If there is one common thing that all businesses do, regardless of their product or service — whether it be making mattresses, or providing physiotherapy — it’s selling. While creating quality products and delivering valuable services are crucial to the success of businesses, sales and marketing are the actual money-making activities. Making these processes more efficient and effective can help businesses just as much as improving their offerings can. And using document management software can be the first step for businesses towards streamlining their sales and marketing processes.
Depending on the nature of product or service, the sales team may have to deal with anywhere from less than a handful to dozens of documents per sale or prospect. For instance, for a simple B2C (Business-to-Customer) sale, the process can be documented through simply a bill and a receipt. On the other hand, when it comes to B2B(Business to Business) sales, selling capital assets (including property), large volumes of material or assembly parts, or long-term services may require multiple forms of documentation, such as price lists and brochures, order forms, service agreements, contracts, and of course, bills and receipts, among others. And the larger the business, larger is the number of sales transactions, and consequently, larger is the number of documents generated in every cycle.
And like sales, marketing is another area of business that focuses on bringing in new customers, retaining existing ones, and selling more products and services for increasing revenue. Marketing involves a broader set of activities than sales and involves even more documents that need to be created, edited, reviewed, shared, and secured. Thus, handling marketing and sales using paper documents or other non-specialized ways of managing documents can take up a major chunk of time in man-hours for businesses, leading to unnecessary financial leakages.
Thus, increased efforts from businesses to increase their revenue can, quite ironically, also lead to growing costs. And the worst part about these costs is that they are totally avoidable. And the most effective way of avoiding unnecessary costs associated with documents is to utilize document management software. Document management software can easily handle all the routine yet necessary document-related processes for businesses, leaving them with more time, resources, and most importantly, more money.
Read on to know the different ways in which document management software can be used to streamline the processes involved in sales and marketing.
How document management software aids sales and marketing
The sales process differs from business to business, depending on the industry, size, and a host of other factors. For instance, some businesses may have no dedicated salespeople and no need for specialized sales tactics and documentation. Examples of these include businesses that provide professional services like a law firm, a dental clinic, a restaurant, and other similar places. In such cases, the only documentation may be bills, transaction records (e.g., debit/credit card/online payment records generated by banks and credit card companies), and receipts. Depending on the scale of these businesses, they may need to handle a lot of these records and documents for accounting, research, and other purposes. In other cases, businesses may have dedicated sales representatives, most of whom may operate out of call centers and require specialized sales documentation. Regardless of the method used for selling, the need for document management software is uniform, as is demonstrated in the following section.
Lead generation and prospecting
Finding leads and prospecting are the primary steps in the sales process. Businesses often set out with a set of potential leads, whom they research to gather data and qualify as a potential customer. Gathering and compiling data is vital to not only qualify leads but also to prepare a pitch for specific leads. Since all these activities are done by teams, using traditional methods of compiling and sharing information can be slow and riddled with confusing steps for the participating members. This is because of the lack of a single shared destination for all customer related documents and information.
Using document management software, sales teams can build customer profiles in a single unified record and share it among themselves. They can link documents related to a single customer to prepare extensive profiles of leads to help the next steps in the sales process.
Pitch preparation and sales documentation
In addition to helping sales teams build profiles of potential customers, document management software can also help in preparing sales pitches for specific customers and creating proposals for clients. Creation of proposals often requires the contribution of multiple members of a sales or project team and may require a lot of back and forth between these participants before the final draft of a proposal is agreed upon and approved.
A document management tool can be used to simplify and expedite the process of collaboratively creating proposals. Team members can take turns in adding information and making changes to a single proposal document which can be saved as a new version after every iteration of change. Each member can individually make the changes they need in the proposal and share it with the next person. Since the old versions are retained, changes can be rolled back if necessary. Teams can also create an automatic workflow to replicate the standard sequence in which a proposal is created and edited by the team. This not only automates the process of creating proposals and getting them approved but also enables teams to gain better visibility over the process, as the status of every workflow can be clearly be tracked by all members.
Similar to creating proposals, sales documentation can also be generated, modified, and shared with the sales team. Sales documentation includes a set of scripts for pitching products, scripts for overcoming objections, and other key information that can help salespeople to sell more effectively. These documents require changes frequently, and every time any changes are made, the new documentation needs to be shared with the sales teams as quickly as possible. Using a document management system, sales managers, trainers, and other leaders can easily collaborate on sales documentation to make changes whenever necessary. These changes can be approved using an automated workflow, and, upon approval, the final step of the workflow could be to publish and share the document to every salesperson in the organization. This can enable sales teams to always have the latest and the most pertinent information to help them to sell easily.
Most businesses, especially those that operate in the service sector (e.g., the telecom industry), have long procedures of onboarding new customers. Registering new customers to a business’s databases requires gathering information from customers, usually through forms.
For instance, consider a KYC (Know Your Customer) registration procedure. Customers are required to fill forms and submit documents to help businesses verify their identities. While this process can be performed manually and on paper, it may take longer than is necessary and cause inconvenience to the customer. On the other hand, performing the entire onboarding and KYC process using a document management system can not only make the process faster but also more secure. The customer can fill a form which generates a document with the entered information. This document, along with the documents of proof submitted by the customer can be forwarded to onboarding personnel who can inspect the documents and verify the identity and the information entered by the customers. They can approve or reject the application based on their analysis and send it for the next step of verification. If the KYC request is approved by all the participants involved in the workflow, a customer profile can be automatically generated and filed in the organization’s database. Using a document management tool can essentially cut down the time between when an application is made by a customer and when the customer starts receiving the service.
Managing bills and sales receipts
The most common forms of documentation that are generated from sales processes are bills and receipts. A B2C organization may generate anywhere between a few dozens to thousands of receipts a day. For instance, chain restaurants and coffee places serve hundreds of customers each day. Each of these transactions generates a bill (and also a record of monetary transactions if the method of payment is electronic or via third-party payment gateways). These records are necessary not only for internal purposes like accounting and customer relationship management (CRM) but also for reconciliation purposes with third-party payment facilitators and processors.
Even if your business does not sell hundreds of products each day, over a period of time, these records will pile up. Using paper documents to store all these transactions is obviously a less-than-ideal option. But so is storing them electronically without using any document management solution. If you need the documents pertaining to any one transaction, either for any payment issues, complaints, or other query resolution, finding them from hundreds or thousands of others may become a daunting and time-consuming task.
For instance, if you have issues regarding the payments that were received through credit cards for a specific period and want to take it up to a payment processing company, you might need the record of the transactions in question as proof or reference. Although you may have some idea about where to find those documents or you may remember some details about the documents, such as the dates of the transactions, you can not find the required documents using the traditional search methods offered by your computer’s default file management system. Finding and compiling a select bunch of such documents may take hours and even days for your team. This is time not spent on performing more important tasks such as handling operations and serving more customers.
In such cases, having a document management software solution to store your documents can be extremely valuable. If you use electronic document management systems to store the records of all the transactions, finding one of them, even out of a thousand, can be done in a flash. A document management software application, while storing documents can be configured to parse key information from bills and receipts such as the customer ID (if you have a record of all customers), transaction number, bill amount, and payment mode, among others. All this information can be stored as metadata for the individual documents. The document management software’s search feature can be used to find the bills that were generated during a specific period. Then the bills that were paid using credit cards can be filtered out to find all the requisite files. All this can be done in mere minutes by a single person using document management systems.
Another case where document management software may come in handy is while resolving after-sales complaints and queries. For instance, if a customer has a complaint regarding a specific transaction that was performed months ago, finding the transaction details pertaining to that interaction is the primary step. Finding such a document can be hard without using the tools for classifying and searching documents. Using a document management tool, any transaction can be traced by finding the document related to that particular transaction, within minutes. This ensures quick turnaround times, leading to greater customer satisfaction.
Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a vital part of marketing that is common to almost all businesses. Businesses use CRM software to ensure they know everything they need to know about each of their customers so they can offer them exactly what they need to ensure satisfaction and retention. A CRM also enables internal marketing, sales, and customer service teams to have access to the right information to perform their functions better.
To amplify the benefits of using CRM software, it is important to use document management software that can easily integrate with it. Document management software can be used as a centralized, secure repository of customer information that can be used by all customer-facing personnel to ensure that their interactions enhance the customer experience.
While a CRM tool may be able to manage and analyze customer information to deliver the requisite insights to employees, organizing and storing the information require paperwork and, sometimes, a lot of manual data entry and effort. Using document management software that can integrate with your CRM software can essentially automate the process of organizing, storing, and securing customer information. This ensures that the customer information is ready to be used by the CRM as well as by the employees of the organization whenever needed.
Employees can easily access customer-related documents whenever they need. For instance, sales executives can get access to the information from a CRM database when they need to pitch or recommend new products to a customer based on their demographic information and shopping history. They can do this without having to scramble for paper documents or having to switch between multiple windows and applications on their computers.
Businesses can also maintain a customer portal that can be accessed by customers using their own log-in credentials. The portal can be used by customers to submit their information and their documents and view them whenever they want. The portal can provide a host of other value-added features to enhance their level of personalization and increase trust and loyalty.
Ensuring compliance with regulations
While ensuring that a business enables customer information to be shared with employees helps in improving business processes, allowing free access to customer data can be harmful. It is not only unethical to share customer data with everyone in an organization who may or may not need it but it is also illegal. Numerous laws have been passed by regulators across the world to ensure that the personal information of people is not mishandled or misused by businesses. A popular example of this is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was passed by the European Union as a law to safeguard privacy.
Although these laws are not against businesses gathering and using personal information, they are against businesses using it for purposes other than those stated to their customers. This means businesses using customer data shouldn’t allow personal information to be accessed and viewed by irrelevant personnel. For instance, while it may be okay for a customer service executive or a marketing executive to view a customers information in order to answer their queries and offer them products, someone from the manufacturing department cannot be given access to the same information. This is because the information is not pertinent to their function. Similarly, there are many different cases where it may be okay or not okay to share specific bits of customer information with members of a business. Using traditional methods of handling customer information and customer-related documents may leave this information vulnerable to access and misuse by the members of an organization. However, using a document management application, businesses can secure personal data and prevent it from being accessed by undesirable entities. Using document management software, businesses can give different levels of access to customer information to different members and groups in the organization. They can ensure, for instance, that a salesperson sees nothing more than a prospect’s name and address, or that a market research executive only sees the demographic information of people and not their identification and contact details. This will ensure a perfect balance between convenience and privacy.
How to choose the best document management software for sales and marketing
Following are a few non-negotiable features that businesses must look for when looking for a document management solution for boosting the efficiency and efficacy of their sales and marketing processes:
The primary function of any document management software is to ensure that all documents on it are well-organized and easy to find whenever necessary. A good document management tool must offer multiple ways of differentiating and organizing files, such as folders, tags, and document types. GLOBODOX is a document management software application that not only has the above three ways of classifying files, but also enables users to arrange files in “Stacks”. This adds another dimension of classification to your documents, giving you more freedom to organize your documents as you need. You can create a stack for each one of your customers and add all associated documents to it. You can add the receipts of all the transactions with that customer, their KYC submissions, any email conversations you might have had with them, and other kinds of documents that you may have for that customer. When you need to need any information or document pertaining to a customer, all you have to do is search for your customer’s stack and you’ll get all the details associated with that particular customer.
To automate the sales and marketing processes, you must ensure that the document management software you’re considering has customizable workflows. Using this feature, you can create workflows to replicate the workflows or sequence of activities that your business performs while prospecting, onboarding customers, or while creating proposals. GLOBODOX allows users to create highly customized workflows that can be as simple or complex as needed. Users can also add conditional steps and loops to their workflow to ensure that all organizational processes replicated as closely as possible.
Security is an important consideration, both for ensuring competitiveness as well as compliance. The best document management software offer industry-standard encryption and backup options to ensure that no critical data is leaked or lost. Document management software like GLOBODOX offer a high level of multilayered security to documents to ensure that only the right people view the information they need. Using GLOBODOX, you can even hide and secure specific portions within documents from users who can view the rest of the document. This level of multi-layered, flexible security makes GLOBODOX a safe repository of information and documents.