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Optimizing sales processes for better predictability and profitability


Keeping up with sales, both in-store and online, means staying one step ahead of marketplace changes— from expanding customer expectations to seasonal buying surges and speed-to-market demands. While the retail environment is rarely predictable, companies can help keep sales pipelines up-to-date and accurate by taking steps to boost enterprise visibility. Chiefly, this can be accomplished by investing in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that makes it easier than ever to manage supply chain operations for maximum efficiency and flexibility.

Centralized control: Better visibility means better forecasting

One way ERP technology can help simplify and streamline the sales process is by compiling disparate business systems and processes onto a single, centralized platform. This not only reduces confusion and the time-consuming effort of digging around multiple sources to locate data, it means that no matter how many locations a retailer has, or how differentiated its offerings are, access to key business insights are only a click away for all users. To this end, proven ERP software such as Microsoft Dynamics® AX is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of business needs, ensuring all employees have access to the information they need, when they need it.

As an example, RSM US LLP recently completed an implementation for a leader in rigid packaging with more than 40 locations worldwide, and product categories ranging from cosmetics to food and beverage. It required an ERP system with maximum flexibility and agility, able to adjust to each location’s individual needs. Our Dynamics AX implementation offered the company multiple benefits, including systematic checkpoints that automatically update gross profit and revenue numbers without the intervention of back-office personnel; batch invoicing that significantly reduces end-of-month effort; and improved dashboards and reporting that enable real-time business decisions and forecasting. As a result, though operations are widespread and varied, executives have deep visibility into each sector, and can better predict and plan for sales channel updates.

Easy and efficient: How ERP simplifies a complex sales process

While ERP software is advantageous to large enterprises, it’s equally beneficial to relatively smaller companies, providing the business insights they require to maintain profitability, keep customers happy and respond to market demand. In this market segment, RSM also recently performed a Dynamics AX implementation for a leader in the direct merchandise business. Operating multiple related brands out of a central Oshkosh, Wisconsin office, a key differentiator for the retailer was its ability to personalize products, from Christmas cards to doormats. In all, they offered hundreds of products, with hundreds of personalization attributes.

In addition, hundreds of employees collected incoming orders on the website, over the phone and through catalogs, adding to the myriad data collected. To address these complexities, the company required an ERP solution with the capacity to help sort and manage an enormously vast amount of unique information, and Dynamics AX fit the bill. We implemented a solution that allows employees to capture multiple personalization attributes on a single sales line, keeping all project data together and seamless. In addition, our custom Dynamics forms make it simple for sales reps to capture all customer information in a single place, so all attributes are recorded directly during the sales process, and can then be tracked through to production. As a result, sales complexity is greatly reduced and employee efficiency is optimized, all helping to boost ROI and the opportunity for profit.

Ahead of the curve: Leveraging ERP to optimize long-term growth

Optimizing the sales process doesn’t just make employees’ lives easier—it helps set the framework for improved customer satisfaction. Repeat business is more likely when transactions are seamless—and painless—led by employees who have real-time, in-depth knowledge of inventory availability, product options and sales expectations, and insights driven by ERP software such as Dynamics AX that are capable of keeping up with a range of business needs, no matter the size or scale.

Optimizing sales processes for better predictability— and profitability 

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