Chaos in the offer team – how cooperation works at the push of a button
Most companies know: successful selling is teamwork. However, they also know that especially interdisciplinary offer teams often find it difficult to work together. Yet there are technical means to create an ideal collaboration environment for them practically at the push of a button.
by Yolanda Danioth
Let's take an example: A sales colleague wants to create an offer and is looking for the right people to support him. A team of a dozen people comes together from different areas. The joint kick-off is still promising, but then things get complicated. Numerous, often similar, questions are sent by e-mail and have to be answered anew each time; different documents and templates are circulating, which are hard to keep track of and are then stored in different places where not everyone has access rights – and to make matters worse, some people did not pay attention during the briefing, which leads to further duplications and errors. This not only costs a lot of nerves, but also resources.
The aforementioned scenario is intentionally decsribed in a somewhat exaggerated manner – but in fact many companies lack the possibility to better coordinate the cooperation in such interdisciplinary offer teams who otherwise rarely work together. With our clients, we observe the same problems again and again:
- Uncoordinated and intransparent internal communication via email
- Version conflicts and different storage locations of individual offer components
- Incomplete information – or too many locations where customer-relevant information is stored
- Data silos (e.g. restricted access rights to folders, servers, documents and information at departmental level), which impede cooperation
- Lack of or complicated overview of several parallel offer processes, which are handled by different teams
- High time expenditure for reconciliation between the contributors
A structured process in the CRM system is often not enough
For such problems, solutions exist at the technical level that can contribute to a considerable improvement of the situation with a relatively low investment of funds. The important thing is that they are actually suitable for creating the desired situation. Even a structured process in the CRM system is of no use if it is so rigid that the important information still flows via chat, email and personal conversations. And even a well-structured file repository that is accepted by everyone is of little help if you have to know who has access where and when, and what the current status of an offer is.
A combination of an operative CRM system and a suitable collaboration platform is a promising approach in order to successfully counteract the difficulties mentioned above. In our case, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales with Microsoft Teams has proven itself.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales with Microsoft Teams
In this context, salespersons and customer advisors manage leads and sales opportunities true to process in the CRM system. If the sales opportunity is qualified to the extent that a sales team is to be deployed, a team is created in Microsoft Teams virtually at the push of a button. In other words, the selected sales team receives access by e-mail to a group specifically created for this project in the user-friendly Microsoft Teams environment, where all meetings on this topic can be held, documents shared and jointly edited, and information exchanged via chat.
This way, coordination is practically automatic: everything is filed and discussed within this team, which is accessible to everyone. Thanks to the possibilities such as chatting and editing documents together, everyone is always up to date. Microsoft Teams also offers a number of other functions, such as managing tasks or sharing notes – this is not always useful, but it can be under certain circumstances. In addition, everyone can see the structured CRM data without having to change the system environment.
Automate further processes
Since both Teams and Dynamics 365 are entirely at home in the Microsoft Low-Code Power Platform, there are additional opportunities to automate processes. For example, automatic task allocation to team members can be created, an approval process can be introduced or digital signing of the final quote can be set up if required. A direct connection to the ERP system is also possible. There is also a positive effect with regard to data protection: personal and customer data are well managed, only accessible to authorised persons, correctly stored after use and, at the right time, also deleted again.
In relation to the example described at the beginning, this combination of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales with Microsoft Teams would probably be a promising solution approach with great potential for further optimisation or automation. Despite similar problems, however, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different paths and tools can lead to the desired goal. The most effective way is the one that is tailored to the needs and resources of the company. We regularly seek and follow this path with our clients.