Build it and they will come.
It may have worked in the movie Field of Dreams, but for any business looking to make sales of their latest product or service, things aren’t so simple. Generating sales can be a complex and sometimes expensive endeavor, with marketing campaigns, lead nurturing programs, solution demos, RFPs and on-site presentations and follow-up meetings all forming a part of the typical process. Even after the initial sale, account managers need to ensure that customers remain happy with the relationship and, where possible, upsell new products and services.
Disparate Data Sources
While the marketing teams will often be able to use automation software to calculate the cost of generating these leads, working out the cost of the sales process is rarely quite as straightforward for sales management. Even if companies already have both CRM and expense automation solutions in place, these solutions only tell half the story. While both solutions may contain highly detailed information about travel and entertainment expense items and prospects or customer accounts, there is no simple, automated way to correlate this information. This complexity could explain why only 13 percent of more than 200 sales executives across the U.S., Canada, Britain and Australia surveyed by Chrome River said that their employers track their travel spend against the revenues that they generate. It’s simply too much of a cumbersome task.
Without this information, it’s difficult to know the true cost of sales, and it’s even harder to perform meaningful analysis of the efficacy of your team’s travel and entertainment expense spend. While you may be able to calculate a crude cost of sale average, it’s much harder to work out how this may differ for accounts of different sizes, without downloading data from the expense and CRM solutions into spreadsheets, then manually categorizing and cross-referencing individual groups of data. Making sense of more nuanced data is even more difficult. What expense types deliver the most return on investment? Are there team-wide or individual trends for the value generated by certain expenses, such as meals?
Without this type of data, sales team budgeting becomes a difficult process for the finance team, as it’s based on snapshots of what can often be erroneous or inaccurate data. At the beginning of the year, this can lead to some sales team members’ budgets being higher or lower than necessary, which can result in either inefficient spend or curtailed trips. Alternatively, should budgets need to be adjusted over the course of the year, poorly-informed decisions could lead to across-the-board cuts being made, potentially impacting the team’s ability to close sales. If the sales team’s travel and entertainment is seen as a cost that needs to be minimized, instead of an investment that needs to managed effectively to deliver the most value, it can have a serious impact on an organization’s ability to grow.
Introducing Chrome River PROSPER
This challenge inspired us to design and develop a cutting-edge solution, Chrome River PROSPER. What our customers have told us is that they need an easy way to see how travel and entertainment spend impacts revenue generation. How can they make their sales teams more efficient, reduce unnecessary spend which doesn’t deliver effective results, and increase investment in the tools that have proven ability to generate value?
By synching Chrome River EXPENSE with CRM Data – accounts, opportunities, even down to individual contacts – PROSPER allows detailed travel and entertainment expense data to be allocated to each account. This data can then be viewed within the PROSPER interface, clearly showing how much each member of your team has spent on a specific prospect or customer, even down to the level of individuals at each organization. This expense data is shown alongside information such as account size, so it’s easy to see at a glance how spend compares to others for a specific account As this data is viewed in a clear, map-based dashboard, sales team leaders can obtain high-level snapshots at a glance, as well as drilldown into accounts or sales team members to obtain more granular insight.
While this data can be used to see historical trends on how effective travel and entertainment spend has been, its real benefit lies in the ability to make smarter short- and long-term planning decisions. Sales leaders can see where their team members’ upcoming travels are planned, and mapping this against account data, can make suggestions for other customers they can visit, in order to maximize the trip’s benefit. Finance teams can use this historical data to make smarter, more informed travel and entertainment budget calculations which can increase investment in more effective sales team activities.
With Chrome River PROSPER, you can deliver more accurate cost-of-sale data, minimize inefficient sales team travel and entertainment expense, and invest confidently to drive the best results from your sales team.
If you’d be interested in seeing more information about how organizations can more effectively leverage travel and entertainment expense data to deliver sales efficiencies, download our free white paper, Expense Management as a Catalyst to Drive Revenue. You can also read more information on Chrome River PROSPER and how it could benefit your organization, and should you want to see PROSPER for yourself, please request a demonstration and one of our solutions consultants will be glad to set up a time for a personal demo.
Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.