, and keep track of the product’s return journey from the customer to the plants, and then to the factory. This makes monitoring the complaint status a lot easier, so that we can ensure the issue is resolved at the earliest, and eliminate any difficulties or obstacles that arise on a real time basis. Additionally, it also helps us keep track of all the promotional material that we send out, monitor its journey to the head office, to the field force and then to dealers.”

Targeting key functional areas
“Our main focus was on the field force, so the CRM implementation was started in the sales portal itself. We wanted smoother co-ordination between the head office, manufacturing centre, various branches, and field force, so we involved the branch managers in the CRM as they have the best knowledge of the workings of the sales force, and are able to manage the various moving pieces in an efficient manner. We trained them so that they could bring the sales force up to speed and train them, in turn.”

Mobility a cause for concern
“One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced was rolling out CRM on a mobile platform. At the time we started the implementation mobile connectivity in the rural areas was still quite poor and several areas did not have service at all. So we tried to implement it offline. However, the limitations of that mode made implementation extremely difficult. But, nowadays, with telecom operators massively strengthening their networks and rolling out considerably affordable data plans that problem has been alleviated almost entirely. The transition period was another challenge, as getting so many individuals to acclimatise themselves to a completely new platform and adjust to the changes is an incredibly difficult task. But through detailed training sessions and presentations highlighting the benefits, we were able to overcome the challenge in time.”

Boosting sales force productivity
“After the implementation, the CRM system played a huge role in helping ensure consistency of data, besides making maintenance of records, monitoring of operations, and tracking reasons for lack of efficiency a lot easier. Earlier, potential leads that would mature in two to three months would be tracked manually. Often they would fall through the cracks and we would miss the deadlines. Now, with the use of CRM we stay constantly updated as we have all the data in an easily accessible, accurate format, without having to rely on human diligence. We can see the entire journey of the lead right from its generation, the obstacles it has faced, the issues that have been solved and the ones hindering its maturity, and take action based on the information we have. This helps us track a lot more sales and stay focused on the business, without investing in additional manpower.” 

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