When you have grown beyond manually entering data, an order management system is the next step. An order management system is software used for order entry and processing, and it automates much of the manual work. Some management systems have separate portals, or online interfaces, for the sales department. Using a sales portal, sales representatives have a way to access customer accounts and inventory and place orders without having to call in to the office.
Why Wouldn't Your Sales Reps Use a Portal?
Sales reps want the info on hand. They are used to hard copies and phone calls to obtain information. Often when portals are launched, the usage is high at first, but tails off as sales reps return to old ways. You want your sales portal to be one that is constantly used and has value to your reps.
Sales Portals Can Be Made Effective
Some general principles to keep in mind when using a portal:
The portal needs to be accessible. Your reps need to be able to get to the portal from anywhere, anytime. A cloud based sales portal is reliant on your servers or operation hours, and can always be available 24/7.
- Integrates with your tools. You don't want to have to learn new software or have a system that means re-entering data multiple times. You need a system that takes your QuickBooks entries automatically and keeps information up-to-date without having to manually enter data in a portal for the reps.
- Educate your reps. Your sales team wants to sell. Show your reps how the portal can save time, make them look smarter to their customers, and keep them selling instead of being bogged down with paperwork or waiting on feedback from the home office.
- Keep Info Current. The sales team needs to know inventory, pricing, and customer info, and have it updated in real time. If your portal integrates with your QuickBooks, then refreshing inventory or pricing will be done automatically in the portal and will be made available to your team without the need to re-enter information or notify the team. Reps can be confident that there isn't conflicting information that is accessible to them.
- Use reporting tools. The software should create order reports, invoices, payment history, and more. Utilizing this reporting can help your reps improve performance and be better informed about their customers. You can use the reports to be sure sales reps are meeting sales goals.
Now Commerce Provides a Relevant Solution
Since our sales portal integrates with QuickBooks, much of the manual data entry is eliminated. Pricing and inventory is automatically updated in the portal software when it is changed in your QuickBooks entries. Sales reps don't have to manually enter customer information for repeat orders. Reps can place orders or find customer information themselves, eliminating wasted down time waiting on emails and calls. Searching info is quick and easy, and lists are easily created and exported for referral by the reps. All of this is available at any time for the sales team. This makes your portal one the reps will want to use because it is helpful, time-saving, and leaves them able to do what they are supposed to do - sell your merchandise.