Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Business Intelligence: To compete you need a competitive advantage

Since its inception, the idea behind Business Intelligence (BI) was to provide quick access to quality data so that business executives could take action to minimize the errors or capture an opportunity. However in reality, the data was although properly rendered but right context remained missing. This brought up the ground reality that to capture right information, the mechanism has to be designed correctly.

When we talk of BI we should differentiate it by two aspects :

  • The first is the business aspect of BI — the need to get the most value out of information. This need hasn’t really changed in over years but increasing complexity has made it harder to deliver.
  • The second is the IT aspect of BI — what technology is precisely able to cater the business needs.

Your should be aware of the following :-

  • Make sure your data is scrubbed and current, or the analytics will always deliver irrelevant intelligence.
  • Data to be converted into information, keeping in view, the presentation of that information. It should be configured to render a comprehensive view of the situation at a glance.
  • Need identification and your idea behind getting those information must be clear to you.

In old days it was called Decision support system which, with time matured and became Business Intelligence & Business Analytics. It has gone further to the level where it has not just remained technology driven but became business oriented and actionable.

I still remember when I was in a manufacturing ERP company and I was explained by the Managing director of that company about the “PADTA system”, used in old days, which was nothing but a business at a glance report at the end of the day. Just a small slip explaining the cost, profit and end result of the business for an organization. I realized that the need of BI and its uses were already in place but it just got matured and became technology driven.

At the end of the day, nobody cares what this stuff is called. If you’re a business owner then what matters is to work out the best way to gather the information opportunity in your organization, and putting in place appropriate technology to meet that business need on which you will be able to take decisions.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sales Force Automation: Are you Buying Technology or a Solution?

Author : Rommel Rozario,
Vice-president (Sales)
Advanz101 Systems P. Ltd.

It’s not about having the right opportunities. It’s about handling the opportunities right.” - Mark Hunter

Ever since the concept of sales has started in modern world, salespeople have always been the ones, who always have to deal with more negativity than almost any other professional. For every deal that has been signed, there's bound to be countless unanswered calls, emails that fell into an unaddressed space and prospects that sharply demand to know, "What exactly I am going to buy and why ? ".

But you know who else dealt with rejection?  the people who faced the failures and got approved further. And they didn't just stopped in the hard times -- failure is what made them succeed.

Sales is the life blood of business and sales force automation systems provide the management, automation and reporting to systemically improve sales performance and achieve corporate growth objectives. However, selecting, implementing and refining SFA systems to sharpen processes such as account management, opportunity management and the order cycle is a continuous challenge.

Sales force automation software is a powerful tool that increases sales success rates, reduces the sales turnaround time, enhances your sales field force’s productivity, streamline the data input and improves the revenue part.

Whether it’s a small business or an enterprise offering hundreds of products, Sales force Automation is designed to take care of the sales process regardless the scale.

  1. Time Saving
  2. Planned Sales process / Field Working
  3. Monitored Primary & Secondary Sales
  4. Stocks & Inventory Control
  5. Merchandising Activities Monitoring
  6. Opportunity Management
  7. Improvised Customer Service

First of all before implementing or planning to buy this (In fact any automation system) , people who are likely to be users shall be educated, after all if people don't see SFA as strategically important and valuable, they will be rigid to use the solution, harming the goals and ROI estimations.

You can go for the options available in the market i.e.

  1. On Premise
  2. SaaS

Further you can :

  • Review the catalogue of features and compare with the options available.
  • Hold In-Depth conversations and assess the providers for their Technical Knowledge.
  • Review the Service Level Agreement and its accuracy.
  • Review the Past track record of the Vendors.
  • Assess the vendor for their Domain Expertise on your Industry type.
  • Discuss their Solution’s Strength, weaknesses and their after sale support.
  • In case you are still not able to decide, go in for Proof of Concept with best ranked vendor on your criteria.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tour Program: Its Importance in Sales Effectiveness

Proper Planning and preparation prevents poor performance”
(Stephen Keague)

The outcome of any activity depends on two important factors i.e. Planning and Execution. Off Course the companies are emphasizing on these factors in their sales processes but here we are talking about a tool that will act as an assistant to the field force in Planning, Implementing, Studying Variance and Bringing out Analysis of their activities.


Tour Program Feature in any conventional Sales Force Automation will assist the field force in the above listed activities in certain ways. It will help the Sales officers in planning their month (day-wise) and their territory in advance so as the sales people can give the best output possible.
The Tour Program is usually made on monthly basis in planning the working of next/coming month that lets the SO’s decide the type of activity, working geography and Retailers/Stockist to meet on a particular day for the whole month. The plan of action is sent to his manager for review, The manager can amend the plan as per the need. Now, there are Important Retailers or Customers for every organization, With the help of this tool, they will not be missed as the Managers and Senior Level people can select Joint-Working with the Field Staff in the tour Program Itself. The Joint-Working feature will also help the Managers analyse their upcoming month and can help in planning it in the best way possible. The Tour program can also be filled as per Journey Cycle(JC) which can be an important factor in FMCG sector. Unlike the monthly plan, the Journey Cycle is planned keeping some specific needs in mind. As an example the JC can be in day format like a 15 day or 28 day JC. It can also be a bi-weekly cycle. The JC should be made such that it can be copied for next months as well. This is called Permanent Journey Plan(PJP). Though it should account for holidays/Sundays and shift the working to the next working day. This will ease the process of the field force as well.

With the Tour Program tool available in mobile and web application, the Execution of the plan becomes possible as it gives ease to enter information on the go. The automated tour program alert will also tell the Field Force about their planning on the mobile app itself making information about the plan of action available to them at the start of the day. This will also help in preparation of the upcoming station.

As we know, the there is variation in planned and actual activities and there can be deviation of the same. In this case, the reason can be personal or professional like Retailers meet, Joint Working, Leave etc.This should be checked and accounted for in the system. The variance from the plan can be communicated to the field force in the form of automated alerts on daily basis. I will depict an example on the same situation. Now in the Tour Program planning, the sales person planned to visit X station on 12/07/15 but actually he visits Y station on that date. Then the system will send him an alert on his mobile application itself showing his variance. He can record the reason for same that will help in analysis in the later stage of sales process.

The analysis to the sales planning is equally important as it can help amend future course of actions. This can be done by showing a variance report from his planned vs actual working on day to day basis. The same can be discussed with each SO to know the cause of the deviation.

Any SFA should have a tour program feature as there is certain need for the Sales officers to follow the decided course of action. Usually the executive tend to visit few stations/retailers more than the others due to certain factors best known to them. Though this should not affect company’s sales and should be checked for with the help of Tour Program. As the manager can edit/approve the Tour Program decided by the SO, he can validate an even distribution of all the territories under him and at the end of the month a variance on the plan can be checked for This process will also give emphasis on HQ-Ex HQ-Out Station working to ensure 360 degree productivity from all the customers under any Sales Officer.


The system in place will act as an assistant to the field force to plan their month in advance and improve sales effectiveness. Tour Program is just one of the many unique features available in a state-of-art Sales Force Automation. A good SFA combined with a passionate sales team will improve the operational efficiency of the Organisation.

Atul Daga is an expert in conventional Retail and Engineering industries CRM. He has done his MBA from Cardiff University, United kingdom. (U.K.). As Business Development Manager at Advanz101 Systems, he actively engages himself with some high valued clients in knowledge process outsourcing domain. Atul likes DJ’ing as a hobby. He can be reached at atul@advanz101.com